Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

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Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:21 pm

Currently reading the print PDF edition, I have the paperback on pre-order.

Organised Sexual Abuse offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary investigation
of the phenomenon of multi-perpetrator, multi-victim sexual abuse.
Since the early 1980s, social workers and mental health professionals around
the globe have encountered clients reporting sexual abuse by organised groups
or networks.
These allegations have been amongst the most controversial in
debates over child sexual abuse, raising many unanswered questions. Are
reports of organised abuse factual or the product of moral panic and false
memories? If these reports are true, what is the appropriate response? The
fields of child protection and psychotherapy have been polarised over the issue.
And, although cases of organised abuse continue to be uncovered, a reasoned
and evidence-based analysis of the subject is long overdue.
Examining the
existing evidence, and supplementing it with further qualitative research, in
this book Michael Salter addresses: the relationship between sexual abuse and
organised abuse; the different varieties of organised abuse cases; the historical
and cultural context to organised abuse; questions over the veracity of testimony;
the contexts in which sexually abusive groups develop and operate; the
role of religion and ritual in subcultures of multi-perpetrator sexual abuse; as
well as the experience of adults and children with histories of organised abuse
in the criminal justice system and health system. Organised Sexual Abuse thus
provides a defi nitive analysis that will be of immense value to those with
professional and academic interests in this area.

Michael Salter is lecturer in Criminology at the University of Western
Sydney. His work is focused on the intersections of gendered violence, health
and culture, and the significance of violence in the formation of culture and
identity.


To call this an important book would be something of an understatement.

Publisher: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415689779/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Organised-Sexual- ... el-Salter/
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:37 pm

p2: "...the contemporary situation in relation to organised abuse is one of considerable ambiguity in which journalists and academics claim that organised abuse is a discredited ‘moral panic’ even as cases are being investigated and prosecuted."

p3: "The majority of the available literature on organised abuse is concerned with the psychotherapeutic treatment of survivors but the focus of this book is not on the survivor as client but rather on the survivor as witness. The book draws on the life histories and experiences of survivors to develop a criminological model of organised abuse."

p4: "Survivors of child abuse may struggle with amnesia and other forms of memory disturbance but the notion that they are particularly prone to suggestion and confabulation has yet to find a scientific basis. It is interesting to note that questions about the veracity of eyewitness evidence appear to be asked far more frequently in relation to sexual abuse and rape than in relation to other crimes."

p6: "At present, there is no commonly accepted defi nition or description of complex cases of sexual abuse involving multiple abusers and multiple children. Generic terms such as ‘sex ring’, ‘paedophile ring’ or ‘sexual exploitation’ are unclear, since they tend to imply the abuse of children by predatory strangers when the relations between victims and abusers are often more complex than this. Cases are often categorised according to the forms of sexual abuse engaged in by perpetrators (eg a ‘ritual abuse’ case or a ‘child pornography’ case) but abusive groups tend to engage in multiple forms of abuse (eg both ritual abuse and the manufacture of child abuse images). Hence these distinctions are somewhat artificial and are often drawn according to the interests and priorities of the investigator/researcher rather than on the characteristics of the case. The simultaneous abuse of children and women, and the abuse of children into adulthood, adds an additional layer of complexity to the study of multi-perpetrator sexual offences by challenging taken-for-granted distinctions between rape and child sexual abuse.

This book employs the terms ‘organised sexual abuse’ and ‘organised abuse’ as relatively simple and inclusive descriptors for any occurrence of sexual abuse in which multiple victims have been exploited by multiple perpetrators acting in concert, in which some of the victims are children."

p9: "Child sexual exploitation is often invoked in public discourse to advance a range of agendas, only some of which are related to the wellbeing and security of victimised and vulnerable children.

Reports of child prostitution and exploitation in the ‘third world’ have become an important part of the rationalisation of Western border control and national security policies (O’Connell Davidson 2005). In the United States, accusations of mass child molestation have been a feature of homophobic slander since the Cold War, in which nationalist propaganda confl ated socialism, child sex crimes and homosexuality as a combined threat to social order (eg Fejes 2000 ). In Australia, allegations of ‘paedophile rings’ have been used to justify a range of punitive interventions into Indigenous families and communities (Brown and Brown 2007 ). In Britain, reports of Muslim ‘sex rings’ that prey on white teenage girls have stirred up a predictable response from racist and right-wing groups (Taylor 2012 ). What emerges clearly from these heated discussions is the way in which organised abuse can be invoked for maximum political gain and impact."
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby American Dream » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:52 pm

Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:37 pm wrote:p4: "Survivors of child abuse may struggle with amnesia and other forms of memory disturbance but the notion that they are particularly prone to suggestion and confabulation has yet to find a scientific basis. It is interesting to note that questions about the veracity of eyewitness evidence appear to be asked far more frequently in relation to sexual abuse and rape than in relation to other crimes."


Great to have you here sharing this and especially if he goes further with substantive info regarding corroborating evidence, anything more you might add will be very, very useful.

Thanks for your attention to this- and welcome back however you choose to be here!
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:14 pm

Cheers. The discovery of this book demanded that I solve my password hash.

pg 13 - "The presumption evident amongst some authors writing on ritual abuse that a professed spiritual motivation for abusing children necessarily reflects the offenders actual motivation seems naïve at best, and at worst it risks colluding with the ways in which abusive groups obfuscate responsibility for their actions."

WR: I think that gets to the heart of why "Satanic" "Ritual" Abuse is dead language. (Well, that and 20+ years of FMSF fuckery.)

pg 64 - "The rhetorical importance of ‘satanic ritual abuse’ for the ‘false memory’ movement is illustrated by the fact that, of the 144 newsletters released by the FMSF between 1992 and 2011, 140 of them used the term. Scott (2001) argues that the deployment of the term ‘satanic ritual abuse’ was a deliberate strategy undertaken by ‘false memory’ activists and journalists sympathetic to the ‘false memory’ movement in an attempt to portray cases of ritualistic abuse in a salacious light. In doing so, they were able to shift the debate about sexual abuse allegations from the terrain of child welfare, reframing the issue in terms of the susceptibility of women and children to coercive influence.

The emphasis on satanic ritual abuse was a particularly important part of this strategy, characterising child protection workers and therapists as ‘antisatanists’ on a ‘witch hunt’. This was a rhetorical strategy that substantively broadened the field of people evincing scepticism over women and children’s testimony of organised abuse from the core of the ‘false memory’ movement to include a range of progressive and relatively liberal commentators."

pg 72 - "This chapter has argued that factor of enjoyment is crucial in explaining the success of the FMSF in advancing their agenda, and the degree of contempt that continues to characterise references to cases of organised abuse. In online as well as ‘old’ media, ‘satanic ritual abuse’ is invoked whenever a journalist or commentator seeks to rationalise their derision for the testimony of sexually victimised women and children or those professionals and agencies who would accept their testimony as true. Behind these assertions is a view that masculine sexuality is essentially harmless whilst it is claimed that the minds of women, children, feminists and ‘Others’ harbour socially destructive forces that can easily turn against men. It is by disbelieving the testimony of women and children that such forces are kept at bay and men are protected. The construct of ‘satanic ritual abuse’ is now an endlessly elastic one that can rationalise virtually any claim of male victimisation by ‘false allegations’ of sexual abuse. When Jerry Sandusky, former Pennsylvania State University assistant coach, was charged with 40 counts of child sexual abuse against eight complainants, his lawyer compared the allegations against him to the ‘moral panic’ over ‘satanic ritual abuse’ ( Sax 2011 )."

...and some unrelated but curious statistical details...

pg 15 - "The underlying assumption of literature on ‘organised paedophilia’ is that members of sexually abusive groups are motivated by a pathological sexual interest in children but this does not accord with evidence that suggests that abusive groups can simultaneously abuse children and women.

...

It is increasingly recognised that sexual offenders may not specialise in one particular victim category, and a significant proportion of child sexual abusers have also offended against adults (Cann et al. 2007 , Heil et al. 2003 ). Furthermore, many of the behaviours of abusive groups appear to be designed to elicit fear and pain from the victim rather than to generate sexual pleasure for the perpetrator per se. The two, of course, are not mutually exclusive, but there is a sadistic dimension to organised abuse that is not explicable as ‘paedophilic’."

pg 41 - "There is one gendered issue that has been widely remarked upon in relation to organised abuse, and that is the disproportionate participation of women as perpetrators in organised contexts. Cases of organised abuse constitute, in fact, a significant proportion of all detected cases of female sexual offending against children. In Vandiver’s ( 2006 ) review of all female offenders identified in the national FBI sexual abuse incident database in 2001, 46 per cent had at least one co-offender. Of these women, 48 per cent had more than one co-offender, and 7 per cent had ten or more co-offenders."
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby elfismiles » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:32 pm

Thanks for these quotes and future data dumps.

Good to see you Wombat!
goodbye farewell adieu au revoir ciao auf Wiedersehen adios sayonara buhbye tata laters
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:18 pm

pg 31 - "In their sample of 270 substantiated cases of sexual abuse in child care arrangements throughout America, Finkelhor and Williams ( 1988 ) found that 17 per cent involved allegations of multiple perpetrators. The authors observed that ‘it is very clear that the multiperpetrator cases have dynamics which set them apart’ (Finkelhor and Williams 1988 : 38), with the largest average number of victims, the most extended and serious forms of abuse (including the production of child abuse images and ritualistic practices) and an over-representation of female perpetrators in comparison to other child care cases or in research on sexual abuse in general. They reported that 25 per cent of cases in their sample involved the perpetration of abuse by the owner or director of the child care business, raising the possibility that ‘abuse was the reason for which the day-care operation was established’ (Finkelhor and Williams 1988 : 28).

The childcare abuse scandals of the 1980s and 1990s led to increased oversight of childcare arrangements and screening of childcare workers, and although sexual abuse and organised abuse cases continue to be uncovered in childcare and day-care centres, there appear to be considerably fewer cases than 20 years ago. Today the most common reports of institutional organised abuse involve historical complaints of abuse in religious institutions and residential children’s institutions."

An important caveat, and something I am currently writing an essay on, is the unfortunate fact that a cover up of sexual abuse does not imply there is a conspiracy of sexual abusers -- the "coverup" is a bureaucratic autoimmune response. Salter addresses this on page 33:

It has been common for institutional authorities to silence complaining children whilst protecting abusive staff, and some critics have described this pattern of institutional cover-ups as evidence of ‘organised paedophilia’ (eg Hawkins and Briggs 1997 ). The line between complicity and conspiracy in such instances is often uncertain, since there is considerable crossover between organised institutional abuse and what Kelly and Scott ( 1993 ) have called ‘disorganised’ sexual abuse, where a child is vulnerable to sexual abuse by multiple people due to a lack of organisation by child protection services. The severe sexual abuse of a child in care may not be evidence of collusion between abusers but rather it may indicate the absence of basic safeguards and protections.


For instance, a lot of the UK actors who were called to limit the hangout for the BBC post-Savile never had any contact with Savile and his network -- they're simply reporting for work and doing a job. Ugly, infuriating, but hardly proof of a "pedocracy" running Number 10. (Just a bunch of normal cowards!) Such specimens do exist, though, as Salter goes on to note:

Nonetheless, the capacity of large church-run or state-run institutions to evade scrutiny and the zeal with which sexually abusive groups may attempt to hide their offences should not be underestimated. In 2002, it emerged that the state-run orphanage Pia Casa in Portugal had been targeted by a sexually abusive group that included diplomats, doctors, lawyers and journalists for over two decades (Tremlett 2010 ). Evidence of the abusive network was fi rst provided to the police and politicians in the early 1980s, however key dossiers disappeared, other evidence was subsequently destroyed and witnesses reporting being threatened and intimidated (Taylor 2010 ).


Rabbit Hole: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_Pia_c ... se_scandal
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:57 pm

pg 56 - "Kelly ( 2000 ) contests the de-politicisation of serious physical and sexual violence against women and children in Western countries. Drawing on a gendered lens, she has highlighted the political significance of the commonalities between reports of sadistic sexual violence in armed conflict and those alleged to occur in organised abuse:

What is being enacted in most of these settings are reinforcements of the primacy of relationships between men, and the accompanying subordination of women which underpins male supremacy. Men affirm one another as men through the exclusion, humiliation and objectification of women. What we need to explore in more depth is whether any hierarchical grouping of men, organised as men, creates conditions in which coercive heterosexuality is promoted and enacted. These groupings would include sports teams, private clubs, gangs, secret societies as well as the military."
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:18 pm

pg 65 -

The case made by the ‘false memory’ societies that allegations of organised and ritualistic abuse are wholly fabricated is based, to a significant extent, on a report prepared by FBI agent Kenneth Lanning (1992) . Lanning’s report details his concerns about the potential impact of hyperbole and sensationalism on investigations into ritual abuse. However, the report does not contain any empirical review or analysis of cases of ritual abuse, with Lanning acknowledging that he had never investigated a case of ritual abuse or interviewed a child or adult alleging ritual abuse ( Bennetts 1993 ).

Nonetheless, Lanning’s report is pervasively mis-cited throughout ‘false memory’ literature as a ‘case review’ that conclusively discredits all reports of ritual abuse to American authorities. References to this report often involve fictitious details designed to lend it an air of definitive authority. For example, Ofshe and Watters (1993) claim that Lanning’s report was based on a review of ‘three hundred cases’ of ritualistic abuse. Lief and Fetkewicz (1997: 303) announce ‘When SRA is involved, we know ipso facto that the accusations are untrue’ due to ‘a decade of study by the FBI’. Wright (2006: 121) calls the report ‘a comprehensive, eight-year study by the FBI on occult crime’. Lanning’s report has taken on an almost scriptural or mythical significance amongst sceptics who continue to assert that the FBI has disavowed ritual abuse investigations, despite the fact that FBI agents have been involved in the investigation and prosecution of ritual child sex abuse cases (eg Ellzey 2007 ).

Other examples of ‘false memory’ research show serious methodological and ethical flaws. In Australia, a police investigator undertook qualitative research with women reporting ritualistic abuse, only to diagnose them with ‘false memory syndrome’ when most refused to consent to an unrequested physical examination for evidence of physical and sexual assault ( Ogden 1993 ). He describes ‘extensively investigating’ the body of one woman after she disclosed internal scarring from sexual torture ( Ogden 1993 : 32). His research methods were not only egregiously unethical, but his conclusions that his participants were suffering from a factitious disorder because they would not provide him with medical evidence of sexual assault was spurious. It is common for sexual abuse and sexual assault victims to express reluctance to undergo a physical exam, and even where they do consent physical signs of sexual assault may be ambiguous or nonexistent. Despite these serious shortcomings, Ogden’s work was reported in the Australian press as evidence of an epidemic of ‘false memories’ ( Guilliat 1995), and he was appointed to the board of the Australian False Memory Association.

In her book claiming that allegations of ritualistic abuse are mostly confabulations, La Fontaine’s (1998) comparison of social workers to ‘nazis’ shows the depth of feeling evident amongst many sceptics. However, this raises an important question: Why did academics and journalists feel so strongly about allegations of ritualistic abuse, to the point of pervasively misrepresenting the available evidence and treating women disclosing ritualistic abuse, and those workers who support them, with barely concealed contempt? It is of course true that there are fringe practitioners in the field of organised abuse, just as there are fringe practitioners in many other health-related fields. However, the contrast between the measured tone of the majority of therapists and social workers writing on ritualistic abuse, and the over-blown sensationalism of their critics, could not be starker. Indeed, Scott (2001) notes with irony that the writings of those who claimed that ‘satanic ritual abuse’ is a ‘moral panic’ had many of the features of a moral panic: scapegoating therapists, social workers and sexual abuse victims whilst warning of an impending social catastrophe brought on by an epidemic of false allegations of sexual abuse. It is perhaps unsurprising that social movements for people accused of sexual abuse would engage in such hyperbole, but why did this rhetoric find so many champions in academia and the media?


...for a very different perspective from an FBI employee, of course, you have The Gunderson Statement...

http://www.randomcollection.info/gunderson.pdf

Note for the casual reader: in no way does this constitute an endorsement of the veracity of Gunderson's claims or even career. It's just a curious data point that stands in sharp juxtaposition to the quoted material above.
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:58 pm

pg 70 -
The consequences of the pleasures of disbelief

In the sceptical literature on ‘satanic ritual abuse’, references to the severe and chronic mental and physical health problems of adults and children with histories of organised abuse are notable only for their absence. Whilst sceptics scornfully characterised allegations of organised abuse in terms of murder, cannibalism and ritual sacrifices, they ignored the mundane evidence of physical and sexual abuse that had led to the very child protection interventions and criminal prosecutions they claimed had no basis in fact. The majority of sceptics had little direct experience of adults or children with histories of organised or ritualistic abuse, and nor did they employ research methodologies that would familiarise them with the perspectives and needs of this population. On the contrary, through the ‘false memory’ movement, many sceptical academics and journalists developed close personal and professional relationships with adults accused of organised and ritualistic abuse. Throughout the 1990s, this sceptical coalition brought tremendous political and media pressure to bear on particular investigations into organised abuse on behalf of those accused. Their social and political agenda was sympathetically received by state authorities, influencing child protection decisions ( Nelson 2008), custody cases ( Brooks 2001 ) and public inquiries ( Rogers 1999 ) in relation to organised and ritual abuse. As cases of organised abuse gained increasingly high-profile (and often global) media coverage, the claims of those accused were accepted at face value whilst social workers and therapists involved in the cases were restricted from challenging these claims by professional codes of confi dentiality ( Kitzinger 2004 , Goddard 1994 , Summit 1994 ).

The ensuing backlash resulted in multiple failures to protect children and vulnerable adults. In the United Kingdom, children who had disclosed organised and ritualistic abuse were returned to their parents despite continuing to disclose sexual abuse and engaging in disturbed and traumatised behaviour ( Nelson 2008 ). In a Scottish case, eight children were returned home to their parents despite their testimony of organised abuse and medical evidence of child torture ( Rafferty 1997 ). In Australia, a pregnant woman approached child protection services disclosing a history of ritual abuse but her concerns about her capacity to protect her child from sexual abuse were dismissed, since the department did not accept that ritual abuse occurs (South Australian Ombudsman 2004). In 2005, a report by Scotland’s social work inspection agency found that, throughout the 1990s, social workers failed to remove three children from their parents despite clear evidence of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. The children had been in contact with over 100 health professionals throughout the 1990s, and they frequently disclosed organised abuse by their parents. Despite clear evidence of abuse, it seems that these disclosures of organised abuse were the primary reason why child protection authorities failed to intervene. Commenting on the case, the local social work director stated that case workers were operating in the wake of controversies over ritualistic abuse and they were therefore ‘reluctant to make similar mistakes’ ( Seenan 2005 ).

The wholesale whitewashing of evidence of harm in cases of organised abuse not only compromised child protection efforts, but resulted in the denial of health care to survivors. Ofshe and Watters (1996) and a range of ‘false memory’ activists have lobbied against the provision of mental health treatment to people with histories of organised abuse and associated diagnoses, such as dissociative identity disorder (DID). There is ample evidence that people with histories of organised abuse and/or a diagnosis of DID constitute a population of mental health patients with acute and complex needs ( Ross 1995 , Noblitt and Perskin 2000 , Sachs and Galton 2008 ). Adults with undiagnosed or untreated DID have extremely high suicide rates several thousand times the American national average ( Kluft 1995 ). However, Ross (1997) observes that, in his clinical experience, the suicide risk for this population reduces dramatically once they have established a working rapport with a mental health professional. Moreover, people with DID are at heightened risk of physical and sexual victimisation, and may require mental health care in order to bring ongoing abuse to an end ( Middleton 2005 ). The ‘false memory’ campaign to restrict mental health care to this population not only contributed to their risk of suicide and self-harm, but complicated their efforts to protect themselves from ongoing abuse and violence.
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:11 am

pg 130: "Participants suggested that, as children, they became aware fairly quickly of the seriousness of their situation once organised abuse had begun. The initial niceties and compliments typically associated with ‘grooming’ dropped away quickly and victims were confronted with the enormity of their abuse and their powerlessness to defend themselves, a point that was often reinforced and emphasised by the perpetrators themselves. However, costumes, uniforms and other staged performances remained an important feature in the control of children in organised abuse even where the pretence of ‘fun’ and ‘games’ had been left behind.

...

In reflecting on the role of uniforms in ten cases of ritualistic abuse, psychologist Hudson ( 1991 : 15–16) states: ‘It is obvious that the costumed perpetrators tried to destroy the child’s trust in law enforcement and in the medical community’, resulting in ‘noncooperation during investigation or trial’. In Renee’s account, costumes and uniforms were part of a larger strategy to undermine her capacity to distinguish between her abusers and potentially helpful authority fi gures. Through drugs, ‘games’ and costumes the perpetrators sought to dissolve the boundaries between reality and deception so that Renee’s fear of torture and punishment became all-pervasive, and every adult loomed large in her world as a potential abuser.

Perpetrators used a range of strategies to inhibit disclosure and ensure the compliance of children in organised abuse, including blackmail.

...

All participants reported that child abuse images were made of them, and the shame and fear associated with the potential distribution of these images to family and friends was a powerful factor in preventing them from disclosing their abuse. Whilst some child sex offenders appear to experience their abuse of children as an expression of love, affection or a ‘special bond’ between them and their victims (Elliott et al. 1995 ), the perpetrators described by these participants were brutally instrumental in their manipulation and silencing of their victims. Even once they were assured of the child’s compliance, drugs were often used to sedate or render the child unconscious prior to abuse.[/quote]
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Re: Organized Sexual Abuse - Michael Salter

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:08 pm

pg 151 - "Of the 15 participants who stated that they had been subject to ritualistic abuse, nine described a continuum of pseudo-medicalised abuse in which ‘doctors’ or other abusers used a variety of techniques, usually incorporating hypnosis and/or electro-shock, to induce dissociative or hypnotic states. For some participants, this activity appeared to be designed to inculcate or induce a dissociative reflex, possibly with the intention of disrupting the child’s capacity to accurately recall or report her abuse. For example, May described her father taking her to a ‘doctor’ who hypnotised her and taught her to ‘float away’ in the year prior to the commencement of organised and ritualistic abuse.

...

Other participants reported more intensive, prolonged, structured kinds of experiences. Participants described these ordeals in terms such as ‘mind-bending’ or as a ‘mind fuck’ in which perpetrators systematically undermined and invalidated the child’s sense of reality. Of the nine participants who reported these pseudo-medical experiences, five reported that they believed they were subject to a programme of torture designed to induce DID. They claimed that this programme had been carried out by a particular person, or group of people, within the abusive group who were trained in the inducement of DID. Such descriptions of torture and hypnosis are recurrent themes in disclosures of ritualistic abuse around the world (see Becker et al. 2008 ). In cases of organised abuse, clinicians have suggested that traumatic and dissociative psychopathology may be deliberately induced by sexually abusive groups in order to inhibit victim disclosure and reduce the likelihood of detection (Sachs and Galton 2008 , Epstein et al. 2011 , Miller 2012 ), resulting in what Chu ( 2011 : 263) has described as ‘massive devastation of the self’. In the literature on organised abuse, such ordeals are frequently referred to as ‘mind control’.

Unsurprisingly, accounts of ‘mind control’ have contributed little to the credibility of narratives of organised abuse as a whole. As Bell et al. ( 2004 ) point out, claims of ‘mind control’ are common themes in the clinical presentations of people with schizophrenia. Nonetheless, the majority of adults with histories of ritualistic abuse do not meet the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia (Ross 1995 ), and indeed there are a number of differences between their reports of mind control and those of people with schizophrenia (Lacter and Lehman 2008 ). In fact, whilst some observers have dismissed such disclosures as evidence of delusion in cases of ritualistic abuse (Richardson et al. 1991 ), there are a number of criminal cases in which complainants have reported mind control and hypnosis in relation to their claims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. In these cases, ‘women were sexually abused while in trance states that were induced powerfully and quickly caused the women to lapse in their normal, self-protective behaviours’ (Noblitt and Perskin 2000 : 82). In Australia, hypnosis and brainwashing have featured in child sex prosecutions (Petraitis and O’Connor 1999 , Grant 2005 ). In these cases, child victims reported amnesia for their sexual exploitation as a result of hypnosis.

...

The pseudo-scientific trappings of ‘mind control’ may function much like the religious overtones of ritualistic abuse, legitimising the abuse and enjoining the victim to participate in her own exploitation. This practical but symbolic relation may explain why the two forms of abuse frequently co-occur, and why it is frequently unclear where ritualistic abuse ends and ‘mind control’ begins.

...

Many of the ‘mind control’ ordeals described by participants had similar themes to other sadistic and ritualistic ordeals. This observation disrupts the ‘scientific’ justification of ‘mind control’ as a functional method of control and instead highlights its similarities with ritualistic abuse and other practices that serve to legitimise organised abuse. Indeed, in the broader social context, just as religion is a domain within which masculine domination is simultaneously sacralised and mystified, so too has scientific authority traditionally justified men’s dominance over women and children. It may be that, in abusive groups, religious and pseudo-medical/scientific ideologies serve to inform the abusive practices of the group and thus serve as an ideological framework within which abusive men craft and enhance experiences of domination and superiority.
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