Satanic/sadistic ritual abuse (SRA)
1: Beliefs. Does it exist? One
indicator of its non-existence
Ritual Abuse is also called SRA, Satanic Ritual Abuse,
Ritualistic Abuse, Sadistic Ritual Abuse, Cult Related Abuse, etc.
What some people believe about SRA:
||Some believe that a high-tech, secret, international Satanic organization engages in
horrendous ritual abuse, mutilation and torture - largely of children.
||Some attribute this abuse to mind and behavior control cults or other hidden groups.
||Some estimate that there are 50,000 ritual human sacrifices each year in the US
||Perpetrators are believed to drink the blood and eat the flesh of the victims and engage
in sexual abuse.
||Generational Satanists are believed sacrifice some of their children and
pass on their killing and mutilating rituals to other children.
A SRA industry composed of seminar speakers and authors sprang up in
the 1980's to promote this belief system. By 2005, the "Satanic panic" had
largely dissipated for two main reasons:
||In spite of decades of dedicated police investigations, there resulted a
complete lack of hard evidence of its existence.
||Essentially all beliefs in ritual abuse by its survivors have been traced
to a suggestive and unreliable therapeutic technique known as Recovered Memory
Therapy (RMT). This technique regularly creates horrendous memories of abusive
events that never happened.
Does SRA Exist?
The simple answers are yes and no. All evidence indicates that it does not exist as an international
conspiracy. Also, it does not exist as a widespread underground inter-generational cult
that passes its abusive beliefs and practices from grandparents to parents to children.
There have been a few, isolated cases of activities that might
be called "Sadistic Ritual Abuse", although none match the belief system
described above and none are done by intergenerational secret "cults".
Investigators are divided on the existence and nature of this form of abuse.
believe that there are an average of 50,000 ritual murders per year in North America;
most believe very few or none.
That said, many adults continue to suffer from horrendous memories of having
been the victim of SRA. All or essentially all are believed to have developed
these memories during recovered memory therapy or in
mutual support groups that delve into repressed memories, or self-hypnosis. During the 1990s, when
recovered memories were shown to be very unreliable but real-feeling images of
events that never happened, belief in SRA also collapsed.
It is essentially impossible to prove that something does not exist. For example, who
can prove that they did not beat their spouse last year on the evening of January 15th?.
However, there are strong indications that SRA is not practiced at any significant
level in North America.
Indicator 1 that SRA is rare or nonexistent: A 1,800 year history of
Rumors of an evil, underground, abusive religious group were well documented during the
early history of the Christian church. W.J. Bethancourt III 1
quotes a (presumably Pagan) Roman writer from the 1st century CE. Minicus
Felix wrote the following piece of hate literature which describes how the Christians
allegedly kidnapped babies, ritually killed them, dismembered them, drank their blood, ate
their flesh and engaged in degenerate sexual practices:
"As for the initiation of new members, the details are as disgusting
as they are well known. The novice himself, deceived by the coating of dough
(covering a sacrificial infant), thinks the stabs are harmless. Then, it's
horrible! They hungrily drink the blood and compete with one another as they
divide his limbs. And the fact they all share knowledge of the crime pledges
them all to silence. On the feast-day they foregather with all their children,
sisters, mothers, people of either sex and all ages. Now, in the dark, so
favorable to shameless behavior, they twine the bonds of unnamable passion, as
chance decides. Precisely the secrecy of this evil religion proves that all
these things, or practically all, are true."
This "urban folk tale," of course, never happened.
It was simply an attempt to organize religious hatred against a new religion. The first
century hate literature was based on:
||The practices of some Christians to seek out and save the lives of abandoned infants;
the rumor implied that the babies were later murdered in rituals.
||The communion ritual in which Christians consumed wine and bread, with the belief that
it had been transmuted into the blood and body of Christ; the rumor implied that real
blood and body parts were used during the ritual.
||The practice of early Christians to have a shared meal and social gathering; the rumor
implied that these were orgies.
The same basic story has continued intermittently in many variations for some 1800
years. The Church used it against the heretics, lepers, Cathars, Knights Templar, and
Witches during the period 1000 to 1800 AD. Hitler used it against the
Jews and Roma (a.k.a. Gypsies)
during the 1930's. The USSR used it against the Jews more recently. A variety of SRA
promoters are using it against Satanists, followers of minority religions, men's fraternal
organizations, self help groups, etc. today. The stories are almost identical (less the
coating of dough).
Historians do not believe that these tales were true in the past; there is no reason to
assume that the latest manifestation of the same rumor is true today. Promoters of SRA are
simply continuing the lies of the Inquisition, of Nazi Germany, and of the USSR into the
1990's. Most are believed to do this unknowingly. Most firmly believe in the reality of
The following information source was used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
W.J. Bethancourt III, "Halloween: Myths, Monsters and Devils," at:
Copyright © 1995 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-16
Author: B.A. Robinson