Much of the reason the witch-hunt narrative has prevailed, according to Cheit, is that it’s easier for people to believe that child sexual abuse doesn’t happen because the topic itself is taboo. Cheit cites the work of Dr. Suzanne M. Sgroi, who wrote in 1978 that “the sexual abuse of children is a crime that our society abhors in the abstract but tolerates in reality.”
Communities have been known to rally around people convicted of this crime, Cheit writes.
“We often minimize and deny so as to allow us to avoid seeing things we would rather not see. Turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children has a long history in this country.”
This is a thought provoking article. The book would probably be worthy of one's time. While it apparently investigates a fairly specific series of events that I'm not familiar with, it resonates with broader observations I have made but never thought through. There are child sexual abuse deniers just like there are holocaust deniers. Some think it is just too horrific and totally incomprehensible to be true especially of 'decent looking people'. Something capable of it must surely have horns and a tail and could not be this ordinary and unremarkable person I know and possibly respect. For the accusation to be true they reason, 'I would have to be totally wrongheaded in my world view'. Easier to reason 'the kid was put up to this'.
Have a look at the comments. There are a couple there that are as instructive as the article itself and ironically tend to support the article's contention which was clearly not the commenter's aim.