Survivors of abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland asked to come forward, Honoring the Truth: A Response to the Backlash from The Courage to Heal

August 23, 2013 Comments Off on Survivors of abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland asked to come forward, Honoring the Truth: A Response to the Backlash from The Courage to Heal

Survivors of abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland asked to come forward

Inquiry into child abuse over 74-year period seeks survivors now living in the United States
By JANE WALSH, IrishCentral Staff Writer Sunday, August 11, 2013

A major inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland is launching an international appeal for victims and survivors to come forward. The inquiry seeks to investigate child abuse which occurred in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 74-year period, from 1922 up to 1995.

The Inquiry recognizes that there has been considerable migration from Northern Ireland to various parts of the United States and is anxious to encourage any survivors who suffered childhood abuse in Northern Ireland institutions but who now live overseas to get in touch….

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Survivors-of-abuse-in-residential-institutions-in-Northern-Ireland-asked-to-come-forward-218869881.html

HONORING THE TRUTH: A RESPONSE TO THE BACKLASH

by ELLEN BASS and LAURA DAVIS

from THE COURAGE TO HEAL: A GUIDE FOR WOMEN SURVIVORS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE  THIRD EDITION, 1994 published by HarperCollins

“Honoring the Truth” is a response to the current backlash against adult survivors of child sexual abuse. If you’ve watched TV, listened to the radio, or read newspapers or magazines in the past two years, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the “false memory syndrome” and have witnessed attacks on survivors’ memories and credibility. It is these attacks we are responding to here.

As in the rest of The Courage to Heal, we have included the experiences of survivors as well as practical self-help information. Unlike the rest of the book, however, we also incorporate here the work of therapists, researchers, and other experts—and more than a hundred footnotes—to place this backlash in a historical and political perspective….

A LITTLE HISTORY
Since 1860, child abuse has been discovered and then discredited every 35 years by the most visionary clinicians of the day, each faced with the alternative of denouncing the discovery or succumbing to scorn and
disgrace. 6 —Roland Summit

This is not the first time survivors of child sexual abuse have been told they were lying, misguided, vindictive, imagining it, wanting it, or just plain crazy.

Early in his career, Sigmund Freud identified child sexual abuse as the cause of much mental and emotional illness in adulthood. By listening to his patients (a revolutionary idea in itself), he learned that many of the women and men he was treating had been sexually traumatized. 7

Many had initial amnesia for the trauma, but when they were able to recall the events and talk about them, their contemporary symptoms subsided. When he put forth this discovery, Freud was criticized and ridiculed by his colleagues. Ultimately he recanted, and proposed instead that his patients had either fantasized the sex or had desired it. 8 Thus scientific knowledge was put on a fast train backwards, and sexually abused children—and the adults they grew up to be—were left bereft. 9….

In 1870 Josephine Butler campaigned against child prostitution, comparing the traffic in young girls to the slave trade. She was harassed by the London police and assaulted by the owners of brothels. Although her cause was supported by other prominent crusaders in Europe and in the United States, it wasn’t until 1910 that the U.S. Congress passed the Mann Act, forbidding the transport of women and children across state lines for sexual exploitation.1….

In 1937 Loretta Bender and Adam Blau wrote, “These children undoubtedly do not deserve completely the cloak of innocence with which they have been endowed by moralists, social reformers and legislators.” Referring to the children’s “unusually charming and attractive . . . personalities,” they went on to conclude that “the child might have been the actual seducer rather than the one innocently seduced.”1….

And in 1953, Alfred Kinsey and his fellow researchers documented the prevalence of child sexual abuse but minimized its impact. In a sample of over one thousand women, one in four reported sexual abuse. Eighty percent of these said they had been frightened by the encounters, but Kinsey and his colleagues discounted their accounts, writing, “It is difficult to understand why a child, except for its cultural conditioning, should be disturbed at having its genitalia touched.” They went on to express their belief that penalties for perpetrators were overly harsh: “In many instances the law, in the course of punishing the offender, does more damage to more persons than was ever done by the individual in his illicit sexual activity.”1….

As late as the 1970s many clinicians were still taught that incest was extremely rare, affecting only one in a million children.20….

The advances of the past twenty years are a direct outgrowth of the women’s liberation movement that gained force in the 1970s. Women courageously spoke out about rape and battering, wrote books analyzing the ways in which our society condoned such violence, and worked to establish battered women’s shelters and rape crisis centers.

Simultaneously, a few pioneering clinicians and researchers, both men and women, were beginning to study child sexual abuse and set up models for treatment. It was from this visionary thinking—and grassroots activism—that the curren t movement to end child sexual abuse was built.
21

We began to insist that children be protected, survivors be supported, and perpetrators be held responsible for their acts. This monumental advance in our willingness to be aware, to care, and to respond has come about only in the past two decades—most visibly in the past decade. This
is the first time in history that children and adults who were sexually abused have been listened to, respected, and believed….

The current backlash is in direct response to the activism of survivors. It was not until survivors started challenging and changing the laws regarding the accountability of perpetrators—and suing their abusers—that claims of “false memory syndrome” started
to appear….

Why do so many journalists present one-sided, erroneous accounts? The subject is dramatic and controversial. It sells papers, improves ratings, makes great sound bites. It grabs the attention of even the most jaded reader.

The appeal of these stories, however, goes far beyond our national obsession with sex, violence, and broken families. Anti-survivor propaganda has found a receptive audience with the public at large. People read about the “false memory syndrome” and are readily convinced. Why? Because denying the reality of child sexual abuse appeals to a basic human need: the need to distance ourselves from human cruelty….
http://www.fsa-cc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HONORING-THE-TRUTH.pdf

Websites with information on programming and survivor issues. https://survivorship.org/programming/

Featured Post: The Incredible Distortion of Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital

February 5, 2011 Comments Off on Featured Post: The Incredible Distortion of Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital

Featured Post: The Incredible Distortion of Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital

reprinted with permission

February 4, 2011

In an unusual and highly controversial lawsuit by Charles and Karen Johnson against the therapists who treated their adult daughter, a jury in Wisconsin recently awarded the parents $1 million. Their daughter Charlotte was not party to the suit, and her lawyer successfully moved to quash a subpoena that would have forced her to testify at trial.[1] Three therapists were named in the suit; the jury found one non-negligent, and they apportioned liability between the other two on a 70-30 percent basis. The False Memory Syndrome Foundation has cast the case as a victory against therapists who, according to Executive Director, Pamela Freyd, ”use a variety of dubious techniques, including hypnosis, to try to excavate supposedly repressed memories.”

But that is an incredible distortion of the case. The case did not involve hypnosis—even though the parents used the spectre of hypnosis as an argument to obtain access to their daughter’s confidential medical records. Indeed, the case did not involve any of the other “techniques” mentioned by Pamela Freyd. Hollida Wakefield, the primary expert for the Johnsons, admitted that the therapists “didn’t actively try to get her to recover memories,” that they did not use hypnosis, that there was no “digging for memories,” and that there was no evidence that the therapists planted any memories of abuse.[2] In short, there was no evidence that the memories in this case were caused or created by therapy.

Wakefield also blamed the book The Courage to Heal, listing it first on her list of “Sources of Suggestion that came into play with Charlotte.”[3]  But, as Wakefield admitted under oath, there was no evidence that The Courage to Heal was actually part of Charlotte’s therapy or that anyone at Rogers Memorial ever suggested that she read it.[4] How did the book “come into play”? Charlotte owned it and recommended it, on her own, to her mother.

So, what was this case actually about? The plaintiffs claimed that the therapists should have “disabused” Charlotte of her of memories, even her most plausible memories of abuse. The plaintiffs also claimed that the therapists should have investigated Charlotte’s claims, even though she explicitly prohibited them from talking to her parents. That is leaving aside the fact that therapists cannot possibly be private investigators.

If this verdict stands, it is unclear how therapists can provide treatment to someone with memories of childhood sexual abuse without fear of an intrusive and inappropriate third-party lawsuit. That is why Mertz and Bowman argued, in an important 1996 Harvard Law Review article, that such lawsuits should not be allowed. It is also why Justice Ann Walsh Bradely, in a dissenting opinion at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, concluded that the Johnson case represents an unwarranted expansion to modalities of therapeutic treatment far beyond issues of recovered-memory therapy, and that it ”undermines the confidentiality that is essential to the patient-therapist relationship.”[5] The jury verdict in this case bears out those concerns in full.

The question that remains is, why is the False Memory Syndrome Foundation misrepresenting this case as being about “recovered-memory therapy,” when the facts of the case clearly demonstrate that it was not?

Footnotes
[1]. The Johnsons have tried to portray this lawsuit as an effort to, as their lawyer said in this article, let their daughter know that they love her and “want her to come home.”  That explanation is inconsistent with their dogged effort to force her to testify against her will. Faced with medical assessments that forcing her to tesify at trial could cause their daughter to become suicidal, the Johnsons continued to press the issue. It took an order from the trial judge, who agreed that Charlotte’s health was at risk, to quash their subpoena. The jury was not informed of these facts.

[2]. Wakefield deposition (January 20-21, 2010), pp. 172-174, 217, and 233.

[3]. Exhibit 6, Wakefield deposition (January 20, 2010).

[4].  Asked what proof she had that The Courage to Heal was part of the therapy at Rogers Hospital, Wakefield testified: “I don’t know whether it was discussed or not.” In other words, even though she reviewed all of the therapy records,  she had no actual evidence for this claim. (Wakefield deposition, p. 239.)

[5]. Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital, 283 Wis. 2d 384 (2005) at 448.

http://blogs.brown.edu/recoveredmemory/2011/02/04/featured-post-the-incredible-distortion-of-johnson-v-rogers-memorial-hospital/

the courage to heal, ritual abuse presentation

October 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

The courage to heal: A guide for women survivors of child sexual abuse.
Bass, Ellen; Davis, Laura
New York, NY, US: Perennial Library/Harper & Row Publishers. (1988). 493 pp.


Abstract
“The Courage to Heal” is an inspiring, comprehensive guide that offers hope and encouragement to every woman who was sexually abused as a child—and those who care about her. Although the effects of child sexual abuse are long-term and severe, healing is possible. The authors—Ellen Bass, a nationally known counselor, and Laura Davis, a survivor of child sexual abuse—weave personal experience with professional knowledge to show the reader how she can come to terms with her past while moving powerfully into the future. The authors provide clear explanations, practical suggestions, a map of the healing journey, and many moving first-person examples of the recovery process drawn from their interviews with hundreds of survivors. (PsycINFO Database Record 2009 APA) http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1988-97592-000

Presentation at the Twelfth Annual Ritual Abuse Conference in August 2009 – Neil Brick – Ritual Abuse, the trenches of the stopping child abuse movement “Ritual abuse crimes are often the most difficult to believe because of the extreme nature of these crimes. Societies have a tendency in general to not want to believe that horrible things can happen right next door or down the street from them. Many of the atrocities that have happen throughout history have occurred in populated areas. Yet members of societies have stated after the fact that they did not know that anything was going on.”
http://ritualabuse.us/smart-conference/2009-conference/ritual-abuse-the-trenches-of-the-stopping-child-abuse-movement/

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with the courage to heal at Eassurvey's Weblog.