Along with the trust issues, one of the hardest parts to deal with is the feeling of not being believed or supported, especially by your own grandparents and extended family. When I have been through so much pain and hurt and have to live with the scars every day, I get angry knowing that others think it is all made up or they brush it off because my cousin was a teenager. I was ten when I was first sexually abused by my cousin, and a majority of my relatives have taken the perpetrator's side. I have cried many times about everything and how my relatives gave no support or love to me as a kid when this all came out. Not one relative ever came up to that innocent little girl I was and said "I am sorry for what you went through" or "I am here for you." Instead they said hurtful things: "Oh he was young." "That is what kids do." "It is not like he was some older man you didn't know." Why does age make a difference? It is a sick way of thinking. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse. What is wrong with this picture? It brings tears to my eyes the way my relatives have reacted to this and cannot accept the truth. Denial is where they would rather stay.
Survivors are damaged to different degrees by their experiences. This does not depend on what happened physically. A Survivor who has been raped will not necessarily be more damaged than a Survivor who has been touched. The degree of damage depend on the degree of traumatic sexualization, stigmatization, betrayal and powerlessness, the child has experienced. This in turn depends on a number of factors such as: * who the abuser was; * how many abusers were involved; * if the abuser was same-sex or opposite sex; * what took place; * what was said; * how long the abuse went on for; * How the child felt and how she interpreted what was happening; * if the child was otherwise happy and supported; * how other people reacted to the disclosure or discovery of the abuse; * how old the child was
Eating disorders are prevalent among women who were sexually abused as children. They seem to have components of other symptoms such as obsessions, compulsions, avoidance of food, and anxiety, and they primarily include a distorted body image and feelings of body shame. For some women, eating disorders are related to the loss of control over their bodies during the sexual abuse and serve as a means of feeling in control of their bodies now. Eating disorders can also be indicative of the developmental stage and age at which the sexual abuse began. Women with anorexia and bulimia report that they were sexually abused either at the age of puberty or during puberty, when their bodies were beginning to develop and they felt a great deal of body shame from the abuse. By contrast, women with compulsive eating report that the sexual abuse occurred before the age of puberty; they used food for comfort.
Imagine the message that sent to my sister and me. A cousin violates us, confesses, and walks away with barely a slap on the wrist. I learned at a young age that if I was ever going to see justice for the wrongs done to me, I had to find it myself.
Imagine the message that sent to my sister and me. A cousin violates us, confesses, and walks away with barely a slap on the wrist. I learned at a young age that if I was ever going to see justice for the wrongs done to me, I had to find it myself.
I should meet many people who do not know anyone personally who has been raped or molested as a child. But I can't remember seeing a newspaper without a rape or molestation charge in it somewhere, and when I ask groups how many people know someone personally with a history of molestation, almost always, every hand in the room goes up.
He pulled my skirt up. I began to worry. Everyone knew he had broken in girls before and I didn't want it to happen to me. I said, 'No. Get off, please.' He pulled me down the alley and pushed me to the ground. As I lay on my back worrying about my new blue coat, he pushed his fingers up between my legs — and rammed himself into me. I was crying. His lips were pressed against mine but I was motionless, like a small corpse. He grunted and I knew it was over. He got up, I just lay there on the ground, my tights round my ankles. The clock was striking twelve. As he walked away, he turned and said, 'I've always wanted to do it to you. I like your mouth'. When I got in, my mum said, 'Tracey, what's wrong with you?' I showed her my coat, the dirt and the stains, and told her 'I'm not a virgin any more.' She didn't call the police or make any fuss. She just washed my coat and everything carried on as normal, as though nothing had happened. But for me, my childhood was over, I had become conscious of my physicality, aware of my presence and open to the ugly truths of the world. At the age of thirteen, I realised that there was a danger in innocence and beauty, and I could not live with both. (describing childhood rape)
She was so upset about a blog that maybe a total of six people read yet had no compassion for her granddaughters who had suffered the physical and emotional pains of sexual abuse and whose lives were changed forever. The two cannot even be compared, yet when someone is in denial about what happened, they cannot perceive what is true. It seemed too hard for her to let her mind go there and believe her grandson could do such terrible things.
My body was a Pandora’s box of aches and pains. When Grandpa died all the ailments came jumping out. I was forever twitching and shaking. I had a persistent sore throat and had difficulty swallowing except when I was taking nips from my illicit cocktail. I was constantly constipated, holding everything in — a disorder that had started when I was two years old. It burned when I passed urine, and my migraines were so severe it felt on occasions as if I were going blind.
Like Jocelyn, Survivors often think: * That’s just the way I am * I’m not lovable, that’s why I keep having disastrous relationships * I’m not very clever, that’s why I didn’t do well at school * I’m a loner * I’m a weak person * I’m not very nice * I was a difficult child Many survivors find it difficult to accept that being sexually abused as a child can continue to affect them many years later. It may seem too fantastic, or too frightening an idea to believe. David Finkelhor, an American researcher, has tried to explain how sexual abuse affects a child and leads to long-term problems. He suggests four ways in which childhood sexual abuse causes problems: 1 Traumatic Sexualization 2 Stigmatization 3 Betrayal 4 Powerlessness
In all the interviews I have done, I cannot remember one offender who did not admit privately to more victims than those for whom he had been caught. On the contrary, most offenders had been charged with and/or convicted of from one to three victims. In the interviews I have done, they have admitted to roughly 10 to 1,250 victims. What was truly frightening was that all the offenders had been reported before by children, and the reports had been ignored.
There was nothing you could be sure about, it was all lies, and it was all done to mess with minds because the control and the power trip was so important to them, as well as it being necessary in terms of screwing up anything you might remember from an evidential perspective. They would also build up your hopes, in terms of any tiny thing you did like or were less scared of, so I'd be told that it would be a nice night because Uncle Andrew would be coming, but then it wouldn't be him. There would be someone else There would be someone else who I was told was my Uncle Andrew as he was raping me. Sometimes, this other person would have a mask on but I would know that it wasn't really him. They would be the wrong height or the wrong weight or, sometimes, even obviously a woman. There were occasions when I would be told to call the person Uncle Andrew and then when I did, they would ask me why I was doing that. Sometimes he would be there, too, but that was rare. Was it Satanic? I don't know. Personally I don't believe in God or Satan or any of those things, but abusers use whatever they can to silence children because if you go to the police and say something about Satan, you are so much less likely to be believed. I personally think they were just a group of likeminded people who had no beliefs other than that they wanted to get satisfaction out of abusing children and it's as simple and horrible as that. My uncle certainly doesn't have any satanic beliefs — he just thinks that he loves children and is allowed to get sexual satisfaction from them. Why is there sex involved if it is just about Satan? Why does it always come down to them getting off? No matter what they do that's all it is, whether masturbation or penetration or humiliation, that's what it's about. I encountered people who just liked to humiliate — they wouldn't allow you to go to the bathroom, you would be given drink after drink, fizzy drinks, whatever, so you ended up absolutely desperate and that's where they got off — that's when they started to masturbate themselves, as you stood there peeing yourself. That was just awful, so humiliating. Where is God or Satan in that? (her Uncle was convicted for abusing her and jailed)
Some alters are what Dr Ross describes in Multiple Personality Disorder as 'fragments'. which are 'relatively limited psychic states that express only one feeling, hold one memory, or carry out a limited task in the person's life. A fragment might be a frightened child who holds the memory of one particular abuse incident.' In complex multiples, Dr Ross continues, the 'personalities are relatively full-bodied, complete states capable of a range of emotions and behaviours.' The alters will have 'executive control some substantial amount of time over the person's life'. He stresses, and I repeat his emphasis, 'Complex MPD with over 15 alter personalities and complicated amnesia barriers are associated with 100 percent frequency of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse.' Did I imagine the castle, the dungeon, the ritual orgies and violations? Did Lucy, Billy, Samuel, Eliza, Shirley and Kato make it all up? I went back to the industrial estate and found the castle. It was an old factory that had burned to the ground, but the charred ruins of the basement remained. I closed my eyes and could see the black candles, the dancing shadows, the inverted pentagram, the people chanting through hooded robes. I could see myself among other children being abused in ways that defy imagination. I have no doubt now that the cult of devil worshippers was nothing more than a ring of paedophiles, the satanic paraphernalia a cover for their true lusts: the innocent bodies of young children.
In the specific case of the use of the term false memory to describe errors in details in laboratory tasks (e.g., in word-learning tasks), the media and public are set up all too easily to interpret such research as relevant to false memories of abuse because the term is used in the public domain to refer to contested memories of abuse. Because the term false memory is inextricably tied in the public to a social movement that questions the veracity of memories for childhood sexual abuse, the use of the term in scientific research that evaluates memory errors for details (not whole events) must be evaluated in this light." From: What's in a Name for Memory Errors? Implications and Ethical Issues Arising From the Use of the Term False Memory for Errors in Memory for Details, Journal: Ethics & Behavior 14(3) pages 201-233, 2004
I am disgusted that I was often taken into their bed and told to do things to both of them. The things a decent parent wouldn't think of. I didn't know that having sex with her or with him was wrong because I'd never known anything else but I never understood why it used to hurt so much. It carried on right until she died and I am sure that if she was still alive it would still be going on now. I wished someone would help me and stop them hurting me. I tried to do what they told me to do because somethings they were nice to me if I did it properly." - Graham talks about being sexually abused by his mother (and her boyfriend) Graham was sexually abused by his mother. The only person who showed him any affection in his childhood was his grandmother. "My mother always told me the police would think I was a 'dirty little bastard' if I told them and they would take me away to a children's home and I would never see grandmother again." "I knew it was my fault and nobody would believe me." - Graham Children often do not tell about abuse because of their fears about how other people will respond. The most common fear is that they will not be believed, It is a child's word against an adult's and the adult may be well liked and respected in the community. Nowadays, because of the television and newspaper coverage, people are aware that child sexual abuse does happen. In the recent past it was thought to be a rare occurrence, so even if they were trusted adults around for a child to tell, the adult would probably have found it difficult to believe and would have little idea what to do about it.
Cheryl's growing awareness of her emotional difficulties was leading her to research multiple personality. As she had learned more about dissociation, she realised just how severe the abuse had been and how much she had been hurt. Her mind had dissociated to assure survival during the abuse by her father and it had been forced to dissociate by various researchers in government programmes.
I remembered during puberty, through the anorexic mists of intermittent menstrual cycles, that man, my father, lifting Shirley's nightdress over her head and asking her in his mocking way to choose what colour condom she wanted. 'Red or yellow?' Which did she choose? I can't remember. Perhaps she alternated. Perhaps there were other colours. It didn't happen once. It happened again and again. I had no power to stop it. That man, my father, had some control over me. I was drugged by the black silence in that big house, the vile whiff of aftershave, the crushing torment of inevitability. My father fucked Shirley using red or yellow condoms and it was those condoms that brought it all to an end. It was my last realization of the day; any more would have been too much to contemplate. That time when my mother had found used condoms in bedroom, he had admitted, after a pointless burst my father's of denial, that he had been going to prostitutes. That was no doubt true but I can't imagine clients take used condoms away with them; prostitutes would surely get rid of the things. No. My father kept those used condoms as a prize. He was fucking his fourteen-year-old-daughter. He was proud of it. Rebecca welled up with tears. Poor thing, she kept saying. Poor thing.
I would like to turn in my skin and change it for a new epidermis. It feels as if I will never be able to rinse the sadness from my soul. All the while I am cognizant of the fact that I am trying to purge myself of my feelings. I start with my shell. I am in the water at least an hour. I immerse my head. My long, thick mane is so heavy, but I feel the lightness of my hair as it floats. I can hear my heart beating in my ears. I wonder what would happen if I died in this water. I drain the bathtub and refill it. I scrub my skin until it stings. I still don't feel clean. I close my eyes. I switch to lying on my back. I gaze at the heavens through the skylight on the ceiling above the tub. I am thinking about Isabella. I am struck by the feeling of uncleanness that I have been immersed in that day. I would imagine that this child feels unclean always, in body and in mind. I am hoping that the sheets in her foster home are snow white and fragrant. I am hoping that she felt safe. I am worried that she is so deeply alone and frightened. I know somewhere deep inside of me that the decisions and choices I made today were sound. I am praying, with eyes glued to the stars, that I will not awaken in the night with my heart beating out of my chest; that I will not be haunted by Francis's diseased body; that I will not perseverate on ever nuance of my day - the smells, the cockroaches, the piercing torment of Isabella's unseeing eye, her father's sore-ridden penis penetrating her tiny body. Yet in many ways this is an experience I hope never to forget. The pearls. I must not forget the pearls that I have promised her.
We propose that use of the term false memory to describe errors in memory for details directly contributes to removing the social context of abuse from research on memory for trauma. As the term false memories has increasingly been used to describe errors in details, the scientific weight of the term has increased. In turn, we see that the term false memories is treated as a construct supported by scientific fact, whereas other terms associated with questions about the veracity of abuse memories have been treated as suspect. For example, recovered memories often appears in quotations, whereas false memories does not (Campbell, 2003).The quotation marks suggest that one term is questioned, whereas the other is accepted as fact. Accepting false memories of abuse as fact reflects the subtle assimilation of the term into the cognitive literature, where the term is used increasingly to describe intrusions of semantically related words into lists of related words. The term, rooted in the controversy over the accuracy of abuse memories recalled during psychotherapy (Schacter, 1999), implies generalization of errors in details to memory for abuse—experienced largely by women and children (Campbell, 2003)." from: What's in a Name for Memory Errors? Implications and Ethical Issues Arising From the Use of the Term False Memory for Errors in Memory for Details, Journal: Ethics & Behavior
It was after a Frontline television documentary screened in the US in 1995 that the Freyds' public profile as aggrieved parents provoked another rupture within the Freyd family, when William Freyd made public his own discomfort. 'Peter Freyd is my brother, Pamela Freyd is both my stepsister and sister-in-law,' he explained. Peter and Pamela had grown up together as step-siblings. 'There is no doubt in my mind that there was severe abuse in the home of Peter and Pam, while they were raising their daughters,' he wrote. He challenged Peter Freyd's claims that he had been misunderstood, that he merely had a 'ribald' sense of humour. 'Those of us who had to endure it, remember it as abusive at best and viciously sadistic at worst.' He added that, in his view, 'The False memory Syndrome Foundation is designed to deny a reality that Peter and Pam have spent most of their lives trying to escape.' He felt that there is no such thing as a false memory syndrome.' Criticising the media for its uncritical embrace of the Freyds' campaign, he cautioned: That the False Memory Syndrome Foundation has been able to excite so much media attention has been a great surprise to those of us who would like to admire and respect the objectivity and motive of people in the media. Neither Peter's mother nor his daughters, nor I have wanted anything to do with Peter and Pam for periods of time ranging up to two decades. We do not understand why you would 'buy' into such an obviously flawed story. But buy it you did, based on the severely biased presentation of the memory issue that Peter and Pam created to deny their own difficult reality. p14-14 Stolen Voices: An Exposure of the Campaign to Discredit Childhood Testimony
All I wanted to do was hide away from the world, but I still had a role to play. I had to be 'Girl A' - the key witness in the trial that finally saw my abusers locked up. Girl A - the girl in the newspaper stories who had been through the most hideous experience imaginable. When I read those stories, I felt like I was reading about somebody else, another girl who was subjected to the depths of human depravity. But it wasn't. It was about me. I am Girl A.
It felt like I was living in two worlds. There was one world which was a daylight world and another dark world (though I'm not saying that everything bad happened in darkness because it didn't). In the daylight world, life had a veneer of normality - my mum was a bit violent, my dad was a bit distant, my big brother was in hospital somewhere, my little brother was always with Mum, and I had an uncle who was very loving and caring and did nice things for me. In this daylight world, I went to church and learned about Jesus. I was told about innocence and how He loves children. Then there was the other side, the dark world, which was almost a mirror image. But what I was getting taught there was all of the opposites. It was almost the reverse of Christianity. They would say that the Christian teachings were rubbish, and everything in the Kirk was right. they would sing a hymn - not like 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' but something about being strong. The hymns were quite Germanic, with harsh, aggressive chanting. They were always about power and strength and right. When they were singing I would be standing or sitting with whoever had taken me.
The witch-hunt narrative is a really popular story that goes like this: Lots of people were falsely convicted of child sexual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s. And they were all victims of a witch-hunt. It just doesn’t happen to line up with the facts when you actually look at the cases themselves in detail. But it’s a really popular narrative — I think it’s absolutely fair to say that’s the conventional wisdom. It’s what most people now think is the uncontested truth, and those cases had no basis in fact. And what 15 years of painstaking trial court research (says) is that that’s not a very fair description of those cases, and in fact many of those cases had substantial evidence of abuse. The witch-hunt narrative is that these were all gross injustices to the defendant. In fact, what it looks like in retrospect is the injustices were much more often to children.
The BFMSS [British False Memory Syndrome Society] The founder of the 'false memory' movement in Britain is an accused father. Two of his adult daughters say that Roger Scotford sexually abused them in childhood. He denied this and responded by launching a spectacular counter-attack, which enjoyed apparently unlimited and uncritical air time in the mass media and provoke Establishment institutions that had made no public utterance about abuse to pronounce on the accused adults' repudiation of it. p171-172 The 'British False Memory Syndrome Society' lent a scientific aura to the allegations - the alchemy of 'falsehood' and 'memory' stirred with disease and science. The new name pathologised the accusers and drew attention away from the accused. But the so-called syndrome attacked not only the source of the stories but also the alliances between the survivors' movement and practitioners in the health, welfare, and the criminal justice system. The allies were represented no longer as credulous dupes but as malevolent agents who imported a miasma of the 'false memories' into the imaginations of distressed victims. Roger Scotford was a former naval officer turned successful property developer living in a Georgian house overlooking an uninterrupted valley in luscious middle England. He was a rich man and was able to give up everything to devote himself to the crusade. He says his family life was normal and that he had been a 'Dr Spock father'. But his first wife disagrees and his second wife, although believing him innocent, describes his children's childhood as very difficult. His daughters say they had a significantly unhappy childhood. In the autumn of 1991, his middle daughter invited him to her home to confront him with the story of her childhood. She was supported by a friend and he was invited to listen and then leave. She told him that he had abused her throughout her youth. Scotford, however, said that the daughter went to a homeopath for treatment for thrush/candida and then blamed the condition on him. He also said his daughter, who was in her twenties, had been upset during a recent trip to France to buy a property. He said he booked them into a hotel where they would share a room. This was not odd, he insisted, 'to me it was quite natural'. He told journalists and scholars the same story, in the same way, reciting the details of her allegations, drawing attention to her body and the details of what she said he had done to her. Some seemed to find the detail persuasive. Several found it spooky. p172-173
It is hard to bring paedophile rings to justice. Thankfully it does happen. Perhaps the most horrific recent case came before the High Court in Edinburgh in June 2007. It involved a mother who stood by and watched as her daughter of nine was gang-raped by members of a paedophile ring at her home in Granton, in the north of Edinburgh. The mother, Caroline Dunsmore, had allowed her two daughters to be used in this way from the age of five. Sentencing Dunsmore to twelve years in prison judge, Lord Malcolm, said he would take into account public revulsion at the grievous crimes against the two girls. He told the forty-three-year-old woman: 'It is hard to imagine a more grievous breach of trust on the part of a mother towards her child.' Morris Petch and John O'Flaherty were also jailed for taking part in raping the children. Child abuse nearly always takes place at home and members of the family are usually involved.
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
The witch-hunt narrative is now the conventional wisdom about these cases. That view is so widely endorsed and firmly entrenched that so widely endorsed and firmly entrenched that there would seem to be nothing left to say about these cases. But a close examination of the witch hunt canon leads to some unsettling questions: Why is there so little in the way of academic scholarship about these cases? Almost all of the major witch-hunt writings have been in magazines, often without any footnotes to verify or assess the claims made. Why hasn't anyone writing about these cases said anything about how difficult they are to research? There are so many roadblocks and limitations to researching these cases that it would seem incumbent on any serious writer to address the limitations of data sources. Many of these cases seem to have been researched in a manner of days or weeks. Nevertheless, the cases are described in a definitive way that belies their length and complexity, along with the inherent difficulty in researching original trial court documents. This book is based on the first systematic examination of court records in these cases.
I can't get myself to say what happened next. I cannot cope with even thinking about this let alone living with it." "It is so degrading and I try to forget, it hurts so much because she is my mother." - Graham talks about being sexually abused by his mother
[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)
It cannot be denied that in cases of child rape the question of consent cannot arise at all, simply because a child or worst still an infant lacks mental power or knowledge to provide consent or even lacks physical ability to restrain. Moreover such an act subjects the child/infant to physical trauma, leading to even physical , mental and psychological ailment. To eliminate the horror from the face of the earth, I firmly believe we need to accept capital punishment as an apt punishment for subjecting a child to such a ordeal
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)
The book argues that even though many cases have been held up as classic examples of modern American witch hunts, none of them fits that description. McMartin certainly comes close. But a careful examination of the evidence presented at trial demonstrates why, in my view, a reasonable juror could vote for conviction, as many did in this case. Other cases that have been painted as witch-hunts turn out to involve significant, even overwhelming, evidence of guilt. There are a few cases to the contrary, but even those are more complicated than the witch-hunt narrative allows. In short, there was not, by any reasonable measure, an epidemic of witch hunts in the 1980s. There were big mistakes made in how some cases were handled, particularly in the earliest years. But even in those years there were cases such as those of Frank Fuster and Kelly Michaels that, I believe, were based on substantial evidence but later unfairly maligned as having no evidentiary support.
...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.
Treating Abuse Today 3(4) pp. 26-33 TAT: I see the agenda. But let's go back: one of the contentions the therapeutic community has about the Foundation's professed scientific credibility is your use of the term "syndrome." It seems to us that what's happening here is that based solely on anecdotal, unverified reports, the Foundation has started a public relations campaign rather than a bonafide research effort and simply announced to the world that an epidemic of this syndrome exists. The established scientific and clinical organizations are taking you on about this and it's that kind of thing that makes us feel like this effort is not really based on science. Do you have a response to that? Freyd: The response I would make regarding the name of the Foundation is that it will certainly be one of the issues brought up during our scientific meeting this weekend. But let me add that the term, "syndrome," in terms of it being a psychological syndrome, parallels, say, the rape trauma syndrome. Given that and the fact that there are seldom complaints over the use of the term "syndrome" for that, I think that it isn't "syndrome" that's bothering people as much as the term "false." TAT: No. Frankly it's not. It is the term "syndrome." The term false memory is almost 100 years old. It's nothing new, but false memory syndrome is newly coined. Here's our issue with your use of the word "syndrome." The rape trauma syndrome is a good example because it has a very well defined list of signs and symptoms. Having read your literature, we are still at a loss to know what the signs and symptoms of "false memory syndrome" are. Can you tell us succinctly? Freyd: The person with whom I would like to have you discuss that to quote is Dr. Paul McHugh on our advisory board, because he is a clinician. TAT: I would be happy to do that. But if I may, let me take you on a little bit further about this. Freyd: Sure, sure that's fair. TAT: You're the Executive Director of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation - a foundation that says it wants to disseminate scientific information to the community regarding this syndrome but you can't, or won't, give me its signs and symptoms. That is confusing to me. I don't understand why there isn't a list.
In the wake of prevalent child rape and child abuse cases reported and unreported; Infliction of Death Penalty for child rape irrespective of the degree of offence or homicide , and rigorous penalty for child molestation, would serve as an excellent deterrent mechanism Debates on Human Rights to the perpetrator of the crime on the question of infliction of death penalty should be cordoned off taking into consideration the aftermath of sexual assault /rape of a child exposed to the Pandora’s pack of resilience
Treating Abuse Today 3(4) pp. 26-33 While Pamela Freyd was speaking to us on the record about her organization, another development was in the making in the Freyd family. Since Pamela and her husband, Peter Freyd, started the Foundation and its massive public relations effort in which they present as a "falsely accused" couple, their daughter, Jennifer Freyd, Ph.D., remained publicly silent regarding her parents' claims and the activities of the FMS Foundation. She only wished to preserve her privacy. But, as the Foundation's publicity efforts gained a national foothold, Dr. Jennifer Freyd decided that her continued anonymity amounted to complicity. She began to feel that her silence was beginning to have unwitting effects. She saw that she was giving the appearance of agreeing with her parents' public claims and decided she had to speak out. Jennifer Freyd, Ph.D., is a tenured Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. Along with George K. Ganaway, M.D. (a member of the FMS Foundation Scientific Advisory Board), Lawrence R. Klein, Ph.D., and Stephen H. Landman, Ph.D., she was an invited presenter for The Center for Mental Health at Foote Hospital's Continuing Education Conference: Controversies Around Recovered Memories of Incest and Ritualistic Abuse, held on August 7, 1993 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Jennifer Freyd's presentation, "Theoretical and Personal Perspectives on the Delayed Memory Debate," included professional remarks on the conference topic, along with a personal section in which she, for the first time, publicly gave her side of the Freyd family story. In her statement, she alleges a pattern of boundary and privacy violations by her parents, some of which have occurred under the auspices of the Foundation; a pattern of inappropriate and unwanted sexualization by her father and denial by her mother, and a pattern of intimidation and manipulation by her parents since the inception of the Foundation. She also recounts that several members of the original FMS Foundation Scientific Advisory Board had dual professional relationships with the Freyd family.