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Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:23 PM

What's wrong with the "just a teen" Kavanaugh defense, according to a psychologist


Here’s what we know about teen perpetrators and victims of sexual assault.

The recent sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have raised many questions, but by far one of the most discussed is the relevance of age. As described by Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh was 17 and she was 15 at the time of the alleged incident. Now both are in their 50s. (Kavanaugh denies the alleged assault occurred.)

Do events that happened during adolescence still matter to a person well into adulthood? How should we think about sexual assault from a person’s teenage years decades later? Political commentators have been weighing in on this question in relation to the allegations against Kavanaugh. As articulated by opinion columnist Jonathan Zimmerman in USA Today, “Kavanaugh was a teenager at the time. Of course he was different then; he was a third of the age he is now. And teens do stupid, dangerous and destructive things.”

As a violence researcher, journal editor, and psychologist, I am one of the many scientists who have been studying these kinds of questions for decades. Misunderstandings and assumptions about patterns of behavior in adolescence have been flourishing in the discourse around Kavanaugh’s alleged actions. It’s worth looking at what we know from decades of investigating these topics.

Teen victims of assault can experience trauma for a lifetime

On the victimization side, the answer is a clear “yes.” It is well-established that childhood and young adult victims of sexual assault experience lifelong impacts. The impact includes not only higher risk of psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse, and suicidality, but also greater likelihood of physical health problems such as obesity, and social consequences such as school dropout. The evidence now indicates that every victimization experience — especially those that happen in childhood — adds to the total burden or “dose” of adversity, and you can see the health impacts of childhood abuse well into adulthood.

The reasons for this long-term impact are still being explored, but most evidence points to the physiological effects of toxic stress. Toxic stress can lead to the excessive release of stress hormones and other physical responses that can cause permanent damage to many bodily systems, including victims’ metabolism, heart health, and immune systems.
For teen perpetrators, the science is still developing. But here’s what we know.

(More at link)

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Reply What's wrong with the "just a teen" Kavanaugh defense, according to a psychologist (Original post)
Amaryllis Sep 2018 OP
regnaD kciN Sep 2018 #1
Me. Sep 2018 #2
oberliner Sep 2018 #3

Response to Amaryllis (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:27 PM

1. I did "stupid, dangerous and destructive things" as a teen...

...absolutely NONE of which involved trying to force a woman into sex.

Sorry, but the “teens have poor judgment” argument only goes so far.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:31 PM

2. Does That Also Cover Teen Murders

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Response to Amaryllis (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:36 PM

3. Doesn't he deny all the accusations?


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