This essay is directed to survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) - sometimes called
Sadistic Ritual Abuse.
Memories of SRA are profoundly damaging. A study of adult survivors in Washington State
showed that most people who recover memories of this type of abuse have extreme
difficulties holding down a job, maintaining their relationships, maintaining their
marriage, and avoiding hospitalization. Many are suicidal; some attempt to kill
themselves; a few succeed.
As you probably know, some people believe in the reality of SRA; others are skeptics.
This shows up in their predictions of the number of children killed each year in the U.S.
by Satanic cults. The numbers vary from 50,0000 to 0. Satanic ritual abuse is a crime for
which there are no available accurate statistics.
We feel that there are three possible beliefs about SRA:
that the "believers" are correct. SRA is very widespread.
There are tens of thousands of victims - perhaps more.
that the "skeptics" are correct. SRA does not exist in
reality. It exists only in the memories of survivors; and these memories are false. They
are real-feeling memories of events that never happened.
that the true scope of SRA is somewhere between the beliefs of the "believers"
and the "skeptics"
If (1) is true, then SRA is, by far, our most serious social problem.
If (2) is true, then tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of adults are
developing false memories of SRA and being partly disabled by those memories. SRA is still
a massive social problem.
If (3) is true, then we have many people being abused with SRA and many others being
disabled by false memories of abuse that never happened. Either way, their memories are
disabling them. We still have a massive social problem.
Unfortunately, very little effort is being invested to prove which one of the
alternatives is true.
Many survivors have difficulty convincing others of the reality of their abuse:
Some people believe survivors;
Others think that the survivors are lying.
But things are never that simple. There are always other alternatives. Sometimes there
is a fourth.
Survivors themselves are often presented with two possibilities:
The abuse happened exactly as they remember it to be, or
They are going crazy.
Again, there are always other alternatives.
What are the other alternatives?
Consider a situation that is unrelated to SRA. Suppose for a minute, that there was a
way in which ordinary nightmares could be converted into memories that feel real. That is,
a person would start with memories of frightening events during a nightmare. They would go
through some sort of process. When they came out the other side, the memories would still
be present. But their source would be forgotten. The person would not recall that the
frightening events were part of a nightmare; the events would be remembered as part of
their real life. For example, one night, you may have a nightmare of having been chased by
a car whose driver was shooting at you. Later, you go through some process, which causes
the scenes in that nightmare to becomes a real memory of a scary event that happened to
you. You forget that the memories were part of a nightmare; you actually remember having
been chased by a man in a car who was shooting at you.
We believe that there is such a process. This process is often called "recovered
memory therapy" or RMT. It generates a type of "source amnesia" in
which memories of nightmares become dislodged from their origins and coalesce into
real-feeling memories of events that seem as if they really happened. Similarly, memories
from horror stories may become separated from their origins in a movie, novel, TV program
or comic book and become associated with happenings in the person's life.
RMT is commonly experienced in one of three ways:
by reading a book on recovered memories and applying the self-hypnosis techniques
contained in it. The "Courage to Heal" is perhaps the most widely read
of these self-help books
by going to a mutual support group where recovered memories of incest, sexual abuse or
SRA are discussed.
by going to a therapist (or psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, Christian therapist,
etc) who uses RMT techniques to recover repressed memories.
Clients of therapists who use RMT tend to adopt the belief systems of the therapist
without either being aware of the process. So too with readers of self-help books and
members of mutual support groups. So, if a RMT therapist, book author or group believes in
widespread incest and child abuse, the client/reader/member will frequently develop
memories of such abuse. So too with therapists, book authors or groups who believe
that adult emotional problems are caused by abuse in former lifetimes or on board UFOs.
Once these free-floating horror images become memories of real events, they feel
exactly like real memories.
A survivor is not lying when she describes these memories to others.
A survivor is not going crazy, because the process of creating memories of events that
never happened is a perfectly natural one. Many therapists report that 80% of their
clients recover memories.
Many, probably most, people who receive RMT develop memories of having been sexually
abused during childhood. About 17% of the latter go on to develop memories of Satanic
To sum up:
Your memories feel very real.
You are not lying when you relate your memories to others.
RMT is an experimental, suggestive and dangerous technique.
Perfectly normal people can develop memories of events that never happened.
Memories that are recovered in RMT may or may not be of real events.
The above only applies to survivors who have recovered memories under the
influence of RMT. If you have had always-present memories of childhood abuse by Satanic
cults, then we would like to hear from you. Because of the unreliable nature of recovered
memories, we are only interested in persons who have had SRA continuously from the time of
the abuse until now. It is our hope that we detect common features among survivors that
will help us identify the group that is responsible for the abuse. Please reply using the
"Contact Us" button below. Your Emails will be kept in strict confidence.
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