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Marans, S. Smaller, M. Twemlow, S. Oppenheim, L. (2014). Round Table: Being a Socially Active Psychoanalyst in the 21st Century. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 13(4):283-297.

(2014). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 13(4):283-297


Round Table: Being a Socially Active Psychoanalyst in the 21st Century

Steven Marans, Mark Smaller, Stuart Twemlow and Lois Oppenheim

Lois Oppenheim: I must say that I find it difficult to open this conference without acknowledging just how unfortunate it is that we find ourselves in need of it to begin with, that we find ourselves in a time when psychoanalysts must consider how they might engage with those who teach our children and how they might engage with law enforcement precisely because of recent events that were previously seemingly unimaginable, except perhaps to writers of fiction and film. Even in fiction and film, however—even on regular television programming where violence is all-too-commonly depicted—I am at a loss to locate anything as horrific as what has tragically become our reality, anything like what has happened of late in our schools: the unfathomable mass targeting of children.

In November of 2013, Andy Borowitz wrote the following in The New Yorker online:

A new study released today indicates that Americans are

safe from the threat of gun violence except in schools,

malls, airports, movie theatres, workplaces, streets, and

their own homes.

Also: highways, turnpikes, libraries, places of worship,

parks, universities, restaurants, post offices, and cars.

Plus: driveways, garages, gyms, stores, military bases—and

a host of other buildings, structures, and sites.

Borowitz’s irony serves to make the point: Americans are simply not safe. We have witnessed in little more than a year the Newtown shootings, the Boston Marathon bombings, the rescue of three women imprisoned and repeatedly raped for a decade in a home in Cleveland, a very recent school shooting in New Mexico, and more. The first report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, issued in April 2014, reveals that “one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college.” But where in the world is one safe? The New York Times (January 11, 2014) reported the release in September of “a United Nations study of 10,000 men in six countries in Asia and the Pacific” in which it was “found that almost one-quarter acknowledged having raped a woman.” Similar findings have been reported in other studies. One in 2011 “found that 37 percent of men in part of South Africa acknowledged having raped a woman.”

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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