Daniella grew up in The Family, then joined the army — where she experienced toxic control, again

January 31, 2023 Comments Off on Daniella grew up in The Family, then joined the army — where she experienced toxic control, again

Daniella grew up in The Family, then joined the army — where she experienced toxic control, again

The Conversation / By Martine Kropkowski Thu 26 Jan 2023

Daniella Mestyanek Young’s first day of military training, she stands among her fellow recruits holding a duffle bag high in one arm above her head.

As she ponders the other bodies lined up in her peripheral vision, all struggling to maintain the same pose, it gradually occurs to her that this feeling — of being owned, coerced, programmed — seems unsettlingly familiar: “Have I just joined another cult?

“This sense of suspicion forms a pattern in Mestyanek Young’s life, which she documents with remarkable insight in her memoir, Uncultured, exploring the systems of control in which toxicity can thrive.

Mestyanek Young was born into religious cult the Children of God, also known as The Family. (Not to be confused with Anne Hamilton Byrne’s Australian-based cult, also known as The Family.)

Mestyanek Young spent her childhood shuffled from compound to compound in Brazil, Mexico and the United States. At 15, she fled what she would come to recognise as a cult, made her way to Texas and put herself through school and college, eventually graduating as valedictorian and joining the US army, where she served as an intelligence officer.

Daniella Mestyanek Young explores the systems of control in which toxicity can thrive, from within a cult and then the US army. But this book is not simply a survival story. It’s an exposé of the abuse that can run unchecked within cults. It’s a story about trauma, a war memoir, a meditation on the difference between culture and cults. And it’s a searing indictment of groups that continue to view those who are not men as subservient to those who are.

But at its core, Uncultured is a book about groups. It asks readers to look closely at the power mechanisms at work within the communities we call our own.The Children of God Mestyanek Young describes her childhood as a third-generation cult member (one of the “children of the children of the Children of God”) in chilling detail — but also striking detachment. The cult, also known as The Family, is infamous for its widespread and systematic abuse, especially of children.

The hierarchy cited the proverb, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, to justify its exploitative treatment of children. It subjected children to routine beatings and demanded they remain perpetually available to satiate the sexual impulses of the cult’s adults. Mestyanek Young’s father was 49 years old when she was born; her mother was only 15.Even as a young child programmed from birth, Mestyanek Young intuited that something about her world was deeply wrong.

At just six years old, already questioning the legitimacy of the Bible, Mestyanek Young was locked in a room and repeatedly raped and beaten by one of the cult’s men, a distinguished “uncle”.Despite the cult’s coercion tactics, however, Mestyanek Young was able to observe its inner workings from an unusually critical perspective, haunted by a sense that “even though I was the one getting punished, somewhere deep inside I suspected the wrong thing wasn’t me”…. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-27/daniella-cult-the-family-joined-the-army-toxic-control/101895164 

Shards of glass and dark rituals (English transcript)Argos investigates satanic ritual abuse

November 5, 2021 Comments Off on Shards of glass and dark rituals (English transcript)Argos investigates satanic ritual abuse

Shards of glass and dark rituals (English transcript)
Argos investigates satanic ritual abuse


May be very triggering for survivors. Describes rituals and violence in detail.

  Sanne Terlingen, Huub Jaspers, Sophie Blok

  Over the last year, Argos collected the experiences and stories of over two hundred victims of organized sexual abuse. A hundred and forty victims told us about ritual abuse. In the radio documentary below, Argos highlights their stories and discovers unsettling similarities. This documentary aired on Dutch national radio (NPO Radio 1) on June 27, 2020. Original title: Glasscherven en duistere rituelen.  

Our questionnaire generated all kinds of stories. Twins Beatrix and Stefanie reached out, because they wanted to find the child pornography recordings that featured them. We received stories of sexual abuse at sports clubs and boarding schools, on grooming and cults. But reports of a very different nature quickly started to surface. Stories about unimaginable torture practices and rituals.  

When these types of responses first started pouring in, we had no idea what to do with them. We found out there is an official definition: Ritual Abuse. In the nineties, health care workers sounded the alarm bells, and a lot of media attention ensued.

Marinke wrote down that she would be taken away in a car. From a very young age. She was often under the influence of drugs, so that she wouldn’t know where she was brought to. There were men and women who would at times wear black and purple robes. Family members, teachers, lawyers, and ‘even people working within the Dutch government, although no one will probably believe that’, she wrote. She also writes that obedience was enforced in many different ways.  

….We analysed the 140 questionnaires in which ritual characteristics were mentioned. That’s how we discovered even more wrong assumptions. For example, there were no signs of hypnosis. And over forty people mention abuse that took place within the past ten years. That group includes people who shared stories of a network they’re still a part of to this day.  

Those aren’t exactly ‘recovered memories’ from a long-forgotten past. The assumption that all victims file police reports is also incorrect. Only a handful of respondents claims to have done so. And that would usually be against one or two persons, not an entire network.  

One assumption is correct: over three quarters of the respondents have been diagnosed with DID – dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. This includes Marinke.  

Christel Kraaij is a clinical psychologist working for GGZ Centraal (Dutch mental health care facilities). She is one of the experts that helped us out with drawing up our questionnaire. She has been treating clients with DID for over ten years. Around fifteen of them speak of Ritual Abuse.  

Christel Kraaij:
I treat people that have gotten out of the network completely, I treat people that are still being pressured by the network but can stay safe. So people who receive emails and texts but no longer respond to them. And I do also treat people who are still actively approached by the network and who are abused and mistreated.   NARRATOR [ST]

The horrific acts they speak of show distinctive similarities: Christel Kraaij:
The holidays are of course a similarity, whether it be Easter or Pentecost or Christmas or Ascension Day, but also all kinds of days that don’t stem from Christianity but are things like a Full Moon, the change of seasons. That those are the days on which the most horrific things take place.  

….NARRATOR [ST] And there’s something else victims of Ritual Abuse have in common:

Christel Kraaij:
It’s what I call ‘mind control’. People who have experienced Ritual Abuse show a lot more signs of…brainwashing you could say. They would sometimes refer to them as ‘programs’, that can switch on and display very typical behaviour that isn’t really visible in people who have DID but did not suffer Ritual Abuse. What they say about that is that there is a type of training, more like conditioning, that when someone says A, they have to do B.  

As has probably become clear by now, we decided to take up the gauntlet. We start by looking for the common denominator in these stories. Almost every single one of the 140 people who filled out our questionnaire state that they were introduced to the network by a family member, usually their father or mother. All of them were drugged. Almost every one of them was forced into prostitution. Child pornography was produced, as well as torture porn.  

We’re talking dozens of overlapping testimonies. Over a hundred people mention abuse on specific holidays. Two thirds mention men and women in robes – black, purple, red or white.   ….But we find a detail that we can investigate further: several women state that the perpetrators insert glass into their vaginas. The thought behind it is that they would have to return to the network in order to get it removed. But some women did end up getting their injuries treated in hospital.  

We phone gynaecologists and care workers. These conversations are confidential. We have to promise that we won’t name any names. Four gynaecologists confirm that they have encountered such things, where they had to remove glass from a vagina. One gynaecologist states that she removed glass from the bodies of two women. These are severely traumatised victims of sexual abuse. With one of them the gynaecologist questioned whether she might have inserted the glass herself. But with the other one, a young girl, she was convinced that someone else did it to her. But still, that does not prove there’s a network behind these crimes.  

I remember very clearly, it was a quarter to nine and she was playing the piano and had her phone up on the piano and then, all of a sudden an image appeared on her phone, a picture of a V with flames going through it, and at that point she just changed at once. Marinke was gone and in her place a sort of robotic alter appeared, saying: I must leave, I must leave. And a while later a message followed, something like ‘it’s starting to take very long now’. And yes, it just went on for a while actually. Like, ‘you have to come now, or else: rest in peace’, these kinds of threats.

Sanne: Can you fake an alter?
Mother-in-law: I’d imagine that if you’re an amazing actor you could fake it, yes. But to continue to do that, year in, year out, and to fake awful recollections and horrible nightmares in the middle of the night, that seems a bit farfetched. And to continue doing that for five years.

It’s far from the only incident they’ve been through with Marinke. Often, when Marinke received such a phone call, or when it was a special holiday, she’d disappear.  

That changes when Marinke even receives a letter while staying at the closed ward in Emergis, a mental health facility.  

Every single possession she had at Emergis, I had personally brought her. She was there, in a little room, without access to computers, printers or anything. She just couldn’t have done this herself.   NARRATOR [ST]
That night, they receive a phone call from the facility: they can’t find Marinke. Mother-in-law:
It’s just puzzling how she managed to get out of that closed ward. Because there’s actually a very high fence there.

There wasn’t like a little step or anything in front of that fence?
No, because the fence was meant to keep people inside.

You’re listening to Argos, the investigative journalism show by VPRO and Human on NPO Radio 1. Over the past year we’ve received over a hundred and forty statements concerning Ritual Abuse. One of the girls who shared her story with us is Marinke. Her parents-in-law kept a large dossier in which they record everything that happened to her. It contains pictures of the window through which Marinke escaped from the closed mental health facility. It was smashed in, from the outside. It also includes photos of a sawed through brake line, belonging to a car. Pictures of injuries on Marinke’s body, and a letter from Marinke’s family.

….Bas Kremer, therapist and board member at the Knowledge Centre for Organized Transgenerational Abuse:
I think every single police report on ritual abuse has been dismissed. That they just automatically get sent to the LEBZ, and with that, discarded.  

Bas Kremer works as a therapist and is member of the board at the Knowledge Centre for Organized Transgenerational Abuse.  

The Knowledge Centre is made up of a group of health care specialists who deal with clients that have come forward with stories on Ritual Abuse. They’ve been active for 25 years. They also conducted research, for which they interviewed just under thirty health care workers. They discovered very clear overlaps between their clients’ testimonies.  

Bas Kremer:
There are a few very clear similarities. Certain very specific recurring locations, also certain names of perpetrators that would have also been mentioned by other victims. And we also saw a lot of overlap in the mind control that was imposed on them.  

The health care officials sounded the alarm bells. They themselves experienced things that severely frightened them.  

Bas Kremer:
When our therapy session finished, they’d go out and there was literally a dying pigeon lying there in the house, in the hallway, right in front of the door of the practice.  

….Bas Kremer:
We are also talking about abuse that starts at a young age, baby age, toddler age. And it’s almost inevitable that the parents would play a part there, or can safeguard it to the group. Children, I’m almost afraid to say, but they’re trained, I think, to continue to function normally while being abused. That also entails that children can endure abuse from age zero, can continue smiling, even though they are being hurt severely. Remaining silent and never saying a word, in order to make it possible to let them get abused by strangers without anyone finding out.  

The reality is not nearly as mysterious as the term ‘ritual abuse’ might lead you to think. Victims don’t call it ritual abuse, but speak of ‘them’ or ‘the network’. ‘They’ are also engaged in drug and arms trafficking. Take a van to the port and pick up a bag of cocaine. Switch number plates. Make a quick stop at a holiday park or a rest stop in order to exchange the bag for two teenage girls. Switch number plates again and take the girls to a party, where they’re made to ‘wait’ in a cage or caravan until the party starts. On other days there are smaller, private parties at someone’s residence.  

An errand boy describes how he would drive young women to a rest spot at the Veluwe, where they were forced to ‘work’ for the group. Other girls had to do the same in large hotels or sex clubs.  

Some victims speak of the ‘cult’. Mostly to make clear how brainwashed they are and how difficult it is to break loose.  

Bas Kremer:
The number one characteristic of a cult is how they manage to isolate people. It can be very difficult to cut ties when you’re an adult, but we’re talking about networks that you’re born into here. So, this is what you’ve known your entire life   ….The same goes for pregnancies. 78 percent states that they got pregnant through the abuse. The majority more than once. They’d get tortured to the point of losing their baby, they say. But they also speak of ‘nobodies’. Children that were born into and kept within the network, and never got officially registered. Some of them are dragged from place to place. Others live with families that are active within the network. Their mothers are only allowed to see them if their sexual performance is up to par. If they continue to come back. These nobodies undergo the most severe forms of abuse.

These are all stories that the people working for the Knowledge Centre are told too, board member Bas Kremer says. We ask him whether he’s also heard about the involvement of highly ranked officials in the abuse or its coverup:  

Bas Kremer:
Yes, that is something that I often hear. I also think it’s something they’re told again and again, within these networks, the children too. Like they’re in charge of everyone and control the entire world.  

Our map is covered in stickers at this stage: over eight stickers on a Belgian castle, which was also pointed out by Marinke. Several stickers on a residence, in a specific street in a mid-sized city. And on a building in the Veluwe. We end up locating over ten spots that were named by several of our participants. And then we receive an anonymous email: ‘Beware, they know about your investigation. They’re going to get rid of evidence – just like they did with Dutroux’.   That same day the warehouse in the Bollenstreek burns down. We phone the fire department. The damage is so severe that a cause of fire cannot be determined.

Wendy Hoffman

October 29, 2021 Comments Off on Wendy Hoffman

Information about Wendy Hoffman and her publications

Wendy Hoffman – Survivorship Conference 2017 – Dirty Therapy

Survivors may want to use caution while watching this presentation. None of this video is meant as therapy or to take the place of therapy.

Wendy Hoffman Dirty Therapy

We know that satanic cult perpetrator groups infiltrate the very professions and organizations that survivors turn to for help. Survivors in general often look for therapeutic assistance. Consequently, these criminal groups have set up some of their members to become therapists and to lead therapy groups. Even when we think that we are in a safe environment, what we sometimes find are people re-programming us and closing us down. There are still many safe and competent therapists working in the field of mind control. In this presentation, I will talk about some of the professionals I was sent to, how I was ordered to go and what they did to re-assert barriers in my mind. Being aware of these dangers helps survivors to elude them. The underlying issue of betrayal will also be considered. Audience participation is encouraged.

Wendy Hoffman somehow survived various forms of high level secret mind control. She tried all her life to get free and has finally succeeded. Now she wants to help and support other survivors in their quest for freedom. She has been a licensed clinical social worker with decades of experience and is the author of The Enslaved Queen, a Memoir about Electricity and Mind Control, published in 2014, White Witch in a Black Robe, a True Story about Criminal Mind Control, 2015, as well as her book of poetry, Forceps, 2016, all published by Karnac Books, London. Aeon Books reissued her two memoirs. The Enslaved Queen has been translated into German. From the Trenches, co-authored with Dr. Alison Miller, and her third memoir, A Brain of My Own, have recently been published.

The Enslaved Queen, a Memoir about Mind Control and Electricity
By Wendy Hoffman

Written by a survivor of mind control and ritual abuse who is also a therapist, this memoir exposes the existence and practices of organized criminal groups who abuse children, helps survivors of those abuses, and provides important information for professionals about the dissociative brain. The author’s poetic prose contrasts with the horror of the subject matter. The adult journeys back to give voice to infant and child parts of her, describing her handlers’ early interventions to destroy bonding and create dissociation, the foundation of reverse-Kabbalah suicide and pathway programming, and the installation of mind control. Scenes from ordinary life are interspersed throughout the memoir. Nazi post-war recruitment of American subjects during the 1940s and 50s (including the infamous Dr. Mengele), children used for prostitution, pornography and the drug trade along with the workings of the Illuminati leadership and their international Feast of the Beast rituals are all included. https://www.amazon.com/Enslaved-Queen-Electricity-Control-Fiction/dp/1782201483/

White Witch in a Black Robe By Wendy Hoffman

White Witch in a Black Robe is a memoir about how secret high-level mind control is performed throughout victims’ lives and the ways heads of governments and religious organizations participate in this, as well as the healing process and how the mind becomes whole again. The memoir begins with the author’s childhood in a multi-generational cult family, her ordinary life in the normal world and her simultaneous secret tortuous world. She describes her world travels as a satanic cult queen and prophet, encountering well-known and influential people. The final section portrays the process of weaving the pieces of her mind back together with the help of a therapist, and adjusting to life with a whole mind. https://www.amazon.com/White-Witch-Black-Robe-Criminal/dp/1782203664

Forceps: Poems about the Birth of the Self By Wendy Hoffman

The search for my true past came in distinct waves. This collection of poems includes some from the long period when I knew something was drastically wrong but didn’t consciously know what that was and some from the breakthrough when I discovered my never-bloomed self. The poems cover the outskirts of my awakening, my plowing through and arrival in the middle of awareness. When dissociated memories and emotions exploded inside, eventually they filtered into a poem. The horror transmuted itself. These poems are that record. I have regained a real, not imposed, self. https://www.karnacbooks.com/product/forceps-poems-about-the-birth-of-the-self/38047/

From the Trenches: A Victim and Therapist Talk about Mind Control and Ritual Abuse
By Wendy Hoffman and Alison Miller

Though desiring retirement, psychologist Alison Miller offered help to the respected mind control and ritual abuse victim Wendy Hoffman. Through Wendy’s internal investigations, they discovered how Illuminati and Nazi programming works, its international goals, as well as finding out new ways to uncover the hidden, and to heal. Their goal was to gain clarity about Wendy’s cult personas, and to learn how to integrate a complicated, tortured brain.

A BRAIN OF MY OWN, A memoir about dissociation dissolved
By Wendy Hoffman

A Brain of My Own is about slavery, about brains stolen in childhood and before; brains that have been intruded upon, stopped, shrunk, paralyzed. We know about the history of people whose bodies were enslaved; but we know barely anything about the victims who appear free but whose brains are invisibly chained. Nor do we know about the international collusion, silence, and apathy that surround this kind of slavery.
In A Brain of My Own, Wendy Hoffman describes her final years of attempting escape from the criminal mind control cult into which she had the misfortune of being born. This is her third memoir, and chronicles the final years of reclaiming her brain, including the ongoing abuse and torture during her recovery process. Hoffman describes the ways in which perpetrators manipulate the brain to create amnesiac barriers, methods held secret for generations. She exposes the duplicity of perpetrators functioning as normal people in the ordinary world and what is under their masks. She gives advice about how to spot seemingly helpful people who are actually out to destroy victims of mind control. The book includes an Afterword by Dr. Alison Miller.
This kind of dissociation is difficult to overcome, but the path back to full humanity is possible and happening.


Self-Esteem Loosens Mind Control by Wendy Hoffman – Survivorship Conference 2016
Mind control roots in people’s minds even though it does not benefit them in any way. Why? One reason is that strong feelings hold the mandates in place. Where do these feelings come from? From the perpetrators, not their victims. The perpetrators begin manipulating in these feelings during infancy and before the infants and children even know who they are. This workshop presentation will discuss the kinds of feelings the mind controllers place in their victims to secure that they will not try to break free of their poisonous commands, and how improving self-esteem can help loosen mind control. But people can break free. They can and are and have. Right now.
This workshop discussed:
1. Explore these early emotional states
2. Understand the distortions and lies told to children
3. Help loosen programming through improved self-esteem.
Integration will also be discussed.
Transcript of Wendy’s Presentation:


“On writing a scary memoir and using my own name,” in Shattered but Unbroken: Voices of Triumph and Testimony
Editor : Amelia van der Merwe, Editor : Valerie Sinason

Various essays in Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse
Author: Alison Miller

#Wendy_Hoffman #WendyHoffman WendyHoffman

Michael Salter

October 29, 2021 Comments Off on Michael Salter

Michael Salter

Organised abuse has been reported by child victims, adult survivors and a range of professionals for over thirty years. However, organised abuse remains poorly understood.
This website has been developed by criminologist Scientia Associate Professor Michael Salter who specialises in the study of organised abuse and complex trauma. The aim of the website is to disseminate reliable information about organised abuse to professionals, victims and survivors.

Scientia Associate Professor Michael Salter
I am the Scientia Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of New South Wales, Australia. I specialise in the study of organised sexual abuse. In addition to my work on complex trauma, I have researched and published widely on violence against women and children.
I sit on the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. I am an Associate Editor of Child Abuse Review, the peer-reviewed journal of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and I sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation.
I act as a consultant and trainer to a range of non-government organisations and government departments at the state and national level. I am an expert advisor to the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

    Salter, M. and Hanson, E. (2021) “I need you all to understand how pervasive this issue is”: User efforts to regulate child sexual offending on social media. In Baily, J., Flynn, A. and Henry, N. The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-facilitated Violence and Abuse. Emerald Publishing.
  Salter, M. (2018) Child sexual abuse, in Rennison, C.M., Dekeseredy, W. S., Hall-Sanchez, A. (Eds), Routledge International Handbook of Violence Studies, London and New York: Routledge
  Salter, M. (2018) Finding a new narrative: Meaningful responses to ‘false memory’ disinformation, in Sinason, V. Memory in Dispute, Karnac: London.
Salter, M. (2018) Child sexual abuse. In Dekeseredy, W. and Dragiewicz, M. (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology, Routledge: London and New York.
 Salter, M. (2016) Organised child sexual abuse in the media. In Pontel, H. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Oxford University Press: Oxford and London.
 Salter, M. (2008) Out of the shadows: Re-envisioning the debate on ritual abuse. In: Perskin. P. and Noblitt. R. (eds) Ritual abuse in the twenty-first century: Psychological, forensic, social and political considerations. Robert D. Reed: Brandon, OR.

Organised abuse and the politics of disbelief
Michael Salter

Out of the shadows: Re-envisioning the debate on ritual abuse
2008 Michael Salter

Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Organised Abuse: Examining our History and Looking Forward
Michael Salter, PhD
I was a teenager when ritual abuse was first reported in Australia. A series of newspaper articles in the mid-1990s claimed that women were entering psychotherapy only to ‘recover’ memories of grotesque and improbable abuse.

The general thrust of coverage was that the movement against child abuse had gone too far, and that therapists and social workers were encouraging, and sometimes forcing, children and women to imagine abuse that had never happened. I was entirely unprepared when, only a few years after the publication of those articles, a friend began disclosing ritual abuse in the context of a paedophile ring. These disclosures occurred without facilitation or encouragement by a mental health professional, and they did not conform to mass media warnings about ‘false’ and ‘recovered’ memories. She had never ‘forgotten’ her abuse and she was reporting attacks in the present that left behind undeniable marks and injuries. Her disclosures set me on the path to a career as a criminologist specializing in the study of organized child sexual abuse. I now chair the Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Organised Abuse Special Interest Group (RAMCOA) which is full of people just like me: people who unexpectedly encountered survivors of extreme abuse and have sought to understand and address their particular needs. The SIG includes an important cohort of therapists who are also survivors, driven by personal experience and professional commitment to provide care for others who share their history. Over the last few years, there’ve been moves afoot within the ISSTD to revisit and come to grips with the fractious legacies of the ‘memory wars’, including controversies over ritual abuse and mind control. I listened with great interest at the national ISSTD conference in Chicago this year as a number of ‘veterans’ of those wars shared their reflections on that time.

Michael Salter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminology and Scientia Fellow at the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales
Dr. Michael Salter is an Associate Professor of Criminology and Scientia Fellow at the School of Social Sciences at UNSW. Michael applies critical and feminist theory to the study of child sexual exploitation, gendered violence and complex trauma. He is leading two national studies: one on multi-sectorial constructions on complex trauma, and the second on the role of parents in the production of child exploitation material. Other current research projects include an analysis of perpetrator interventions in gendered violence and the role of technology in domestic violence. Michael sits on the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, and he is Associate Editor of Child Abuse Review.

Dr. Salter’s recent publications include:
Salter, M. (2020). Improved accountability: The role of perpetrator intervention systems.
Salter, M. (2020). “A deep wound under my heart”: Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence.
Salter, M., Robinson, K., Ullman, J., Denson, N., Ovenden, G., Noonan, K., & Bansel, P. (2019). Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Men’s Attitudes and Understandings of Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. DOI: 10.1177/0886260519898433.
McPhillips, K., Salter, M., Roberts-Pedersen, E., & Kezelman, C. (2019). Understanding trauma as a system of psycho-social harm: Contributions from the Australian royal commission into child sex abuse. Child abuse & neglect, 99. DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104232.
Salter, M. (2019). The transitional space of public inquiries: The case of the Royal Commission into Institutional Forms of Child Sexual Abuse. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. DOI: 10.1177/0004865819886634.
Salter, M. (2019). Online Justice in the Circuit of Capital: #MeToo, Marketization and the Deformation of Sexual Ethics. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-15213-0_20.
Dragiewicz, M., Harris, B., Woodlock, D., & Salter, M. (2019). Domestic violence and communication technology: Survivor experiences of intrusion, surveillance, and identity crime.

Michael Salter
UNSW Sydney | UNSW · School of Social Sciences
My research is focused on violence against women, child abuse, primary prevention and complex forms of victimisation, including organised abuse and technologically-facilitated abuse.

Organised Sexual Abuse
By Michael Salter
Copyright Year 2013 1st Edition
ISBN 9781138789159
Organised Sexual Abuse offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary investigation of this phenomenon. Since the early 1980s, social workers and mental health professionals around the globe have encountered clients reporting sexual abuse by organized groups or networks. These allegations have been amongst the most controversial in debates over child sexual abuse, raising many unanswered questions. Are reports of organized abuse factual or the product of moral panic and false memories? If these reports are true, what is the appropriate response? The fields of child protection and psychotherapy have been polarised over the issue. And, although cases of organized abuse continue to be uncovered, a reasoned and evidence-based analysis of the subject is long overdue.
Examining the existing evidence, and supplementing it with further qualitative research, in this book Michael Salter addresses: the relationship between sexual abuse and organized abuse; questions over the veracity of testimony; the gap between the policing response to sexual abuse and the realities of child sexual exploitation; the contexts in which sexually abusive groups develop and operate; the role of religion and ritual in subcultures of multi-perpetrator sexual abuse; as well as the experience of adults and children with histories of organized abuse in the criminal justice system and health system. Organized Sexual Abuse thus provides a definitive analysis that will be of immense value to those with professional and academic interests in this area.

“A deep wound under my heart”: Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence May 2020 Michael Salter
Responses to women who have experienced complex trauma need to be sensitive, coordinated and consistent between services and agencies to ensure women’s wellbeing and safety from violence. However, the development of shared frameworks of practice for addressing complex trauma has been forestalled by a lack of professional consensus and understanding…

Organized Sexual Abuse. Dr. Michael Salter
Today on the podcast, Michael Salter.
Michael is an Associate Professor in Criminology at Western Sydney University, Australia and specializes in the study of organized sexual abuse.
In addition to his work on complex trauma, Michael Salter has researched and published widely on violence against women and children.
Michael sits on the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and is an associate editor of Child Abuse Review, the peer-reviewed journal of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Organized abuse in adulthood: Survivor and professional perspectives
October 2019
DOI: 10.4324/9781351213981-13
In book: The Abused and the Abuser (pp.199-211)
Authors: Michael Salter UNSW Sydney

Malignant trauma and the invisibility of ritual abuse
June 2019 DOI: 10.33212/att.v13n1.2019.16
Authors: Michael Salter UNSW Sydney
This article draws on psychoanalytic theories of malignant trauma to explain the invisibility of ritual abuse. Ritual abuse refers to the misuse of rituals in the organised sexual abuse of children. Despite expanded recognition of the varieties of child maltreatment, ritual abuse remains largely invisible outside the trauma and dissociation field as a specific form of sexual exploitation. Presenting qualitative data from interview research with ritual abuse survivors and mental health specialists, this article argues that the trauma of ritual abuse and its invisibility are co-constitutive. The perpetration and denial of ritual abuse occur within a relational matrix of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders structured by the presymbolic dread of vulnerability and dependency. The simultaneity of perpetration and disavowal creates the conditions for the malignancy of ritual abuse, including the invisibility of victims and the intergenerational transmission of extreme abuse. The article examines how the provision of care to ritual abuse survivors can become contingent on its erasure, and reflects on the role of therapists and others in interrupting the metastases of malignant trauma and crafting cultural and moral frameworks to transform the dread at the core of ritual abuse.

Cultures of Abuse: ‘Sex Grooming’, Organised Abuse and Race in Rochdale, UK
June 2015 International Journal for Crime Justice and Social Democracy 4(2)
DOI: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v4i2.211
Authors: Michael Salter UNSW Sydney Selda Dagistanli Western Sydney University
Revelations of organised abuse by men of Asian heritage in the United Kingdom have become a recurrent feature of international media coverage of sexual abuse in recent years. This paper reflects on the similarities between the highly publicised ‘sex grooming’ prosecutions in Rochdale in 2012 and the allegations of organised abuse in Rochdale that emerged in 1990, when twenty children were taken into care after describing sadistic abuse by their parents and others. While these two cases differ in important aspects, this paper highlights the prominence of colonial ideologies of civilisation and barbarism in the investigation and media coverage of the two cases and the sublimation of the issue of child welfare. There are important cultural and normative antecedents to sexual violence but these have been misrepresented in debates over organised abuse as racial issues and attributed to ethnic minority communities. In contrast, the colonialist trope promulgating the fictional figure of the rational European has resulted in the denial of the cultural and normative dimensions of organised abuse in ethnic majority communities by attributing sexual violence to aberrant and sexually deviant individuals whose behaviours transgress the boundaries of accepted cultural norms. This paper emphasises how the implicit or explicit focus on race has served to obscure the power dynamics underlying both cases and the continuity of vulnerability that places children at risk of sexual and organised abuse.

Reducing Shame, Promoting Dignity: A Model for the Primary Prevention of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Recommended citation: Salter, M. & Hall, H. (2021) Reducing Shame, Promoting Dignity: A Model for the Primary Prevention of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Trauma Violence Abuse, forthcoming.
The recent inclusion of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) into the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 11th revision is the culmination of over twenty five years of research and clinical practice. Since the early 1990s, it has been proposed that a complex variant of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be differentiated from classical PTSD by alterations in affect and behavioral regulation, interpersonal problems, dissociative symptoms, and somatizations (Herman, 1992). As clinical scholarship and research into CPTSD has developed, it has been linked to concepts of developmental and attachment trauma, recognizing the aetiological role of early onset abuse and neglect, and associated disruptions in the child-caregiver bond (Farina, Liotti, & Imperatori, 2019). Parallel scholarship into adverse childhood experiences links child-onset trauma to major social and public health challenges, including common mental and physical illnesses, entrenched poverty and criminality (Lambert, Meza, Martin, Fearey, & McLaughlin, 2017). In light of the evidence of the public health burden of CPSTD, Ford (2015) argues for population-level interventions to reduce the prevalence of CPTSD, otherwise “vulnerable individuals and entire populations are at risk for becoming trapped in intergenerational vicious cycles escalating danger, disadvantage, and dysregulation” (p 3).

Speaking out about child sexual abuse within the family
As France continues to grapple with how a top academic who allegedly sexually abused his stepson for years was able to act with impunity, we speak to Michael Salter, Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He says coercive sexual relationships with children were “the dark side of the sexual revolution” and that it’s vital to understand that sexual abuse of minors happens across all sectors of society. “Child sexual abuse is a public health crisis,” he tells us.

Michael Salter
“Recovered memory therapy” does not refer to an actual therapy. It’s a pejorative term invented by “false memory” advocate Richard Ofshe in 1993. Nobody has ever trained in or practiced RMT because it doesn’t exist, except in the fevered imaginations of false memory advocates.

Jeffrey Epstein victims’ fund awards $125 million as claims process ends Reuters

August 11, 2021 Comments Off on Jeffrey Epstein victims’ fund awards $125 million as claims process ends Reuters

Jeffrey Epstein victims’ fund awards $125 million as claims process ends

August 9, 2021
https://www.aol.com/finance/jeffrey-epstein-victims-fund-awards-133834504-143512912.html By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) –

The head of a fund providing restitution to victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuses said on Monday she has finished the claims process, and awarded nearly $125 million to about 150 eligible claimants. In a statement, the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund said 92% of eligible claimants accepted their compensation offers, and have received more than $121 million. The fund received about 225 claims, more than double the 100 it expected. It turned away about 75 claimants, though they can still pursue claims against Epstein’s estate. Jordana Feldman, the fund’s administrator, in a statement said “every claimant had an opportunity to be heard in a safe space, to share the intimate, personal, often harrowing accounts of what they endured and how it has affected them.” ….


Ritual Abuse Conference – August 2021, SMART Ritual Abuse and Mind Control Newsletter

June 24, 2021 Comments Off on Ritual Abuse Conference – August 2021, SMART Ritual Abuse and Mind Control Newsletter

 Ritual Abuse Conference – August 2021

Special Low Prices Until July 1, 2021
(see below for more conference information)

 SMART Ritual Abuse and Mind Control Newsletter
Issue 159 – July 2021

Articles in this issue:
1) Factual Verification of Ritual Abuse at International Conference – Online Presentation Information Available
2) Scientists discover brain cells that compete to sustain or suppress traumatic memories
3) Focus on ISSTD History – An Interview with Alison Miller
4) Information on Retractors of Child Sexual Abuse
5) Unmarked Graves Found at Another Indigenous School in Canada 

6) Eileen Aveni’s Reply to the Director of The Grey Faction of The Satanic Temple

7) Son of Sam, Satanic Cult, Satanic Rituals, The Sons of Sam, The Ultimate Evil
8) The 2021 Online Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference August 14 – 15, 2021 

The 2021 Online Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference August 14 – 15, 2021

Conference Speakers

Ritual Abuse in the UK – Dr Laurie Matthew OBE
Survivors of ritual and organised abuse have increasingly broken silence to protect children, raise awareness, challenge abusers and institutions and demand services for recovery with varying success worldwide. Her presentation will focus on the challenges, experiences and perspectives of ritual abuse survivors in the UK and parts of Europe over the past 30 years and explore the current situation in the UK.

Dr Laurie Matthew OBE is founder and Manager of Eighteen And Under an award winning charity providing confidential support services to young people who have been abused. She is also a founder member and advisor to Izzy’s Promise the UK’s leading charity for survivors of organised and ritual abuse and of the Ritual Abuse Network Forum (RANS). She is the author of several books about ritual abuse and the Violence Is Preventable abuse prevention programmes for children and young people. She has over 40 years experience of directly supporting abuse survivors. Her recently published research has included participatory research with adult ritual abuse survivors and participatory research with young survivors of sexual abuse who were unknown to authorities 

Mind Control and How to Stop it – Neil Brick
This presentation will explain how mind control and different suggestive techniques work in a variety of individual and public settings. These will include interpersonal relationships, abusive relationships, ritual abuse settings, social media, political manipulation and hypnosis. Ways to expose and prevent mind control will be discussed. Social views of mind control will be presented. Neil Brick is a survivor of ritual abuse and mind control. His work continues to educate the public about child abuse, trauma and ritual abuse crimes. His child abuse and ritual abuse newsletter S.M.A.R.T. https://ritualabuse.ushas been published for over 25 years. http://neilbrick.com

Self-Esteem – Wendy Hoffman
Programming turns you away from your true self. Programmers and even satanic families do everything they can to make their victims feel bad about themselves, debasing them in every way possible. Deprived of the self-esteem that others take for granted makes surviving victims more vulnerable to programming lies.The hardest job is surviving satanic mind control while receiving little or no compassion, empathy or love. The second hardest job is healing from it. This healing is crucial if you want to belong to yourself, find out who you are, make your own decisions and life choices. It is hard work to explore what perpetrators put in innocent minds.This presentation addresses a preparatory step for this healing work. Before you begin, and even as you proceed, even after you finish, work on assessing how you really are as an individual, your courageous strengths and abilities. This workshop discusses ways survivors can achieve a truer picture of who they are, as well as ways their therapists and supporters can help them.

 Wendy Hoffman endured various forms of secret mind control, and consequently had amnesia for most of her life. She wants to help and support other survivors in their quests for freedom. Late in life, when she regained memory, she wrote books about what she had been forced to forget or dissociate. Among her published books are the memoirs, The Enslaved Queen (2014) and White Witch in a Black Robe (2015), as well as Forceps, poems about the birth of the self (2016), and a co-authored book of essays with Alison Miller, From the Trenches (2018). Her third memoir, A Brain of My Own with an Afterword by Alison Miller was published in 2020. Wendy has a LCSW-C and decades of experience, a MA and MFA.

 One Hundred Children: A Parable for Healing from Dissociation-savvy Mind Control – Ellen Lacter
Based on intensive therapy with survivors of ritual abuse and mind control and extensive interviews with colleagues who are survivor-activists and survivor-therapists, Ellen has written a parable with 15 fictionalized examples of programming of dissociated child identities that describe common kinds of tactics used in programming – torture, threats, punishment, tricks, lies, set-ups, false promises of love and safety, and use of victims’ righteous anger for the abusers’ own purposes. The intention is to help both identities who navigate daily life and more dissociated programmed identities to reflect on their programming and to exercise more conscious control over all of the abuser manipulations that they endured.

 Ellen P Lacter, PhD, is a California licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice and Academic Coordinator of the Play Therapy Certificate program at University of California- San Diego, Division of Extended Studies. She has expertise in the treatment of dissociative disorders and severe trauma, particularly ritualistic abuse, mind control, and victims of the production of child abuse materials, has many publications on these subjects, and is an activist on the behalf of victims based in her website: www.endritualabuse.org

Developing a Mind of your Own – A Question and Answer Format – Facilitator: Wendy Hoffman
Mind control is overwhelming by design. This is an opportunity to ask questions about what is difficult for you. You can ask about how to begin the process of understanding what others put in your brain, or about stumbling blocks that you are trying to get past, or whatever is your concern at the moment. Many of us feel alone in the world, living among humans who have not personally experienced really bad things. But here, during this time, you can bring your concerns and questions and we can have a real discussion about our true lives, the hidden ones, issues in recovery, life long abuses and mind control. All questions will be presented anonymously. Your identities will be protected.

Unmarked Graves Found at Another Indigenous School in Canada

June 24, 2021 Comments Off on Unmarked Graves Found at Another Indigenous School in Canada

Unmarked Graves Found at Another Indigenous School in Canada A First Nation in Canada says it has discovered hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of another former residential school for Indigenous children.By Associated Press

June 23, 2021

 ….Last month the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia.Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme and Chief Bobby Cameron of the federation planned to hold a news conference Thursday to provide more details about the new find at the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997 where Cowessess is now located, about 87 miles east of Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.  

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died. 

The Canadian government apologized in Parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant. Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages; they also lost touch with their parents and customs. Indigenous leaders have cited that legacy of abuse and isolation as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reservations. https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-06-23/unmarked-graves-found-at-another-indigenous-school-in-canada

Information on Retractors of Child Sexual Abuse

June 15, 2021 Comments Off on Information on Retractors of Child Sexual Abuse

Information on Retractors of Child Sexual Abuse – Some researchers believe “while some of the retractions are likely to be accurate, they are small in number compared with the vast number of actual case of child sexual abuse, and it is likely that some of the retractors were actually sexually abused and that many were abused in other ways and have re-activated their traumatic forgetting.” Whitfield M.D., Charles L. “Memory and Abuse – Remembering and Healing the Effects of Trauma.”

Some have suggested that a child may retract their story of abuse due to guilt and a feeling of obligation to protect their family. Some people believe that those who retract previous allegations of incest made against family members may be reacting to the familial stress brought on by their allegations. “Whatever a child says about sexual abuse, she is likely to reverse it. Beneath the anger of impulsive disclosure remains the ambivalence of guilt and the martyred obligation to preserve the family.” Summit, R. The child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. Child Abuse & Neglect (1983) 7 p177-193

The child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome
R C Summit
PMID: 6605796 DOI: 10.1016/0145-2134(83)90070-4
Child victims of sexual abuse face secondary trauma in the crisis of discovery. Their attempts to reconcile their private experiences with the realities of the outer world are assaulted by the disbelief, blame and rejection they experience from adults. The normal coping behavior of the child contradicts the entrenched beliefs and expectations typically held by adults, stigmatizing the child with charges of lying, manipulating or imagining from parents, courts and clinicians. Such abandonment by the very adults most crucial to the child’s protection and recovery drives the child deeper into self-blame, self-hate, alienation and revictimization.

Sex offenders sue state denied leftovers from Satanic feast, killed his girlfriend on behalf of ‘Satan’, Boarding School Owners 102 Charges In ‘Horrific’ Child Abuse Case “use the Bible to teach,”  – Facebook apps used in half online

March 30, 2021 Comments Off on Sex offenders sue state denied leftovers from Satanic feast, killed his girlfriend on behalf of ‘Satan’, Boarding School Owners 102 Charges In ‘Horrific’ Child Abuse Case “use the Bible to teach,”  – Facebook apps used in half online

– Sex offenders sue state after being denied leftovers from their Satanic feast

– Man who said he killed his girlfriend on behalf of ‘Satan’ takes plea deal

– Former Boarding School Owners Facing 102 Charges In ‘Horrific’ Child Abuse Case” We use the BIBLE to teach them that they are to obey their parents and the authority over them.”

– Facebook apps used in more than half of online child sex crimes

Sex offenders sue state after being denied leftovers from their Satanic feast

Clark Kauffman
Iowa Capital Dispatch
March 5, 2021

 A group of convicted sex offenders is suing the state of Iowa, claiming their right to worship Lucifer with a weeklong feast of fried chicken, doughnuts and ice cream is being violated.Lawsuits filed by prison and jail inmates are commonplace, and many of them allege violations of constitutional rights related to religious practices.

But the lawsuit recently filed by a group of sex offenders housed at the state-run Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders is unusual even by the standards of prison litigation. The six patients — once offenders are committed to the unit, they are considered patients, not inmates — are Dusty Hopkins, Bobby Messier, Jason Cook, Winston Halstead, Jarvis Burse and Cameron Jackson. They belong to what they call the “Luciferian Temple,” which suggests they are Luciferians, a group that traditionally views Satan and Lucifer as different aspects of the same being. They are suing the Iowa Department of Human Services, which runs the unit, in U.S. District Court. They allege DHS officials are infringing on their religious freedom by refusing to let them keep the leftovers from their “Night of Transformation feast,” and by blocking access to written materials dealing with blood rituals, spells, vampirism and nudity….. 

Court records indicate Hopkins has a 2009 conviction for third-degree sexual abuse and a 2008 conviction for third-degree sexual abuse….. Jackson has a 2013 conviction for lascivious acts with a child; Messier has a 2003 conviction for third-degree sexual abuse; Halstead has a 1991 conviction for indecent contact with a child; Cook has a 2005 conviction for third-degree sexual abuse; and Burse has two 2013 convictions for third-degree sexual abuse. 

The Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders provides secure, in-patient treatment for people criminally convicted of sex crimes. Patients typically have served prison terms and then, in a separate civil proceeding, they have been committed to the unit as sexually violent predators with the potential to reoffend. The unit is located in Cherokee on the campus of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute.https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2021/03/05/sex-offenders-sue-state-after-being-denied-leftovers-their-satanic-feast-jail-prison-meals/4600133001/

Man who said he killed his girlfriend on behalf of ‘Satan’ takes plea deal
October 16, 2020 Kayla Crandall BERNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – An Adams County man who said he stabbed his girlfriend dozens of times has taken a plea deal. Austin Griffith was charged with the murder of 34-year-old Kayla Bentley. He admitted to stabbing her to death on Sept. 12, 2019, at her Berne home.Griffith pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder according to court documents filed earlier this week. The plea agreement calls for Griffith to serve 65 years with 10 years suspended. …Griffith went on to say the so-called monster living inside Bentley would say things to provoke him, and at one point, it became too much for him.“So, I stabbed her to death,” Griffith told detectives. Griffith said he was acting on behalf of his god, Satan, and that “My god, Satan, blessed her with no pain.”https://wpta21.com/2020/10/16/man-who-said-he-killed-his-girlfriend-on-behalf-of-satan-takes-plea-deal/

Former Boarding School Owners Facing 102 Charges In ‘Horrific’ Child Abuse Case
“[It’s] one of the most widespread cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse patterns against young girls and women in Missouri history,” state attorney general Eric Schmitt said this week.
By Dorian GeigerMarch 12, 2021 

A southwestern Missouri couple was arrested this week and are now facing over 100 child abuse charges after accusations of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of at least 16 girls at a boarding school they operated for years emerged.Boyd Householder, 71, and Stephanie Householder, 55, are facing a total of 102 child abuse-related charges for crimes allegedly committed while running the now-closed Circle of Hope Girls Ranch and Boarding School in Humansville, Missouri, officials said. The boarding school was closed in August, according to NBC News. 

“The charging documents allege extensive, and horrific, sexual, physical, and mental abuse perpetrated by the Householders,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement.Boyd Householder is facing 79 felony charges and one misdemeanor linked to the suspected abuse at the school between 2017 and 2020. Stephanie Household faces 22 felony charges of child abuse and child endangerment…. “Circle of Hope’s goal is to help young ladies who were destroying their lives through poor choices and behaviors, change their future,” the Yelp page about the school states. “They have been described as ‘uncontrollable girls who won’t let their parents help them.’ We use the BIBLE to teach them that they are to obey their parents and the authority over them.”

Facebook apps used in more than half of online child sex crimes

By Jonathan Wilson

Published Friday, March 26, 2021 

More than half of the online child sex crimes in one year took place on Facebook-owned apps, according to data from the NSPCC, as the charity called for more to be done to tackle abuse in private messaging. Facebook has previously revealed plans to make messaging across its apps, including Instagram and Facebook Messenger, end-to-end encrypted like another of its services, WhatsApp, in order to boost user privacy. End-to-end encryption is the practice of securing communications from everyone but the participants, including the platforms hosting the conversation. The children’s charity argued that these latest figures, gathered through Freedom of Information requests to police forces, show that Facebook’s encryption plans will leave children at greater risk and accused the social media giant of “turning back the clock on children’s safety”.The

NSPCC said the data it received showed 9,477 instances of sexual or indecent image offences against children were recorded by police between October 2019 and September 2020 where the communication platform was known, with 52 per cent taking place on Facebook-owned apps. The figures showed that Instagram was used more than any other Facebook platform – in more than a third of all instances, ahead of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The data were gathered from 35 police forces in England, Wales and the Channel Islands.

The NSPCC argued that should Facebook go ahead with its encryption plans, many of these offences could go unreported in future unless new safeguards were put in place….https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2021/03/facebook-apps-used-in-more-than-half-of-online-child-sex-crimes-says-nspcc/

The Memory War – Jennifer Freyd accused her father of sexual abuse. Her parents’ attempt to discredit her created a defense for countless sex offenders.

January 19, 2021 Comments Off on The Memory War – Jennifer Freyd accused her father of sexual abuse. Her parents’ attempt to discredit her created a defense for countless sex offenders.

The Memory War – Jennifer Freyd accused her father of sexual abuse. Her parents’ attempt to discredit her created a defense for countless sex offenders.
By Katie Heaney

“Pam and Peter Freyd retaliated. In the wake of Jennifer’s disclosure, they formed an organization called the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Through the nonprofit’s work, they popularized a term — false memory — that became one of the most effective tools to instill doubt not only about allegations of child sex abuse but in all forms of sexual violence. Between 1992, when the foundation was launched, and December 2019, when it abruptly shuttered, it bolstered the defense strategy employed by countless sex offenders, from Michael Jackson to Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.”

“Peter (Freyd) was always interested in Jennifer’s (Freyd) sex life. On one occasion, when kissing a high-school boyfriend while seated on her bed, Jennifer caught her father watching them from her open doorway. Another time, she found him reading her diary; he accused her of purposely leaving it out where he could see it. Jennifer felt an enormous relief when she left for college at age 16, though visiting home for the holidays made it clear that little had changed: When guests came over for dinner and drinks, Peter told them the family’s toy poodle, Carbon, humped people to whom Jennifer was sexually attracted.

“In a variation on the (Lost in the Mall) mall study published in 1997, researchers sought to emphasize this distinction by presenting subjects with one true memory and two false ones: being lost in the mall and receiving a rectal enema. The hypothesis was that the less plausible event, the enema, wouldn’t create false memories so easily. Three of 20 subjects “remembered” having been lost in the mall. Zero remembered the enema.

“The typical response was ‘No fucking way. That didn’t happen,’ ” says Kathy Pezdek, a cognitive psychologist and an expert in eyewitness memory, who conducted the experiment.

Coan, Loftus’s former student and now a neuroscientist and psychology professor at the University of Virginia, has decidedly mixed feelings about the experiment he inadvertently spearheaded. “I’m slow enough on the uptake that it took me a while to realize that the study I was doing was making people who had been sexually abused feel like I was their enemy,” he tells me. “That was completely devastating to me.” Although he has been asked to testify about false memory in countless court cases, Coan has always refused. He just doesn’t think the mall study is sufficiently relevant. In her excitement, he thinks, Loftus may have “mischaracterized” what started out as an undergraduate assignment for extra credit.

“I got five points,” Coan says. “Five points and decades of grief.”

“….But while the (False Memory Syndrome) foundation may be gone, its legacy is likely to be long-lasting. Stories of brainwashed daughters falsely accusing their parents have become a staple of popular culture, from talk shows like Sally Jessy Raphael to PBS documentaries like Divided Memories. “I was just astounded that this big lie could be perpetrated with impunity and with great success across all major media,” says Hopper, the Harvard psychologist. The concept of false memory does more than provide child sex abusers with a pseudoscientific defense — it offers a perversely reassuring explanation for anyone who wants to believe that such abuse is less common than it actually is. While statistics vary by source, an epidemiological overview of worldwide data estimates that 8 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. And contrary to the FMSF’s claims, most victims of child sex abuse are extremely reluctant to share their abuse with others or reporting it to the police.”

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