New York passes Child Victims Act, allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue their abusers, Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and the moral context of trauma science
January 30, 2019 § Leave a comment
New York passes Child Victims Act, allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue their abusers
By Augusta Anthony, CNN Mon January 28, 2019
New York (CNN)The New York State Legislature passed a bill on Monday that will increase the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse.
The Child Victims Act will allow child victims to seek prosecution against their abuser until the age of 55 in civil cases, a significant increase from the previous limit of age 23. For criminal cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 28. The bill also includes a one-year window during which victims of any age or time limit can come forward to prosecute.
“New York has just gone from being one of the worst states in the country to being one of the best,” in terms of the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, said Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hamilton said the bill “represents over 15 years of work by survivors and advocates trying to get around the stiff opposition from the Catholic bishops and the insurance industry” and is a step forward in the national conversation. There are eight other states considering similar legislation….
Catholic Church opposition
Monday’s bill passage comes after more than a decade of opposition from the Catholic Church in New York. In a news conference on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is a Roman Catholic, blamed the church directly for preventing the bill’s passage.
Speaking about why the bill took years to pass, Cuomo said, “I believe it was the conservatives in the Senate who were threatened by the Catholic Church.” The bill passed the Senate unanimously on Monday. In November 2018, Democrats took over the Republican-held Senate….
Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and the moral context of trauma science
Michael Salter Published online: 24 Jan 2019
Download citation https://doi.org/10.1080/15299732.2019.1571858
The fraught process surrounding the recent nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court was a spectacular deployment of institutional power to suppress good faith allegations of sexual violence. Trauma survivors and their allies have been shaken by the public scorn and victim-blaming that occurred when a childhood acquaintance of Kavanaugh’s, Christine Blasey Ford, alleged she had been sexually assaulted by him while they were at high school. Kavanaugh denied the allegation and US President Donald Trump firmly supported him. The matter only became more heated when, after Ford agreed to testify publicly to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two other women come forward with allegations of sexual assault and improper conduct by Kavanaugh.
The response of Kavanaugh and his supporters was replete with the rhetoric of denial. Kavanaugh variously characterized the allegations as part of a “coordinated effort” and “conspiracy” to destroy his reputation and prevent his nomination. President Trump agreed that the three women describing abuse by Kavanaugh were politically motivated. He went on to suggest that one woman “has nothing” on Kavanaugh because she “admits she was drunk” at the time of the alleged assault. Conservative media commentators speculated that Ford was suffering from “false memories” of rape, or had mistaken her actual attacker for Kavanaugh. Such language, reverberating from the White House and its spokespeople and advocates, represents a sustained campaign of institutional betrayal that only compounds the trauma of sexual assault (Smith & Freyd, 2013 Smith, C. P., & Freyd, J. J. (2013). Dangerous safe havens: Institutional betrayal exacerbates sexual trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26(1), 119–124. doi:10.1002/jts.21778[Crossref], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]), consonant with other policy positions that have profoundly traumatised the vulnerable (Smidt & Freyd, 2018 Smidt, A. M., & Freyd, J. J. (2018). Government-mandated institutional betrayal. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 26(5), 491–499.[Taylor & Francis Online], , [Google Scholar]).
The proposition that allegations of sexual violence are motivated by animus or the product of confabulation or “false memories” has a long and shameful history (Campbell, 2003 Campbell, S. (2003). Relational remembering: Rethinking the memory wars. Oxford, UK: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. [Google Scholar]). Movements against sexual assault and child abuse have routinely been accused of hiding an ideological agenda, or creating the conditions for false allegations by confused women and children. The conflicts surrounding Kavanaugh’s appointment have highlighted the persistence of a culture of disbelief.
However, it is notable that the attempts by Kavanaugh’s supporters to invoke pseudo-scientific explanations for Ford’s allegation found considerably less purchase in the mass media than they might have in the past. Questions about the integrity of Ford’s memory were largely limited to right wing and conservative media, and were rejected in statements from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and the American Psychological Association. Progress against the institutionalized mechanics of denial and unaccountability is substantive although clearly incomplete (Brand & McEwen, 2016 Brand, B. L., & McEwen, L. (2016). Ethical standards, truths, and lies. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 17(3), 259–266. doi:10.1080/15299732.2016.1114357[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar])….
While I hesitate to argue that we can read life lessons directly from research findings, it does appear to me that the overall direction of trauma research and treatment trends in a particular moral direction. If we seek to find opportunities for trauma survivors to recover and live well, and if we want to promote the conditions in which people are not traumatised in the first place, then we are necessarily advancing moral propositions about human happiness and flourishing. Research on trauma, recovery and psychological wellbeing consistently finds that human beings thrive when we are embedded in emotionally rich, mutual and equitable relationships. This conclusion furnishes us with a powerful and, I think, very appealing image of a good life – one characterized by dignity, equality, accountability, and shared recognition – that the trauma field should not hesitate in articulating clearly. Political theorist Alford (2016 Alford, C. F. (2016). Trauma, culture, and PTSD. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.[Crossref], , [Google Scholar]) suggests that a key reason for the expanding public interest in trauma science is precisely because the concept of ‘trauma’ provides a rare acknowledgement of human relationality and vulnerability in a culture that is exhaustively individualistic and atomizing.
When a person like Christine Blasey Ford stands up to testify to a traumatic event, in opposition to incredibly powerful forces, we can recognize this as a courageous step in the fulfillment of a moral vision that we also have a stake in. The visceral and hate-filled response that has driven her, and her family, from their home is stark evidence of the cost paid by people who challenge the structures of traumatisation. Such costs have, of course, been visited in the past on trauma therapists and researchers whose ethical and scientific convictions have also bought them into conflict with vested interests. However the tremendous support that rallied around Christine Blasey Ford, and that recognised and celebrated her bravery in stepping forward with her story, indicates a growing consensus that opposes traumatizing social formations and seeks an alternative. Trauma research and theory, I would argue, is well placed to elaborate on what those alternatives might be.
January 17, 2019 § Leave a comment
The Survivorship Notes for Jan/Feb 2019 is now online
The 2019 East Coast and West Coast Child and Ritual Abuse Conferences.
The Survivorship Ritual Abuse and Mind Control 2019 Conference
Regular Conference – Saturday and Sunday May 4 – 5, 2019 Clinician’s Conference – Friday May 3, 2019
Where: Courtyard Marriott Long Beach Airport Long Beach, CA
Conference organized by S.M.A.R.T. (Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse)
The 2019 Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference
August 17 – 18, 2019
Bradley International Airport
Windsor Locks, CT
Internet conference information:
The Survivorship Ritual Abuse and Mind Control 2019 Conference Speakers
Clinician’s Conference – Friday May 3, 2019
Deception by Organized Abuser Groups: Helping Yourself and Your Clients Think Through the Issues by Alison Miller
Sophisticated organized abuser groups use torture to deliberately split a child’s mind into different parts, train all parts to obey, and indoctrinate and train each part to do a specific job assigned by the abusers. Drugs, acted-out scenarios, stage magic, stories and films are used to deceive and control the children and prevent them from remembering or speaking out about their abuse, even in adulthood, so that the abusers can continue perpetrating this abuse without being caught. Abusers’ power over victims depends on their victims believing their lies, and that power can be diminished when victims see through the lies told to their young parts. It is important for therapists to use critical thinking to discern the deceptions, and to help their mind-controlled clients do the same.
The Use of Music and other Auditory Stimuli in Psychological Therapy with Extreme Abuse Survivors by Randy Noblitt
Extreme abuse (EA) survivors often listen to music for enjoyment, relaxation, and emotion regulation. Some music and other auditory stimuli also have the capacity to trigger a variety of responses including states of adaptive containment, being shut down, identity switching, abreactive responses, trance, automatisms, and flashbacks. Although clinicians who work with survivors often hear about, or observe these phenomena, there is little discussion of them in the clinical literature. This presentation will discuss some of the uses for music and other sounds in therapy with survivors in the context of the ISSTD’s three stage treatment model for dissociative identity disorder.
Regular Conference – Saturday and Sunday May 4 – 5, 2019
Deception by Organized Abuser Groups: Helping Your Front People and Your Insiders Recognize the Lies and Tricks Which Keep You Enslaved by Dr. Alison Miller
If you are a survivor of abuse by a mind-controlling abuser group, you have parts who have been trained to obey abusers because they believe lies your abusers told you. The abusers deceived you in childhood, using drugs, acted-out scenarios, stage magic, stories and films to control your child parts and prevent you from speaking out about the abuse. Their power over you depends on your young parts believing the abusers’ lies. If you learn to recognize when your emotions and behavior are influenced by these deceptions, and to discover the ways in which you were deceived, you can increase your freedom from the abuser group.
Talking About Triggers Without Being Triggering by Dr. Randall Noblitt
This presentation is an interactive discussion about triggering phenomena, with the intent of avoiding causing triggered responses in one another. Such a conversation is possible when we do not use triggers explicitly, when we use synonyms, euphemisms, or other roughly equivalent stimuli that communicate without provoking a response. Triggers can include gestures, words, music, sounds, pictures, colors, etc. Many triggers are not provocative unless they are repeated or paired with other triggers. Being able to discuss triggers without being triggering (or triggered) is one way that survivors can develop their own sense of empowerment.
Barriers encountered by RA Survivors when accessing Support in Offline Spaces (Services) By Joseph Lumbasi
As a support organisation for RA survivors in the UK, Izzy’s Promise (SC033706) has been continuously carrying out research with its service users to identify barriers encountered and how best to overcome such barriers. Since 2002 when Izzy’s Promise was set up, they have commissioned a variety of research projects with abuse support organisations and ritual abuse (RA) survivors to identify how best to improve support services. The research projects have been conducted online using smart survey where more than 150 abuse support organisations in the UK responded to questions around barriers encountered while delivering support services to RA survivors. Similarly, the online research using smart survey where 300 RA survivors in the UK responded to questions around barriers encountered while accessing support services and suggestions on how to overcome such barriers. My intention is to analyse results from these research endeavours to produce a conference paper that I will present to delegates at the Survivors conference in May 2019 as well as publish the findings into a journal article. The findings will also be used to improve service delivery at Izzy’s Promise.
A Survivor’s View of Recovery from Ritual Abuse by Neil Brick
Recovery from ritual abuse can take many years. Recovery may include working through memories, building functionality and developing more effective ways of interacting and integrating emotions. Every individual has different experiences that lead them through the recovery path. Neil Brick will discuss his long journey healing from severe abuse. This will include ways he has learned more about himself, ways he has learned to develop healthier interactions with others and ways he has helped others along the recovery path.
France’s church sex abuse trial, Victim of sex trafficking who killed man granted clemency, Battle to Stop Family Separation, R. Kelly under criminal investigation
January 9, 2019 § Leave a comment