IPT Book Reviews

Title: Sexual Abuse in Nine North American Cultures
Editor: Lisa Aronson Fontes
Publisher: Sage Publications, ©1995

Sage Publications
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
(805) 499-0721
$24.95 (p)

This 266-page edited book contains 15 chapters by well-known researchers. Each chapter is devoted to one culture and the behavior in that culture that could be misinterpreted by American professionals. The book ends with a limited set of references and a short index.

This book stresses the necessity for considering the family's cultural beliefs and native country's medical practices before concluding that a child has been abused. But professionals tend to misunderstand other cultures, although the editor acknowledges that child protection professionals know we are a salad bowl of a culture and not a melting pot. We need culturally informed interventions and mental health professionals who understand other cultures.

Shortcomings in the book include the failure to discuss what it means to be falsely accused in various cultures, including the American culture. There is also an annoying use of clichés and male-bashing in some of the chapters. Some readers may question the imposition of a social policy upon psychotherapy. However, this book does address an important issue and is recommended.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, West Virginia University.

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