Our society tends to regard as a sickness any mode of thought or behavior that is inconvenient for the system and this is plausible because when an individual doesn't fit into the system it causes pain to the individual as well as problems for the system. Thus the manipulation of an individual to adjust him to the system is seen as a cure for a sickness and therefore as good.
Underlying the attack on psychotherapy, I believe, is a recognition of the potential power of any relationship of witnessing. The consulting room is a privileged space dedicated to memory. Within that space, survivors gain the freedom to know and tell their stories. Even the most private and confidential disclosure of past abuses increases the likelihood of eventual public disclosure. And public disclosure is something that perpetrators are determined to prevent. As in the case of more overtly political crimes, perpetrators will fight tenaciously to ensure that their abuses remain unseen, unacknowledged, and consigned to oblivion.
The dialectic of trauma is playing itself out once again. It is worth remembering that this is not the first time in history that those who have listened closely to trauma survivors have been subject to challenge. Nor will it be the last. In the past few years, many clinicians have had to learn to deal with the same tactics of harassment and intimidation that grassroots advocates for women, children and other oppressed groups have long endured. We, the bystanders, have had to look within ourselves to find some small portion of the courage that victims of violence must muster every day.
Some attacks have been downright silly; many have been quite ugly. Though frightening, these attacks are an implicit tribute to the power of the healing relationship. They remind us that creating a protected space where survivors can speak their truth is an act of liberation. They remind us that bearing witness, even within the confines of that sanctuary, is an act of solidarity. They remind us also that moral neutrality in the conflict between victim and perpetrator is not an option. Like all other bystanders, therapists are sometimes forced to take sides. Those who stand with the victim will inevitably have to face the perpetrator's unmasked fury. For many of us, there can be no greater honor. p.246 - 247 Judith Lewis Herman, M.D. February, 1997
A leader without a clear vision and plans only abuses his power because visions, dreams and plans are the fulcrum along which the loads of success will spine by your own efforts. And where power is abused, there is manipulation instead of inspiration.
…is methodical abuse, often using indoctrination, aimed at breaking the will of another human being. In a 1989 report, the Ritual Abuse Task Force of the L.A. County Commission for Women defined ritual abuse as: Ritual Abuse usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time. The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful,humiliating, intended as a means of gaining dominance over the victim.The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual indoctrination. It includes mind control techniques which convey to the victim a profound terror of the cult members …most victims are in a state of terror, mind control and dissociation (Pg. 35-36)
It has often been suggested to me that the Constitution of the United States is a sufficient safeguard for the freedom of its citizens. It is obvious that even the freedom it pretends to guarantee is very limited. I have not been impressed with the adequacy of the safeguard. The nations of the world, with centuries of international law behind them, have never hesitated to engage in mass destruction when solemnly pledged to keep the peace; and the legal documents in America have not prevented the United States from doing the same. Those in authority have and always will abuse their power. And the instances when they do not do so are as rare as roses growing on icebergs. Far from the Constitution playing any liberating part in the lives of the American people, it has robbed them of the capacity to rely on their own resources or do their own thinking. Americans are so easily hoodwinked by the sanctity of law and authority. In fact, the pattern of life has become standardized, routinized, and mechanized like canned food and Sunday sermons. The hundred-percenter easily swallows syndicated information and factory-made ideas and beliefs. He thrives on the wisdom given him over the radio and cheap magazines by corporations whose philanthropic aim is selling America out. He accepts the standards of conduct and art in the same breath with the advertising of chewing gum, toothpaste, and shoe polish. Even songs are turned out like buttons or automobile tires--all cast from the same mold.
Conviction rates in the military are pathetic, with most offenders going free AND THERE IS NO RECOURSE FOR APPEAL! The military believes the Emperor has his clothes on, even when they are down around his ankles and he is coming in the woman's window with a knife! Military juries give low sentences or clear offender's altogether. Women can be heard to say it's not just me over and over. Men may get an Article 15, which is just a slap on the wrist, and doesn't even follow them in their career. This is hardly a deterrent. The perpetrator frequently stays in place to continue to intimidate their female victims, who are then treated like mental cases, who need to be discharged. Women find the tables turned, letters in their files, trumped up Women find the tables turned, letters in their files, trumped up charges; isolation and transfer are common, as are court ordered psychiatric referrals that label the women as lying or incompatible with military service because they are Borderline Personality Disorders or mentally unbalanced. I attended many of these women, after they were discharged, or were wives of abusers, from xxx Air Force Base, when I was a psychotherapist working in the private sector. That was always their diagnosis, yet retesting tended to show something different after stabilization, like PTSD.
What do I want now? I want to be treated with the respect I deserve in the current VA system and not be retraumatized. I want the men who did this to me to be punished and if that isn't possible, I want reassurance what happened to me will never ever happen to another woman in the Armed services. I want some restitution of the damage I have.
In 1953, Allen Dulles, then director of the USA Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), named Dr Sidney Gottlieb to direct the CIA's MKULTRA programme, which included experiments conducted by psychiatrists to create amnesia, new dissociated identities, new memories, and responses to hypnotic access codes. In 1972, then-CIA director Richard Helms and Gottlieb ordered the destruction of all MKULTRA records. A clerical error spared seven boxes, containing 1738 documents, over 17,000 pages. This archive was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act Request in 1977, though the names of most people, universities, and hospitals are redacted. The CIA assigned each document a number preceded by "MORI", for "Managament of Officially Released Information", the CIA's automated electronic system at the time of document release. These documents, to be referenced throughout this chapter, are accessible on the Internet (see: abuse-of-power (dot) org/modules/content/index.php?id=31). The United States Senate held a hearing exposing the abuses of MKULTRA, entitled "Project MKULTRA, the CIA's program of research into behavioral modification" (1977).
What we are now witnessing in the 21st century is the fracture or complete breakdown of families, societies, and governments as a result of centuries of dehumanization that have taken a toll. More natural disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, etc.) merely uncover the reality of the national disasters we have created by granting sanctuary to dehumanization via the law.
In 1996 Dorothy Mackey wrote an Op-ed piece, Violence from comrades a fact of life for military women. ABC News 20/ 20 did a segment on rape in the military. By November four women came forward at Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland, about a pattern of rape by drill sergeants. In 1997 the military finds three black drill sergeants to scapegoat. They were sent to prison and this left the commanding generals and colonels untouched to retire quietly. The Army appointed a panel to investigate sexual harassment. One of the panelists was the sergeant Major of the Army, Eugene McKinney. On hearing his nomination, former associates and one officer came forward with charges of sexual coercion and misconduct. In 1998 he was acquitted of all charges after women spoke (of how they were being stigmatized, their careers stopped, and their characters questioned. A Congressional panel studied military investigative practices. In 1998, the Court of Appeals ruled against Dorothy Mackay. She had been outspoken on media and highly visible. There is an old Arabic saying When the hen crows cut off her head.This court finds that Col. Milam and Lt. Col. Elmore were acting in the scope of their duties in 1991-1992 when Capt. Mackey alleged they harassed, intimidated and assaulted her. A legislative remedy was asked for and she appealed to the Supreme Court. Of course the Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 1999, as it always has under the feres doctrine. Her case was cited to block the suit of one of the Aberdeen survivors as well!
We have seen segments of our Government, in their attitudes and action, adopt tactics unworthy of a democracy, and occasionally reminiscent of totalitarian regimes. We have seen a consistent pattern in which programs initiated with limited goals, such as preventing criminal violence or identifying foreign spies, were expanded to what witnesses characterized as "vacuum cleaners", sweeping in information about lawful activities of American citizens. The tendency of intelligence activities to expand beyond their initial scope is a theme which runs through every aspect of our investigative findings. Intelligence collection programs naturally generate ever-increasing demands for new data. And once intelligence has been collected, there are strong pressures to use it against the target.
[Refers to 121 children taken into care in Cleveland due to suspected abuse (1987) and later returned to their parents] Sue Richardson, the child abuse consultant at the heart of the crisis, watched as cases began to unravel: All the focus started to fall on the medical findings; other supportive evidence, mainly which we held in the social services department, started to be screened out. A situation developed where the cases either were proven or fell on the basis of medical evidence alone. Other evidence that was available to the court, very often then, never got put. We would have had statement from the child, the social workers and the child psychologist’s evidence from interviewing. We would have evidence of prior concerns, either from social workers or teachers, about the child’s behaviour or other symptoms that they might have been showing, which were completely aside from the medical findings. (Channel 4 1997) Ten years after the Cleveland crisis, Sue Richardson was adamant that evidence relating to children’s safety was not presented to the courts which subsequently returned those children to their parents: I am saying that very clearly. In some cases, evidence was not put in the court. In other cases, agreements were made between lawyers not to put the case to the court at all, particularly as the crisis developed. Latterly, that children were sent home subject to informal agreements or agreements between lawyers. The cases never even got as far as the court. (Channel 4, 1997) Nor is Richardson alone. Jayne Wynne, one of the Leeds paediatricians who had pioneered the use of RAD as an indicator of sexual abuse and who subsequently had detailed knowledge of many of the Cleveland children, remains concerned by the haphazard approach of the courts to their protection. I think the implication is that the children were left unprotected. The children who were being abused unfortunately returned to homes and the abuse may well have been ongoing. (Channel 4 1997)
FORGET FERES DOCTRINE And the military has immunity! Yes! The feres doctrine! It states the Government is not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to servicemen where injuries arise out of or are in the course of activity incident to service (U.S. Supreme Court 1950). Federal law and our Supreme Court shield acts of rape and sexual brutality in the military as proven by its subsequent ruling on a 2001 case that denied a plaintiffs right to file a civil suit against her accusers. Yet when women report the crime, it is handled internally Commanders are given the discretion to resolve complaints. The report may not go beyond his office. Many times he's part of the problem or a sympathizer with the offender. This certainly was my case! Our Supreme Court ruled as recently as 2001 that rape is an injury incident to the course of activity in the service! THE HEINOUS CRIME OF RAPE IS ACCEPTABLE AND CONDONED BY OUR SUPREME COURT! WOMEN ARE FAIR GAME FOR RAPE AND HARRASSMENT, ACCORDING TO OUR SUPREME COURT! CONGRESS IS NO BETTER! NO LAWS ARE PASSED TO PROTECT US IN THE MILITARY AGAINST THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR THE FELONY OF RAPE!
It is often said that Vietnam was the first television war. By the same token, Cleveland was the first war over the protection of children to be fought not in the courts, but in the media. By the summer of 1987 Cleveland had become above all, a hot media story. The Daily Mail, for example, had seven reporters, plus its northern editor, based in Middlesbrough full time. Most other news papers and television news teams followed suit. What were all the reporters looking for? Not children at risk. Not abusing adults. Aggrieved parents were the mother lode sought by these prospecting journalists. Many of these parents were only too happy to tell — and in some cases, it would appear, sell— their stories. Those stories are truly extraordinary. In many cases they bore almost no relation to the facts. Parents were allowed - encouraged to portray themselves as the innocent victims of a runaway witch-hunt and these accounts were duly fed to the public. Nowhere in any of the reporting is there any sign of counterbalancing information from child protection workers or the organisations that employed them. Throughout the summer of 1987 newspapers ‘reported’ what they termed a national scandal of innocent families torn apart. The claims were repeated in Parliament and then recycled as established ‘facts’ by the media. The result was that the courts themselves began to be paralysed by the power of this juggernaut of press reporting — ‘journalism’ which created and painstakingly fed a public mood which brooked no other version of the story. (p21)
...Cleveland was the first war over the protection of children to be fought not in the courts, but in the media... Given that most of the hearings took place out of sight of the press, the following examples are taken from the recollection of child protection workers present in court. In one case, during a controversy that centred fundamentally around disputes over the meaning of RAD [reflex anal dilatation], a judge refused to allow ‘any evidence about children’s bottoms’ in his courtroom. A second judge — hearing an application to have their children returned by parents about whom social services had grave worries told the assembled lawyers that, as she lived in the area, she could not help but be influenced by what she read in the press. Hardly surprising then that child protection workers soon found courts not hearing their applications, cutting them short, or loosely supervising informal deals which allowed children to be sent back to parents, even in cases where there was explicit evidence of apparent abuse to be explained and dealt with. (p21) [reflex anal dilatation (RAD): a simple clue which is suggestive of anal penetration from outside. It had been recognised as a valuable weapon in the armoury of doctors examining children for many decades and was endorsed by both the British Medical Association and the Association of Police Surgeons. (p18)]
But nothing in my previous work had prepared me for the experience of reinvestigating Cleveland. It is worth — given the passage of time — recalling the basic architecture of the Crisis: 121 children from many different and largely unrelated families had been taken into the care of Cleveland County Council in the three short months of the summer of 1987. (p18) The key to resolving the puzzle of Cleveland was the children. What had actually happened to them? Had they been abused - or had the paediatricians and social workers (as public opinion held) been over-zealous and plain wrong? Curiously — particularly given its high profile, year-long sittings and £5 million cost — this was the one central issue never addressed by the Butler-Sloss judicial testimony and sifting of internal evidence, the inquiry's remit did not require it to answer the main question. Ten years after the crisis, my colleagues and I set about reconstructing the records of the 121 children at its heart to determine exactly what had happened to them... (p19) Eventually, though, we did assemble the data given to the Butler-Sloss Inquiry. This divided into two categories: the confidential material, presented in camera, and the transcripts of public sessions of the hearings. Putting the two together we assembled our own database on the children each identified only by the code-letters assigned to them by Butler-Sloss. When it was finished, this database told a startlingly different story from the public myth. In every case there was some prima fade evidence to suggest the possibility of abuse. Far from the media fiction of parents taking their children to Middlesbrough General Hospital for a tummy ache or a sore thumb and suddenly being presented with a diagnosis of child sexual abuse, the true story was of families known to social services for months or years, histories of physical and sexual abuse of siblings and of prior discussions with parents about these concerns. In several of the cases the children themselves had made detailed disclosures of abuse; many of the pre-verbal children displayed severe emotional or behavioural symptoms consistent with sexual abuse. There were even some families in which a convicted sex offender had moved in with mother and children. (p20)
Allegations of multi-perpetrator and multi-victim sexual abuse emerged to public awareness in the early 1980s contemporaneously with the denials of the accused and their supporters. Multi-perpetrator sexual offences are typically more sadistic than solo offences and organised sexual abuse is no exception. Adults and children with histories of organised abuse have described lives marked by torturous and sometimes ritualistic sexual abuse arranged by family members and other care-givers and authority figures. It is widely acknowledged, at least in theory, that sexual abuse can take severe forms, but when disclosures of such abuse occur, they are routinely subject to contestation and challenge. People accused of organised, sadistic or ritualistic abuse have protested that their accusers are liars and fantasists, or else innocents led astray by overly zealous investigators. This was an argument that many journalists and academics have found more convincing than the testimony of alleged victims.
What we are now witnessing in the 21st century is the fracture or complete breakdown of families, societies, and governments as a result of centuries of dehumanization that have taken a toll. More natural disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, etc.) merely uncover the reality of the national disasters we have created by grandting sanctuary to dehumanization via the law.