To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours. To those who protect the perpetrators: blaming the victims only masks the evil within, making you as guilty as those who abuse. Stand up for the innocent or go down with the rest.
In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.
The abuser’s mood changes are especially perplexing. He can be a different person from day to day, or even from hour to hour. At times he is aggressive and intimidating, his tone harsh, insults spewing from his mouth, ridicule dripping from him like oil from a drum. When he’s in this mode, nothing she says seems to have any impact on him, except to make him even angrier. Her side of the argument counts for nothing in his eyes, and everything is her fault. He twists her words around so that she always ends up on the defensive. As so many partners of my clients have said to me, “I just can’t seem to do anything right.” At other moments, he sounds wounded and lost, hungering for love and for someone to take care of him. When this side of him emerges, he appears open and ready to heal. He seems to let down his guard, his hard exterior softens, and he may take on the quality of a hurt child, difficult and frustrating but lovable. Looking at him in this deflated state, his partner has trouble imagining that the abuser inside of him will ever be back. The beast that takes him over at other times looks completely unrelated to the tender person she now sees. Sooner or later, though, the shadow comes back over him, as if it had a life of its own. Weeks of peace may go by, but eventually she finds herself under assault once again. Then her head spins with the arduous effort of untangling the many threads of his character, until she begins to wonder whether she is the one whose head isn’t quite right.
Violators cannot live with the truth: survivors cannot live without it. There are those who still, once again, are poised to invalidate and deny us. If we don't assert our truth, it may again be relegated to fantasy. But the truth won't go away. It will keep surfacing until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted against it, no matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It's only a matter of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect future generations from ritual abuse.
IN ONE IMPORTANT WAY, an abusive man works like a magician: His tricks largely rely on getting you to look off in the wrong direction, distracting your attention so that you won’t notice where the real action is. He draws you into focusing on the turbulent world of his feelings to keep your eyes turned away from the true cause of his abusiveness, which lies in how he thinks. He leads you into a convoluted maze, making your relationship with him a labyrinth of twists and turns. He wants you to puzzle over him, to try to figure him out, as though he were a wonderful but broken machine for which you need only to find and fix the malfunctioning parts to bring it roaring to its full potential. His desire, though he may not admit it even to himself, is that you wrack your brain in this way so that you won’t notice the patterns and logic of his behavior, the consciousness behind the craziness.
THE MYTHS ABOUT ABUSERS 1. He was abused as a child. 2. His previous partner hurt him. 3. He abuses those he loves the most. 4. He holds in his feelings too much. 5. He has an aggressive personality. 6. He loses control. 7. He is too angry. 8. He is mentally ill. 9. He hates women. 10. He is afraid of intimacy and abandonment. 11. He has low self-esteem. 12. His boss mistreats him. 13. He has poor skills in communication and conflict resolution. 14. There are as many abusive women as abusive men. 15. His abusiveness is as bad for him as for his partner. 16. He is a victim of racism. 17. He abuses alcohol or drugs.
Because the problem of ritual abuse and mind control has not gone away - the survivors are still there - many more therapists have learnt about it. Survivors have spoken out and written their stories, and therapists have learnt a great deal from those brave survivors who have discovered what was done to them. There is a large special interest group on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control within the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. Those therapists who have learnt in isolation or in small private online forums are once again sharing their knowledge widely, and books such as this one are beginning to be published again. The work is still very difficult and challenging, but we now know so much more than we did. We know that there is not one massive Satanic cult, but many different interrelated groups, including religious, military/political, and organized crime, using mind control on children and adult survivors. We know that there are effective treatments. We know that many of the paralyzing beliefs our clients lived by are the results of lies and tricks perpetrated by their abusers. And we know that, as therapists, we can combat this evil with wise and compassionate therapy.
(Talking about the movement to deny the prevalence and effects of adult sexual exploitation of children) So what does this movement consist of? Who are the movers and shakers? Well molesters are in it, of course. There are web pages telling them how to defend themselves against accusations, to retain confidence about their ‘loving and natural’ feelings for children, with advice on what lawyers to approach, how to complain, how to harass those helping their children. Then there’s the Men’s Movements, their web pages throbbing with excitement if they find ‘proof’ of conspiracy between feminists, divorcing wives and therapists to victimise men, fathers and husbands. Then there are journalists. A few have been vitally important in the US and Britain in establishing the fightback, using their power and influence to distort the work of child protection professionals and campaign against children’s testimony. Then there are other journalists who dance in and out of the debates waggling their columns behind them, rarely observing basic journalistic manners, but who use this debate to service something else – a crack at the welfare state, standards, feminism, ‘touchy, feely, post-Diana victimhood’. Then there is the academic voice, landing in the middle of court cases or inquiries, offering ‘rational authority’. Then there is the government. During the entire period of discovery and denial, not one Cabinet minister made a statement about the prevalence of sexual abuse or the harm it caused. Finally there are the ‘retractors’. For this movement to take off, it had to have ‘human interest’ victims – the accused – and then a happy ending – the ‘retractors’. We are aware that those ‘retractors’ whose parents trail them to newspapers, television studios and conferences are struggling. Lest we forget, they recanted under palpable pressure.
The first generation of therapists doing this work were told by their clients that the one massive cult was everywhere, knew everything, had access to state-of-the-art technology, and was willing to kill both clients and therapists to stop the information from getting out."  "The reality is that even before stories of ritual abuse and mind control began coming out to therapists, the groups had agreed on what kind of disinformation to spread, so that clients would be afraid to tell their therapists what had happened to them, and therapists would be afraid to work with these clients." [ ] "We know that there is not one massive Satanic cult, but many different interrelated groups, including religious, military/political, and organized crime, using mind control on children and adult survivors. We know that there are effective treatments. We know that many of the paralyzing beliefs our clients lived by are the results of lies and tricks perpetrated by their abusers.
Both incest and the Holocaust have been subject to furious denial by perpetrators and other individuals and by highly organised groups such as the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and the Committee for Historical Review. Incest and the Holocaust are vulnerable to this kind of concerted denial because of their unfathomability, the unjustifiability, and the threat they pose to the politics of patriarchy and anti-Semitism respectively. Over and over, survivors of the Holocaust attest that they were warned of what was happening in Poland but could not believe it at the time, could not believe it later as it was happening to them, and still to this day cannot believe what they, at the same time, know to have occurred. For Holocaust deniers this is a felicitous twist, for their arguments denying the Holocaust and therefore the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state capitalize on the discrepancies of faded memory. In the case of incest, although post-traumatic stress disorder, amnesia, and dissociation represent some of the mind's strategies for comprehending the incomprehensible, incest deniers have taken advantage of inconsistencies to discredit survivor testimony.
The survivor movements were also challenging the notion of a dysfunctional family as the cause and culture of abuse, rather than being one of the many places where abuse nested. This notion, which in the 1990s and early 1980s was the dominant understanding of professionals characterised the sex abuser as a pathetic person who had been denied sex and warmth by his wife, who in turn denied warmth to her daughters. Out of this dysfunctional triad grew the far-too-cosy incest dyad. Simply diagnosed, relying on the signs: alcoholic father, cold distant mother, provocative daughter. Simply resolved, because everyone would want to stop, to return to the functioning family where mum and dad had sex and daughter concentrated on her exams. Professionals really believed for a while that sex offenders would want to stop what they were doing. They thought if abuse were decriminalised, abusers would seek help. The survivors knew different. P5
In cases of organized and multi-perpetrator abuse when the abuse occurs in the context of rituals and ceremonies, some elements of the experience may have been staged specifically with the intention of encouraging the disbelief of others if the victim were to report the crime. For example, someone reporting such a crime may mention that the devil was present, or that someone well-known was there, or that acts of magic were performed. These were tricks and deceptions by the abusers-often experienced by the victims after being given medication or hallucinogenic drugs - that render the account unbelievable, make the witness sound unreliable, and protect the perpetrators. (page 120, Chapter 9, Some clinical implications of believing or not believing the patient)
Another preoccupation fed into this dynamic relationship between discovery and denial: does sexual abuse actually matter? Should it, in fact, be allowed? After all, it was only in the 19070s that the Paedophile Information Exchange had argued for adults’ right to have sex with children – or rather by a slippery sleight of word, PIE inverted the imperative by arguing that children should have the right to have sex with adults. This group had been disbanded after the imprisonment of Tom O’Carroll, its leader, with some of its activists bunkered in Holland’s paedophile enclaves, only to re-appear over the parapets in the sex crime controversies of the 1990s. How recent it was, then, that paedophilia was fielded as one of the liberation movements, how many of those on the left and right of the political firmament, were – and still are – persuaded that sex with children is merely another case for individual freedom? Few people in Britain at the turn of the century publicly defend adults’ rights to sex with children. But some do, and they are to be found nesting in the coalition crusading against evidence of sexual suffering. They have learned from the 1970s, masked their intentions and diverted attention on to ‘the system’. Others may not have come out for paedophilia but they are apparently content to enter into political alliances with those who have. We believe that this makes their critique of survivors and their allies unreliable. Others genuinely believe in false memories, but may not be aware of the credentials of some of their advisors.
One year later the society claimed victory in another case which again did not fit within the parameters of the syndrome, nor did the court find on the issue. Fiona Reay, a 33 year old care assistant, accused her father of systematic sexual abuse during her childhood. The facts of her childhood were not in dispute: she had run away from home on a number of occasions and there was evidence that she had never been enrolled in secondary school. Her father said it was because she was ‘young and stupid’. He had physically assaulted Fiona on a number of occasions, one of which occurred when she was sixteen. The police had been called to the house by her boyfriend; after he had dropped her home, he heard her screaming as her father beat her with a dog chain. As before there was no evidence of repression of memory in this case. Fiona Reay had been telling the same story to different health professionals for years. Her medical records document her consistent reference to family problems from the age of 14. She finally made a clear statement in 1982 when she asked a gynaecologist if her need for a hysterectomy could be related to the fact that she had been sexually abused by her father. Five years later she was admitted to psychiatric hospital stating that one of the precipitant factors causing her breakdown had been an unexpected visit from her father. She found him stroking her daughter. There had been no therapy, no regression and no hypnosis prior to the allegations being made public. The jury took 27 minutes to find Fiona Reay’s father not guilty of rape and indecent assault. As before, the court did not hear evidence from expert witnesses stating that Fiona was suffering from false memory syndrome. The only suggestion of this was by the defence counsel, Toby Hedworth. In his closing remarks he referred to the ‘worrying phenomenon of people coming to believe in phantom memories’. The next case which was claimed as a triumph for false memory was heard in March 1995. A father was aquitted of raping his daughter. The claims of the BFMS followed the familiar pattern of not fitting within the parameters of false memory at all. The daughter made the allegations to staff members whom she had befriended during her stay in psychiatric hospital. As before there was no evidence of memory repression or recovery during therapy and again the case failed due to lack of corroborating evidence. Yet the society picked up on the defence solicitor’s statements that the daughter was a prone to ‘fantasise’ about sexual matters and had been sexually promiscuous with other patients in the hospital. ~ Trouble and Strife, Issues 37-43
[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)
In this book we paint an unprecedented portrait of Britain’s first ‘false memory’ retraction and show that, like other ‘false memory’ cases which appeared in the public domain, memory itself was always a false trail – these women never forgot. We are not challenging people’s right to tell their own story and then to change it. But we do assert that the chance should be interpreted in the context that created it. Thousands of accounts of sexual and physical abuse in childhood cannot be explained by a pseudo-scientific ‘syndrome’. We have been shifted to the wrong debate, a debate about the malignancy of survivors and their allies, rather than those who have hurt them. That’s why the arguments have become so elusive. […]
The discovery that detonated Cleveland is one of Britain’s great contributions to awareness of child abuse. In 1986 and 1987 the Leeds paediatricians Dr Jane Wynne and Dr Christopher Hobbs reported in the Lancet that they were seeing more children who were being buggered than battered. About 300 cases were corroborated. The children were young – two-thirds were pre-school children – and anal abuse was more common than vaginal penetration. They also noted that ‘boys and girls seem to be at similar risk’. Almost half of the children who suffered anal abuse also showed a sign written up in the forensic textbooks as ‘anal dilation’, an anus opening when it was supposed to stay shut; opening and expecting entry. What the paediatricians were observing was not an acute sign, the effect of a single intrusion – a spasm or seizure – but a sign that was telling a story about everyday life; the anatomy of adaption. Anal dilation seemed to describe the architecture of abuse: it allowed the body to receive an incoming object, regularly.
...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)
Treating Abuse Today (Tat), 3(4), pp. 26-33 Freyd: I see what you're saying but people in psychology don't have a uniform agreement on this issue of the depth of -- I guess the term that was used at the conference was -- "robust repression." TAT: Well, Pamela, there's a whole lot of evidence that people dissociate traumatic things. What's interesting to me is how the concept of "dissociation" is side-stepped in favor of "repression." I don't think it's as much about repression as it is about traumatic amnesia and dissociation. That has been documented in a variety of trauma survivors. Army psychiatrists in the Second World War, for instance, documented that following battles, many soldiers had amnesia for the battles. Often, the memories wouldn't break through until much later when they were in psychotherapy. Freyd: But I think I mentioned Dr. Loren Pankratz. He is a psychologist who was studying veterans for post-traumatic stress in a Veterans Administration Hospital in Portland. They found some people who were admitted to Veteran's hospitals for postrraumatic stress in Vietnam who didn't serve in Vietnam. They found at least one patient who was being treated who wasn't even a veteran. Without external validation, we just can't know -- TAT: -- Well, we have external validation in some of our cases. Freyd: In this field you're going to find people who have all levels of belief, understanding, experience with the area of repression. As I said before it's not an area in which there's any kind of uniform agreement in the field. The full notion of repression has a meaning within a psychoanalytic framework and it's got a meaning to people in everyday use and everyday language. What there is evidence for is that any kind of memory is reconstructed and reinterpreted. It has not been shown to be anything else. Memories are reconstructed and reinterpreted from fragments. Some memories are true and some memories are confabulated and some are downright false. TAT: It is certainly possible for in offender to dissociate a memory. It's possible that some of the people who call you could have done or witnessed some of the things they've been accused of -- maybe in an alcoholic black-out or in a dissociative state -- and truly not remember. I think that's very possible. Freyd: I would say that virtually anything is possible. But when the stories include murdering babies and breeding babies and some of the rather bizarre things that come up, it's mighty puzzling. TAT: I've treated adults with dissociative disorders who were both victimized and victimizers. I've seen previously repressed memories of my clients' earlier sexual offenses coming back to them in therapy. You guys seem to be saying, be skeptical if the person claims to have forgotten previously, especially if it is about something horrible. Should we be equally skeptical if someone says "I'm remembering that I perpetrated and I didn't remember before. It's been repressed for years and now it's surfacing because of therapy." I ask you, should we have the same degree of skepticism for this type of delayed-memory that you have for the other kind? Freyd: Does that happen? TAT: Oh, yes. A lot.
Many professionals have to sign gagging clauses or face the sack if they speak out. The social worker and therapist was familiar with the scare that revelation brings to the survivor. […] We are in this story. It isn't ours, but we are in it nonetheless, not least because of the viscous campaign which has followed us over the last ten years. Any organisation with which we work may receive correspondence from the accused adults’ and ‘false memory’ movements. Some of these propagandists are confidentially dominating the professional and political arguments using new information technology to spread what we consider to be smears, innuendo and misinformation. P8 (refers to authors Beatrix Campbell & Judith Jones – a journalist and a social worker/therapist)
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)
Treating Abuse Today 3(4) pp. 26-33 Freyd: The term "multiple personality" itself assumes that there is "single personality" and there is evidence that no one ever displays a single personality. TAT: The issue here is the extent of dissociation and amnesia and the extent to which these fragmentary aspects of personality can take executive control and control function. Sure, you and I have different parts to our mind, there's no doubt about that, but I don't lose time to mine they can't come out in the middle of a lecture and start acting 7 years old. I'm very much in the camp that says that we all are multi-minds, but the difference between you and me and a multiple is pretty tangible. Freyd: Those are clearly interesting questions, but that area and the clinical aspects of dissociation and multiple personalities is beyond anything the Foundation is actively... TAT: That's a real problem. Let me tell you why that's a problem. Many of the people that have been alleged to have "false memory syndrome" have diagnosed dissociative disorders. It seems to me the fact that you don't talk about dissociative disorders is a little dishonest, since many people whose lives have been impacted by this movement are MPD or have a dissociative disorder. To say, "Well, we ONLY know about repression but not about dissociation or multiple personalities" seems irresponsible. Freyd: Be that as it may, some of the scientific issues with memory are clear. So if we can just stick with some things for a moment; one is that memories are reconstructed and reinterpreted no matter how long ago or recent. TAT: You weigh the recollected testimony of an alleged perpetrator more than the alleged victim's. You're saying, basically, if the parents deny it, that's another notch for disbelief. Freyd: If it's denied, certainly one would want to check things. It would have to be one of many factors that are weighed -- and that's the problem with these issues -- they are not black and white, they're very complicated issues.