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Old 11 September 2012, 05:15 PM
Dr. Flibble
 
Posts: n/a
Default Do some cultures molest children in order to pacify them?

I have heard on more than one occasion that in some cultures, it is seen as perfectly normal and acceptable for parents and caregivers to rub their babies' privates and even fellate them in order to calm them down and help them sleep. This disturbing practice has been attributed to Japan, Albania, native Hawaiians, and parts of Latin America.

What I want to know is, does it really exist? I have my doubts. I haven't researched it, nor do I want to for obvious reasons (hence why I'm turning to you guys to do the research for me), but it smacks of urban legend to me. It goes without saying that there have always been tons of nasty rumours and outright lies about the practices of foreign cultures (particularly their sexual practices), usually meant to demonize them and justify bigotry towards them. Such myths are present even in the social sciences (perhaps especially so), and remain widespread to this day, for all that political correctness has tried to stamp them out.

I see no reason to believe that this practice is not another one of these myths. It seems suspicious for several reasons. For starters, it seems unlikely that doing something like that to a child would have the supposed effect of calming it down. Furthermore, it seems highly out of character with all the cultures to which it has been attributed (well, it might be plausible for pre-colonial native Hawaiians and Latin Americans - some of their morals were pretty bizarre by western standards, after all - but definitely not modern ones). And on top of that, I'd have thought if such a shocking practice was real, you'd hear about it more often.

For the record, I've already asked about this on Yahoo Answers (not the best source, I know). I haven't gotten many responses. A few people claimed to have at least heard of the practice, but none could clarify that it was real or that any particular culture engaged in it. The only response from a member of one of the aforementioned cultures was from a native Hawaiian, who categorically denied that they engaged in it or had ever done so at any point in their history.
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