To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours. To those who protect the perpetrators: blaming the victims only masks the evil within, making you as guilty as those who abuse. Stand up for the innocent or go down with the rest.
In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.
The ORDINARY RESPONSE TO ATROCITIES is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not work. Folk wisdom is filled with ghosts who refuse to rest in their graves until their stories are told. Murder will out. Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims. The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory, and fragmented manner that undermines their credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth-telling and secrecy. When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom. The psychological distress symptoms of traumatized people simultaneously call attention to the existence of an unspeakable secret and deflect attention from it. This is most apparent in the way traumatized people alternate between feeling numb and reliving the event. The dialectic of trauma gives rise to complicated, sometimes uncanny alterations of consciousness, which George Orwell, one of the committed truth-tellers of our century, called "doublethink," and which mental health professionals, searching for calm, precise language, call "dissociation." It results in protean, dramatic, and often bizarre symptoms of hysteria which Freud recognized a century ago as disguised communications about sexual abuse in childhood. . . .
I once spoke to someone who had survived the genocide in Rwanda, and she said to me that there was now nobody left on the face of the earth, either friend or relative, who knew who she was . No one who remembered her girlhood and her early mischief and family lore; no sibling or boon companion who could tease her about that first romance; no lover or pal with whom to reminisce. All her birthdays, exam results, illnesses, friendships, kinships—gone. She went on living, but with a tabula rasa as her diary and calendar and notebook. I think of this every time I hear of the callow ambition to 'make a new start' or to be 'born again': Do those who talk this way truly wish for the slate to be wiped? Genocide means not just mass killing, to the level of extermination, but mass obliteration to the verge of extinction. You wish to have one more reflection on what it is to have been made the object of a 'clean' sweep? Try Vladimir Nabokov's microcosmic miniature story 'Signs and Symbols,' which is about angst and misery in general but also succeeds in placing it in what might be termed a starkly individual perspective. The album of the distraught family contains a faded study of Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, cancerous growths—until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about.
Violators cannot live with the truth: survivors cannot live without it. There are those who still, once again, are poised to invalidate and deny us. If we don't assert our truth, it may again be relegated to fantasy. But the truth won't go away. It will keep surfacing until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted against it, no matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It's only a matter of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect future generations from ritual abuse.
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.
Public truth telling is a form of recovery, especially when combined with social action. Sharing traumatic experiences with others enables victims to reconstruct repressed memory, mourn loss, and master helplessness, which is trauma's essential insult. And, by facilitating reconnection to ordinary life, the public testimony helps survivors restore basic trust in a just world and overcome feelings of isolation. But the talking cure is predicated on the existence of a community willing to bear witness. 'Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships,' write Judith Herman. 'It cannot occur in isolation.
Many survivors insist they’re not courageous: ‘If I were courageous I would have stopped the abuse.’ ‘If I were courageous, I wouldn't be scared’... Most of us have it mixed up. You don’t start with courage and then face fear. You become courageous because you face your fear.
All people cross the line from childhood to adulthood with a secondhand opinion of who they are. Without any questioning, we take as truth whatever our parents and other influentials have said about us during our childhood, whether these messages are communicated verbally, physically, or silently.
There is a moment in our healing journey when our denial crumbles; we realize our experience and it's continued effects on us won't "just go away". That's our breakthrough moment. It's the sun coming out to warm the seeds of hope so they can grow our personal garden of empowerment.
The healing process is best described as a spiral. Survivors go through the stages once, sometimes many times; sometimes in one order, sometimes in another. Each time they hit a stage again, they move up the spiral: they can integrate new information and a broader range of feelings, utilize more resources, take better care of themselves, and make deeper changes. Allies in Healing by Laura Davis
There was a reason these boys were still alive, though. Something made them stronger than the other kids, the ones who had died in the early days, who had simply lain down and given up, unable to cope with the terrible things that were happening in the world. These boys were survivors. The will to live was stronger than any other feelings.
If your body is screaming in pain, whether the pain is muscular contractions, anxiety, depression, asthma or arthritis, a first step in releasing the pain may be making the connection between your body pain and the cause. Beliefs are physical. A thought held long enough and repeated enough becomes a belief. The belief then becomes biology.
Underlying the attack on psychotherapy, I believe, is a recognition of the potential power of any relationship of witnessing. The consulting room is a privileged space dedicated to memory. Within that space, survivors gain the freedom to know and tell their stories. Even the most private and confidential disclosure of past abuses increases the likelihood of eventual public disclosure. And public disclosure is something that perpetrators are determined to prevent. As in the case of more overtly political crimes, perpetrators will fight tenaciously to ensure that their abuses remain unseen, unacknowledged, and consigned to oblivion.
The dialectic of trauma is playing itself out once again. It is worth remembering that this is not the first time in history that those who have listened closely to trauma survivors have been subject to challenge. Nor will it be the last. In the past few years, many clinicians have had to learn to deal with the same tactics of harassment and intimidation that grassroots advocates for women, children and other oppressed groups have long endured. We, the bystanders, have had to look within ourselves to find some small portion of the courage that victims of violence must muster every day.
Some attacks have been downright silly; many have been quite ugly. Though frightening, these attacks are an implicit tribute to the power of the healing relationship. They remind us that creating a protected space where survivors can speak their truth is an act of liberation. They remind us that bearing witness, even within the confines of that sanctuary, is an act of solidarity. They remind us also that moral neutrality in the conflict between victim and perpetrator is not an option. Like all other bystanders, therapists are sometimes forced to take sides. Those who stand with the victim will inevitably have to face the perpetrator's unmasked fury. For many of us, there can be no greater honor. p.246 - 247 Judith Lewis Herman, M.D. February, 1997
Somatic Symptoms: People with Complex PTSD often have medical unexplained physical symptoms such as abdominal pains, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach problems, and elimination problems. These people are sometimes most unfortunately mislabeled as hypochondriacs or as exaggerating their physical problems. But these problems are real, even though they may not be related to a specific physical diagnosis. Some dissociative parts are stuck in the past experiences that involved pain may intrude such that a person experiences unexplained pain or other physical symptoms. And more generally, chronic stress affects the body in all kinds of ways, just as it does the mind. In fact, the mind and body cannot be separated. Unfortunately, the connection between current physical symptoms and past traumatizing events is not always so clear to either the individual or the physician, at least for a while. At the same time we know that people who have suffered from serious medical, problems. It is therefore very important that you have physical problems checked out, to make sure you do not have a problem from which you need medical help.
Dr. Peter Levine, who has worked with trauma survivors for twenty-five years, says the single most important factor he has learned in uncovering the mystery of human trauma is what happens during and after the freezing response. He describes an impala being chased by a cheetah. The second the cheetah pounces on the young impala, the animal goes limp. The impala isn’t playing dead, she has instinctively entered an altered state of consciousness, shared by all mammals when death appears imminent. (Levine and Frederick, Waking the Tiger, p. 16) The impala becomes instantly immobile. However, if the impala escapes, what she does immediately thereafter is vitally important. She shakes and quivers every part of her body, clearing the traumatic energy she has accumulated.
Since the 1980s, therapists have reported encountering clients or patients who had experienced extreme abuses featuring physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive aspects, along with a premeditated structure of torture-enforced lessons. The phenomena was first labeled "ritual abuse," and, later, as our understanding developed, "mind control.
Over half a million women are raped in this country every year, and only a fraction of them report it because they're too ashamed. It’s a really screwed up world, but its not your fault, and what happened to you, it doesn't make you the monster.
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.
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
And often the worst thing wasn't the victims--they were dead, after all, and beyond any more pain. The worst thing was those who loved them and survived them. Often the walking dead from now on, shell-shocked, hearts ruptured, stumbling through the remainder of their lives without anything left inside of them but blood and organs, impervious to pain, having learned nothing except that the worst things did, in fact, sometimes happen. (Mystic River)
There were two types of survivors in life: those, like her, who found the requisite strength in having once been loved with great intensity; and those who, having not been loved, learned to thrive on hatred, suspicion, and the meager rewards of revenge.
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.
Amnesia, which is a loss of memory, is a symptom of many different trauma and/or dissociative disorders, including PTSD, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Amnesia can affect both implicit and explicit memory.
Many Survivors blame themselves for the abuse and continue to feel responsible and guilty for anything bad that happens to them or to other people they know. Survivors often feel bad about themselves and different from other people. They therefore isolate themselves from other people and avoid making close friendships.
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.
(Talking about the movement to deny the prevalence and effects of adult sexual exploitation of children) So what does this movement consist of? Who are the movers and shakers? Well molesters are in it, of course. There are web pages telling them how to defend themselves against accusations, to retain confidence about their ‘loving and natural’ feelings for children, with advice on what lawyers to approach, how to complain, how to harass those helping their children. Then there’s the Men’s Movements, their web pages throbbing with excitement if they find ‘proof’ of conspiracy between feminists, divorcing wives and therapists to victimise men, fathers and husbands. Then there are journalists. A few have been vitally important in the US and Britain in establishing the fightback, using their power and influence to distort the work of child protection professionals and campaign against children’s testimony. Then there are other journalists who dance in and out of the debates waggling their columns behind them, rarely observing basic journalistic manners, but who use this debate to service something else – a crack at the welfare state, standards, feminism, ‘touchy, feely, post-Diana victimhood’. Then there is the academic voice, landing in the middle of court cases or inquiries, offering ‘rational authority’. Then there is the government. During the entire period of discovery and denial, not one Cabinet minister made a statement about the prevalence of sexual abuse or the harm it caused. Finally there are the ‘retractors’. For this movement to take off, it had to have ‘human interest’ victims – the accused – and then a happy ending – the ‘retractors’. We are aware that those ‘retractors’ whose parents trail them to newspapers, television studios and conferences are struggling. Lest we forget, they recanted under palpable pressure.
One of the questions asked by al-Balkhi, and often repeated to this day, is this: Why do the children of Israel continue to suffer? My grandmother Dodo thought it was because the goyim were jealous. The seder for Passover (which is a shame-faced simulacrum of a Hellenic question-and-answer session, even including the wine) tells the children that it's one of those things that happens to every Jewish generation. After the Shoah or Endlösung or Holocaust, many rabbis tried to tell the survivors that the immolation had been a punishment for 'exile,' or for insufficient attention to the Covenant. This explanation was something of a flop with those whose parents or children had been the raw material for the 'proof,' so for a time the professional interpreters of god's will went decently quiet. This interval of ambivalence lasted until the war of 1967, when it was announced that the divine purpose could be discerned after all. How wrong, how foolish, to have announced its discovery prematurely! The exile and the Shoah could now both be understood, as part of a heavenly if somewhat roundabout scheme to recover the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other pieces of biblically mandated real estate. I regard it as a matter of self-respect to spit in public on rationalizations of this kind. (They are almost as repellent, in their combination of arrogance, masochism, and affected false modesty, as Edith Stein's 'offer' of her life to expiate the regrettable unbelief in Jesus of her former fellow Jews.) The sage Jews are those who have put religion behind them and become in so many societies the leaven of the secular and the atheist.
Both incest and the Holocaust have been subject to furious denial by perpetrators and other individuals and by highly organised groups such as the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and the Committee for Historical Review. Incest and the Holocaust are vulnerable to this kind of concerted denial because of their unfathomability, the unjustifiability, and the threat they pose to the politics of patriarchy and anti-Semitism respectively. Over and over, survivors of the Holocaust attest that they were warned of what was happening in Poland but could not believe it at the time, could not believe it later as it was happening to them, and still to this day cannot believe what they, at the same time, know to have occurred. For Holocaust deniers this is a felicitous twist, for their arguments denying the Holocaust and therefore the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state capitalize on the discrepancies of faded memory. In the case of incest, although post-traumatic stress disorder, amnesia, and dissociation represent some of the mind's strategies for comprehending the incomprehensible, incest deniers have taken advantage of inconsistencies to discredit survivor testimony.
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.
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.
The Welsh are not like any other people in Britain, and they know how separate they are. They are the Celts, the tough little wine-dark race who were the original possessors of the island, who never mixed with the invaders coming later from the east, but were slowly driven into the western mountains.
But then, not long after, in another article, Loftus writes, "We live in a strange and precarious time that resembles at its heart the hysteria and superstitious fervor of the witch trials." She took rifle lessons and to this day keeps the firing instruction sheets and targets posted above her desk. In 1996, when Psychology Today interviewed her, she burst into tears twice within the first twenty minutes, labile, lubricated, theatrical, still whip smart, talking about the blurry boundaries between fact and fiction while she herself lived in another blurry boundary, between conviction and compulsion, passion and hyperbole. "The witch hunts," she said, but the analogy is wrong, and provides us with perhaps a more accurate window into Loftus's stretched psyche than into our own times, for the witch hunts were predicated on utter nonsense, and the abuse scandals were predicated on something all too real, which Loftus seemed to forget: Women are abused. Memories do matter. Talking to her, feeling her high-flying energy the zeal that burns up the center of her life, you have to wonder, why. You are forced to ask the very kind of question Loftus most abhors: did something bad happen to her? For she herself seems driven by dissociated demons, and so I ask. What happened to you? Turns out, a lot. (refers to Dr. Elizabeth F. Loftus)
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.
The themes that exercised the minds of survivor movements and their allies within the health and welfare professions generated a political project: how to revolutionise medical and judicial approaches to injured adults and children, how to raise awareness so that other people didn’t have to suffer the same, and how to understand, and then challenge, offenders who so love what they do to children that they can and must shut their minds to the feelings of children who have put their trust in them. P4
Victoria Park looks like every other inner-city park in every other city in Canada; a large and handsome memorial to the war dead surrounded by a square block of hard-tracked grass and benches where people can sit and look at statues of politicians or at flower beds planted with petunias and marigolds, the cheap and the hardy, downtown survivors.
I'd long thought that a surfeit of sensitivity could be a killing thing, too much insight malignant in its own right. The best survivors--there are studies that show it--are those blessed with an inordinate ability to deny. And keep on marching.