Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why is Richard Beck casually blaming child sex abuse on “the patriarchal nuclear family”?

Instapundit: The politics of panic
There is something quite strange about Beck’s casual association, over and over again, of “the patriarchal nuclear family” with child abuse. As W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson have pointed out, the data show that children living with their married biological parents are an order of magnitude less likely to be abused—sexually or otherwise—than children living in other social arrangements. Children are more likely to be abused by someone they live with than by a stranger, but stepfathers and men cohabitating with the child’s mother are among the most frequent perpetrators. One can debate the extent to which poverty factors into these statistics—poor children are more likely to live with single parents or step-parents—but there is no dispute that children living in the “patriarchal nuclear family” that Beck so despises are least likely to be harmed at the hands of their guardians. So Beck is standing more on ideological than empirical footing when he insists that the weakening of the family as a social institution from the 1960s onward was an unalloyed good, and that the conservative campaign to shore up the family is born purely out of fear, bigotry, and reaction. But that is his view, and he is certainly not the only person on the cultural left to see things that way. . . .

The out of control sex abuse prosecutions in the 1980s were a serious problem, but "the patriarchal nuclear family" is not to blame for it (or for childhood sexual abuse in general).    

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