Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Satanic Ritual Abuse?

The other night, I caught part of a show on A&E about Satanic Ritual Abuse. This is the phenomenon by which people suddenly remember (sometimes spontaneously, but more often with the assistance of a hypnotherapist) horrendous abuses they suffered in their childhood-- physical, sexual, mental, emotional, and any other kind of abuse imaginable. In these cases it is remembered as being perpetuated (usually) by their parents, who are said to be worshippers of Satan.

I've got to give A&E tremendous credit for producing a show that showed both sides as fairly as possible. It was my own bias that colored my emotional responses.

You see, I think the vast majority of those who claim Satanic abuse are either victims of self-deception or are trying for attention (or both). There was an interview with an FBI assistant director who has investigated multitudes of purported abuse cases, who pointed out that there has not been one substantiated case of cultic abuse in the US, and that he is not aware of any substantiated cases in any other countries.

I'm not saying it has NEVER happened, but if it's as widespread as its believers claim, there is no possible way it could be completely unsubstantiated. There would be some evidence somewhere. People are clumsy, and there is no such thing as a perfect crime.

The real tragedy, to me, seemed to be in the families of those who claimed to be victims of Satanic abuse. There was a case in which a woman told her therapist that her sister and brother-in-law were planning to sacrifice their own son on the Vernal Equinox. The therapist by state law was required to report this as a clear and present danger. The police, though, did not investigate. They raided the home and took the kids away. It took months for the couple to clear their name and get their kids back. Why didn't the police do any investigation of any kind before taking the kids away? After these months of legal battles, the parents had to declare bankruptcy. They're held responsible for the court costs and the costs of their children's foster care, even though they were cleared of the sister's allegations.

A bizarre case came from a small church in Tulsa. The preacher there learned of the Satanic abuse "phenomenon" several years ago, and began to counsel his congregation in such ways that every single thing wrong with their lives was a direct result of having been Satanically abused in their childhoods. It was almost comical in its absurdity; all of the members of this group claimed to have been abused by the same man, the now-deceased father of one of the members. But this father had never lived in Tulsa or anywhere near it. Even group members who had grown up in completely different parts of the country claimed that this man had somehow abused them, and this stretched the credulity of even the neutral A&E interviewer. "Doesn't that seem strange to you?" he asked. The believers offered no explanations as to how this occurred, but simply claimed it was "the work of the Lord" that had brought them together.

It would have been comical, if not for the very real grief of one woman in the group. You see, the preacher forbids the "victims" from having any contact with their families of origin, because, as he puts it, it's not safe. The way he twists the tale, the more attached you are to your parents and the more you love them, the more horrendous your abuse must have been. There was one woman in the group who clearly missed her parents horribly, but was so convinced of the truth of the Satanic abuse, even though she remembered nothing but love from her childhood, that she would not speak to them.

They showed her sitting with her husband, a smug, smarmy-looking man who said primly that he KNEW there was something wrong with his wife's relationship with her parents because she was so attached to them, and that was why he had taken her to that preacher for counseling. He then proceeded to shame her on national TV by saying that she was still weak and under Satan's influence because she missed them.

If anyone on that entire program was doing evil, it would be that deluded, power-mad preacher in Tulsa.


Tirithien said...

A strong beating is just the first thing that the preacher deserves. x-(

I watched a video in my Psych course that dealt with abuse. This one was primarily children being "abused" by adults, but it's the same principle.

In one case, they took two kids to a doctor they had never seen. The doc performed a normal physical examination, just like is usual for kids, while being videotaped. After, the kids were asked what had "happened" to them during their appointment. Through enough leading questions, they eventually said they'd been sexually abused.

Never happened. It was all on tape.

Suggestion and planted memories are powerful, but those who prey on them... they are the true evil here.

martie said...

That anyone would poison a child's mind regarding any kind of abuse that never happened is just plain evil and SICK!! I know abuse happens, but to suggest and lead someone into believing that it happened is just beyond me.

naive-no-more said...

Oh my! Many different things come to mind, but clearly the satanic abuse is originating with the cultic preacher. At least in my opinion without having seen the show myself.

Are they suggesting then, that anyone with a close relationship to their parents has been mislead by the brainwashings of the devil?

It's scary to think about some of the stuff that goes on outside our protected little worlds.

Bougie Black Boy said...

very interesting. . . I think you should do a write-up just for snake-handling churches in appalchia

Bainwen Gilrana said...

I could do that easily. Of course, it wouldn't be nearly as complete without all the excess of research materials ordered by Mr. Hoxie. ;-)

(A guy Stephen and I went to college with did a research paper on snake handling churches his freshman year, and the librarian ordered WAY too much research stuff from other college libraries, and for the rest of the guy's time at school, the librarian would notify him every time he got in new information about snake handling churches!)

stevenburky said...

I would not dismiss SRA out of hand, or base your opinion on A+E solely, I caution you.

In my experience, the people I know who remember going through it remembered on their own. The claims of psychologists implanting memories are overblown in my own experience. Sexual abuse victims often remember in flashbacks long before they ever see a clinician: that's why they seek a counselor. Flashbacks come when they come, any hour of the day, not when a therapist decides they will.

I never remembered even one recovered memory in the presence of a psychologist. Not one.

Generational repressed idolatry really exists and is quite terrifying. It can happen any time a man stops really worshipping God, and continues for 4 generations. Most people fit that description in this day, which is the fearful thing: they hold nothing sacred.

SRA is so terrifying that it cannot be remembered or spoken of easily, and the participants are all dissociative, so there is no conscious evidence of the crime left. You could not see evidence of this kind of crime even if you tried. You would dissociate and overlook it, unless God helped you see the truth by saving you and letting you have the Holy Spirit. That is why this issue is so terrible...not to be taken lightly: it may be the deceiving force of the end times itself, the thing you can't see, even though it happened in your own life. It is everything Satan is said to be: terrifying, murderous, and deceitful completely.

Without God's help, I would never be able to find the place where my SRA took place, for I would dissociate and not see it even if I walked right past it...this is the terrifying truth...

Please awake sleepers: the real rebellion against the world is dying as a martyr for Christ and convicting the world of its sin. The majority of the world goes on and on, never stopping, never seeing...just as God said. They will only see what they did on judgment day, and how terrible it all was.