The book argues that even though many cases have been held up as classic examples of modern American "witch hunts," none of them truly fits that description. . . . Other cases that have been painted as witch-hunts turn out to involve significant, even overwhelming, evidence of guilt.-- The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children by Ross E. Cheit.
Cheit is a professor at Brown University who examined high-profile day-care abuse cases from the 1980s and undertook empirical studies of criminal sentencing in sex abuse cases to determine whether child sex abuse is a pervasive problem or a "witch-hunt" blown out of proportion by eager prosecutors and sensation-seeking reporters.
I got this book because of my work with child abuse survivors and it is fascinating. It has also generated quite a bit of buzz:
- How the ‘Witch Hunt’ Myth Undermined American Justice in The Daily Beast
- Abuse Cases, and a Legacy of Skepticism:‘The Witch-Hunt Narrative’: Are We Dismissing Real Victims? in the New York Times
- Professor Aims to Discredit ‘Witch-Hunt Narrative’ of Child Sexual-Abuse Cases in the Providence Journal
For a summary of his argument, see Cheit's piece on The Huffington Post: Mythical Numbers and Satanic Ritual Abuse.
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