For instance that the elements used in ritualised sadistic abuse are highly trance-inducing, confusing and aimed at creating a complete caesurae to normal everyday life. They are intentionally constructed to effect dissociations. Everything that follows will be deeply sunk in memory in an area that has nothing to do with normal day life. In this context certain values carry great weight which have no value in normal life. For instance sanctioned forms of violence which are strictly forbidden in normal life. In this context feeling empathy is a taboo.
Now, just for a moment, I want you to look at a different group: the child soldiers. I quote from a document (1) on peace research: there is a world-wide systematic recruiting of children for armed fight in which „frightened, forcibly recruited children are turned into zombie-like killers by using fear, intimidation and infamous psychological manipulation.“ The author Friedhelm Solms mentions sadistic rituals of initiation, which level the natural psychological restraints and which, by administering drugs, leave the children - I quote - „without a will of their own, without fear and oblivious to pain.“ It is proven that in several countries - I quote again - „they force children to commit ritual acts of cannibalism on the enemies they just shot.“
Some of you know descriptions like these from countries where there is no war.
And here are the good news: Only days ago the Australian government granted fugitive status and a protection visa to a German woman who fifteen years ago fled from a cult with connections to the child abuse Mafia. The Australian government officially stated that ritual abuse is widespread in Germany and the German government is either unable or unwilling to protect the victims.
That acknowledgement must be true. The German government-still-in-power this June came up with very strange answers to a series of question under the heading „Ritual Abuse in child abduction rings and destructive cults“ (2). For example, when asked: „Does the government know that victims of ritual abuse often suffer from dissociative identity disorders as a result of extreme torture?“ they replied: „There is only little medical research about emotional consequences of genital mutilation.“
Speaking about a taboo.
The uncovering of the crimes at Zandvoort led to increased interest of the German Media. But TV stations mostly just demanded the use of victims for the media’s purposes. Germany does not care for victims. Victims have to be at disposal - for the law, the media, the public. There has been some serious criticism about that (Frankfurter Rundschau, and an excellent article by Heribert Prantl on the subject of victims protection in the Süddeutsche Zeitung,). A few times I got the chance to explain - on radio - why the suffering of the victim is not automatically over when the perpetrator is caught.
I found that people listen when I explain it like this:
There was a massive InterCity train accident in Eschede near Hannover this June. More than a hundred people were killed, 88 heavily injured. Survivors and helpers watched indescribable scenes of horror. Many of them are deeply traumatized. This event taught the public about „trauma“, and about PTSD. The railway company pays psychotherapy for the survivors, for three or four years, if they want it.
That’s fine, I say. Because those people really need it. Even though - they have a lot going for them:
It was a single event, limited to a short span of time
It happened in public
They can talk about it, are even encouraged to do so
Nobody denies it happened
There is public support and encouragement
They know it’s not their fault
Now look at abused and tortured children, e.g. those shown on the photos found in Zandvoort - and people know they are real:
Many of those children were tormented again and again, some of them for years
It was done in secrecy
They were silenced with death threats
They feel guilt and shame, which additionally keeps them from speaking up
If they finally do talk, nobody listens, nobody believes - just as the perpetrators predicted
For many of them the only way to survive is to split off fear, shame, guilt, the whole memory, if possible - by dissociating. Many of them are amnestic to the events. Many have flashbacks, reliving the torture again and again. But society turns away.
Now you tell me how much help, how much therapy these children need. How much we owe them, because we let it happen.
I found that people can listen to this comparison.
Thank you very much for your attention.
(1) Friedhelm Solm, „Schutz für die Wehrlosen: Zum Schicksal der Kindersoldaten“ in: Friedensgutachten 1998, hg. von R. Mutz, B. Schoch und F. Solms. LIT-Verlag, Münster 1998, S. 141-151
(2) Bundestagsdrucksache (BT-Drs.) 13/11216 + Antwort der Bundesregierung BT-Drs. 13/11275
© Ulla Fröhling 1998