Recovered Memories of Child Abuse: Accuracy and Veracity, 110 Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory

November 4, 2014 Comments Off on Recovered Memories of Child Abuse: Accuracy and Veracity, 110 Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory

110 Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory:

53 Cases from Legal Proceedings
25 Clinical Cases and other Academic/Scientific Case Studies
33 Other Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory

Recovered Memories of Sexual Abuse  Scientific Research & Scholarly Resources

Amnesia for childhood sexual abuse is a condition.
The existence of this condition is beyond dispute.
Repression is merely one explanation
– often a confusing and misleading one –
for what causes the condition of amnesia.
Some people sexually abused in childhood
will have periods of amnesia for their abuse,
followed by experiences of delayed recall.

Research on the Effect of Trauma on Memory
Research has shown that traumatized individuals respond by using a variety of psychological mechanisms. One of the most common means of dealing with the pain is to try and push it out of awareness. Some label the phenomenon of the process whereby the mind avoids conscious acknowledgment of traumatic experiences as dissociative amnesia .  Others use terms such as repression , dissociative state , traumatic amnesia, psychogenic shock, or motivated forgetting .  Semantics aside, there is near-universal scientific acceptance of the fact that the mind is capable of avoiding conscious recall of traumatic experiences.

What about Recovered Memories?
Jennifer J. Freyd, University of Oregon

The Recovered Memory Project

Research discussing corroboration and accuracy of recovered memories

Recovered memory corroboration rates
“Between 31 and 64 percent of abuse survivors in six major studies reported that they forgot “some of the abuse.” Numbers reporting severe amnesia ranged from under 12% to 59%….Studies report 50-75% of abuse survivors corroborating the facts of their abuse through an outside source.”

Memory disturbances and dissociative amnesia in Holocaust survivors
The following articles provide compelling scientific evidence in support of the phenomena of dissociation and recovered memory in Holocaust survivors.

Recovered Memory Data

Recovered Memories – Child Abuse Wiki

Recovered memories have been defined as the phenomenon of partially or fully losing parts of memories of traumatic events, and then later recovering part or all of the memories into conscious awareness. They have also been defined as the recollections of memories that are believed to have been unavailable for a certain period of time[1]. There is very strong scientific evidence that recovered memories exist.[2] This has been shown in many scientific studies. The content of recovered memories have fairly high corroboration rates.

Scientific evidence
There are many studies that have proven that the recovered memories of traumatic events exist. Brown, Scheflin and Hammond found 43 studies that showed recovered memories for traumatic events[3]. The Recovered Memory Project has collected 101 corroborated cases of recovered memories[4]. Hopper’s research shows that amnesia for childhood sexual abuse is “beyond dispute.” He states that “at least 10% of people sexually abused in childhood will have periods of complete amnesia for their abuse, followed by experiences of delayed recall” [5] In one study of women with previously documented histories of sexual abuse, 38% of the women did not remember the abuse that had happened 17 years before.[6] Most recovered memories either precede therapy or the use of memory recovery techniques[7]. One studied showed that five out of 19 women with histories of familial sexual abuse either forgot specific details or had “blank periods” for these memories[8]. Another study showed that “40% reported a period of forgetting some or all of the abuse”[9]. Herman and Harvey’s study showed that 16% of abuse survivors had “complete amnesia followed by delayed recall”[10]. Corwin’s individual case study provides evidence of the existence of recovered memories on videotape[11].

Other researchers state:

Research has shown that traumatized individuals respond by using a variety of psychological mechanisms. One of the most common means of dealing with the pain is to try and push it out of awareness. Some label the phenomenon of the process whereby the mind avoids conscious acknowledgment of traumatic experiences as dissociative amnesia. Others use terms such as repression, dissociative state, traumatic amnesia, psychogenic shock, or motivated forgetting. Semantics aside, there is near-universal scientific acceptance of the fact that the mind is capable of avoiding conscious recall of traumatic experiences.[12]

A body of empirical evidence indicates that it is common for abused children to reach adulthood without conscious awareness of the trauma[13]

There is scientific evidence in support of the phenomena of dissociation and recovered memory in Holocaust survivors.[14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]

Corroboration rates
Many studies show high corroboration rates for recovered memories of traumatic events. These rates vary from 50 – 75%[37], 64%[13], 77%[38], 50%[39], 75%[40] 68%[41] 47%[9], and 70% [42]. One study showed amnesia in 12 murderers, with “objective evidence of severe abuse…obtained in 11 cases”[43]. There are also additional studies showing the corroboration of recovered memories[44][45][46][47].

excerpt used with permission from

When the Mind Splits – Dissociative identity disorder affects millions of people, most of whom are former child abuse victims

October 31, 2014 Comments Off on When the Mind Splits – Dissociative identity disorder affects millions of people, most of whom are former child abuse victims

When the Mind Splits
Dissociative identity disorder affects millions of people, most of whom are former child abuse victims.
Why do some psychologists doubt that the condition even exists?
By Sam Levin

….I met Elyse a few weeks after she sent me an email, stating that she has was trying to find a journalist to help her raise awareness about dissociative identity disorder, or DID (pronounced D-I-D), a misunderstood and stigmatized condition that is far more common than most people realize. Elyse was officially diagnosed with DID two years ago at Stanford University Medical Center, but she said she has had the condition for much longer.

“The majority of the public knows little to no correct information about DID, and even those in the professional field of psychology debate whether or not this disorder is even real,” Elyse wrote to me over the summer. “But it is. It is very, very real, and so I am working hard to spread awareness.”

Research has increasingly demonstrated that DID is a trauma-based disorder that typically emerges among people who have experienced childhood sexual or physical abuse. Dissociation occurs when people mentally detach themselves from their surroundings, a common coping mechanism for a child victim of abuse. When the abuse continues over a period of time, that dissociation can become extreme and lead the victim to develop distinct, dissociated parts of himself or herself that exist to withstand the abuse.

Experts on DID say that roughly 1 percent of the population suffers from the condition, making it as common as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

….Every year, child protective service agencies in the United States receive more than 3 million reports of child abuse. In 2012, there were nearly 63,000 documented cases of child sexual abuse, according to US Department of Health and Human Services data. And experts believe that the number of cases reported and investigated represents just a small fraction of the abuse and trauma that children suffer across the country.

“When they are reported, they are not dealt with well,” said David Spiegel, associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine and an expert on dissociative identity disorder. Some research has suggested that two-thirds of child trauma cases aren’t reported, he said. “These children have to live with it. How do you live with it? … You act as though it isn’t happening or it’s happening to somebody else that isn’t you.”

Cases involving the most severe and disturbing trauma — prolonged physical and sexual abuse by parents, other family members, or caregivers — are especially likely to go unreported. And so children in these cases develop their own ways to survive. “You can’t run away. You can’t fight it, so you go away in your head,” explained Bethany Brand, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Towson University in Maryland, who recently completed the world’s largest study on the treatment of dissociative disorders. “That makes it easier to disconnect from the body in pain.”

When a young mind repeatedly enters these dissociative states in response to ongoing abuse, the coping mechanism can evolve into DID. “It’s an interesting paradox of sort of breaking apart, so that you don’t break,” explained Janelle Salah, a Berkeley-based therapist who treats DID patients.

….A 2006 Journal of Psychiatric Research study concluded that 1.5 percent of the general population has DID. And a 2011 epidemiological overview of DID studies — which stated that “dissociative disorders constitute a hidden and neglected public health problem” — said the disorder exists in 0.4 to 3.1 percent of the general population, and in roughly 5 percent of psychiatric patients. That study also stated that dissociative patients are more likely to report childhood psychological trauma than people suffering from any other psychiatric disorder.

When The Mind Splits: Processing Dissociative Identity Disorder Through Art
by Sam Levin

In this week’s cover story, I profiled Elyse Winter-Volkova, a 21-year-old San Leandro woman who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, the condition formerly known as multiple personality disorder. Experts believe the disorder, also known as DID, affects roughly 1 percent of the population and most often emerges in people who have experienced severe childhood trauma, typically prolonged physical or sexual abuse. One of the leading DID experts featured in my story is Bethany Brand, a professor of psychology at Towson University in Maryland, who conducted the world’s largest study on the treatment of dissociative disorders. In addition to discussing her extensive research with me, Brand helped connect me to two women in Maryland who also have DID…..

DID most often develops as a highly complex coping mechanism in the face of intense abuse and trauma, meaning a child mentally detaches from his or her surroundings, and eventually develops distinct, dissociated parts (or personalities) that exist to withstand the abuse. The challenge for people living with DID is to develop a functional system of communication between different personalities or identities (sometimes called “alters”), with some sufferers working toward “integration” — that is, the fusion of different identities into one. While integration is not always the ultimate goal for people with DID, Elise told me that she is working toward integration — an incredibly difficult process of trying to merge different parts of herself that carry different memories and perspective on her past abuse. “I would like to come back together as much as possible,” she said….

When the Mind Splits
from East Bay Express

Elyse Winter-Volkova has been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, but instead of hiding it, she openly talks about her condition online, with the people in her life, and as a guest lecturer in college psychology classes. She hopes to raise awareness and advocate for greater acceptance of people with mental illnesses.

Dissociative identity disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) is defined in the DSM-IV-TR as the presence of two or more personality states or distinct identities that repeatedly take control of one’s behavior. The patient has an inability to recall personal information. The extent of this lack of recall is too great to be explained by normal forgetfulness. The disorder cannot be due to the direct physical effects of a general medical condition or substance.

Susan Powell’s Blood Found At Josh Powell’s Home, SYBIL in Her Own Words

March 31, 2012 Comments Off on Susan Powell’s Blood Found At Josh Powell’s Home, SYBIL in Her Own Words

Susan Powell’s Blood Found At Josh Powell’s Home, New Documents Show
By MIKE BAKER 03/30/12

TACOMA, Wash. — Authorities investigating the 2009 disappearance of a Utah woman found her blood in the family home and a hand-written note in which she expressed fear about her husband and her potential demise, according to documents unsealed Friday.

The files raise further questions about why Susan Powell’s husband was never charged in her disappearance before he killed himself and their two young sons in a gas-fueled inferno in Washington state earlier this year. Investigators in West Valley City, Utah, never arrested Josh Powell or even publicly labeled him as a suspect in his wife’s disappearance….

Shortly after Susan Powell disappeared, authorities found blood evidence on a floor next to a sofa and determined that it was Susan Powell’s. The sofa appeared to have been recently cleaned, and two fans had been set up to blow on it.

Investigators found several life insurance policies on Susan Powell that totaled $1.5 million and determined that Josh Powell had filed paperwork to withdraw her retirement account money about 10 days after her disappearance.

The documents describe Josh Powell as unwilling to help in the investigation.

A safety deposit box used by Susan Powell had a hand-written letter titled “Last will & testament for Susan Powell,” according to the documents. She wrote in that letter that she did not trust her husband and that they’d been having marital troubles for four years.

The letter also said that “if Susan Powell dies it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one,” according to the documents….

Investigators had found a gas can, tarps and a shovel in Josh Powell’s vehicle shortly after the investigation began. Susan Powell’s cellphone was also in the car, and Josh Powell “did not have an answer as to why,” according to the documents. One person interviewed by police said Powell had once made comments about how to kill someone and dispose of the body….

The documents also describe how Steven Powell had an apparent obsession with his daughter-in-law. A locked cabinet in Steve Powell’s bedroom contained multiple images of Susan Powell, including some of her in her underwear. Other images showed nude female bodies with Susan Powell’s face copied onto them.

Another image showed Steven Powell masturbating to an image of Susan Powell.

Susan Powell wrote in her personal journals that she did not want Steven Powell involved in her life and wished that Josh Powell would sever ties with him.

7pm • Free
Dr. Patrick Suraci, a friend of Sybil/Shirley Mason, will read from his book SYBIL in Her Own Words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities, and Paintings. Recorded conversations between Mason and Suraci will be made public for the first time, and Suraci will share his interpretations of paintings of five of Mason’s sixteen personalities.
Bluestockings, 172 Allen St
212-777-6028 • bluestockings. com

more information on the reading:
Projections of the paintings of 5 of Sybil’s 16 personalities are accompanied by his interpretations. Shirley’s recorded conversations with Dr. Suraci will be heard in public for the first time. Documents will be produced exposing the untrue statements made by others attempting to claim the Sybil case is a fraud.


Milwaukee woman charged with cutting fetus from mother has multiple personality disorder, report says

March 10, 2012 Comments Off on Milwaukee woman charged with cutting fetus from mother has multiple personality disorder, report says

Milwaukee woman charged with cutting fetus from mother has multiple personality disorder, report says – By Bruce Vielmetti  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 03/08/2012

MILWAUKEE – The woman charged with cutting the late-term fetus from a young mother, with hopes of passing the baby off as her own, suffers from a multiple personality disorder, according to the report of a new mental exam.

The 57-page report released Thursday concludes that Annette Morales-Rodriguez suffered horrific sexual abuse and abandonment as a child and has adopted extremely dissociative behavior to block it out. The truth only emerged during 13 hours of interviews in which her alter-ego, “Lara,” emerged, according to the report.

“Lara admitted to tragically believing that as a separate ‘person’ she could sacrificially spare Annette from imprisonment by coming forward herself and confessing to the crime,” states Anne Speckhard, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Medical School who was part of the defense team for Lorena Bobbitt….

Morales-Rodriguez, 34, has entered a similar plea, but a state psychiatrist in December found that she did not suffer from a mental disease or defect. She is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the October deaths of Maritza Ramirez, 23, and her unborn son.

According to the criminal complaint, Morales-Rodriguez went looking for a pregnant woman near a south side social service agency, found Ramirez and offered her a ride….

Speckhard, the defense expert, also has testified in courts around the country and before Congress about post-traumatic stress disorder, and worked with international committees on terrorism and its sociocultural effects. She also has studied and written about the traumatic stress of abortion, according to her website.

But in court Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams questioned her qualifications, noting her doctorate is in family social science, and that federal judges in Wisconsin have declined to recognize her as an expert in two other cases.

Whether it ever becomes evidence, Speckhard’s report offers fascinating reading about a condition – dissociative disorder disease, or DID – believed to exist in less than 1 percent of people.

According to the report, in the first several hours of an interview at the jail, Morales-Rodriguez spoke of a fairly happy, normal childhood. But eventually, Speckhard noticed that when the conversation turned to the facts of the case or other trauma, Morales-Rodriguez’s eyes would roll up and her eyelids would flutter rapidly, as “Lara” would emerge.

According to Speckhard, Lara is only a personality fragment, developed to absorb the most traumatic experiences and memories of Morales-Rodriguez’s abuse and abandonment by her mother, and the death of her grandmother. Like those events, the October murders don’t register in Annette’s memory, while Lara can recall them in numb detail. The report includes lengthy accounts of each personality speaking of the other, and mentions a videotaped emergence of Lara during the second daylong interview.

“The change was quite dramatic in bodily posture, musculature, emotional tone, etc.” the report states.

Speckhard concludes that Morales-Rodriguez continues to suffer from a severe mental defect that affects her capacity to “understand and morally evaluate her decisions and actions” and is dire need of lengthy therapy.

According to the report:

Morales-Rodriguez suffered long-term sexual abuse until about age 12. Her mother left the family, and her grandmother, who had taken over parenting, died when Morales-Rodriguez was 16, a very traumatic event that triggered her first realization of Lara….

Correlations between dissociation, DID and child abuse in different parts of the world

February 17, 2012 Comments Off on Correlations between dissociation, DID and child abuse in different parts of the world

Epidemiology of Dissociative Disorders: An Overview
Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 404538, 8 pages
Vedat Sar  Department of Psychiatry, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, 34390 Capa, Istanbul,  Turkey


….screening studies using diagnostic tools designed to assess dissociative disorders yielded lifetime prevalence rates around 10% in clinical populations and in the community. Special populations such as psychiatric emergency ward applicants, drug addicts, and women in prostitution demonstrated the highest rates. Data derived from epidemiological studies also support clinical findings about the relationship between childhood adverse experiences and dissociative disorders.

….  Data collected in diverse geographic locations such as North America [2], Puerto Rico [3], Western Europe [4], Turkey [5], and Australia [6] underline the consistency in clinical symptoms of dissociative disorders. These clinical case series have also documented that dissociative patients report highest frequencies of childhood psychological trauma among all psychiatric disorders. Childhood sexual (57.1%–90.2%), emotional (57.1%), and physical (62.9%–82.4%) abuse and neglect (62.9%) are among them.

….Two studies in North America demonstrated that 13.0–20.7 % of psychiatric inpatients had a dissociative disorder [22, 23]. Studies on dissociative disorders in Istanbul, Turkey, yielded a prevalence slightly above 10% among psychiatric inpatients and outpatients [8, 24, 25]. Although still considerable, these rates were lower in the Netherlands [26], Germany [18], and Switzerland [27] among inpatients, that is, between 4.3%–8.0%. A Finnish study [28] reported higher rates for psychiatric outpatients (14.0%) and inpatients (21.0%). Emergency admissions of a university psychiatric clinic in Istanbul, Turkey yielded the highest rate in the country:  35.7% [29]. In a study from Zurich, Switzerland, among severely impaired psychiatric outpatients, prevalence of all dissociative disorders were 25.0% [30].

….Overall, the prevalence of dissociative disorders in inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings seems to be around 10%, while approximately half of them (5%) has DID, the most severe type of dissociative disorders.

…. A screening study on a representative sample…in Manitoba, Canada, using the DDIS yielded 11.2% prevalence for all DSM-III-R dissociative disorders [36]. Two large-scale studies were conducted in the general population of Sivas City, Turkey, supported these findings gathered in North America.  The first one was conducted on a representative sample of 994 participants from both genders [37]. Approximately 3/4 of the probands dropped-out who were selected for a second and third diagnostic interview due to their elevated DES scores. Despite of this high loss in data, 0.4% of the original sample was diagnosed as having clinically confirmed DID.  The second study in Sivas City, Turkey was conducted on a representative female sample of 648 participants in the same city using a structured diagnostic interview, that is, the DDIS [38]. The overall prevalence of dissociative disorders was 18.3%.  1.1% of the population had DID. However, the largest group was DDNOS (8.3%). Conditions based primarily on the presence of distinct personality states (i.e., DID and DDNOS-1) built up a prevalence of 5.2% for chronic complex dissociative disorders.

….In a recent North American study conducted in the community (New York,…the prevalence was 8.6% for all DSM-IV dissociative disorders observed in the past year [39]….A further study [42] documented that 6.3% of the general population suffered from three or more frequently occurring dissociative symptoms possibly representing a dissociative disorder. In The Netherlands, 378 subjects from a non-clinical population were screened using the dissociation questionnaire (DIS-Q), a self-rating scale of European origin [43, 44]. 2.1% of the participants had a score above the cutoff point (score of 2.5), and 0.5 % had a score comparable to those of patients with dissociative disorders (scores of 3.0 or higher).

….Among consecutive inpatients admitted to a dependency treatment unit of a large state mental hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, the lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV dissociative disorders was 17.2% [45].  These rates were   9.0% for alcohol dependency only [46] and 26.0% for patients with chemical dependency [47]. Those rates were between 15.0% and 39.0% [48–50] for patients with chemical dependency in North America.

….In Germany, a screening study was conducted on 51 male criminal offenders admitted to a medicolegal institution by the court so as to understand diminished or lack of responsibility for the offence due to psychiatric disorder, including a large group of persons with substance-use disorders [56]. Using the SCID-D, a high prevalence of dissociative symptoms and disorders (23.5%), mostly DDNOS, was demonstrated. 22.6% of the group had a DES score 20.0 or higher. In Turkey [57], 26.8% of 108 male prisoners in a regular correctional center had a DES score 20 or above. This rate was 18.5% for DES scores 30 or above which is known to be the cut-off level for chronic dissociative disorders [58]. Nevertheless, according to the SCID-D, 15.7% of the subjects had a dissociative disorder, that is, either DDNOS or dissociative amnesia. Exotic dancers and women in prostitution have also been demonstrated as risk groups for dissociative disorders [52–55, 59]. This seem to be due to the highly traumatic background of the probands.

….Epidemiological studies also documented the relationship between dissociative disorders and childhood trauma, an association clinicians and researchers are familiar with [32, 71, 72].  A screening study conducted on consecutively admitted psychiatric outpatients yielded elevated rates for sexual (27.8%), physical (50.0%,), and emotional (72.2%) abuse and neglect (83.3%) among dissociative patients in comparison to nondissociative controls [24]. In the inpatient psychiatric unit of the same institution, these rates were 58.8%, 82.4%, 70.6%, and   58.8%, respectively [25]. Apparently, patients with childhood sexual and/or physical abuse were hospitalized more readily pointing to a more crisis-prone and severe general condition. On the other hand, dissociative outpatients and dissociative subjects identified in non-clinical settings report emotional abuse and neglect predominantly [24, 38]. Nevertheless, in a Turkish study in the community, subjects with dissociative or conversion disorder (somatic dissociation) reported significantly higher levels of childhood traumata than the remaining participants [38, 69]. In a case series and also in the community, conversion disorder patients with a concurrent dissociative disorder reported childhood traumata more frequently than those without.

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