How the Daycare Child Abuse Hysteria of the 1980s became a Witch Hunt

How the daycare child abuse hysteria of the 1980s became a witch hunt
By Maura Casey

TV news was no friend to those of us who had small children in the 1980s. Allegations of child sexual abuse in day-care centers swept the nation, with high-profile cases in California, North Carolina, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Minnesota and other states, leading to empty playgrounds, hyper-vigilant parents and the implication that behind every tree lurked a pedophile waiting to snatch our children. Sexual abuse is an awful crime, but the perpetrators are usually relatives or family friends, and fewer than 1 percent of cases take place in day-care centers. Nonetheless, 30 years ago America was described as experiencing an “epidemic” of sexual abuse in day care.

Richard Beck, an editor at N+1, does a herculean job of investigating why this happened in his absorbing book “We Believe the Children.” Beck makes the case that the sexual abuse trials of the 1980s yoked numerous undercurrents in American society: fear of crime; the decline of respect for traditional authority; homophobia (being gay helped send some day-care workers to prison); the conservative backlash against feminism, which had encouraged women to work outside the home (with its resultant need for day care); and the reality that the patriarchal nuclear family had not just changed, it had become “incoherent.” Conservative evangelicals had just helped elect President Ronald Reagan, and many of them believed that “porn, gays, and women had run amok.”

to read the rest of the story go to  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-modern-witch-hunt/2015/07/31/057effd8-2f1a-11e5-8353-1215475949f4_story.html

 

WE BELIEVE THE CHILDREN  A Moral Panic in the 1980s
By Richard Beck http://www.amazon.com/We-Believe-Children-Moral-Panic/dp/1610392876

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