This is a transcript from a speech at the 2011 Ritual Abuse Conference.
A variety of theories have been used to cover up and deny ritual abuse crimes. The old arguments of therapists somehow planting ideas in their clients’ minds had brought back from previous years to deny ritual abuse crimes. Ideas of social suggestion have also been brought back to deny the realities of the crimes perpetrated against children.
A new version of the denial of these crimes is called “panic.” Not surprisingly, one of the early major proponents of this theory aligned themselves with the false memory movement. Many working in the false memory movement were accused or even convicted of child abuse crimes. Others in this movement worked to exonerate those accused of child abuse crimes.
Proponents of the theory of panic often compare modern events to the “witch hunts” of the middle ages. Of course, the major difference is that ritual abuse crimes did occur. The use of the term “witch hunt” is using propaganda to connect two different ideas, one disliked (actual witch hunts) with real child abuse crimes. This propaganda technique is called transfer.
Other propaganda techniques, like name calling, are also used by false memory proponents. False memory proponents also repeat the same ideas and phrases to get them to stick in people’s minds. The use of rhymes, like “Satanic Panic” is also used to get ideas to stick in people’s minds.
Panic theorists may state that the increased awareness of ritual crimes is only due to social exposure and social influence. However, they ignore the fact that this increased awareness may simply be the increased awareness of real crimes that have real evidence backing their existence, like ritual abuse crimes. They ignore evidence showing these crimes to have occurred, ignoring and even purposefully burying evidence that shows these crimes may have occurred.
These ritual abuse crimes had been covered up for years, but due to the increased awareness of child abuse crimes in general and the increased rights of women and children to be treated respectfully and equally, these ritual abuse crimes were being exposed and heard.
Child abuse crimes were denied by society for centuries until social movements in the 1960′s, 70s and 80s began to expose the high frequency of these crimes. Before this era, incest was incorrectly perceived to be a rare occurrence in our society. Likewise, clergy abuse crimes were perceived to be nonexistent and few would believe that a priest was capable of raping children. Now we know that not only is this possible, but that some of these crimes were covered up for years.
Certain panic theorists deny that ritual abuse crimes do not exist simply because others that may have participated in them, such as family members, deny they have occurred. Of course, people participating in these crimes may deny they occurred for a variety of reasons, including amnesia or not wanting to admit they participated in the rape, torture and even murder of others.
The theory of panic is used by some theorists to deny all ritual abuse crimes. Where a criminal may have been convicted and lost several appeals, the crime is written off by panic theorists as a “miscarriage of justice” even though the victims themselves emphatically stated when they were adults they were abused and there was physical evidence of abuse. This happened in the Amirault case.
Other cases may be overturned, yet the victims’ voices are lost in the future telling of the accounts of these cases and may be purposefully deleted from public accounts. Those working to make sure that victims accounts are heard may be harassed or banned from working in public areas where these accounts are told. One place to find the victims side of the story is at our website in the article :
Day Care and Child Abuse Cases
This page has information on the McMartin Preschool Case, Michelle Remembers, the Fells Acres – Amirault Case, the Wenatchee, Washington Case, the Dale Akiki Case, the Glendale Montessori – Toward case, the Little Rascals Day Care Center case, Fran’s Day Care case, the Baran case, the Halsey case, the West Memphis 3 case, the Friedman’s case, the Christchurch Civic Creche sex abuse – Peter Ellis case, the Ramona case and the West Point Day Care Case.
We have a separate page for the McMartin Case, at:
McMartin Preschool Case – What Really Happened and the Coverup
There is little evidence to prove actual contagion among different parts of the population showing that ritual abuse accusations were part of a panic. This is especially true in the criminal cases. In many of these crimes there were reports of strong changes in the children’s behavior and even physical evidence of abuse. Just because there is an increased awareness of ritual abuse crimes does not in itself mean that there was any contagion or actual social influence. One would have to examine each individual criminal case and find out if the victims had heard about other cases and had not actually been abused. This has never been done.
The theory of panic has been used like a blanket to deny all ritual abuse crimes. Even with cases with conclusive evidence and convictions, the convictions themselves are attacked as being part of a panic of the 1980s and 1990.
This theory erroneously backs the idea that therapists plant ideas in their client’s minds. The idea of implantation has little evidence, yet it is repeated until believed by those promoting the theory of panic. Research has shown it is very difficult to convince most people that abuse crimes occurred in their histories. It is more likely that people will deny being abused due to social and familial pressures.
The theory of panic, like other social denial theories, ended up causing a great deal of harm in the child protection movement. People that came forward after this, describing ritual abuse crimes, were less likely to be believed. This social denial has allowed these crimes to continue after a brief period in history where they were exposed.
What needs to happen is:
1) Making sure that the victims’ sides of the stories of ritual abuse crimes are heard in as many places as possible.
2) Exposing the incorrect techniques used by false memory proponents and panic theorists. Showing their work and ideas to be incorrect and when possible, showing their true motives for developing these theories.
3) Not allowing panic theorists to use their theory like a blanket covering all cases.
4) Forcing panic theorists to actually prove their case and show clear social influence in each case where they claim social influence actually occurred.
5) Not allowing the harassment and attacks of the panic theorists and false memory proponents to slow down our work to expose their techniques and to tell the stories of the victims of these crimes.
Let’s discuss ways we can do this.