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92 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1415 (1997-1998)
Power of Denial: Individual and Cultural Constructions of Child Sexual Abuse

handle is hein.journals/illlr92 and id is 1435 raw text is: Copyright 1998 by Elizabeth Mertz & Kimberly A. Lonsway                      Printed in U.S.A.
Northwest= University Law Review                                              Vol. 92, No. 4
THE POWER OF DENIAL: INDIVIDUAL AND
CULTURAL CONSTRUCTIONS OF CHILD
SEXUAL ABUSE
Elizabeth Mertz* and Kimberly A. Lonsway
I. PROPOSED FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYSIS OF EFFECTIVE DENIALS ... 1418
A. Basic Moves ............................................................................ 1420
1.  Attack the source ................................................................. 1421
a.   Crazy / Delusional / Hysterical ..................... 1422
b.   Weak / Misled / Confused ............................................. 1422
c.   M istaken  ........................................................................ 1423
d.   Mad     Vengeful / Manipulative .................................. 1428
e.   Bad /Seductive .......................................................... 1429
2.   R e-fram  e .............................................................................. 1431
a. New glasses, Minimizing (Not so bad), and
Epistemological Challenges: Causality and Science ........ 1431
b.   Distraction-Yes, but...; Other Factors ............. 1435
c.   Moral / Psychological Maxims-It's bad to blame .... 1437
3.   Language games ............................................................... 1439
B. Combined Moves: Constructing a Winning Dominant
N arrative ........................................................................................... 1440
II. CONTEXTS OF DENIAL ...................................................................... 1441
A. Social & Cultural Contexts: Hiding from the General in the
Particulars, Hiding from the Public in the Private ............................ 1441
B. Psychological Contexts .............................................................. 1449
Il. THE BASIC MOVES IN PUBLIC DISCOURSES: THE EXAMPLE
* Elizabeth Mertz, Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern University; Associate Professor of
Law, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Research Fellow, American Bar Foundation. B.A. Bryn
Mawr College; Ph.D., Duke University; J.D., Northwestern University. Much appreciation to Mary
Hunter, Ross Cheit, Jennifer Freyd, Karla Fischer, Michele Landis, Ken Pope, Cynthia Bowman, Anna
Salter, Christine Courteois, and Marcia Lehr for their assistance with this research and/or reactions to
drafts of this paper.
.. Kimberly A. Lonsway , Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at
California Polytechnic State University. Ph.D. 1996 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.A.
1994 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; B.S. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr.
Lonsway's research focuses on issues of violence against women, particularly with respect to cultural
beliefs and attitudes, rape prevention education, and law enforcement response. This paper was written
during Lonsway's tenure as a post-doctoral research fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and she
would like to thank Mary Hunter for her invaluable assistance along the way.

1415

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