Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ritual Abuse


'My father was still involved in the military at that time. Most of my clients were army, army men, and I actually had regulars at that age."

Sara Scott is the author of The Politics and Experience of Ritual Abuse: Beyond Disbelief (Open University Press, 2001). The research on which the book is based involved life-history interviews with 13 adults who identify themselves as survivors of ritual abuse.

The following is extracted from a September 2001 article at:
YoungMinds Magazine Ritual abuse - listening to survivors

A number of interviewees described being prostituted in ways that captured the mundane aspects of such experience from a child's perspective:

'My father was still involved in the military at that time. Most of my clients were army, army men, and I actually had regulars at that age. There was an awful lot of prostitution going on from then until I left home?'

... One survivor said:

"... you get drugged, whether you get injections, whether you get a drink beforehand ..."

Conclusion

In the ten years since I became involved in work around ritual abuse, the child abuse field has changed considerably. Decades of organised sexual abuse in residential institutions have been exposed. International campaigns against child trafficking and prostitution have helped awaken concern about the sexual exploitation of young people in Britain. And the connections that sometimes link domestic and organised abuse have been at least partly exposed through cases such as that of Fred and Rosemary West, the Dutroux case in Belgium, or the successful prosecution of inter and extra-familial abuse in the West Country case.

The more we understand about the need for control and the desire for domination being a core feature of child abuse and domestic violence, the more convincing become ritual abuse survivors descriptions of their abusers. The more we understand about the specific mental health consequences of different kinds of childhood abuse, the more comprehensible are ritual abuse survivors' accounts of their own difficulties in living - and those of their siblings, mothers and grandmothers who had been similarly abused.

The term 'ritual abuse' refers only to those experiences that have been marked as 'beyond belief'. For the survivors I interviewed, they were often the least significant aspect of the numerous abuses that had characterised their childhoods. The accounts they gave were of childhoods of 'total abuse' in which sadism and suffering, exploitation and victimisation were a way of life. They have much to teach us about the experience of growing up in such a context and how we can begin to help those who have survived similar childhoods.

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