Punishments include such things as flashbacks, flooding of unbearable emotions, painful body memories, flooding of memories in which the survivor perpetrated against others, self-harm, and suicide attempts.
…is methodical abuse, often using indoctrination, aimed at breaking the will of another human being. In a 1989 report, the Ritual Abuse Task Force of the L.A. County Commission for Women defined ritual abuse as: Ritual Abuse usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time. The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful,humiliating, intended as a means of gaining dominance over the victim.The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual indoctrination. It includes mind control techniques which convey to the victim a profound terror of the cult members …most victims are in a state of terror, mind control and dissociation (Pg. 35-36)
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.
Those of us who work in the field of trauma and abuse, whether psychologists, psychoanalysts, social workers, doctors, counselors, or psychotherapists, have been provided with beautiful tools for understanding the impact of trauma. We become adept at understanding the dynamic of why the messenger is always shot and broadcast the Bionic insight of why the visionary is not bearable to the group. However, when it comes to military mind control, abuse within religious belief groups or cults, and deliberately created dissociative identity disorder, we enter the least resourced field of all.
I honestly didn't believe I could bear any more suffering. I was convinced that the child within me was just too young to endure all this, much less understand it. She just wanted to be normal. But another part of me knew that to become normal, all the pieces of this puzzle had to become conscious. p164
A cult is a group of people who share an obsessive devotion to a person or idea. The cults described in this book use violent tactics to recruit, indoctrinate, and keep members. Ritual abuse is defined as the emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive acts performed by violent cults. Most violent cults do not openly express their beliefs and practices, and they tend to live separately in noncommunal environments to avoid detection. Some victims of ritual abuse are children abused outside the home by nonfamily members, in public settings such as day care. Other victims are children and teenagers who are forced by their parents to witness and participate in violent rituals. Adult ritual abuse victims often include these grown children who were forced from childhood to be a member of the group. Other adult and teenage victims are people who unknowingly joined social groups or organizations that slowly manipulated and blackmailed them into becoming permanent members of the group. All cases of ritual abuse, no matter what the age of the victim, involve intense physical and emotional trauma. Violent cults may sacrifice humans and animals as part of religious rituals. They use torture to silence victims and other unwilling participants. Ritual abuse victims say they are degraded and humiliated and are often forced to torture, kill, and sexually violate other helpless victims. The purpose of the ritual abuse is usually indoctrination. The cults intend to destroy these victims' free will by undermining their sense of safety in the world and by forcing them to hurt others. In the last ten years, a number of people have been convicted on sexual abuse charges in cases where the abused children had reported elements of ritual child abuse. These children described being raped by groups of adults who wore costumes or masks and said they were forced to witness religious-type rituals in which animals and humans were tortured or killed. In one case, the defense introduced in court photographs of the children being abused by the defendants[.1] In another case, the police found tunnels etched with crosses and pentacles along with stone altars and candles in a cemetery where abuse had been reported. The defendants in this case pleaded guilty to charges of incest, cruelty, and indecent assault. Ritual abuse allegations have been made in England, the United States, and Canada. Many myths abound concerning the parents and children who report ritual abuse. Some people suggest that the tales of ritual abuse are "mass hysteria." They say the parents of these children who report ritual abuse are often overly zealous Christians on a "witch-hunt" to persecute satanists. These skeptics say the parents are fearful of satanism, and they use their knowledge of the Black Mass (a historically well-known, sexualized ritual in which animals and humans are sacrificed) to brainwash their children into saying they were abused by satanists. In 1992 I conducted a study to separate fact from fiction in regard to the disclosures of children who report ritual abuse. The study was conducted through Believe the Children, a national organization that provides support and educational sources for ritual abuse survivors and their families.
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).
Political prisoners describe: - extreme physical and emotional torture - distortion of language, truth, meaning and reality - sham killings - begin repeatedly taken to the point of death or threatened with death - being forced to witness abusive acts on others - being forced to make impossible "choices" - boundaries smashed i.e. by the use of forced nakedness, shame, embarrassment - hoaxes, 'set ups', testing and tricks - being forced to hurt others Ritual abuse survivors often describe much the same things.
Secret ceremonies in which malevolent men and women cloaked in hooded robes, hiding behind painted faces and chanting demonic incantations while inflicting sadistic wounds on innocent children lying on makeshift alters, or tied to inverted crosses, sounds like the stuff of which B-grade horror movies are made. Some think amoral religious cults only populate the world of Rosemary's Baby, but don't exist in real life. Or, do they? Ask Jenny Hill.
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)
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.
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.
I was increasingly both horrified and sceptical about these memories - I had no recall of these things at all, though I couldn't imagine why I'd want to make it all up either. It felt as though it had all happened to somebody else, I was not there - it wasn't me - when those people did nasty things. But then, of course, it didn't feel like me, that's the whole point of dissociation - to create distance between the victim and her experience of the abuse. The alters were created for just that purpose: so that I'd not be aware that it happened to me, but rather to "others". The trouble is, in reality it was my body that took the abuse. It was only my mind that was divided, and sooner or later the amnesic barriers were bound to come down. And that's exactly what had begun to happen as I heard their stories. They triggered a vague and growing sense in me that this really is my story.
Frosh (2002) has suggested that therapeutic spaces provide children and adults with the rare opportunity to articulate experiences that are otherwise excluded from the dominant symbolic order. However, since the 1990s, post-modern and post-structural theory has often been deployed in ways that attempt to ‘manage’ from; afar the perturbing disclosures of abuse and trauma that arise in therapeutic spaces (Frosh 2002). Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to organised abuse, where the testimony of girls and women has been deconstructed as symptoms of cultural hysteria (Showalter 1997) and the colonisation of women’s minds by therapeutic discourse (Hacking 1995). However, behind words and discourse, ‘a real world and real lives do exist, howsoever we interpret, construct and recycle accounts of these by a variety of symbolic means’ (Stanley 1993: 214). Summit (1994: 5) once described organised abuse as a ‘subject of smoke and mirrors’, observing the ways in which it has persistently defied conceptualisation or explanation. Explanations for serious or sadistic child sex offending have typically rested on psychiatric concepts of ‘paedophilia’ or particular psychological categories that have limited utility for the study of the cultures of sexual abuse that emerge in the families or institutions in which organised abuse takes pace. For those clinicians and researchers who take organised abuse seriously, their reliance upon individualistic rather than sociological explanations for child sexual abuse has left them unable to explain the emergence of coordinated, and often sadistic, multi—perpetrator sexual abuse in a range of contexts around the world.
Programming is the act of installing internal, pre-established reactions to external stimuli so that a person will automatically react in a predetermined manner to things like an auditory, visual or tactile signal or perform a specific set of actions according to a date and/or time.
It appears that DDNOS is the intentional goal of these abusers, but DID sometimes results from a failure of programming. In DDNOS, the ANP is always present, even when another part is in control of the behavior and feelings.
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.
This monograph by Special Agent Ken Lanning (1992) is merely a guide for those who may investigate this phenomenon, as the title indicates, and not a study. The author is a well known skeptic regarding cult and ritual abuse allegations and has consulted on a number of cases but to our knowledge has not personally investigated the majority of these cases, some of which have produced convictions. p179 [refers to Lanning, K. V. (1992) Investigator's guide to allegations of "ritual" child abuse. Quantico, VA: National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.]
Denial returned, like a nagging cough you can never quite shake. Actually, it was always close at hand, and even though "satanic ritual abuse" did describe what had happened to me when I was a child. the concept was so foreign and so horrific that some part of me still wanted to stay in denial. Devil worship dominated my childhood. That was undeniable, even if it was still nearly impossible to contemplate. Both of my parents and any number of their friends, as well as "respected" members of our community, had worshipped Satan. I pushed the notion aside with all the power I could muster. I kept thinking to myself that it was ridiculous and impossible. p157
In a nutshell, the process they [abusers in a ritual abuse group] use on survivors is designed to: break the will and personality of the person until they become as nothing... with no will of their own...no identity...then they... rebuild the person & shape their will in order to...try and make the person one of them...thus gaining power If abusers hold all the power, becoming one of them can, for some, be the only means of survival. However, this doesn't always work, instead survivors often find ways of regaining their own power and fighting back.
I am truly crazy, I told myself. It's over. I am not fixable. I cannot tell Tom. I cannot even tell Francisco. So I won't tell anyone. My brain seemed out of control. Tom does not deserve a crazy wife and my children do not deserve a crazy mother. I finally get it. This is not just repressed memory. This is dissociative identity disorder.
Ritual abuse diagnosis research – excerpt from a chapter in: Lacter, E. & Lehman, K. (2008).Guidelines to Differential Diagnosis between Schizophrenia and Ritual Abuse/Mind Control Traumatic Stress. In J.R. Noblitt & P. Perskin(Eds.), Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-first Century: Psychological, Forensic, Social and Political Considerations, pp. 85-154. Bandon, Oregon: Robert D. Reed Publishers. quotes: A second study revealed that these results were unrelated to patients’ degree of media and hospital milieu exposure to the subject of Satanic ritual abuse. In fact, less media exposure was associated with production of more Satanic content in patients reporting ritual abuse, evidence that reports of ritual abuse are not primarily the product of exposure contagion. Responses are consistent with the devastating and pervasive abuse these victims have experienced, so often including immediate family members.
One example was the assertion that a seven-year FBI study revealed no evidence of organized cult or ritual activity in the United States. In reality there is no such study. The day following the ABC program, my office contacted the FBI and requested a copy of the alleged study. The bureau responded in writing indicating that no such study existed. [referring to the Lanning report - Lanning, K. V. (1992) Investigator's guide to allegations of "ritual" child abuse. Quantico, VA: National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.]
Why Cults Terrorize and Kill Children – LLOYD DEMAUSE The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (4) 1994 "Extending these local figures to a national estimate would easily mean tens of thousands of cult victims per year reporting, plus undoubtedly more who do not report.(2) This needn’t mean, of course, that actual Cult abuse is increasing, only that-as with the increase in all child abuse reports-we have become more open to hearing them. But it seemed unlikely that the surge of cult memories could all be made up by patients or implanted by therapists. Therapists are a timid group at best, and the notion that they suddenly begin implanting false memories in tens of thousands of their clients for no apparent reason strained credulity. Certainly no one has presented a shred of evidence for massive false memory implantations.
Ritualised child sexual abuse is about abuse of power, control and secrecy. Ten years ago many people found it difficult to believe that fathers actually raped their children, yet survivors of such abuses spoke out and eventually began to be listened to and believed. Ritual abuse survivors, when they try to speak out about their experiences, face denial and disbelief from society and often fear for their lives from the abusers.
Some abusers organise themselves in groups to abuse children and other adults in a more formally ritualised way. Men and women in these groups can be abusers with both sexes involved in all aspects of the abuse. Children are often forced to abuse other children. Pornography and prostitution are sometimes part of the abuse as is the use of drugs, hypnotism and mind control. Some groups use complex rituals to terrify, silence and convince victims of the tremendous power of the abusers. the purpose is to gain and maintain power over the child in order to exploit. Some groups are so highly organised that they also have links internationally through trade in child-pornography, drugs and arms. Some abusers organise themselves around a religion or faith and the teaching and training of the children within this faith, often takes the form of severe and sustained torture and abuse. Whether or not the adults within this type of group believe that what they are doing is, in some way 'right' is immaterial to the child on the receiving end of the 'teachings' and abuse.
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.
it felt increasingly, as I became more whole, that I had made it all up, and that I was a phoney. I had to come to some place of acceptance. If I made it all up, then I am an unspeakably evil person, leading so many wonderful, intelligent people astray. What a scheming mind I must have. I knowledge will be hard too live with. But harder still is the thought that perhaps, just perhaps it is all true; that I really was horribly, ritualistically abused in a satanic setting, over and over again and as a result my mind fragmented. The implications of that are completely overwhelming. It was me, my body, that they did those things to. No, I would rather believe I am an evil and deceitful person. At least the I can change, and say sorry, and live a better life from now on.
It is important to learn about being multiple, and what works for their healing, from your client. To work with the alters, rather than trying to get the ANP to control the rest of the personality system.
This new co-consciousness brought me to a state of awareness in which my core personality was directly able to experience "her" personality. Being co-conscious with her, he explained, would stop me from experiencing the feeling of leaving my body or dissociating.
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.
Those who support such survivors of abuse often find it difficult to hear the reality of those survivors' lives and experience and are often unsupported themselves. Rather than being supported, workers are often ridiculed, castigated or accused of being gullible or of giving the survivor false memories. Many workers work in isolation and a climate of hostility and are unable to talk about the work they do. Yes, despite all the odds, survivors of ritual abuse are beginning to speak out about their experiences, and some people, mainly in voluntary organisations, are beginning to listen to them and support them. [Published 2001]
I'm back in the basement of the Ascension Catholic Church, Francisco. And Little Suzie is here. She's lying on an alter, and they're hurting her. The bastards. They're hurting her. There is blood all over the place. There are candles burning and people chanting." I could hardly believe what I was seeing and I cried out, "What is this? I don't understand. What the hell is this?" "Ask your unconscious mind to tell you, Suzie," he responded, ever so gently. "Ask." I did ask. And the answer swept over me with a force so strong that I felt as if I had been knocked backward. "Lord! Oh, Lord. This is satanic ritual abuse, Francisco. That's what this is! That's what this is!" I screamed. "Satanic ritual abuse. And they're using Little Suzie as part of their goddamned ritual. p150
In her book claiming that allegations of ritualistic abuse are mostly confabulations, La Fontaine’s (1998) comparison of social workers to ‘nazis’ shows the depth of feeling evident amongst many sceptics. However, this raises an important question: Why did academics and journalists feel so strongly about allegations of ritualistic abuse, to the point of pervasively misrepresenting the available evidence and treating women disclosing ritualistic abuse, and those workers who support them, with barely concealed contempt? It is of course true that there are fringe practitioners in the field of organised abuse, just as there are fringe practitioners in many other health-related fields. However, the contrast between the measured tone of the majority of therapists and social workers writing on ritualistic abuse, and the over-blown sensationalism of their critics, could not be starker. Indeed, Scott (2001) notes with irony that the writings of those who claimed that ‘satanic ritual abuse’ is a ‘moral panic’ had many of the features of a moral panic: scapegoating therapists, social workers and sexual abuse victims whilst warning of an impending social catastrophe brought on by an epidemic of false allegations of sexual abuse. It is perhaps unsurprising that social movements for people accused of sexual abuse would engage in such hyperbole, but why did this rhetoric find so many champions in academia and the media?
Audio of interview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=... "Savile was not only abusing all children with or without disabilities in group settings or in hospital settings, he was also invoking belief systems, doing rituals, making children believe that he had extra powers and that if they didn't obey him they would be published in an after life." "There are special things in, especially, for example, Alistair Crowley that can be used to frighten children even more, but the use of cloaks, of making spells, of making threats, of threatening what will happen after death too is something that the 5 different people that spoke to me about Jimmy Savile said that he'd been part of." - Dr Valerie Sinason, Clinic for Dissociative Studies, London
Audio of interview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=... "No I haven't been in a ceremony but I've seen the marks on them, I've seen the terror they're in and I've seen how they were before such events happened and how they are when they speak about it, how consistent they are in other things they say, so that there has been no reason from a psychological point of view to doubt their capacity to give good evidence, but its the police who need to find the proper corroboration." - Dr Valerie Sinason, Clinic for Dissociative Studies, London - talks about Private Eye magazine's suggestion that she "invented" the story published in the Express and that no abuse existed
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.
In an article offering a law enforcement perspective on allegations of ritual abuse, Lanning (1992, A law-enforcement perspective on allegations of ritual abuse) fails to give a precise definition of the term. Although he is quoted as having conducted a seven-year study FBI study that gives evidence that ritual abuse does not exist, when Noblitt and Perskin (2000, Cult and ritual abuse) requested a copy of his study from the FBI, the bureau responded in writing that no such study existed. (p. 179).
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.
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
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)
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]
Audio of interview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=... "it's not surprising that in that first group I worked with over 20 years ago I had 2 accounts of Jimmy Savile being an abuser where I did support some people to go to the police but it was seen as something impossible to consider at the time." "We have improved a lot as a society in the last 20 years in accepting the reality of abuse, even though it's still so hard for us." "When we look at adults who were abused in childhood we find that nearly all of them had told somebody..." "The culture of the police has changed dramatically but 20 years ago when even counselors and social workers didn't think the abuse could be so widespread the police were obviously part of that culture too. I mean it's hard to realise that in the 1980s there was a point where it was thought that there were only 486 children on the abuse register. Now the government accepts that 1 in 4 adults will have been abused at some point in their lives. That is a huge change." "This is really different for any survivors listening now if a police officer doesn't listen sympathetically and offer a believing response then something has gone wrong because the police really do have this in their guidelines now." - Dr Valerie Sinason, Clinic for Dissociative Studies, London
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.
There are a range of useful and illuminating analyses of the media construction of organised abuse as it became front-page news in the 1980s and 1990s (Kitzinger 2004, Atmore 1997, Kelly 1998), but this book is focused on organised abuse as a criminal practice; as well as a discursive object of study, debate and disagreement. These two dimensions of this topic are inextricably linked because precisely where and how organised abuse is reported to take place is an important determinant of how it is understood. Prior to the 1980s, the predominant view of the police, psychiatrists and other authoritative professionals was that organised abuse occurred primarily outside the family where it was committed by extra-familial ‘paedophiles’. This conceptualisation; of organised abuse has received enduring community support to the present day, where concerns over children’s safety is often framed in terms of their vulnerability to manipulation by ‘paedophiles’ and ‘sex rings’. This view dovetails more generally with the medico-legal and media construction of the ‘paedophile as an external threat to the sanctity of the family and community (Cowburn and Dominelli 2001) but it is confounded by evidence that organised abuse and other forms of serious sexual abuse often originates in the home or in institutions, such as schools and churches, where adults have socially legitimate authority over children.
As mandatory reporting laws and community awareness drove an increase its child protection investigations throughout the 1980s, some children began to disclose premeditated, sadistic and organised abuse by their parents, relatives and other caregivers such as priests and teachers (Hechler 1988). Adults in psychotherapy described similar experiences. The dichotomies that had previously associated organised abuse with the dangerous, external ‘Other’ had been breached, and the incendiary debate that followed is an illustration of the depth of the collective desire to see them restored. Campbell (1988) noted the paradox that, whilst journalists and politicians often demand that the authorities respond more decisively in response to a ‘crisis’ of sexual abuse, the action that is taken is then subsequently construed as a ‘crisis’. There has been a particularly pronounced tendency of the public reception to allegations of organised abuse. The removal of children from their parents due to disclosures of organised abuse, the provision of mental health care to survivors of organised abuse, police investigations of allegations of organised abuse and the prosecution of alleged perpetrators of organised abuse have all generated their own controversies. These were disagreements that were cloaked in the vocabulary of science and objectivity but nonetheless were played out in sensationalised fashion on primetime television, glossy news magazines and populist books, drawing textual analysis. The role of therapy and social work in the construction of testimony of abuse and trauma. in particular, has come under sustained postmodern attack. Frosh (2002) has suggested that therapeutic spaces provide children and adults with the rare opportunity to articulate experiences that are otherwise excluded from the dominant symbolic order. However, since the 1990s, post-modern and post-structural theory has often been deployed in ways that attempt to ‘manage’ from; afar the perturbing disclosures of abuse and trauma that arise in therapeutic spaces (Frosh 2002). Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to organised abuse, where the testimony of girls and women has been deconstructed as symptoms of cultural hysteria (Showalter 1997) and the colonisation of women’s minds by therapeutic discourse (Hacking 1995). However, behind words and discourse, ‘a real world and real lives do exist, howsoever we interpret, construct and recycle accounts of these by a variety of symbolic means’ (Stanley 1993: 214). Summit (1994: 5) once described organised abuse as a ‘subject of smoke and mirrors’, observing the ways in which it has persistently defied conceptualisation or explanation.