Former Miss America, Incest Survivor, Shares Her Story

…“Scuff, scuff, scuff.”

The sounds of expensive felt soles making their way down the hall of a Denver mansion in the middle of a night.

The slow turn of the door handle on the private bedroom door of a 5-year-old girl.

The child recalls from memory that they were the sounds of terror and of horror in her home.

And she says she listened for them every night of her life until she was 18 years old.

Her father wore these shoes, remembers Miss America 1958 Marilyn Van Derbur.

Marilyn and her father

Marilyn and her father: a photo can tell a thousand words

The late father was a wealthy and prominent Denver businessman and philanthropist. The Boy Scouts building in Denver once had his name on it — since taken off — and he was a chairman of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, said Van Derbur.

“He played the piano. He loved poetry. He was one of the finest speakers I have ever heard … Mother was beautiful, gracious, lovely. You would look at my family and think, ‘It could never happen,’” said Van Derbur.

Miss America 1958, author of the prize winning “Miss America By Day,” says she is a childhood incest survivor and discusses the incest and the aftermath with passion and obsession in a telephone interview with The Times.

Her father was never charged nor convicted for the crimes the daughter says happened in her childhood and he died before she went public with the story.

However, her mother was still living when the story originally came out in the Denver Post, but before her daughter came out publicly.

Van Derbur brings her story here for the Oct. 14 Gingerbread House Bossier/Caddo Children’s Advocacy Center Partners in Prevention 2014 Luncheon. The event is presented by the Ballengee Foundation.

“Proceeds from the luncheon will help the Gingerbread House continue to provide all services free of charge to victims and their families,” said executive director Jessica M. Millen.

“What I have been able to share with America, is that ‘Incest doesn’t just happen in ‘those’ families.’ … What people need to understand is this (incest) could happen to anybody,” Van Derbur said.

And it does in nine parishes, predominantly Caddo and Bossier Parishes, which Gingerbread serves, Millen said.

Although incest itself is not broken down in figures in 2014, Gingerbread House served 649 victims of child — boys and girls — sexual abuse.

“The children were ages two to 14 — from the poorest of the poor to the wealthiest of the wealthy families, from the blue collar workers to professionals. On the average, we see 54 new children every month,” according to Millen

“This year, we are up to 66 a month, a 22 percent increase,” she added.

She says the biggest threat to children are people they know — from parents to a parent’s boyfriend, to the babysitter and others.

“Her’s (Van Derbur) is a message of powerful survival,” said Gingerbread House board member Waynette Ballengee. “It will be an inspiring, astonishing story to learn how she rose above it. She has a happy marriage and has raised a child.”

So, a questions begs to be asked: Where was Van Derbur’s mother when her father visited her bedroom and that of an older sister? (Two other sisters shared a bedroom and were not molested.)

Well, one night only, there was the “clip, clip, tap, tapping” of expensive stiletto-size heels of house shoes known as “mules” on the linoleum.

When the sound came, everything stopped in the bedroom. There was no sound.

“It is over,” thought Van Derbur. “Finally, it is over.”

But the tapping sound turned around and disappeared into the night.

Her mother knew, said her daughter.

Former Miss America, Marilyn Van derbur, seated with her family, Sept. 7, 1957, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo)

Former Miss America, Marilyn Van derbur, seated with her family, Sept. 7, 1957, in Atlantic City, N.J.

Years later, Van Derbur finally went to tell her mother.

“I was sobbing uncontrollably and tried to get the words out. Her arms were folded. She looked at me and said, ‘I don’t believe you. It is in your fantasy,’” said Van Derbur.

“I felt I had been slapped. I walked out the door,” she continued. “And came home sobbing.”

In a subsequent meeting, her mother, then 88, said, “I have no tears for you. I have no tears,” Van Derbur said. “I was with her when she died. I had no love for her.”

In all those years, Van Derbur never talked about her life.

Nor how she endured what she describes.

“I found a way to separate my mind, to departmentalize, to repress all those memories … The trauma was so severe,” she said.

She said as difficult as it may seem, she was one person at night as her father touched her, and the next day was a popular high schooler, and later college student, who graduated from University of Colorado, Phi Beta Kappa.

In the interview with The Times, Van Derbur talks fast and furiously about her life and what she has done with it after her life began to “implode” at 39. When her own daughter turned 5 — the age Van Derbur was when she recalls that her father began abusing her — it triggered memories and feelings she had long buried deep within her.

She said her body suddenly went into physical paralysis and she was hospitalized for weeks. The struggled continued for years.

In her early 50s, she went public, after the Denver Post ran a front page story on the incest.

“Most adults do fairly well with their lives until they are in the late 30s or early 40s. We are forced to go back and heal childhood wounds and relive,” said Van Derbur.

The Denver Post story, done without an interview with Van Derbur, was headlined “Miss America Overcomes Shame.” It was just one of many stories about her life, including one in People magazine.

Van Derbur thought her life was over when the story was made public.

“People will turn away,” she thought. “No one will see me as the same. No family will want their son to marry my daughter. No university will accept my daughter.”

She didn’t know what to do.

She was surprised when people begin to tell her how proud they were of her.

And, when her sister came forward, too, Van Derbur felt people would believe her.

And she helped create an adult survivor program at the Kempe National Center, now recognized as the Kempe National Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse.

Before she came out publicly, Van Derbur confronted her father.

“I drove as fast as I could to get there. The house I grew up in was very big. This was the most difficult thing I had ever done.”

She even made notes because she wanted to be very specific, but she says she didn’t go in anger. At the end of conversation, he lay a gun in the palm of his hand and said if she had come any other way, he would have killed himself. She had no doubt he would have killed her first.

In seven years, she called her father a second time, but before she could get to the house, she received a phone call from her mother that her father had died of a heart attack.

The sounds in the night she says she heard have stopped for her.

For many area children, they have not.

So, for the children and the adults who have never found peace, Van Derbur speaks.

Her message is powerful.

EVENT: Gingerbread House Bossier/Caddo Children’s Advocacy Center Partners in Prevention 2015 Luncheon.

Benefits: Gingerbread House.

When: Noon, Oct. 14 at Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino, Shreveport.

Presented by: The Ballengee Foundation.

Admission: $125, individual; $1,500, table for 10; $1,500 to $5,000, sponsorships.

Information: 674-2900.



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Amnesia for Sexual Abuse More Likely Found in Victims With Multiple Abusers, Fear of Death, Violent and Extended Abuse

Going through my storage closet and boxes. Found another research article linking total amnesia for having been sexually abused as a child, or teen –linking it with death threats, extended abuse, violent abuse, and multiple perpetrators.

Self-reported amnesia for abuse in adults molested as children

“A sample of 450 adult clinical subjects reporting sexual abuse histories were studied regarding their repression of sexual abuse incidents. A total of 267 subjects (59.3%) identified some period in their lives, before age 18, 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). In contrast, abuse characteristics more likely to produce psychological conflict (e.g., enjoyment of the abuse, acceptance of bribes, feelings of guilt or shame) were not associated with abuse-related amnesia. ”


Charles R. Figley, Dan Sexton, M.A., Journal of Traumatic Stress, January 1993, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 21-31
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Child Sexual Abuse and Disease: A Story of Hell To Hope

Former Miss America, Marilyn Van derbur, was sexually abused by her father, including rape for almost thirteen years. Marilyn has talked about being physically paralyzed from head to toe because of the incest. This is only one aspect of the many physical problems that Marilyn had suffered because of her father raping her for so many years.

Frank Fitzpatrick was sexually abused by Father James Porter as a child. Frank has publicly revealed how being sexually abused by a man created sexual confusion, causing Frank to feel that he might be gay or bisexual.

Incest survivor,  Rachel Downing, was sexually abused by her father, an Episcopal minister, and she says he killed Rachel’s animals in order to silence and punish her.

As an adult, Rachel suffered from physical problems that were unable to be diagnosed, and she endured depression from the time she was a child. She went to the emergency hospital seventeen different times within three months for pain in her abdomen. Doctors eventually surgically opened her up in order to find the cause of her pain; they found nothing.

Family and friends often tell people who were sexually abused as a children, “let it go” “move on with your life” or “don’t allow it to affect you.”

It’s not like we don’t want to let it go. Do people actually think that abuse survivors enjoy suffering?

Victims of trauma and severe prolonged sexual abuse, do not have a choice. A person cannot consciously attempt to push aside what happened. This is ineffective and causes more severe problems.

Here are some of what is felt or experienced by a child being sexually victimized by an adult:

  • Betrayal
  • Deceit
  • Sexual pleasure
  • Sexual confusion
  • Guilt
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of the good ending at any moment
  • Constantly walking on egg shells
  • Shame
  • Secrets
  • Lies
  • Hatred
  • Rage
  • Emotional attachment to the victimizer
  • Isolation
  • Entrapment
  • Physical Pain
  • Feeling worthless
  • Inability to trust anyone
  • Fear connected to not knowing what is going to happen
  • Fear from death threats
  • Trauma
  • Boundaries being crossed

Here is a partial list of what the adult survivor feels as a result of having been sexually abused (some of this is also experienced by the child during the time of the abuse).

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling estranged from others
  • Feeling crazy/different
  • Feeling of having a short life span
  • Nightmares
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Hypervigilance
  • Dislike of being touched
  • Frequent or uncontrollable crying
  • Panic attacks
  • Severe Depression
  • Fear of a punishing God
  • Poor body image
  • Feeling sexually stimulated inappropriately or when there is no conscious reason for it.
  • Frequent, excessive, unwarranted, washing (especially of the genitals or breasts)
  • Abnormal fear or hatred of men
  • Abnormal fear or hatred of women
  • Self-harm
  • Amnesia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depersonalization
  • Physical symptoms

It’s not very easy to just put it all behind you and to “not allow it to define your life.”

People who offer this “advice” to survivors of trauma and sexual abuse either say it for their own self-comfort (if the abuse survivor puts it behind them, then others don’t have to be made uncomfortable hearing about it), or they have abused a child themselves, or they are repressing trauma of their own and don’t want to face it.

In this post I would like to share with my readers how seriously ill the incest made me and how much I have overcome and healed in myself.

The purpose of this information is not to draw sympathy or attention to myself; it is to inform people that incest and child sexual abuse can cause severe damage to the victim’s immune system and vital organs, such as the heart and bladder, as well as affecting their psychological state and emotions. This post is also to show that there is hope for every survivor, no matter how badly they suffer.

Twenty-one years ago I suddenly came down with an illness that doctors say has no cure or treatment. I was scared out of my mind because I was suffering from incapacitating, frightening physical symptoms that caused me unbearable suffering. I spent countless hours in doctors offices and hospitals (and once in an emergency room), having my body probed, poked, examined, violated with instruments and scanned. After $30,000 in medical bills, the experts told me that they could find nothing wrong.

After a year with no diagnosis, an ear nose and throat specialist finally diagnosed me with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, which is now known as myalgic encephalomyelitis.

I remember sitting in the office of one of the specialists. I was frightened and full of uncertainty and desperation. The specialist said to me, “There’s good news and bad news about this disease. The good news is that you are not going to die, and the bad news is that you are not going to die.”

It was not until I was well into the labyrinth of the illness that I truly understood the depth, and truth, of his words. On the days when I was bed-ridden with a fatigue that is indescribable, I simultaneously suffered from chronic diarrhea, constant stomach aches, ringing in my ears, short-term memory loss, pain in my heart area, vice-grip headaches, choking for no reason, inflamed lymph nodes and dizziness.

In addition, every night for years, as I lay my head on my pillow my heart pounded so loudly in my ears that I thought it would stop from pure exhaustion. If I did manage to fall asleep I was soon awakened by a feeling of forgetting how to breathe and I woke up gasping for breath.

For over a decade, I woke from nightmares so tormenting, that they were beyond imagination — nightmares so vile and disturbing that I wanted to die when I woke up. For years I experienced sharp pains in my vagina. Pains that no doctor could find the origin for because they were caused by being raped by my father when I was in grade school.

When I managed to crawl out of bed during the day, food caused me to want to vomit or I shoveled meals in my mouth at alarming rates –for me, food had nothing to do with sustaining my body. For me, food represented the sexual abuse.

I also began to experience the feeling of having a full stomach all the time –whether or not I had eaten. Then there were numerous days at a time when I could barely eat at all because food made me so nauseous and dizzy that I was afraid of eating. The fullness in my stomach was created by being forced to perform oral sex on a female family member.

Then there was the pathological hunger. A debilitating hunger that never ceased. Even when I was full or nauseous, I was always hungry. One day I ate four burritos and was still starving.

During those years, I continually suffered from shingles outbreaks. Shingles is a virus of the nervous system and can be serious. It attacked my head and ears with pain, and a very ugly bubbly lesion always formed down the left side of my neck. Through therapy, I was able to find the root cause of the shingles outbreaks and they are gone.

I also do not suffer from migraines anymore.

In 1997, four months before remembering that my father had sex with me as a child, my bladder erupted into one of the most excruciating symptoms of all. For four months I could barely urinate. I went to the bathroom twenty to forty times a day in a futile attempt to expel my urine. Each agonizing time, only a trickle came out.

Gynecologists and a top urologist found nothing wrong with my bladder –even after inserting a tube up my urethra. The next step they wanted to take was to put a scope with a camera up my urethra. I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I then chose to allow the therapy to heal me because it was the only method of treatment that was healing my other physical suffering. My instincts were right, because after I finally remembered the incest, my bladder slowly became better and eventually healed completely.

Child sexual abuse is very serious and can create physical illness and disease. It can cause mental torment, death and suicide. Don’t ever let anyone think you are crazy or “faking it” or that you should just “think positive” and forget about your pain and suffering.

I have surmounted an incredible -nearly unbelievable- amount of physical suffering and disease from all the sexual abuse, trauma, and multiple abusers I had as a child.


This photo is me now. It depicts how much joy a person can experience when they heal and recuperate their drive for life, and their gratitude for having climbed a mountain and stood at the top with confidence and with liberation from fear, guilt, shame and anger.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, please contact me for the number of my therapist. She helped me heal from diseases doctors say have no cure, or treatment, and she liberated me from my hell.


How Deep the Scars of Abuse? Some Victims Crippled; Others Stay Resilient, Sandra G. Boodman Washington Post, Monday, July 29, 2002; Page A01
A Flight of Mind, Pamela Oldham, The Washington Post, February 18, 2003, Page HE01)


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Father/Daughter Incest is a Relatively Frequent Sex Crime –U.S. Department of Justice

Oprah quote quoteBackground MVD Sugar Pill

old dirty and grungy framed fabric or paper

Day Child MVD


old dirty and grungy framed fabric or paperMVD Quote on Family

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Four Sisters Who Confronted Their Father and Their Pain

My father, was a Los Angeles Police Officer. He was a child sexual abuser, and child rapist. He used weapons on me to silence me. Edward Rodgers was a former state and federal law enforcement official. His daughter’s story is below:

By Patricia Brennan, March 20 1994

“At times, “Ultimate Betrayal” (a made for TV movie that was broadcast in the 1990’s) is not an easy movie to watch. Based on a true story of incest and physical abuse, it follows four adult sisters as they share their memories and decide to sue their father in civil court.

Their precedent-setting 1990 lawsuit in a Denver court has repercussions on Capitol Hill. If Rep. Patricia Shroeder (D-Colo.) gets her legislation passed, the Child Abuse Accountability Act will establish procedures to allow child abuse victims to claim court-ordered financial restitution by garnisheeing the federal (but not military) pensions of their abusers even years after the abuse occurred. Currently, federal pensions can be garnisheed for alimony and child support.

In the film, Marlo Thomas plays Sharon Rodgers Simone, eldest of seven children in a Colorado Springs, Colo., family. Now a middle-aged wife and mother, she is a fearful person on the edge of a nervous breakdown, a woman who sleeps in her car at night, returning at dawn to help get the children off to school. Her husband is keeping the family together.

When Sharon’s youngest sister, Mary Rodgers LaRocque (Ally Sheedy), calls to ask if she’ll join in a lawsuit against their father, Sharon learns that her three sisters also are leading dysfunctional lives. All four have sought psychological help; three have attempted suicide.

But unlike Sharon, who has no explanation for her undefined fears, the other sisters know why: As children, they say, they were sexually abused by their father. Sharon hears her sisters’ stories but denies that such horrors occurred — certainly, she believes, not to her. As Thomas put it, “Only Sharon had trouble connecting the dots.”

Filled with shame, the sisters — Mary, Susan (Mel Harris) and Beth Medlicott (Kathryn Dowling) — had never confided in one another.

“One of the things that Sue says on the stand is, ‘All my life, I thought this was my shame,’ ” said Thomas. “All of us carry little secrets that have tremendous power because they’re secrets. A secret tears you apart; it stops you. But if you let it out, it has no power. It doesn’t have to be a secret as big as theirs. The secret can be that you just weren’t loved, just the fact that your parents didn’t have time for you.”

But Mary’s secret was a big one, one she had never told. Sheedy, in one of the most touching and unsettling scenes in the movie, recounts to her older sisters the repeated sexual abuse, including a rape that occurred when she was very young and was the only child left at home.

Edward J. Rodgers Jr. said that never happened. Rodgers had been an FBI agent for 27 years when he retired from that career in 1967 and became a child-abuse investigator for the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office (El Paso County) in Colorado Springs. He also served on the board of a group that supports the rights of abused children.

The same year he retired from the FBI, he separated from the mother of his seven children. Two years later, he married a woman with a son and two daughters.

In 1990, long after the Rodgers children were grown, Susan Rodgers Hammond and Sharon Rodgers Simone sued their father, not only to gain money to pay for their therapy, but also hoping for a public accounting and to hear their father acknowledge what happened.

That he would not do. Edward Rogers failed to appear in court, and in a written deposition, he denied that the sexual abuse ever occurred, although he admitted that he had been a physically rough disciplinarian with a quick temper.

Nor would his sons Edward, Steve and John, who are seen in the film being beaten as children, participate in the lawsuit. They are seen in the film berating their sisters in the courtroom at the close of the trial. Sharon’s therapist (played by Eileen Brennan), did testify, as did Sharon’s husband, Patrick Simone.

Without the defendant present, and with no defense counsel, a six-woman Denver jury heard the testimony, considered the evidence for 90 minutes, and awarded them $2.3 million, the largest settlement (at that time) in a case of this nature.

Thus far, said Thomas, Rodgers has never paid a penny of that sum. Schroeder’s bill, introduced in November of 1993, would tap into Rodgers’s FBI pension. Currently, a federal employee’s pension can be garnisheed only for court-ordered child support or alimony.

Thomas pointed out that unlike other cases that have caught public attention recently, “This isn’t a case of false memory or repressed memory,” said Thomas. “The other sisters said, ‘I’ve known this all my life,’ but Sharon wouldn’t allow herself to admit that.”

They related all of this to producer/director Donald Wrye, writer Gregory Goodall and a therapist in an emotional two-day session before the movie went into production. Simone reviewed at least 10 drafts of Goodall’s script. Then the actors were cast.

“The abuse psychologist we spoke to said everybody plays a different role in the family,” said Thomas. “Sue was the one who fought back and got beaten the most. Sharon was the one who tried to make her father calm down and feel loved, met him at the door, brought him a beer. She thought she was helping by helping her father feel loved. But underneath, there was the guilt of the collaborator.

“To me, what was very touching was that she {Sharon} didn’t want to lose her father. Every girl needs her daddy. Sharon told me, ‘There’s a part of me that still loves my father.’ Her fantasy was that they would have this trial, the father would be found guilty, and then they would all go around and help other families. She said, ‘I thought maybe we’d make all this bad become good for somebody.’ ”

Thomas said Sharon eventually came to understand that her vision of family healing was an unlikely scenario. Instead, helping make the movie and working for the Child Abuse Accountability Act have become her way of making “bad become good for somebody.”

Thomas said after she read the script, she gave the movie a lot of thought.

“I’ve never done an ‘abuse movie’ before,” she said. “I put {the script} down and I thought, there’s something very special here. It took a lot of courage for these women to stand up to their father. There’s something basic about having your pain acknowledged, having your reality acknowledged.

“The father had every opportunity to acknowledge his daughters. They asked him to talk, they asked him for money for their therapy, and as a last resort, they sued him to get money for their therapy. But that doesn’t seem to be the real issue. The real issue is, if Dad won’t acknowledge what happened, maybe the jury will. That was the triumph for them.”


THE DENVER POST – Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire
May 17, 1990
Sisters win sex lawsuit vs. dad $2.3 million given for years of abuse
By Howard Prankratz
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

Two daughters of former state and federal law enforcement official Edward Rodgers were awarded $2.319,400 yesterday, after a Denver judge and jury found that the women suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father.

The award to Sharon Simone, 45, and Susan Hammond, 44, followed testimony of Rodgers’ four daughters in person or through depositions, describing repeated physical abuse and sexual assaults by their father from 1944 through 1965.

Rodgers, 72, who became a child abuse expert after retiring from the FBI and joining the colorado Springs DA’s office, failed to appear for the trial. But in a deposition taken in March, Rodgers denied ever hitting or sexually abusing his children.

He admitted that he thought of himself as a “domineering s.o.b. who demanded strict responses from my children, strict obedience.” But it never approached child abuse, Rodgers said. “Did I make mistakes? Damn right I did, just like any other father or mother…”

Thomas Gresham, Rodger’s former attorney, withdrew from the case recently after being unable to locate his client. Rodgers recently contacted one of his sons from a Texas town along the Mexican border. Gresham said his last contact with Rodgers was on April 24.

The sisters reacted quietly to the verdict, and with relief that their stories of abuse had finally been told.

“I feel really good that I’ve gone public with this,”Hammond said. “I am a victim, the shame isn’t mine, the horror happened to me. I’m not bad.
“My father did shameful and horrible things to me and my brothers and sisters. I don’t believe he is a shameful and horrible man, but he has to be held accountable,” Hammond added.

The lawsuit deeply divided the Rodgers family, with Rodgers’ three sons questioning their sister’s motives.

Immediately after the verdict, son Steve Rodgers, 37, reacted angrily, yelling at his sisters in the courtroom.

Later, Rodgers said he loves his father and stands by him. He said his sisters had told him their father had to be exposed the way Nazi war criminals have been exposed.

“In a way I’m angry with my father for not being here. But I’m sympathetic because he would have walked into a gross crucifixion,” Rodgers said.

Steve Rodgers never denied that he and his siblings were physically abused, but disputed that his father molested his sisters.
Before the jury’s award, Denver District Judge William Meyer found that Rodger’s conduct toward Simone and Hammond was negligent and “outrageous.”

Despite the length of time since the abuse, the jury determined the sisters could legally bring the suit. The statute of limitations for a civil suit is two years, but jurors determined that the sisters became aware of he nature and extent of their injury only within the last two years, during therapy.

The jury then determined the damages, finding $1,240,000 for Simone and 1,079,000 for Hammond.

The sisters had alleged in their suit filed last July that Rodgers subjected his seven children to a “pattern of emotional, physical, sexual and incestual abuse.”

As a result of the abuse, the women claimed their emotional lives had been left in a shambles, requiring extensive therapy for both and repeated hospitalizations of Hammond, who was acutely suicidal. Simone developed obsessive behavior and became so unable to function she resigned a position with a Boston-based college.

Despite the judgment yesterday, Rodgers cannot be criminally charged. the statue of limitations in Colorado for sexual assault on children is 10 years.
Rodgers, who worked for the FBI for 27 years, much of it in Denver, became chief investigator for the district attorney’s office in Colorado Sp;rings. during his employment at the DA’s office from 1967 until 1983, he became a well-known figure in Colorado Springs, and lectured and wrote about child abuse both locally and nationwide.

He wrote a manual called ” A Compendium — Child Abuse by the National College of District Attorney’s,” and helped put together manuals on child abuse for the New York state police and a national child abuse center.

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Grammar Student Repressed All Memory of Child Sexual Abuse

Child sex abuse royal commission: Former Geelong Grammar student has ‘no memory’ of abuse

By Sarah Farnsworth

“A man with no memory of sexual abuse perpetrated at Geelong Grammar is trying to come to terms with shattered memories of his beloved school, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.

Luke Benson said he had only fond memories of his time at prestigious Victorian school from when he first started at the Highton campus in 1988.

He told the inquiry the school took pride in its ability to look after children and he developed incredibly close and intimate bonds with teachers and staff.

“I was made to feel loved,” Mr Benson said.

“It was like going to a slumber party every night for two years.”

Mr Benson met his wife at Geelong Grammar when they were teenagers and were married on the schools grounds.

Then in 2005, his fond memories were shattered by a phone call from Victoria Police.

The commission heard Mr Benson attended the Prahran Police Station and was told Phillippe Trutmann had admitted to abusing him approximately 30 to 40 times over a two year period.

“This news changed my life — I have no memory of this happening, and I inquired whether it was a mistake,” he said.

Police told him Trutmann had gone through the school year book and identified boys he had abused.

Trutmann was sentenced to six and a half years’ jail for abusing more than 40 students at Geelong Grammar.

In between gulps of water, Mr Benson told the commission Trutmann was the first person he met at the live-in boarding house at Highton.

“I had a very close relationship with Trutmann,” he said.

He said Trutmann was one of a number of staff that he would go to when he was homesick for “a cuddle, a cry and a hot chocolate”.

“There was a group of teachers at Highton who created a safe environment where they loved and cared for us. Trutmann was one of them.” Mr Benson said.

“Police told me that other boys called him Filthy Phil and would say ‘don’t be alone with Phil’.”

He said it was a hugely emotional and traumatic revelation.

“It is confusing to have no recollection of the abuse,” Mr Benson said.

“It is confronting to think that one day I could have a recollection of the abuse and that I have repressed the memory.”

Victim recalls being ‘groomed’ by convicted abuser

In hindsight, Mr Benson told the commission he recalled being groomed by Trutmann, who would be affectionate, would touch his back and often linger in the showers watching the boys.

He said the revelation damaged his father who made sacrifices to send him “to one of Australia’s most prestigious schools”.

“I felt rotten telling him the abuse occurred as it was like taking away the one decision he was proud of as a parent,” Mr Benson said.

Mr Benson questioned if teachers knew about the abuse.

The Commission heard Benson and his friends were invited to a dinner party at a teacher’s house in 1989, where they were plied with alcohol.

“It was one of the most memorable nights of my life, and I was actively encouraged to drink — I didn’t arrive to get drunk but I did,” Mr Benson said.

He said the teachers talked openly about sex and now he wondered if they were trying to find out if we had been abused by Trutmann.

“Part of me thinks that they knew about Trutmann’s impropriety and part of the information given to me by police suggests that they did know,” Mr Benson told the inquiry.

Mr Benson said he held Geelong Grammar responsible.

“I started to wait for the school to respond and take responsibility,” he said.

“I hoped that the school would reach out and help me after he was convicted. It did not.

“I have never been contacted by the school.”



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Scientists Find That Traumatic Memories Can Be Repressed and Restored

These scientists have only just discovered what many of us have known for decades. But they are torturing animals and want to use dangerous prescription drugs to bring trauma out of a person.

Not only are the side-effects of RX drugs dangerous, but using them to force traumatic memories out of the subconscious mind, and into consciousness is highly dangerous for the person who has repressed their experiences of being sexually abused, traumatized with abuse and death threats, or raped as children.

Memories must come out naturally, slowly, with the timing of the soul. Psyche means soul, and psycho-analysis literaly means “the analysis of the soul.” The subconscious mind IS THE SOUL of the person. If doctors go monkeying around in the mind/soul of people with the use of RX drugs, then they will be creating a disaster for the person who was sexually abused and traumatized..

Traumatic memories really can be repressed, but also restored, say scientists

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor of the Telegraph, U.K.

“If the brain is in a heightened state of arousal when it records a past event it sometimes cannot replay it until it returns to the same state when the memory formed Memories can be suppressed and later recovered, scientists have found, in new research which supports psychologists who believe that people can repress traumatic events. In recent years the theory that people can bury events from the past deep down into their sub-conscious had been largely debunked with critics claiming the doctors have implanted memories of abuse.

But a new study by Northerwestern University, Illinois, suggests that if the brain is in a heightened state of arousal it records a memory but does not ‘play it’ back until the mind returns to the state in which it was first encoded.

However the scientists have found that a drug which stimulates the receptors which stored the memory initially, so that the lost events can resurface.

“The brain functions in different states, much like a radio operates at AM and FM frequency bands,” said principal investigator Dr Jelena Radulovic, the Dunbar Professor in Bipolar Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“It’s as if the brain is normally tuned to FM stations to access memories, but needs to be tuned to AM stations to access subconscious memories. If a traumatic event occurs when these receptors are activated, the memory of this event cannot be accessed unless these receptors are activated once again, essentially tuning the brain into the AM stations.”

To test the theory, the researchers put mice into a box and stimulated their GABA memory receptors with a drug called gaboxadol. They then gave the mice an electric shock. They discovered that when the drug wore off the mice had forgotten that the electric shock had occurred in the box, and moved about happily. But when scientists gave them another dose of gaboxadol they froze, fearfully anticipating another shock.

“This establishes when the mice were returned to the same brain state created by the drug, they remembered the stressful experience of the shock,” added Dr Radulovic.

In the drug-induced state, the brains of the mice used completely different molecular pathways and neuronal circuits to store the memory of the shock.

“It’s an entirely different system even at the genetic and molecular level than the one that encodes normal memories,” said lead study author Vladimir Jovasevic, who worked on the study when he was a postdoctoral fellow in Radulovic’s lab.

They believe that stressful experiences, like childhood abuse, can also trigger the GABA receptors to such a heightened state that the same thing occurs.

Therapists can find it difficult to help patients because they themselves cannot remember their traumatic experiences that are the root cause of their symptoms.

The team is now hoping to test whether gaboxadol could be used to recover the repressed memories in humans.”…

My notes: Yes, most therapists find it difficult to help their clients because most therapists are not using the proper form of psycho-analysis, and are instead, trying to help people with talk therapy, “reality therapy,” ‘new-agism,’ RX drugs, or by subconscious techniques that are dangerous or unhelpful.

To read more on State-Dependent Memory, click here


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