Organised abuse Quotes


No Child of Yours
I saw a child hide in the corner
So I went and asked her name
She was so naive and so petite
With such a tiny frame.
'No one,' she replied, that's what I am called
I have no family, no one at all
I eat, I sleep, I get depressed
There is no life, I have nothing left.'
'Why hide in the corner?' I had to ask twice
Because I've been hurt, it not very nice
I tried to stop it, it was out of my control
I feared for myself I wanted to go.
I begged for my sorrow to disappear
I turned in my bed, oh God, I knew they were near
'So come on little girl, where do you go
A path ahead, or a path to unknown?'
With that she arose, her head hung low
She held herself for only she knows
Her tears held back, her heart like ice
It looks as though she has paid the price.
The ice started melting, her tears to flow
The memories flood back, still so many years to go
The pain, the anger all built up inside
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
It will get better, just wait and see
You'll get a life, though you'll never be fire
Open your heart and love yourself
The abuse you suffered was NOT your fault.

This vacillation between assertion and denial in discussions about organised abuse can be understood as functional, in that it serves to contain the traumatic kernel at the heart of allegations of organised abuse. In his influential ‘just world’ theory, Lerner (1980) argued that emotional wellbeing is predicated on the assumption that the world is an orderly, predictable and just place in which people get what they deserve. Whilst such assumptions are objectively false, Lerner argued that individuals have considerable investment in maintaining them since they are conducive to feelings of self—efficacy and trust in others. When they encounter evidence contradicting the view that the world is just, individuals are motivated to defend this belief either by helping the victim (and thus restoring a sense of justice) or by persuading themselves that no injustice has occurred. Lerner (1980) focused on the ways in which the ‘just world’ fallacy motivates victim-blaming, but there are other defences available to bystanders who seek to dispel troubling knowledge. Organised abuse highlights the severity of sexual violence in the lives of some children and the desire of some adults to inflict considerable, and sometimes irreversible, harm upon the powerless. Such knowledge is so toxic to common presumptions about the orderly nature of society, and the generally benevolent motivations of others, that it seems as though a defensive scaffold of disbelief, minimisation and scorn has been erected to inhibit a full understanding of organised abuse.
Despite these efforts, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in organised abuse and particularly ritualistic abuse (eg Sachs and Galton 2008, Epstein et al. 2011, Miller 2012).

They like to use those fancy words. They don't like to say raped,' he said. They say misdeed,' inappropriate touching,' mistake.' That's insulting. I'm not a mistake.

As Lynn writes: "What angers me is the loss of control. At any moment someone could come to me, be dressed the right way and use the right code, and I no longer have free will. I will do anything that person requests.
I hate them for that. Nothing else is as bad as known that I am always out of control; knowing that I am still a laboratory experiment, a puppet whose strings are hidden from ever but my handlers, and I don't yet know how to break free.
p216

I was amazed, shocked, and sickened by what I heard throughout the day, over and over, by many victims' stories. I can think of no one with whom I didn't recognize a common thread. These monsters, these evil priests, used the same words and methods on all of us. With each session, I would find something that sent a cold chill down my spine. It amazed and frightened me that the actual words used on me, to rape me, to rape me, were the same as the words used on so many others from all over the United States. You would think that all these priests either were educated in how to concur and rape us, or they met privately with each other to compare notes and develop their plan of attack on us. The pattern was so much the same, with the same words, that you would swear it was scripted and disbursed to these priests. Do they secretly have closed-door meetings on how to abuse us? A chilling thought.
Neary's routine of saying the Our Father during the rape and making me say it with him, repeating the thy will be done over and over, the absolution given me after he finished, the threats of having God take my parents away, the lectures about offering my suffering up to God, etc., etc., etc. My experience was identical, word-for-word, to that of many others. The exact words during the abuse were not just close, but exactly the same, as if it were some kind of abuse ritual. Ritual abuse is not limited to the religious definition and can include compulsive, abusive behavior performed in an exact series of steps with little variation. How could these similarities occur without the priests taking the same abuse seminar together some place, somehow? Was it taught in the seminary? In some dark corner? It goes beyond coincidence—the similarities in deeds and verbiage that these predators use on us. It truly chilled me to the very marrow of my bones.

Some readers may find it a curious or even unscientific endeavour to craft a criminological model of organised abuse based on the testimony of survivors. One of the standard objections to qualitative research is that participants may lie or fantasise in interview, it has been suggested that adults who report severe child sexual abuse are particularly prone to such confabulation. Whilst all forms of research, whether qualitative or quantitative, may be impacted upon by memory error or false reporting. there is no evidence that qualitative research is particularly vulnerable to this, nor is there any evidence that a fantasy— or lie—prone individual would be particularly likely to volunteer for research into child sexual abuse. Research has consistently found that child abuse histories, including severe and sadistic abuse, are accurate and can be corroborated (Ross 2009, Otnow et al. 1997, Chu et al. 1999). Survivors of child abuse may struggle with amnesia and other forms of memory disturbance but the notion that they are particularly prone to suggestion and confabulation has yet to find a scientific basis. It is interesting to note that questions about the veracity of eyewitness evidence appear to be asked far more frequently in relation to sexual abuse and rape than in relation to other crimes. The research on which this book is based has been conducted with an ethical commitment to taking the lives and voices of survivors of organised abuse seriously.

Mum was pregnant, then there was Sharron. [...]
I wanted to keep him away from her - but for the wrong reasons. In my head he was mine, he was my special person but, of course, as I was getting older, his interest in me was waning anyway. I don't know whether it was because he had lost interest in me, or because the abuse elsewhere was so horrific, particularly without him in my life to make things seem better but, whatever the reason, I soon moved from wanted him to leave Sharron alone for my sake, to wanting him to leave her alone for the right reasons. She was tiny, just a toddler, and the thought of him touching her or abusing her horrified me. I started trying to attract his attention whenever he looked at her. I'd dance, I'd sing, I'd sit on his lap. I'd do a hundred things that were completely out of character - anything, anything to avoid seeing that look in his eye when he glanced at the baby.
I knew that he was planing to do to her what he had done to me. I tried to get in the way, I tried to get him to play with me, but once Sharron was about three, the penny finally dropped. I had always thought he wasn't in the same category as the others; they weren't nice, and he always was. But as she began to replace me, it made me face up to things. What Uncle Andrew did wasn't right. [...]
Even though I loved my uncle, and craved his attention, the thought of him coming into my bed was starting to repulse me. sharron slept in my bed, too, by then, and I wanted that to continue because I wanted to protect her.
Of course, there were plenty of times when I wasn't there. I was still being taken away to be abused. I was at school; Sharon was often left unprotected. Something must have been happening because she started wetting the bed almost every night. This was a sign that even I couldn't turn away from. Sharon was being abused. I was sure of it. But I wouldn't stand for it, not for much longer.
p209-2010

Research on organised abuse emphasises the diversity of organised abuse cases, and the ways in which serious forms of child maltreatment cluster in the lives of children subject to organised victimisation (eg Bibby 1996b, Itziti 1997, Kelly and Regan 2000). Most attempts to examine organised abuse have been undertaken by therapists and social workers who have focused primarily on the role of psychological processes in the organised victimisation of children and adults. Dissociation, amnesia and attachment, in particular, have been identified as important factors that compel victims to obey their abusers whilst inhibiting them from disclosing their abuse or seeking help (see Epstein et al. 2011, Sachs and Galton 2008). Therapists and social workers have surmised that these psychological effects are purposively induced by perpetrators of organised abuse through the use of sadistic and ritualistic abuse. In this literature, perpetrators are characterised either as dissociated automatons mindlessly perpetuating the abuse that they, too, were subjected to as children, or else as cruel and manipulative criminals with expert foreknowledge of the psychological consequences of their abuses. The therapist is positioned in this discourse at the very heart of the solution to organised abuse, wielding their expertise in a struggle against the coercive strategies of the perpetrators.
Whilst it cannot be denied that abusive groups undertake calculated strategies designed to terrorise children into silence and obedience, the emphasis of this literature on psychological factors in explaining organised abuse has overlooked the social contexts of such abuse and the significance of abuse and violence as social practices.

Today, acknowledgement of the prevalence and harms of child sexual abuse is counterbalanced with cautionary tales about children and women who, under pressure from social workers and therapists, produce false allegations of ‘paedophile rings’, ‘cult abuse’ and ‘ritual abuse’. Child protection investigations or legal cases involving allegations of organised child sexual abuse are regularly invoked to illustrate the dangers of ‘false memories’, ‘moral panic’ and ‘community hysteria’. These cautionary tales effectively delimit the bounds of acceptable knowledge in relation to sexual abuse. They are circulated by those who locate themselves firmly within those bounds, characterising those beyond as ideologues and conspiracy theorists.
However firmly these boundaries have been drawn, they have been persistently transgressed by substantiated disclosures of organised abuse that have led to child protection interventions and prosecutions. Throughout the 1990s, in a sustained effort to redraw these boundaries, investigations and prosecutions for organised abuse were widely labelled ‘miscarriages of justice’ and workers and therapists confronted with incidents of organised abuse were accused of fabricating or exaggerating the available evidence. These accusations have faded over time as evidence of organised abuse has accumulated, while investigatory procedures have become more standardised and less vulnerable to discrediting attacks. However, as the opening quotes to this introduction illustrate, the contemporary situation in relation to organised abuse is one of considerable ambiguity in which journalists and academics claim that organised abuse is a discredited ‘moral panic’ even as cases are being investigated and prosecuted.

More proof that Lynn is still meant to continue with the government programme occurred during the winter of 2000, when she was sitting at a cafeteria table at the area college. It was later in the afternoon when a few people congregated there with books spread out so they could study while drinking coffee or snacking. Many tables were empty, yet after Lynn had been sitting for a few moments, an elderly man sat down across from her.
The old man seemed familiar to Lynn, though, at first, she pretended to ignore him. He said nothing, just sat there as someone might when all the tables are filled and it is necessary to share space with a stranger. His presence made her uncomfortable, yet there was nothing specific that alerted her.
A short while later, Mac, the man who had been Lynn's handler in Mexico, came out of the shadows and stopped at the table. He was younger than the old man. His clothes were military casual, the type of garments that veteran students who have military experience might recognise, but not think unusual. He leaned over Lynn and kissed her gently on the forehead, spoke quietly to her, and then said 'Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.' Those were the code words that would start the cover programme of which she was still part. The words led to her being switched from the control of the old man, a researcher she now believes may have been part of Dr Ewen Cameron's staff before coming to the United States for the latter part of his career, to the younger man.
The change is like a re-enlistment in an army she never willingly joined. In a very real way, she is a career soldier who has never been paid, never allowed to retire and never given a chance to lead a life free from the fear of what she might do without conscious awareness.

Chapter 4,‘Organised abuse and the pleasures of disbelief’, uses Zizek’s (1991) insights into cite political role of enjoyment to analyse the hyperbole and scorn that has characterised the sceptical account of organised and ritualistic abuse. The central argument of this chapter is that organised abuse has come to public attention primarily as a subject of ridicule within the highly partisan writings of journalists, academics and activists aligned with advocacy groups for people accused of sexual abuse. Whilst highlighting the pervasive misrepresentations that characterise these accounts, the chapter also implicates media consumers in the production of ignorance and disdain in relation to organised abuse and women’s and children’s accounts of sexual abuse more generally.

Cover up    Coverup    Crime    Criminals    Disbelief    Disdain    Evidence    Horror    Lies    Media    Mispresentation    Mocking    Organised abuse    Political    Ridicule    Ritual abuse    Scorn    Victim blaming

Batley insisted that no cult existed but the jury found him guilty of 35 offences including 11 rapes. three indecent assaults, causing prostitution for personal gain, causing a child to have sex and inciting a child to have sex. The three women, who got Egyptian Eye of Horus tattoos apparently to show their allegiance to their organisation, were found guilty of sex-related charges.
Young boys and girls were procured by cult members to take part in sex sessions, the trial heard. The group preyed on vulnerable youngsters, impelling them to join with veiled death threats. Batley was accused of forcing a number of his victims into prostitution.
(Morris 2011)
There are, after all, no paedophile rings; there is no ritual abuse; recovered memories cannot he trusted; not all victimization claims are legitimate.
(Pratt 2009: 70)

The fact that most perpetrators of organised abuse are men, and that their most intensive and sadistic abuses are visited upon girls and women, has gone largely unnoticed, as have the patterns of gendered inequity that characterise the families and institutional settings in which organised abuse takes place. Organised abuse survivors share a number of challenges in common with other survivors of abuse and trauma, including health and justice systems that have been slow to recognise and respond to violence against children and women. However, this connection is rarely made in the literature on organised abuse, with some authors hinting darkly at the nefarious influence of abusive groups. Fraser (1997: xiv) provides a note of caution here, explaining that whilst it is relatively easy to ‘comment on the naïveté of those grappling with this issue ... it is very difficult to actually face a new and urgent phenomenon and deal with it, but not fully understand it, while managing distressed and confused patients and their families’.

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.

Blaming therapy, social work and other caring professions for the confabulation of testimony of 'satanic ritual abuse' legitimated a programme of political and social action designed to contest the gains made by the women's movement and the child protection movement. In efforts to characterise social workers and therapists as hysterical zealots, 'satanic ritual abuse' was, quite literally, 'made fun of': it became the subject of scorn and ridicule as interest groups sought to discredit testimony of sexual abuse as a whole. The groundswell of support that such efforts gained amongst journalists, academics and the public suggests that the pleasures of disbelief found resonance far beyond the confines of social movements for people accused of sexual abuse. These pleasures were legitimised by a pseudo-scientific vocabulary of 'false memories' and 'moral panic' but as Daly (1999:219-20) points out 'the ultimate goal of ideology is to present itself in neutral, value-free terms as the very horizon of objectivity and to dismiss challenges to its order as the "merely ideological"'.
The media spotlight has moved on and social movements for people accused of sexual abuse have lost considerable momentum. However, their rhetoric continues to reverberate throughout the echo chamber of online and 'old' media. Intimations of collusion between feminists and Christians in the concoction of 'satanic ritual abuse' continue to mobilise 'progressive' as well as 'conservative' sympathies for men accused of serious sexual offences and against the needs of victimised women and children.
This chapter argues that, underlying the invocation of often contradictory rationalising tropes (ranging from calls for more scientific 'objectivity' in sexual abuse investigations to emotional descriptions of 'happy families' rent asunder by false allegations) is a collective and largely unarticulated pleasure; the catharthic release of sentiments and views about children and women that had otherwise become shameful in the aftermath of second wave feminism. It seems that, behind the veneer of public concern about child sexual abuse, traditional views about the incredibility of women's and children's testimony persist. 'Satanic ritual abuse has served as a lens through which these views have been rearticulated and reasserted at the very time that evidence of widespread and serious child sexual abuse has been consolidating. p60

I find it disturbing that one anthropologist's readings of transcripts are being listened to more seriously than 40 senior health service clinicians.
[Referring to Jean La Fontaine's 1994 research paper for the DOH]

Smoke and mirrors’ is a useful metaphor for the ways in which organised abuse has chided conceptualisation and understanding. The chapter provides an overview of cite often incendiary debates over organised abuse before going on to suggest that critical theories on gender, crime and intersubjectivity may offer new insights into the phenomenon.

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