This is a transcript from a speech at the 2011 Ritual Abuse Conference.
The Child Abuse Survivor Movement has been under strong attack for the last twenty years. At the same times, it has grown stronger and developed a strong research base. Survivors that have healed are now able to help other survivors that are beginning to heal from ritual abuse. Many survivors now have blogs and web pages telling their stories and presenting the research that backs up their stories.
Many of the child abuse crimes of the past that were either ignored, seen as acceptable or covered up, are now given coverage in the media, seen as detrimental to children and society and the cover ups are now being exposed.
Child abuse is seen by most media outlets and researchers as being clearly traumatic. Most understand that the traumatic effects of child abuse cause clear symptoms that are detrimental to child abuse survivors. Those that misrepresent the fact that child abuse trauma symptoms are some sort of myth have been rebutted and answered.
Those attacking the child abuse survivor field and child abuse research have picked and chosen the less believable aspects of the field to attack, like ritual abuse and dissociation, especially dissociative identity disorder (formerly called multiple personality disorder.)
They have misrepresented the research, literature and criminal cases in both areas, ignoring the large research base showing that both ritual abuse and dissociative identity disorder are realities. They claim that those that believe in dissociation, hurt the child abuse research field, yet most that claim this actually do little or nothing to try and stop child abuse crimes.
Some of those skeptical of certain child abuse crimes insult and harass those working in the child abuse field in an attempt to silence them. There are several documented occurrences of this on the Internet and in the literature. This harassment is meant to silence those that attempt to expose different child abuse crimes, including those in the fields of ritual abuse, dissociation and trauma.
Other skeptics have done whatever they can to make sure that accurate research on child abuse and ritual abuse crimes does not make it into the public arena. It has been difficult at times to get accurate information into the media and mainstream websites.
The problem of survivors getting a voice to speak out with all of this going on is problematic.
How do we as researchers and survivors organize and demand if necessary in large enough numbers that:
1) The media needs to cover the issue of ritual abuse and dissociation more thoroughly and fairly.
2) The misinformation about certain ritual abuse crimes and dissociative identity disorder is accurately rebutted with our own scientific research.
3) Those that insult and harass researchers in our field are accurately exposed and that the techniques they use to unfairly manipulate public opinion are also exposed.
How do we develop a common voice strong enough to withstand the attacks on our movement?
a) Develop a group solely dedication to research and advocacy.
One that will develop a research base that will cover all of the child abuse cases and books of the last thirty years and then make this public to rebut all of the misinformation that has been made public about these cases.
2) Speak out
a) Make sure that everyone hears our side of the story.
Everyone gets a blog and/or a web page. They put their story on it and list all of the research in our field that backs their story.
3) Debate when necessary and when prudent.
Our voices are not heard in the public arena. Repeated attacks on the realities of the crimes committed against us are not answered. We need to answer every attack, with letters to the editor, our own articles, our own comments, our own web pages.
Where are our voices?
We need to commit a certain amount of time everyday to getting our stories out. This is a crucial time to do this. The attacks will continue, the question is what will our answer be to these attacks. Will we be too busy to reply? Will we ignore requests to help? Or will we do everything we can to make sure that these crimes will not be repeated in the future by exposing them now.
The anti-clergy abuse movement has shown how this can be done. For years, they were not believed. Skeptics stated that priests could not do the things they have been accused of doing. Those committing these crimes told the children and parents they would not be believed when they talked about the abuse. And for many years, they weren’t believed. But they are now. Because they organized. Because they spoke up. Because they did not stop or block each others efforts in their own movement to expose child abuse crimes, but instead they worked together, had conferences, had press releases and fought in the courts and the media for recognition. And now they have received it. Even certain members of the church admit these crimes occurred.
So, where are our voices?
Where are our ritual abuse conferences?
Where are our ritual abuse websites?
Where are our letters to the editor?
Where are voices in the public arena?
Are we believed when we tell our stories or is the false label of “panic” slapped on all our suffering, emotional scars and evidence.
We have a choice. We can be silent, or we can all organize. I propose we organize. I propose we start a group today, right now, that will work on developing a research base to answer every skeptics’ response to the crimes committed against us. I propose that every one of us create their own website and conference in their own area to educate the public about ritual abuse crimes. I propose the we have regional groups across the country linked together working to expose these crimes.
I propose that each and every one of us commit 30 minutes a day to doing this.
We can organize by e-mail. I will develop an e-mail group for this purpose. We can call it “The Ritual Abuse Survivors Research and Advocacy Group.” Our group will have two parts, one for advocacy and one for research. The advocacy group will publish the research group’s work. We will have chapters nationwide and in as many countries as we can.
This group will work with the other groups already out there and add to the voices survivors presently have. It will coordinate research and advocacy efforts with the other groups. It will build on the research and advocacy of these groups.
This way we can all leave the conference stronger. This way we can continue getting stronger. This way we can have give all survivors a voice in the world. We will be heard. Our research will be heard. Our voices will be heard. And the crimes that were committed against us will stop. No more children will be abused. No more children will be hurt.
We all need to decide what kind of world we want to see in twenty years. One where children are abused and not believed, or one where children aren’t abused and those that abuse them are held accountable.
No one will fight our battles for us. We need to fight them ourselves. Let’s start now. We can change the world and our voices will be heard. We will no longer be silenced. Those that attack us and spread misinformation about the crimes committed against us will be answered.
Let’s start now. Please tell me your ideas for our group and let’s move forward. In one year from now, our group will have a strong research and advocacy base. We will give all child abuse and ritual abuse trauma survivors a safe place to be heard, to get the research they need to answer those that refuse to believe them, to answer societies’ denial of our trauma and reality and to make the reality of our stories public to all.
Let’s start now. Please tell me your ideas about how we can be heard. Please tell me your ideas about how we can make this organization successful. Thank you.