The Power of the Human Denial System

This is a re-post from 2012, but these cases are so interesting, and show the power of the human denial system.

Milton Erickson, who studied both cases, documented each of these cases, proving them through details of the offenses, which are supported by the factual and specific corroborated testimony.


In the first case, further proof unfolded by way of medical exams, which verified that the two young girls had been sodomized and raped. The victims were also interviewed separately, and their stories were virtually the same.

The girls, ages nine and eleven, were brought into the care of authorities when their parent’s brothel was raided. The parents and twelve male clients were arrested. In the first interview with the girls, each victim showed negative emotion towards what they had endured. Both girls displayed powerful resentment and abhorrence for their parents and the men who abused them.

The girls also showed anxiety and fear about their physical state, which included having syphilis and gonorrhea, and they felt gratification about the penalties given to the adults. In addition, the two girls had received enjoyment from some of the sexual contact and they were full of shame and guilt about this.

The next interview documented less of a need from both girls to speak about what had happened, and they were more concerned with the venereal diseases and discomfort from being under quarantine. They also began to minimize the details of their previous stories. The girls were even contradicting themselves and denying accounts they gave in the first interview.

By the third interview, the girls gave insufficient facts about their abuse, as well as inadequate details about the most important aspects of their experiences, and specific elements were being minimized more radically. The sodomy was now being completely denied by both girls and their denial included hostility towards the interviewer. The girls also denied having given naked erotic dances for the patrons.

The girls quickly began to display the beginnings of being protective towards their parents. They made statements of personal denial and said their parents would “never” have let other people sexually abuse them. The girls were now characterizing a portion of the more monstrous acts as “lies.”

By the third interview the girls both withheld any mention of feeling physical pleasure and any former feelings of content over the punishment that the adults received had vanished.

Six months later the girls were interviewed for the last time. The victims both showed resentment for the interviewer’s interest in their trauma and pain. This was especially visible in the younger girl. The girls said that all the accusations were “nasty lies.” The parents were both defended by the girls and the parents were regarded with kindness. The victims expressed anger towards law enforcement, and became strong and sincere in their new belief that the trauma and sexual abuse did not happen.

Eventually, the girls repeated their original stories, but called them fabrications, and continued to say that their parents were the victims. When Milton Erickson mentioned their venereal diseases, he faced angry denials and the girls gave trivial reasons for how they contracted the diseases.

Erickson noted the girls had no conscious recollection of their experience as being a reality. Their new opinions and their honesty in those beliefs could not be challenged by anyone.

The explanation for their denial most likely stems from various reasons and the reasons may be different for each girl. It is possible that in order to keep the truth alive, it meant facing that their parents did not love them. The truth also meant being separated from the rest of society, their friends, and childhood activities previously enjoyed.

This behavior can be found in adults who retract their previous disclosure of child sexual abuse when they find that -by talking about the abuse to other family members- they are subsequently alienated by their family and decide that they prefer the complacency, and obedience, of their lives before they told of their memories.

It can be extremely painful to be cut off from family members. As Erickson noted in his work, the girl’s isolation contributed to the early stages of retraction. When an abuse survivor speaks openly about their memories, the result can be just like isolation if the biological family ostracizes the survivor. The girls also must have retracted their disclosure because of the personal trauma. The girl’s denial system rejected what was demoralizing, monstrous, and what was perpetrated by their loved ones.

Another chief reason for a person to take back an abuse allegation could be because the child felt good when they had sexual contact with their perpetrator. In this instance, incrimination of the abuser also means self-incrimination of shame.


The second Erickson case offers a clear example of a victim’s fantasy bond with their tormentor. This case shows that even when the perpetrator is not a family member, victims cannot comprehend that another human being can be so cruel.

The case involved a young woman who was in a car crash with a man who had recently been paroled from prison. It is unclear what their relationship was prior to the accident, but the article indicates that they had intended on staying at a prostitute roadhouse when the car accident altered those plans.

The man had been driving and the accident trapped the woman under the car. The vehicle caught on fire and the woman had to be rescued by strangers who came upon the scene after her companion had left the area without making any attempt to save her.

The man later confessed to the entire incident. The motorists who rescued the woman confirmed the testimony of the man, and the victim also testified to the same facts at the trial.

The victim was extremely angry over being abandoned to die. Yet without any intervention in the case, the woman sought out a re-trial eight months later under the appeal of her own testimony being false. The woman began telling researcher, Milton Erickson, that she truly believed her escort had desperately tried to save her.

The victim insisted that “no human being would do such a thing, nor could anybody endure being so treated.”

The victim even went so far as to create a detailed ‘false’ scenario. Interestingly, she recounted how one might feel if left to die in such a way. She even elaborated on the story, as if she was fantasizing about her own reality.

It is evident that the woman needed to believe her companion was a decent person. She said the incident could not have taken place because it would have been intolerable –that no human could have endured it. This shows that when a person faces human cruelty, the denial system can overpower personal experience, common sense, and facts.

Even the man who had been driving the car told Erickson that the woman was crazy, confused, or “nuts.” The man said the woman had been honest in court and that the accident happened just the way she had originally testified to.


Negation or Reversal of Legal Testimony, Hypnotic Investigation of Psychodynamic Processes, Milton Erickson, The Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson on Hypnosis Volume 3, Edited by Ernest L. Rossi Irvington Publishers, Inc, 1980, page 221-224
Posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Crime, Headlines, Health, News, rape and abuse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Research Proves the Existence of Repressed Memories

“I was never prodded or poked by someone else’s agenda to remember. It just came, as if I gave birth to three whales.”

~Lori Cardille, incest survivor

There are still many people who deny that children can, and often do, completely block out incest, child sexual abuse, and trauma. Most of those who deny the existence of repressed memories, are usually one of the following people:

  • Child sexual abusers
  • Pedophiles who have an agenda to legalize and normalize child sexual abuse
  • Psychologists who make money from defending accused perpetrators in civil suits
  • The mother who enabled sexual abuse in her home by not protecting the child
  • Family members of the accused in non-incest cases
  • Siblings, and other family members in cases of incest

I want people to know there is documented evidence and research to fully support and validate that many people have completely blocked out child sexual abuse, and often don’t remember it until they become an adult.

There are even Holocaust survivors, who have repressed all of their trauma from the war.

One example is the war survivor, referred to as “O.K,” who suffered total amnesia for her childhood and all of her experiences in the war, including the Germans taking her mother and father. She also repressed the memory of herself sitting near her dead grandmother.  The subject, “O.K.” had built a superficial “good world” in order to separate herself from -and to replace- the reality she faced as a child.

One study suggests that about sixteen percent of people, who have suffered severe inter-familial sexual abuse as a child, will repress the memories completely. This study was documented and corroborated with records from social services which were logged at the time the child had been removed from the home.

Close to twenty percent of the 330 victims of Father James Porter said they completely dissociated from their abuse memories.

The Leadership Council has found more than sixty-eight studies in which trauma, previously unaware to the conscious mind, was remembered later in life, and research studies proving the existence of dissociative amnesia can be found in respected journals of psychology and law.

Charles Whitfield M.D. estimates that about ninety-two to ninety-nine percent of those with delayed memories of child sexual abuse have recalled true events. Whitfield bases his conclusion on his clinical experience, along with the findings of other experts on child sexual abuse.

According to the “False Memory Syndrome” Foundation (there is no such syndrome), seventy-one percent of siblings do not believe the accusations of abuse made and reported to the FMSF.

People who deny repression exists, have asked how the incest could have taken place without the other siblings corroborating the assaults.

Judith Lewis Herman interviewed forty Caucasian women who have always remembered having incestuous relationships with their fathers.  The average number of children in the family was 3.6. Three families had eight, nine, and ten children.

Incest is usually found in families where the entire household conforms to the rule of silence, regardless of whether the family member is a participant or observer. Disbelieving siblings don’t prove that accusations are false, nor does it mean they didn’t know about the abuse.

The most likely scenario is that siblings may still be adhering to the family code of silence and they often have several reasons to reject that incest took place:

  • An emotional need to remain attached to the parents.
  • A financial need to retain ties with the parents (such as an inheritance or the parents currently pay their bills or give them money).
  • They do not want to admit or face that they were victims too.
  • Guilt over not protecting a younger sibling, or because they did not expose the abuse when they moved away.
  • Anger that the accuser is daring to air the family’s dirty laundry.
  • The siblings also have dissociative amnesia for the abuse.
  • A sibling may have abused the child as well and deny memories out of self-protection.

An excellent source for corroborated cases of repressed memory is Ross Cheit’s The Recovered Memory Project. The Website provides details of documented cases which have been corroborated via the justice system or through scientific, clinical, and academic avenues. The project cites research verifying delayed memory of childhood sexual trauma, and provides peer-reviewed studies about amnesia and child abuse. The Recovered Memory Project also furnishes other related resources and full text articles, abstracts, data tables, research, and other material about dissociative amnesia.

Corroborated cases of memory repression also appear from time to time in major newspapers. In the summer of 2001, a man was sentenced to four years in prison and made to pay $20,000 in restitution for therapy bills to two women he had sexually abused. The man admitted that in 1964 he molested the women in his home when they were children.

The two victims had been neighbors of the perpetrator and both had repressed the sexual assaults. Almost four decades after they had been abused, both women were suffering from depression and were in therapy. One of the women said that one day “something just clicked” which caused her to look in the phone book for the name of the man, but she had no idea why she was doing it. When she saw the man’s name, she began to remember.

His other victim started to experience memories of the horrifying abuse after having electroshock therapy.

In one study, three out of four people found some kind of substantiation for their memories of abuse. Those who found corroboration obtained it from the abuser, someone else in the family, from diaries, through statements from others, or by learning that another child had also been abused.

“Therapy Induced Delusions”

Countless people have heard these words, or read them on their computer screen, or seen these painful words in a letter from family members who have chosen to deny the sexual abuse that has been revealed.

I have seen these words in a letter from a sibling, and in an email from another sibling. Marilyn van Derbur heard these words from her mother when she revealed the sexual abuse by her prominent father. Her mother told her, “it’s in your fantasy.”

Several rebuttal studies show that memories of child sexual abuse are usually not brought on by therapy and the majority of memories are recalled outside of therapy. The Elliot study reveals that those who suffered full memory loss of their traumatic experiences reported that psychotherapy had been the least common trigger for the memories to return.

In one study, 108 therapists reported on 690 clients who had experienced repressed abuse or other traumatic memories. Thirty-two percent of the clients began to remember their history of trauma before they began therapy. Thirty-five percent remembered traumas other than sexual abuse, and sixty-five percent had repressed sexual abuse. Seventy-eight percent of the recollections started before any memory work began or before the person sought therapy at all.

Leavitt found that hypnosis played a significant part in remembering child sexual abuse in only four percent of therapy patients.  

Another study done in 1999 revealed that forty-five percent of participants, who experienced total repression for sexual abuse, and forty-eight percent for physical abuse, “were not involved” in therapy or under any psychological care when they first began to remember the abuse. Out of twenty-five percent of the participants in the category of having sexual abuse memories, twenty-one said no suggestion had been made to them or played a role in their memories.

Out of the twenty who had remembered physical abuse, seventeen said no one brought up abuse prior to their remembering it. Twelve out of twenty-five people who had reported sexual abuse memories had remembered for the first time while at home. One had been at work, one did not remember when they began the recall, and nine were placed in a category of “other.” Only two were in therapy when the recall occurred. Thirteen of the twenty-five were alone when the memories came back. One participant had a dream that was considered a memory and one had been under hypnosis.

Mary R. Williams, a California attorney who has represented well over one hundred cases of adult survivors of child sexual abuse, says that most of her clients who dissociated from the memories (about twenty-five percent), began to recall the abuse before they sought therapy.

People can remember child sexual abuse during a period of time in which they have been a therapy patient, but the therapy itself does not always bring up the memories. Psychotherapy may have merely been the vehicle to give the survivor the strength to finally face their buried childhood pain.

People who reject, deny, and scoff at repressed memories of childhood trauma and abuse, need to look themselves in the mirror. They need to honestly ask themselves why they have a deep personal need to ignore the ample amount of cases, research, and the logical reasoning for the mind blocking out trauma and shame:

  • Is it because they are very closed-minded?
  • Do they have a financial interest in denying the documented evidence?
  • Do they know someone who was falsely accused and cannot get past their bias?
  • Is it because they believe the U.S. media is highly responsible, truthful, and educated in its reporting –and cannot possibly have its own agenda to mislead the American public?
  • Have they sexually abused a child and don’t want to deal with it?
  • Have they been sexually abused and don’t want to believe they were?
  • Are they currently sexually abusing a child and wish to suppress anything that might help convict them of a crime when their victim ultimately remembers the abuse?

One of the hardest parts of my healing, and finding my strength, was to learn to trust myself in spite of the denial, intimidation, lies, threats, and ugliness given to me by my bio-tribe when I dared to write letters to them which exposed family secrets –secrets I was sworn to secrecy about …under penalty of death.

Finding my strength in the midst of all the backlash, was also the most liberating part of my healing journey.

–The day I realized that no threat, loss of inheritance, or being called names and cut out of their life would ever replace my peace, health, personal strength and well-being…I became free.

Crested Butte July Flowers and River033



I’m Gonna Tell, Lori Cardille, page 54
Holocaust Survivor’s Mental Health, T.L. Brink Ph.D. Editor, pages 67-71             [Also published as Clinical Gerontologist, Volume 14, Number 3 1994], 1994       Haworth Press, Inc. Birmingham NY
Leadership Council for Mental Health, Justice, and the Media, Aug 15  02,       Recovered Memories: True or False?
Leadership Council for Mental Health, Justice, and the Media, Aug 15 02, Recovered Memories: True or False?
Andrews, B., Brewin, C., Ochera, J., Morton, J., Bekerian, D.,  Davies, G., and Mollon, P. (1999). Characteristics, context and consequences of memory recovery among adults in therapy. Brit J Psychiatry 175:141-146.; Bagley, C. (1995). The prevalence and mental health sequels of child sexual abuse in community sample of women aged 18 to 27.  Child sexual abuse and mental health in adolescents and adults. Aldershot: Avebury; Bull, D. (1999). A verified case of recovered memories of sexual abuse.  American Journal of Psychotherapy, 53(2), 221-224; Chu JA, Frey LM, Ganzel BL, Matthews JA. (1999). Memories of childhood abuse: Dissociation, amnesia, and corroboration. Am J Psychiatry 156(5):749-755; Corwin, D. & Olafson, E. (1997). Videotaped discovery of a reportedly unrecallable memory of child sexual abuse: Comparison with a childhood interview taped 11 years before. Child Maltreatment, 2(2), 91-112; Dahlenberg, C. (1996, Summer) Accuracy, timing and circumstances of disclosure in therapy of recovered and continuous memories of abuse.  The Journal of Psychiatry and Law ; Duggal, S., & Sroufe, L. A. (1998). Recovered memory of childhood sexual trauma: A documented case from a longitudinal study. Journal of Trauma Stress,11(2), 301-321 ; Feldman-Summers, S., & Pope, K. S. (1994). The experience of forgetting childhood abuse: A national survey of psychologists.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 636-639; Herman, J. L., & Harvey, M. R. (1997). Adult memories of childhood trauma: A naturalistic clinical study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 10, 557-571; Herman, J. L., & Schatzow, E. (1987). Recovery and verification of memories of childhood sexual trauma. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 4, 1-14 ; Kluft, R. (1995). The confirmation and disconfirmation of memories of abuse in DID patients: A naturalistic clinical study.   Dissociation: Progress in the Dissociative Disorders, 8(4), 253-258; Lewis, D., Yeager, C., Swica, Y., Pincus,  J. and Lewis, M.  (1997). Objective documentation of child abuse and dissociation in 12 murderers with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Am J Psychiatry, 154(12):1703-10; Martinez-Taboas, A. (1996). Repressed memories: Some clinical data contributing toward its elucidation. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 50(2), 217-30; van der Kolk, BA, & Fisler, R. (1995). Dissociation and the fragmentary nature of traumatic memories: Overview and exploratory study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 8, 505-525 ; Westerhof, Y., Woertman, L. Van der Hart, O., & Nijenhuis, E.R.S. (2000). Forgetting child abuse: Feldman-Summers and Pope’s (1994) study replicated among Dutch psychologists. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 7, 220-229; Widom, C. and Shepard, R. (1997).   Accuracy of adult recollections of childhood victimization. Part 2. Childhood sexual abuse.  Psychological Assessment 9: 34-46; Williams, L. M. (1995, October). Recovered memories of abuse in women with documented child sexual victimization histories.  Journal of Traumatic Stress, 8(4)] [see and the Fragmentary Nature of Traumatic memories: Overview and Exploratory Study. Bessel A. van der Kolk & Rita Fisler HRI Trauma Center 227 Babcock Street Brookline, MA 02146 and Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry
Memory and Abuse: Remembering and Healing the Effects of Trauma, Charles L. Whitfield M.D., Health Communications Inc., 1995 page 77
Bagley, C. (1995). The prevalence and mental health sequels of child sexual        abuse in community sample of women aged 18 to 27.  Child sexual abuse and    mental health in adolescents and adults. Aldershot: Avebury
FMSF online, Frequently Asked Questions
Father Daughter Incest, Judith Lewis Herman with Lisa Hirschman Harvard University Press Cambridge Massachusetts 1981
Recovered Memory Project Archive Overview: Annotated List of Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory #47, Ross Cheit
Fairfax Defendant Also Ordered to Pay $20,000 Toward Victims’ Future Therapy, Tom Jackman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, August 29, 2001; Page B02
Herman, J. L., & Schatzow, E. (1987). Recovery and verification of memories of childhood sexual trauma. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 4, 1-14
Traumatic Events: Prevalence and Delayed Recall in the General Population, Diana M. Elliot, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Philip C. Kendall Editor, Volume 65 No. 4, August 1997, page 815, Published by the American Psychological Association
Andrews, B., Brewin, C., Ochera, J., Morton, J., Bekerian, D.,  Davies, G., and Mollon, P. (1999). Characteristics, context and consequences of memory recovery among adults in therapy. Brit J Psychiatry 175:141-146.
Leavitt, F. (2001). Iatrogenic memory change. Examining the empirical evidence. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, Vo. 19, Issue 2, 21-32
Memories of Childhood Abuse: Dissociation, Amnesia, and Corroboration, James A. Chu, M.D., Lisa M. Frey, Psy.D., Barbara L. Ganzel, Ed.M., M.A., and Julia A. Matthews, Ph.D., M.D. American Journal of Psychiatry 156:749-755, May 1999
Legal Issues for Psychotherapists, Mary R. Williams Historical and Legal Background, Civil Lawsuits by Adults Who Were Sexually Abused in Childhood, Printed in Construction and Reconstruction of Memory: Dilemmas of Childhood Sexual Abuse, edited by Charlotte Prozan, Jason Aronson Inc., 1997
About the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Pamela Freyd, Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse: Psychological, Social, and Legal Perspectives on a Contemporary Mental Health Controversy, Edited by Sheila Taub, Charles C Thomas Publisher,1999 page 33


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Similarities Between Children Currently Suffering Abuse Can Determine Validity of Adult Memories of Child Sexual Abuse

I have compiled a list of evidence which can corroborate that a child has been sexually abused. I have added a parallel list consisting of what has been reported by adult survivors who, at one time, repressed childhood sexual abuse. Many factors can bolster the validity of a child’s accusation of sexual abuse, as well as an adult’s previously repressed memories of abuse.

  • Medical or physical evidence of abuse in a child: A child’s statement may be corroborated by medical, laboratory, scientific, or physical evidence.
  • Adult remembering child sexual abuse for the first time: Most adults, who blocked abuse from their mind, have multiple physical manifestations that research has linked to child sexual assault.
  • Changes in a child’s behavior: The child might demonstrate extreme anxiety, or masturbate on being questioned about the alleged sexual abuse. The victim can develop abnormal behavior following visits with the alleged perpetrator. The child can have nightmares, become ill, and refuse to allow others to touch them.
  • Adult remembering abuse: They suffer anxiety, nightmares, and have problems with being touched by others. The adult might have depression, bouts of anger, and are often promiscuous. They might have PTSD symptoms, and body memories that often predate the return of memories. Adults with amnesia for abuse they suffered as a child, frequently become extremely irritable following family visits or encounters with the person whom they eventually remember as their abuser.
  • Developmentally unusual sexual knowledge: Child displays unusual knowledge of sex acts, anatomy, or sexual terminology.
  • Adult remembering abuse: People who had Dissociative Amnesia for sexual abuse say, that as an adult, they “instinctively” knew how to give oral sex to a man the “first time” they performed it. It was as if they just knew exactly what to do, as if they had given fellatio many times before. In addition, frequent masturbation at a young age has been reported among those who experience delayed memory.  Sometimes, the adult who has repressed memories of child sexual abuse, will experience sexual stimulation at inappropriate times, for unknown reasons, or be stimulated by rape or incest scenes in movies. Some people become sexually stimulated by images of the same sex and become confused, deny it, or push the feelings away out of fear. This confusion often derives from having been sexually abused as a child by a person of the same sex.
  • Play and gestures indicative of abuse: A child’s games or gestures can corroborate the child’s statement. Quotes from cases include: “The child’s non-communicative behavior, described by the psychologist as ‘sexualized,’ indicated that the child had some basis in experience for her statement.”
  • Adult remembering abuse: Indiscriminate sexual behavior is common among those who have been sexually abused as children.
  • More than one child with the same story: Two or more children may be exposed to the same abusive event. If the children are interviewed separately and each tells a similar story, their statements are mutually corroborative –enhancing the reliability of each.
  • Adult remembering abuse: More than one sibling occasionally makes an accusation of delayed abuse memories about the same perpetrator, and they describe similar experiences. Often a sibling, who has always remembered being abused, will corroborate the memories of the person reporting delayed memories. There have been a number of repressed memory cases where the adult victims, unknown to one another, make an accusation about the same person.
  • Defendant’s opportunity to carry out the abuse: The fact that the accused had the opportunity to commit the act described in a child’s statement, increases the reliability of the statement.
  • Adult remembering abuse: Most accused parents, siblings, baby sitters, family friends, extended relatives, and even neighbors had ample opportunity spanning over a number of years to have committed many acts of sexual abuse.
  • Substantiation with defendant’s prior uncharged misconduct: Evidence that the accused has a history of activity similar to what the child is complaining about can support the child’s assertion.
  • Adult remembering abuse: It is often disclosed through other family members, or by the person remembering abuse, that the perpetrator had a large pornographic collection or had walked around the house naked in front of the children, or violated boundaries in other areas –like deliberately walking in on the child in the bathroom or while the child was dressing.
  • Character evidence: If a pertinent trait of the defendant’s character substantiates a child’s hearsay statement, evidence of character trait may be admissible in court under the issue of corroboration.
  • Adult remembering abuse: Many of the people being remembered as perpetrators of child sexual abuse, were alcoholics and had trouble with anger. Others were physically abusive or had violent tempers. Alcoholism and physical abuse are both linked to those who commit child sexual abuse.
  • Expert testimony that child was abused: Expert testimony which corroborates the child’s statement can be used to affirm the sexual assaults.
  • Adult remembering abuse: Licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, and counselors have frequently determined that an adult remembering sexual abuse for the first time, showed signs of having been abused as a child.
  • Expert testimony that child was abused: Perpetrator and child have a strong bond, almost like boyfriend and girlfriend, which can include jealousy of the mother, or the mother is jealous of the child. The child can enjoy the abuser’s company, express love, or other positive feelings toward their abuser –often defending the perpetrator.
  • Adult remembering abuse: Women often defend their abuser through denial, or an inability to be angry at the abuser because of their love for him. This is common for a woman to do with her father. Sometimes, the rivalry remains between the mother and her daughter, and when the daughter beings to deal with memories of child sexual abuse with her father, she remains psychologically bonded to him.

Common ways that children are affected by sexual abuse:

Health problems

Unusual Fears


Low Self Esteem

Eating Disorders

Suicidal Thoughts

Lack of Concentration



Fighting, Bullying Others

Gender confusion

Overly sexual behavior, or sexually abusing a younger or less powerful child

Lack of Trust

Fear of Restrooms

Drug or Alcohol Use




Crying without provocation


Overly Compliant

Overly Defiant

Avoidance of reminders of the trauma

Regressing in age

Excessive worry about themselves dying, or loved ones dying


Avoiding things they used to love

Unusual triggers (A piece of food shaped like a sexual organ may set them off)

Becoming recluse

Unnecessary guilt

Psychosomatic symptoms



Thoughts of suicide

Aggression and impulsive behavior

The previous symptoms are used to help indicate whether a child is being sexually abused. The same list can help determine if someone’s memories of child sexual abuse are valid.


Source: John E.B. Myers Professor of Law.
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Bruce Jenner: Neither Man, Nor Woman


By Ysatis De Saint-Simone

‘And let him who is endowed with Mind know that he is Immortal; and that the cause of Death is identification with the physical Body.

He that through the error of identification thinks he is the Body, abides wandering in darkness, sensible, suffering the things of death.’

The Divine Pymander’s dialogue with Hermes Trismesgistus.

The Identification with the physical body has driven mankind to such madness that this poor misguided soul, who for some subconscious reason, wanted to be a female, was misled to mutilate his male organs and change his physical form rather than to resolve his subconscious mind’s need.

This poor man has mutilated himself hoping that this outward change would end his problem. Jenner was quoted as saying, “if I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”

But he knows that he IS NOT A WOMAN and that he never dealt with himself –he knows, better than anyone.

The Man-Made Products


Bruce Jenner, as "Caitlyn"

Bruce Jenner, as “Caitlyn”



THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD “MONSTER” IS: a large ugly terrifying animal or person created by MAN’S IMAGINATION AND EFFORTS.

THE POOR MAN THAT NOW CALLS HIMSELF ‘CAITLYN’ KNOWS deep inside himself, where no one is able to lie, that he is not any longer a man, a woman or a homosexual, but a fake monstrous form. THAT’S THE REASON WHY HE HAD A PANIC ATTACK AFTER HIS SURGERY WHEN HE REALIZED WHAT HE HAD DONE TO HIMSELF.

Jenner’s ‘Knowing Mind’ inside him is who caused him to have a panic attack, and it WILL NOT STOP MAKING HIM AWARE THAT HE IS NOT WHAT HE PRETENDS TO BE.

It will torture Bruce Jenner every time he sees a natural, beautiful woman. His knowing mind, will tell him that HE IS NOT ‘IT’ AND HE WILL NEVER BE ‘IT’ NO MATTER HOW HARD HE TRIES AND NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE -OUT OF ‘PEOPLE-PLEASING, or FALSE SOCIAL ‘CORRECTNESS’- LIE TO HIM.


Jenner’s only hope is to find his True Identity, and that demands a total change of Consciousness as the Pymander says to Hermes.

Why am I speaking about this cruel tragedy? Because we, as a responsible society, cannot accept, foment and encourage self-mutilation and distortion of the sexual natural form as a solution to mental illness and sexual confusion.

This poor man needed to have his mind straightened out in order to find his true identity, rather than to mutilate himself and become a monstrous fake form. Now for him it is too late, he is now condemned to live a lie for the rest of his life. Let’s at least not help the problem to exist by calling “courage” what is mental waywardness and confusion, thus perpetrating it and presenting it as a solution to the upcoming generations.

Let us instead stop this continuous assault to our High Principles and Nature, and search for the way to evolve into our True Nature and take the Ultimate step of our evolution.

What to do?

Let’s hear the most ancient words of Wisdom:
In verse 38 of The Divine Pymander… Pymander says to Hermes: ‘And let him that is endued with mind, know himself to be Immortal’

Then Hermes asks him:
“Have not all men a mind?’”

And Pymander answers; Take heed of what you say, for I the Mind come unto men that are God-like and holy, pure and giving, have reverence for what is Sacred and are one with me; then my Presence is of help to them.

And forthwith they Know all things and lovingly they give credit to God and bless Him and give Him thanks and sing to Him in joy, for they are moved and directed by natural Love. And before they give up their bodies they give up their sensory nature, knowing what is Essential they know in their works and operations what is not.

And about the ego-works he says,

Rather I that am the Mind Itself, will not suffer the operations or works, which happen or belong to the ego, to be finished and brought to perfection in them; but being the Porter or doorkeeper, I will shut up the entrances of Evil, and cut off the thoughtful desires of filthy works. But I am far off from the foolish, and evil, and wicked, and envious, and covetous, and murderous, and profane.

I am far off, giving place to the revenging Demon, which applies unto him the sharpness of fire, torments such a man sensible and arms him the ore to all wickedness, that he may obtain the greater punishment.

And about the inner ego voice which tortures the person,
And such a one never ceases, having unfulfilled desires, and unsatisfiable concupiscence, and always fighting in darkness; for the Demon always afflicts and torments them continually, and increases the fire of its self-desire nature upon him more and more.

The Nobel Prize winner Roger Penrose says in his book Shadows of the Mind: “As we open our newspapers, or watch our television screens, we seem to be continuously assaulted by the fruits of man’s stupidity.”

The building up of the media and of political figures of this monstrous mutilation of a mentally ill Bruce Jenner, and of the creation of this scary form, a pathetic, anti-natural mockery of the female form as a heroic and courageous act is indeed a prime example of what Penrose is talking about –an irresponsible and despicable anti-God and Nature destructive action terribly traumatic to the not yet formed minds of young children, who get confused when they see the glorification of such a deranged act – quite frightening to them – as a commendable and generally approved action.

Let us protect the minds of our children so that they can be happy and natural human beings and stop this nonsense.



Recommended Reading:
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
The Ultimate Orgasm vs. The Selfish Gene by Ysatis De Saint-Simone


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The Power of the Mind: Understanding Traumatic Memory

Many adult survivors of child sexual abuse ask themselves, “why can’t I heal?”

Answer: Because the subconscious mind -where most of our trauma, guilt and fear are stored as repressed emotions and memories- does not recognize time or space. So it feels as if the sexual abuse is still happening.

“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

~Albert Einstein

In a study done in West Germany on concentration camp survivors, it was found that each of the subjects, in a sense, still live in the concentration camp. 1

The same is true for survivors of child sexual abuse, who have not yet dealt with their subconscious mind.

Any stress, or feelings of being threatened or unsafe, can cause trauma survivors to return to earlier patterns of behavior that were utilized during the abuse. During this state of “high arousal,” the survivor will do what they know, which is rooted in the instinct used while they were still a child. They will demonstrate defensive strategies –even if it didn’t work the first time. 2

This is why adult survivors of trauma are commonly hyper-vigilant and why they handle their feelings of being out of control by acquiring obsessions or phobias. This allows them to remain continuously ready for real or imagined, but no longer present, dangers. 3

This behavior is observed in the form of obsessive compulsive behavior and PTSD symptoms. It can also be found in survivors who regress to a child-like state when memories first begin to come back to them. 4

Before the actual abuse memories return, the person will have no idea that childhood damage is dictating the way they are handling stress. They usually have no conscious understanding of why they are excessively fearful.

The memories have been pushed into the subconscious mind, but the memory is still present in daily life. The memories are coming out in unhealthy or obsessive behaviors, unwarranted fears, emotions, and physical problems.

Powerful experiences, like child sexual abuse, which are omitted from consciousness, are preserved as “unconscious fixed ideas” and will not be blended into the victim’s normal consciousness until the abuse is remembered, comprehended, and overpowered at the subconscious level.

When abuse is not dealt with, the emotions and the original traumatic incident—still repressed—will affect one’s life with obsessive preoccupations, anxiety inflictions, and frightening concepts. 5

When an event or experience takes place in the adult life of a person who was traumatized as a child, the brain matches it against events which are already stored in the unconscious mind. If it is connected to a recorded danger from the past, an “alarm response” is triggered. This is the exact mechanism that kicks in when a person suddenly experiences over-reactive fear, an anxiety attack, a flashback, or when somatic (physical) symptoms arise. 6

This reaction of alarm explains why certain people trigger anger, fear, or anxiety in a survivor but other people do not.

As long as a previous victim of child sexual abuse does not allow the past to come forward with helpful psychoanalysis, they will continue to subconsciously seek out people who bring up their unresolved guilt, pain, or fear.

The subconscious mind wants to be healed. Until it is, misdirected anger and fear will be aimed at spouses, children, the teller at the bank, and even strangers. Anyone can become the enemy. It is often safe for the survivor to become aggressive towards, or verbally attack, people who did not abuse them as a child. It’s not okay to do, and unhealthy, but the survivor often feels safer releasing their emotions onto those who did not abuse them as children.

Disagreement - business professionals arguing over some business problems

During the abuse, it wasn’t safe for the child to defend his or herself, or to confront their perpetrator, so when the victim becomes an adult, they subconsciously attack innocent people. The rage is often taken out on spouses, co-workers, or neighbors.

Nevertheless, even if an abuse survivor leaves their marriage, walks away from a friendship,  or leaves their job in an attempt to run away from someone who triggers them, they will invariably wind up in a new marriage or get a new employer, only to find that they have established a relationship with a person who again triggers what has been left unresolved in the subconscious mind.

The Return of Traumatic Memory

If a child is repeatedly sexually abused over a period of months or years, the abuse would become an automatic part of the child’s life. The reaction to the abuse would then become second-nature. This would include submission to the sexual acts, not telling anyone, and dissociating from the event –all of which can aid the child in staying alive. It also provides assurance of maintaining a relationship with the abuser (if necessary for survival) and retaining the ability to function. The continued sexual abuse, which has become routine to the child, might imbed itself into the implicit memory.

Implicit memory is the part of the mind where actions that are “second nature” or “automatic” can be found

The manner in which victims push aside their trauma cannot be understood without understanding that there are two different forms of memory; implicit and explicit. Implicit memory works in the subconscious. This is linked to repetitious behaviors, like being able to tie our shoes without thought, basic driving skills, and other actions that come naturally. 7

Powerful, traumatic, and emotional memory is connected to implicit memory because human beings are constantly pushing aside their true feelings in order to get along with the people who have harmed them –usually family members.

The conscious mind will accept this false interaction and the person is able to withhold from expressing true feelings; but the subconscious mind does not let true emotions to be ignored.

So if the true feelings of a person are being watered down, denied, or suppressed in order to avoid confrontation, the subconscious mind will find a way to express itself –usually by taking the pain out on someone else, or with physical symptoms.

Explicit memory is information that is available to the conscious mind. The word explicit literally means “fully expressed,” with no question as to the meaning. Implicit means, “involved in the nature or essence of something, though not revealed, expressed, or developed.” 8

speakoutIf child sexual abuse is not fully understood and not being expressed in any healthy way by the child, and instead, shoved aside, denied, or totally repressed by the adult who endured it… then it makes sense that the experience would settle into non-declarative memory because it has not been outwardly/consciously “declared.”

Charles Whitfield M.D. explains that normal memory is more elastic, conscious, and chosen…. but that traumatic memory is associated with things that are involuntary, rigid, and subconscious. He says that traumatic memory is most often “frozen outside of time” in the unconscious.

Whitfield says that when trauma is consciously erected for the first time since childhood, the memory can feel as if the abuse is happening for the first time. 9 Survivors might experience sounds, voices, or odors that were present when the traumatic moment happened and can re-live the same bodily positions or movements that the abuser engaged in or that the child felt at the time, and these sensations will continue until the subconscious mind is satisfied through deep hypno-analysis therapy which allows the subconscious to re-process the memories, take power over them and transform the child into a warrior, shedding the victim identity. 10

Repressed memories usually only consist of pieces of what actually occurred. However, they often hold the most important parts of how exactly the event affected the child. 11 Research suggests that when traumatic memories first emerge, they might embody an event that took place immediately before a profoundly disturbing experience.

When the deeply distressing, or emotionally traumatic memory finally returns, it is often much later in the psychotherapy process, at a time when the patient can handle the memories without wanting to outwardly react to them, without having a nervous breakdown, and when the patient has established firm trust with their therapist.

State dependant memory is a theory that experts use to describe the condition in which an abuse survivor finds themselves prior to the more traumatic memories returning. It is described as an altered state of consciousness comparable to the moments in which severe abuse originally took place. People have even subconsciously created a threat or experience similar to the primary trauma in order to re-create the state dependent memory.

Research shows that memories often return in this state-dependent way. The recall has to be cued by the same kind of stimuli that initially took place. 12

“The memories were encoded in trauma-related states of helpless terror and wordless rage and are accessible only when the patient reenters those affective states.” 13

Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse

In the movie, Little Girl Fly Away, which is based on a true story, Mare Winningham’s character needed to re-create the fear of what happened to her as a child by sending herself threatening letters. She wrote them and sent them to herself, but she totally dissociated from the fact that she did this. When the letters arrived in the mail, the woman became terrified. She truly believed the letters were sent to her by a threatening stalker, but she had completely blocked out that she was the person who wrote and mailed them.


1. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Psychiatric Disorders among Persecution Victims: A Contribution to the Understanding of Concentration Camp Pathology and its After-Effects, William G. Niederland, M.D. Vol 139, 1964, page 469
2. The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism, Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 12, Number 2, Pages 389-411, June 1989
3. Behind the Playground Walls: Sexual Abuse in Preschools, Jill Waterman Ph.D, Robert J. Kelly Ph.D, Mary Kay Oliveri MSW, Jane Mc Cord, Ph.D, 1993, The Guilford Press page 244
4. The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism, Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 12, Number 2, Pages 389-411,June 1989
5. Dissociation and the Fragmentary Nature of Traumatic memories: Overview and Exploratory Study. Bessel A. van der Kolk & Rita Fisler HRI Trauma Center 227 Babcock Street Brookline, MA 02146 and Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry
6. Memories of Fear How the Brain Stores and Retrieves Physiologic States, Feelings, Behaviors and Thoughts from Traumatic Events Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. The Child Trauma Academy, Academy version of a chapter originally appearing in “Splintered Reflections: Images of the Body in Trauma” (Edited by J. Goodwin and R. Attias) Basic Books (1999)
7. Childhood Trauma Remembered: A Report on the Current Scientific Knowledge Base and its Applications, The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Section Three, Human Memory Processes, Traumatic Memory and Delayed Recall of Traumatic Events, Page 10-13
8. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary Tenth Edition 1996 Merriam-Webster
9. Memory and Abuse: Remembering and Healing the Effects of Trauma, Charles L. Whitfield M.D., Health Communications Inc., 1995 page 42
10. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Memory Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Psychiatric Times March 1997 Vol. XIV Issue 3
11. Memory and Abuse: Remembering and Healing the Effects of Trauma, Charles L. Whitfield M.D., Health Communications Inc., 1995 page 17
12. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Memory Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Psychiatric Times March 1997 Vol. XIV Issue 3
13. Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Jody Messler Davies and Mary Gail Frawley, page 97, Basic Books
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Linked To Childhood Trauma

Researchers have found what I have long suspected… a link between obsessive compulsive disorder and childhood trauma.

OCD is expressed in ways that are curiously similar to how child abuse victims behave and feel:

washing_handsExcessive fear of being exposed to germs: For a victim of abuse, this could be rooted in a need to control any harm that might come to the body –control over their body.

  • Unwarranted feelings of being unclean: People who have a history of sexual abuse might feel dirty as a result of shame. They can have a compelling urge to clean the shame and guilt from their body. One OCD sufferer said she especially concentrated on scrubbing her genital areas with a violent action.
  • Anger and rage: These emotions don’t need any explanation with regards to child sexual abuse.
  • Fear of a punishing God: Children who were abused by a parent, step-parent, or religious authority will often have a mental association between God and their abuser. If a child grows up with a punishing parent, then a pattern of association with authority that punishes is established. God is the ultimate authority figure.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: Self-explanatory for sexual abuse survivors.
  • Personality Disorder: People diagnosed with a personality disorder were often sexually abused, and previous sexual abuse victims often display the symptoms of a personality disorder.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety is highly common in survivors of child sexual abuse, and linked to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
  • Relentless and violent thoughts such as choking or stabbing someone close to them: Children who have been sexually violated, abused, and traumatized often grow up with terrible rage. If this is not dealt with in a healthy manner, then unhealthy or dangerous thoughts about the abuser, or anyone who reminds them of their abuser, can occur.
  • One OCD sufferer wrote that she sees tiny dots floating in front of her eyes: I experienced this problem in the weeks preceding the memories of being smacked in the face as a child. I was also choked as a child. The spots disappeared after working through those memories. Spots before the eyes can be experienced just before blacking out or becoming disoriented from being hit.
  • An obsession with things of a sexual nature and avoidance of situations associated with sex. This is consistent with sexual abuse.
  • Repeated checking of the stove, heaters, or electrical appliances; leaving home only to return in order to check doors or windows; repeatedly turning door knobs to make sure the door is shut properly: I used to have an obsessive problem in this area. It has since greatly diminished, but I do retain it to a small degree. I consider this ‘problem’ advantageous because it helps protect my home and family from harm. I also maintain a certain degree of hyper-vigilance which, in this world, keeps me safer. However, when it affects a person’s normal functioning, it can be a huge burden. These actions and fears are related to a need to control –a need to prevent something horrible from happening. The rituals are a way of trying to retain power over what might happen to themselves or people they care about.
  • Compulsive fear of harm or death coming to loved ones: Children who are sexually assaulted often live with the constant fear of death or tragedy being imminent. Perpetrators often threaten to harm pets or family members, or to kill the child if the child doesn’t do what they want, or if the child discloses the abuse. The fear can also be created when the child realizes they have no control over when and how their body will be violated.
  • OCD symptoms typically become worse under stress: People who were sexually abused, and who have moderate or severe PTSD, will over-react to stress.
  • Hypochondriac tendencies: Children who were sexually assaulted, or were threatened with death by an authority figure, could fear that any small problem with their body means they are going to die.
  • Jaw clenching: I clenched my teeth just before I remembered, and dealt with, the severity of being raped. With therapy, the origin was pinpointed. I clenched my teeth during the rape and also when trying to avoid my father’s penis being stuck in my mouth. These violations also produced tension inside me because I was not able to speak or scream. Tension can cause teeth and jaw clenching.
  • Guilt is a common problem with OCD: Guilt is a common sexual abuse symptom.

imagesOn an Internet message board for those suffering with OCD, one woman wrote: “I sometimes imagine that my father used to molest me, but I know he didn’t because I have no memories of this. I don’t have these thoughts constantly, but at least a couple of times a day.”

This woman’s OCD is most likely the result of having been an incest victim, and not that OCD was causing her to imagine her father had molested her. The woman may have repressed an incest experience, and it was subconsciously making itself known through her OCD symptoms and in her daily mental images.

One article, which debated the repressed memory controversy, stated that people who have experienced flashbacks of childhood abuse were later diagnosed with OCD. The patients were then told the flashbacks were not real but a part of the disease.

If mainstream psychiatrists and psychologists continue to suppress and repress previous victims of sexual abuse by assigning “disorders” to everyone, and not exploring the very real possibility of repressed childhood trauma, they will create more serious psychiatric disorders in their patients by suppressing, or denying sexual abuse and trauma out of ignorance, fear of stirring up childhood sexual abuse, or a desire to prescribe RX drugs instead of truly helping people.


Childhood trauma in obsessive-compulsive disorder, trichotillomania, and controls. Lochner C, du Toit PL, Zungu-Dirwayi N, Marais A, van Kradenburg J, Seedat S, Niehaus DJ, Stein DJ Depress Anxiety 2002; 15(2):66-8, Compulsive features in the eating disorders: a role for trauma? Lockwood R, Lawson R, Waller G.,
J Nerv Ment Dis. 2004 Mar; 192(3):247-9. Other source: Dissociative experiences in obsessive-compulsive disorder and trichotillomania: Clinical and genetic findings.
Lochner C, Seedat S, Hemmings SM, Kinnear CJ, Corfield VA, Niehaus DJ, Moolman-Smook JC, Stein DJ. Compr Psychiatry 2004 Sep-Oct; 45(5):384-91.
Debate of Memory Repression of Childhood Sexual Abuse Myra Maple
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Amnesia For Child Sexual Abuse, a Frequent Phenomenon

From Peer-Reviewed Studies:

“The findings suggest that recovery from total amnesia of past traumatic material involving both child sexual abuse and non sexual abuse experiences is by no means an uncommon feature of clinical practice among our highly trained professional members.” “. . .our large-scale survey confirms and extends previous research. . . . Memory recovery appears to be a robust and frequent phenomenon.”

450 adults in clinical study reported sexual abuse histories regarding their repression of sexual abuse incidents. 267 of participants identified some period in their lives, before 18 yrs of age, when they had no memory of their abuse. Variables most predictive of abuse-related amnesia were greater current psychological symptoms, molestation at an early age, extended abuse, and variables reflecting especially violent abuse (e.g., victimization by multiple perpetrators, having been physically injured as a result of the abuse, victim fears of death if she or he disclosed the abuse to others).

memoryQuestions are continually raised about the accuracy and validity of very young children’s memories of traumatic events. Out of 19 children, where the median age was 2 1/2 at time of disclosure, 11 had full verbal memory, five had fragmented verbal memory traces, and three had no memory 5 to 10 years following day care sexual abuse. Data from this clinical study suggest the nature of children’s memory is four-dimensional: somatic, behavioral, verbal, and visual. Efforts need to continue to document the nonverbal components for assessment and treatment purposes.

The accuracy of recovered and continuous memories was investigated in 17 women (average age 29.5 yrs) who had recovered memories of physical or sexual abuse by their fathers while in therapy. Subjects, and their 43-72 yr old fathers, cooperated in gathering physical evidence confirming or refuting these memories. This evidence was analyzed and rated by 6 independent judges recruited for the purpose.

Memories of abuse were found to be equally accurate whether recovered or continuously remembered.

Predictors of number of memory units for which evidence was uncovered included several measures of memory and perceptual accuracy. Recovered memories that were later supported arose in psychotherapy more typically during periods of positive rather than negative feeling toward the therapist, and they were more likely to be held with confidence by the abuse victim.

Delayed recall of childhood sexual abuse was studied in 505 subjects, who completed the Traumatic Events Survey, Trauma Symptom Inventory, Impact of Event Scale, and the Symptom Checklist. Of subjects who reported a history of sexual abuse, 42% described some period of time when they had less memory of the abuse than they did at the time of data collection. No demographic differences were found between subjects with continuous recall and those who reported delayed recall.

memory-laneHowever, delayed recall was associated with the use of threats at the time of the abuse. Subjects who had recently recalled aspects of their abuse reported particularly high levels of post-traumatic symptomatology and self difficulties at the time of data collection compared to other subjects.

A random sample of 724 individuals from across the United States were mailed a questionnaire containing demographic information, an abridged version of the Traumatic Events Survey (DM Elliott, 1992), and questions regarding memory for traumatic events. Of these, 505 (70%) completed the survey. Among respondents who reported some form of trauma (72%), delayed recall of the event was reported by 32%. This phenomenon was most common among individuals who observed the murder or suicide of a family member, sexual abuse survivors, and combat veterans. The severity of the trauma was predictive of memory status, but demographic variables were not.

The most commonly reported trigger to recall of the trauma was some form of media presentation (i.e., television show, movie), whereas psychotherapy was the least commonly reported trigger.

Childhood sexual abuse memories of 52 women was studied in 21-55 year-olds,  who had been hospitalized for treatment of sexual trauma, been sexually abused prior to age 18, and reported a period of amnesia before recalling abuse memories. Subjects completed a questionnaire about their first suspicions of having been sexually abused, their first memories of sexual abuse, other memories of abuse, and details of their abuse history. Subjects were more likely to recall part of an abuse episode, as opposed to an entire abuse episode, following a period of no memory of the abuse. Additionally, first memories tended to be described as vivid rather that vague.

A questionnaire survey of 755 adults sexually abused as children, asking about the circumstances of their disclosure to the first person they told, resulted in 286 responses (228 from female victims of incest). Subjects were asked basic demographic information, details about their abuse, who they told first, the reaction of the first person told, and reasons why they delayed telling or finally did tell. The women telling their parents first were likely to tell in childhood. Those telling friends, other family members, or partners were more likely to tell in early adulthood. Survivors telling therapists revealed the abuse at a later age. Those revealing the incest to parents in childhood received a worse reaction than did those waiting until adulthood. When women disclosed to parents prior to age 18, the incest continued for more than 1 yr after the disclosure in 52% of the cases. Women who disclosed as children were more often met with disbelief or blame.

One hundred twenty-nine women with previously documented histories of sexual victimization in childhood were interviewed and asked detailed questions about their abuse histories to answer the question “Do people actually forget traumatic events such as child sexual abuse, and if so, how common is such forgetting?” A large proportion of the women (38%) did not recall the abuse that had been reported 17 years earlier.

Women who were younger at the time of the abuse and those who were molested by someone they knew were more likely to have no recall of the abuse. The implications for research and practice are discussed.

Long periods with no memory of abuse should not be regarded as evidence that the abuse did not occur.



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Memory presentations of childhood sexual abuse. Burgess AW; Hartman CR; Baker T University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia 19104, USA.
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Posttraumatic stress associated with delayed recall of sexual abuse: A general population study. Special Issue: Research on traumatic memory. Elliott, Diana M.; Briere, John U California-Los Angeles Medical Ctr, Child Abuse Crisis Ctr, Harbor
Campus, Torrance, US
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Traumatic events: Prevalence and delayed recall in the general population Elliott, Diana M. U California-Los Angeles Medical Ctr, Child Abuse Crisis Ctr, Harbor
Campus, Torrance, US
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Characteristics of previously forgotten memories of sexual abuse: A descriptive study. Roe, Catherine M.; Schwartz, Mark F. Journal of Psychiatry & Law
1996 Sum Vol 24(2) 189-206]
Telling the secret: Adult women describe their disclosures of incest. Roesler, Thomas A.; Wind, Tiffany Weissmann National Jewish Ctr for Immunology & Respiratory Medicine, Denver, CO, US
Journal of Interpersonal Violence
1994 Sep Vol 9(3) 327-338
Recall of childhood trauma: A prospective study of women’s memories of child sexual abuse. Williams, Linda Meyer U New Hampshire, Family Research Lab, Durham, US
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1994 Dec Vol 62(6) 1167-1176
The recovery of memories in clinical practice: Experiences and beliefs of British Psychological Society practitioners Andrews, Bernice; Morton, John; Bekerian, Debra A.; Brewin, Chris R.; Davis, Graham M.; Mollon, Phil The Psychologist
1995 May, Vol. 8, pp. 209-214
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