Jesuits, DID/MPD book, abuse epigenetics

May 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

describes abuse ‘Forgotten children’ share secret shame By Tracy Vedder 5/11/09 They were the forgotten children. Five- and six-year old girls and boys – sent to a remote boarding school and left to the terrible mercy of their caretakers. For the first time publicly, some of those children – now adults – are telling their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of their Jesuit teachers. They’re telling those stories because they believe dozens of other victims out there still need help.  St. Mary’s Mission School sits empty and abandoned now. Today St. Mary’s Mission School, in the hills above Omak, sits desolate, abandoned, in a poor corner of the Colville Indian Reservation. The classrooms – long empty. The boys’ and girls’ dormitories – locked up tight. There’s little evidence today of the torturous childhoods many spent here. Patti Webb was just 6 years old in 1962 when she was taken to St. Mary’s. Alone and scared, the daughter of an alcoholic – absent mother, Webb says the sexual molestation started right away…. Sixteen Colville tribal members – 15 women and one man – who were at St. Mary’s in the early ’60s to early ’70s have come forward telling similar stories….Webb and the other 15 tribal members settled with the Oregon Province of the Jesuits for $4.8 million. The province covers all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. But Webb and Allison believe there are dozens of other victims from St. Mary’s Mission – now scattered across the Northwest – who have never come forward. And since the Jesuits have declared bankruptcy, those victims will only have a limited time to file a claim….Settling sexual abuse claims has already cost the Jesuits of the five Northwest states a bundle, over $55 million for more than 200 victims – most from Alaska. The Jesuits believe there could be another 200 victims with claims out there – so they’ve decided bankruptcy is the only way to make sure all the victims get a fair shot at what money they have left.

describes abuse Multiple personality disorder: `Creating personas was my way of coping with abuse’ After years of abuse by her father, Alice Jamieson developed multiple personality disorder. She tells how trauma has shaped her life – 5/11/09 When Alice Jamieson was 24 she was told that she had multiple personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition that is associated with abuse in childhood. At one point she had about 15 alternative personalities, many of them children with specific memories of the abuse that she suffered, largely at the hands of her father, although at times he sanctioned the involvement of other adults, too.  DID is an elaborate defence mechanism that enables victims of abuse to cope with what has happened to them. If a bad experience is dealt with by a separate person, then good experiences – perhaps with the same adult to whom attachment is  imperative – can be preserved.  Alice’s book, Today I’m Alice, is a compelling account of the strategies she has used to survive more than two decades of grotesque sexual, physical and emotional harm….It is estimated that nine out of ten abused children remain silent about their damaged past, even as adults….Throughout her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood he raped her hundreds of times. “There was no perversion my father didn’t inflict on me,” she writes….In 1999 she did eventually report the abuse to the police, who investigated – but her father, who denies the allegations, was not prosecuted, largely because Alice’s mental health was poor at the time. The abuse has, however, been validated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which carried out a two-and-a-half-year investigation and awarded her more than £400,000. She also has a letter from her local police force confirming its belief that she has told the truth….”Today I’m Alice,” by Alice Jamieson, is published by Sidgwick & Jackson

Child abuse marks genes, affects ability to cope: Study – Margaret Munro , Canwest News Service 2/22/09 Child abuse can indelibly mark and alter genes in its young victims leaving them less able to cope with stress later in life, according to new Canadian research. A Montreal team has discovered large numbers of “chemical marks,” which inhibit a key mechanism for dealing with stress, in the brains of young men who were physically or sexually abused as children and later committed suicide. “It’s almost as if there is an imprint left,” says Michael Meaney at McGill University, who heads the team that has already toppled many long-held views of how early experience impacts behaviour and genes. Their new study, published Sunday in Nature Neuroscience, is seen as the most convincing evidence yet that childhood abuse permanently modifies genes….Abuse is believed to be prevalent with as many as 10 to 15 per cent of children physically or sexually abused, says Meaney. “It’s tragic,” he says….Working with brain tissues from the Quebec Suicide Brain Bank, the researchers looked at the DNA of the 12 men who committed suicide and had been abused in childhood, 12 men who died of suicide and were not abused, and 12 men who died accidentally. The looked for differences in chemical marks on a gene involved in stress response. Such marks are laid down early in life and are thought to be a sensitive to one’s environment. They punctuate DNA and program it to express genes at the appropriate time and place. The researchers found that the men who had been abused as children had substantially more chemical marks, or flags, along the glucocorticoid receptor gene involved in the brain’s stress response. The marks, which are “methyl groups” containing carbon and hydrogen, were three to four times more common on the genes of the abused men. “It’s quite significant,” says Meaney. They have also shown excess marks impact the functioning of the gene, reducing the amount of protein produced in the brain’s stress response pathway. This would have hampered the men’s ability to cope with stress, and could have contributed to their suicides, says Meaney.

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