Case Narrative

A Consenting Juveniles narrative is a first-hand account reporting the words of the research subject on his or her experience.

Dan Savage

I initiated the encounters and cherish their memory.

Source:   I’m For Forbes
by Dan Savage, Savage Love, July 29, 1999

Dan Savage is a gay activist and writer of the popular sex advice column, Savage Love. He and his husband, who have an adopted son, started the It Gets Better project in 2010 to help prevent suicide of gay youths. The project has inspired the creation of more than 50,000 YouTube videos that have been viewed more than 50 million times. Even President Barack Obama has contributed a video and the project is linked on the White House website.

The comments below are an excerpt from Savage’s column in 1999.

Speaking of sleaze bags, earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning an article that appeared in Psychological Bulletin, an obscure journal published by the American Psychological Association. Like most everything in the bulletin, “A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples” was little-noticed outside pointy-headed circles—that is, until a very large and pointy knot formed in Dr. Laura’s burlap panties.

According to The New York Times, the study concluded that the effects of childhood sexual abuse, or CSA, “were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women.... They [also] argued that treating all forms of sexual abuse equally presents problems that, the researchers wrote, ’are perhaps most apparent when contrasting cases such as the repeated rape of a 5-year-old girl by her father and the willing sexual involvement of a mature 15-year-old adolescent boy with an unrelated adult.’ The authors also suggested that the term ’adult-adolescent sex’ or ’adult-child sex’ be substituted, in some cases, for ’child sexual abuse.’”

What’s the problem here? Researchers reviewed the data and discovered that just how fucked up people were by CSA depends to a great extent on how old they were, what they did, and with whom. Why is this controversial? Speaking as a survivor of CSA—sex at 14 with a 22-year-old woman; sex at 15 with a 30-year-old man—I can back the researchers up: I was not traumatized by these technically illegal sexual encounters. Indeed, I initiated them and cherish their memory. My experience is not at all uncommon, especially among men, and it’s absurd to think that what I did at 15 (and what was done to me) would even be considered “child sexual abuse,” or lumped together with the incestuous rape of a five-year-old girl.

What most upset Dr. Laura about the report was that those unlovable losers at the North American Man-Boy Love Association praised the study on their website. Well, all sorts of things are mentioned favorably on NAMBLA’s website: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Disney’s Tom and Huck, Little League baseball, Hanson, the Backstreet Boys, Hane’s undergarments. If Congress is going to condemn everything those creepy ol’ boyfuckers praise on their website, well, Congress isn’t going to have time to get much else done.

Limited excerpt reproduced under fair use doctrine for noncommercial, educational purpose.