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Aufsätze - Ritual Abuse:
An European Cross-Country Perspective
Thorsten Becker & Joan Coleman

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They have already assessed 160 cases of alleged ritual abuse and have found that although some individual memories had been recovered, the fact of their abuse had, in the majority of cases, never been forgotten. So, on the whole, recovered memories were not a prominent feature.

I have spoken, throughout the years, to at least eighty survivors of ritual abuse and there are obviously many more that I have not encountered, judging by the number of past and present members of RAINS. Nonetheless, the official attitude of the Department of Health, quoting from their Consultation Document for the revised edition of Working Together to Safeguard Children, is that ĎConfirmed cases in which there was corroborative evidence of ritual abuse were extremely rare, and evidence that adults had performed rituals of recognisably occult significance was virtually non-existentí. Iím not sure what evidence of Satanic belief system one would expect to find; most Satanists donít publicise their beliefs, nor display their artifacts; and most people donít know what to look for and look too late. But I must emphasise that ritual abuse is not simply a matter of ceremonies and paraphernalia. It is a daily procedure in the homes of Satanic cult members.

Children are sexually abused and tortured both physically and psychologically as a matter of course; they are forced to be subjects of pornographic videos as well as child prostitution. Some are made dependant on hard drugs, often by their own parents and many teenage girls are impregnated and aborted.

Horrific crimes are committed in the name of Satanism and, by concentrating too much on the therapeutic aspects, we may be in danger of forgetting this. We must remember that survivors only become patients because of the appalling things that have been done to them Ė not because they are mentally ill. Of course they dissociate. That is how they survived as young children. And inevitably they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But treatment, although very necessary, is only a part of it. If we think that is all that is needed, we are just papering over the cracks. We must not pathologise the victims to the extent of ignoring the crimes, and although Satanic ceremonies are not crimes in themselves, plenty of their other activities are. So we need to be well informed about all of these.

Dissociative Identity Disorder occurs when trauma is frequent, sustained and exceptionally severe; and when it begins at a very young age. Generational ritual abuse fulfills all these criteria. In addition, the deliberate cognitive confusion and distortion are highly conductive to dissociation. Again, this is supported by the work of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies. The cases that were assessed, in which ritual abuse was alleged, nearly all showed very high levels of dissociation.Yet, some who work in Dissociative Disorders scarcely acknowledge ritual abuse as an entity. This would appear to the result of fear, rather than ignorance, but such fear must be overcome. Otherwise we are betraying those survivors who mastered their own terror sufficiently to entrust us with their stories.

For years, Satanic cults have relied on public scepticism to enable them to continue their practices with impunity. Obviously, none of us wants to return to the days of the Salem witch trials; but until Mental Health professionals acknowledge ritual abuse as a reality, and recognise the vital importance of educating other disciplines, such as the police and legal profession, as well as the general public, there is little chance of any government providing resources for intensive investigations and appropriate treatment. The most effective deterrent for the perpetrators must surely be through careful and thorough detection leading to decisive criminal convictions.