Analysis Of Analysis

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David Aaronovitch

Yesterday evening saw the broadcast of part one of David Aaronovitch’s BBC Radio 4 programme entitled ‘The Anatomy of Panic’ which sought to look at the phenomena of ritualistic sexual abuse. That broadcast can be listened to here- BBC Analysis.

Obviously it is difficult to draw too many conclusions regarding the programme without listening to part two, which unfortunately will not be broadcast until next week, and if part two proves these observations redundant then I hope readers will understand.

For me there were many interesting and pertinent points addressed in the programme. However, its primary fault lay in that it appeared to try and generalise what is an extremely difficult, complex, and emotive subject. David Aaronovitch acknowledged himself the historical cycle between the extremes of believing every allegation of child sexual abuse, then having false and sensationalist claims publicly discredited, and the backlash that follows where the public and authorities feeling duped are incredulous of any allegation of child sexual abuse.

This cycle is repeated when, after a period of public incredulity, a high profile case is demonstrated to be true.  David Aaronovitch acknowledges that this harms the interests of the genuine victims of child sexual abuse and yet it is precisely because of the kinds of generalisations contained in this programme that opinion becomes polarised and positions become entrenched.

There are some with an entrenched position who, shall we say, do not hold David Aaronovitch in high regard and as a consequence dismiss out of hand everything that he says on this issue. This is an intellectually bankrupt position because there were some interesting points in the programme and, if the environment were less poisonous, and the debate less polarised, much would be welcomed. The overview of the history of Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) and a look at False Memory Syndrome (FMS) would in a more intellectually open environment be recognised as important and valuable contributions to the debate and the observation that the false allegations in the past of SRA resemble in some ways some of the recent ‘Westminster/VIP’ allegations is insightful and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. In any genuine search for the truth these are points that must be considered. Unfortunately, too many on both sides of the debate are not in search of the truth but are seeking to validate their existing position.

Let’s now look at what I see as the failures of the programme.

For me the programme began poorly by referencing the recent Hampstead SRA hoax. In some respects this was inevitable given that David Aaronovitch lives in Hampstead and has written in The Times regarding the impact this has had on him personally and his community. However, it was an extremely poor example to begin the programme with. I’ve written here regarding the Hampstead SRA hoax and as regular readers will already know those behind it and those who perpetuate it are very small in number, a fair proportion of them have mental health issues, and many, significantly in my opinion, are not British nationals with English as a first language.

David Aaronovitch points out in the programme that “This time no one in the mainstream media was biting”. Actually, contrary to the general point that the programme was trying to make, none but those involved with the hoax was biting, not the police, not social workers, nor the overwhelming majority of those in the alternative media (AM). Most in the AM ignored it and of the few that took the subject on the majority, like this blog, condemned it and sought to expose it for what it was. One of the reasons I chose to comment on the Hampstead SRA hoax rather than ignore it is because I could see precisely how it could be used by such a programme as this BBC Analysis to discredit other genuine child sexual abuse allegations and so it has sadly been proven to be, but just because it has doesn’t mean that the comparison is legitimate because it isn’t, quite the opposite in fact as the police have arrested two of those behind the hoax and are seeking to question three others. Far from this case being indicative of a ‘panic’ it is rightly seen as a hoax with criminal implications for those behind it and so it was a very poor choice of subject, even if inevitable, for a programme that appears to seek to generalise the ritual elements of child sexual abuse, to kick the programme off with.

The second criticism I have regards that generalisation of the ritual elements of child sexual abuse I’ve just referred to. This is an extremely complex issue and as I’ve said, generalisation and over-simplification just polarises the debate. That some people who make allegations of ritual child sexual abuse, VIP child sexual abuse, or indeed any child abuse or any crime, are not always telling the truth really isn’t news, at least not until the mainstream media or the legal authorities in some way validate those false allegations through publicity.

Specifically, on the issue of ritual child sexual abuse there are cases within the last 5 years where individuals have been convicted for it.

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Without wishing to be overly critical of David Aaronovitch, I’d have thought that the very first thing any journalist would do when researching for a programme looking at ritual child sexual abuse is to look at the hard cases where the UK judicial system have convicted individuals of ritual child sexual abuse and where, by extension, a jury having listened to all of the available evidence have found that an individual is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt of ritual child sexual abuse. The convictions of Colin Batley and those of Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp are two such cases.

As I mentioned above, there are some who believe that David Aaronivitch is not a fair commentator on the CSA issue. That is not my view, I think he and other commentators can add robustness to the debate. However, he cannot be oblivious to the impression that this BBC programme with these failures gives to the neutral observer. By, on the one hand focusing on obvious hoaxes and long disproved cases, while on the other neglecting to address the difficult cases which have been established as factual, in the process of creating a programme that seeks to come to general conclusions regarding ritual child sexual abuse and the current explosion of CSA allegations more broadly, it is not difficult to see how some will conclude that David Aaronovitch is biased in his perspective on the issue.

I believe this is unfair and these failures can be put down to poor journalism. I think I can divine the point that David Aaronovitch is trying to make and if I’m correct it is valid but it is far more specific than many probably recognise. Generalising the issue and negatively co-opting the term ‘Ritual Child Sexual Abuse’ does nothing to further the public’s understanding of the issues and must surely be hurtful to those that have been the victims of ritual child sexual abuse, including those that have seen their abusers convicted for it.

Edit: We’ll come back to this following the broadcast of Part 2.

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42 Comments

Filed under Abuse, News

42 responses to “Analysis Of Analysis

  1. Sabre

    Aaronovitch is taking a long view of possible implications for his ‘community’, all communities are essentially innocent with notable exceptions in each. The over sensitivity with regard to perceptions of individual communities travels alongside an under sensitivity with regard to the original crimes and the victims. Aaronovitch has form for being an apologist for any and every crime that he perceives to be a possible pathway to ‘anti-semitism’ should it be justly condemned.

    • Myers

      Philosopher, Charles Pigden, logically dissects Aaronovitch’s attempt to define ‘conspiracy theories’ in ‘Voodoo Histories’ and concludes that:
      ‘The idea that there is an irrational syndrome which provides a
      general explanation of why people subscribe to conspiracy theories is a diagnosis in search of a disease, or, more properly, a shoddy ad hominem
      disguised as a diagnosis.’
      https://www.academia.edu/5459975/Conspiracy_Theories_and_the_Conventional_Wisdom_Revisited
      (p25 onwards, although the whole thing is worth a read)

  2. Sabre

    Aaronovitch is a master of conflation his speciality is conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, now it is Satanic abuse, the bastard of psycho-babble with VIP CSA.

    Did he take to the airwaves when it was alleged that the psycho babble was generated a) to make profits from controversial nonsense and b) to undermine the concept of the family unit which was deemed to be the precursor to hierarchical institutions and even fascism ?

    He hasn’t railed against nonsensical stories such as different colour smoke appearing from crematoria chimneys depending on the nationality of the victims being disposed of, he hasn’t declared that the holocaust is on tenuous ground because of a belief in stories such as Elie Wiesel’s geysers of blood at Babi Yar or Michael Howard’s aunt who miraculously survived 3 attempts at gassing her !

  3. Sabre

    Crucified Canadians? Belgian Babies on the bayonets of the hun? Iraqi soldiers throwing premature babies from incubators in Kuwait before stealing the incubators?

    We’ve heard ghost stories before David most of us can spot a snow job.

  4. BarrieJ

    I don’t think one needs to occupy an entrenched position to have little time for Mr Aaronovitch, he travels with far too much baggage.

  5. Andrew

    There is only child abuse, be that physical, or sexual. ‘Ritual Child Sexual Abuse’, is just another term for the same thing. Paedophiles, and that is a term that means very little, often need an excuse for their abuse. Religion, authoritarian, satanic, etc.

    • Gary

      The rituals/trappings can be used to frighten victims into compliance and silence. Likewise it’s also a means to discredit them eg they report the incident and state that babies are being killed and shoes are made of their skin – at this point eyes glass over, they’ll never be taken seriously again..

  6. Myers

    I think that you are far too generous to Aaro.
    I am sure that he knows exactly what he is doing, so the accusation of ‘poor journalism’ doesn’t fit; he is a seasoned writer and knows how to construct a fair and balanced report, and how to skew and spin through omission and selective focus. He knows how to research, how to lie and manipulate.
    He is a clever guy, and having read plenty of his writing on other subjects, I am convinced that the only value in following his output is to find out what the Establishment want you to think -or think about.

    I visit here for ‘robustness’.

  7. Gary

    We all judge others. Most often we will do this without knowing the facts. We know that some people claim to be Satanists to scare the children they abuse, their tall stories make the children look like fantasists. Then again, there are those who believe themselves to be Satanists who abuse children. I have some doubts over false memory syndrome, memory can play tricks and things can be misremembered or forgotten but remembering a series of traumatic events that are entirely fictional is difficult to swallow but good for defence lawyers.

    Professionals should be working, unhindered, in the background. Unfortunately our prejudices and baseless opinions stop them from doing their job. The printed press, and now online blogs, have no interest in the victims, no interest in the truth. They’re interested in hyperbole, sensationalism. Happy to print pages of CSA stories one week and stories of Satanic Panic and hoaxes the next.

    None of us are innocent of this.

  8. Roger Gough

    Having read ‘Voodoo Histories’, Mr A leaves me with the feeling that he, as you comment about others, is almost always seeking to justify his own entrenched position. I have tried in vain to engage with him regarding lectures he has given (which I’ve attended) or articles which he has written – he is a very ‘private’ person.The shout of ‘conspiracy theorist’ is much like the cry of ‘racist’: – a mark of desperation marking a lost battle. Who believed everything that – say – the coalition government claimed was fact during their tenure? If you disbelieved something that they claimed as fact then you are a conspiracy theorist. If you believed everything that they said, then you are far, far too gullible.

  9. Aaronovich is no credible journalist. Never has been, never will be. Any input he has should simply be ignored by any reasonable person. Please do not give the likes of this self-publicist any recognition in adding to the debate. He is, simply,a waste of carbon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Aaronovitch

  10. artmanjosephgrech

    I only want to make one point without having the opportunity ot at present time to listen to the programme is that there is wide gulf between the ritual sexual abuse of an individual child by an adult, sexual rituals in involving adolescent virgins and adults, group sexual activity held outdoors and will inside, coming of age rituals involving elders, or individuals with power and sexual rituals according to ancient satanic worship or calls on the supernatural, The rites ritual may well be pagan or ancient Gods in origination and be no different in practice from those involving a belief in the Devil.

    The other observation is that governments security services international business and finance corporations in addition to international criminal networks create or infiltrate vice activities for the purposes of blackmail. and while it is well known that the Nazi used vice as a reward and the Soviets honey traps. Westerns democracies especially the USA and UK became high level masters of the black art,

    ,

  11. artmanjosephgrech

    I have missed out an important part of a sentence

    I only want to make one point without having the opportunity at present time to listen to the programme is that there is wide gulf between the ritual sexual abuse of an individual child by an adult, sexual rituals in involving adolescent virgins and adults, group sexual activity held outdoors and will inside, coming of age rituals involving elders, or individuals with power and sexual rituals according to ancient satanic worship or calls on the supernatural, The rites ritual may well be pagan or ancient Gods in origination and be no different in practice from those involving a belief in the Devil.

    The other observation is that governments security services international business and finance corporations in addition to international criminal networks create or infiltrate vice activities and the while the Nazis used vice as a reward and the Soviets honey traps. Westerns democracies especially the USA and UK became high level masters of the black art.
    ,

  12. Peter K.

    Can we seriously expect the BBC to act as an honest broker in such matters? Personally, I would not waste a second watching this kind of thing, put out as it has been by an organisation whose impartiality on this most sensitive of subjects is highly questionable at best.

  13. dpack

    i will listen to this later.
    as a general observation there is vice simple ,vice exploited and vice that never was .
    where vice exploited fits into context is my field of research and although there has been much smoke and mirrors about such things there are some examples with a rsa theme that seem to be horribly plausible.
    the scope for blackmail in those circumstances is broad and includes participation in csa and /or murder as well as other clandestine ritualized activities which can be used as “leverage” .
    the “rewards”of such activities can be directly related to the activity or bestowed by those in charge as long term developments in the process of “ownership”.
    every stick needs a carrot and every carrot has a stick might be one way to try to understand the dynamics of blackmail and reward .

  14. Reading this post the author is clearly out of their depth. Aaaronovitch is an establishment mouthpiece. False memory Syndrome dreamed up by the perpetrators to smear real accounts.

  15. nuggy

    i dont hold him in high regard for other reasons.

    this is the same man who declared assange guilty as soon as he had been acused.

    • nuggy,

      You can’t debate the issues with someone if you don’t start with the premise that the person is genuine and that all aspects are up for debate.

      See edit in article

  16. nuggy

    i agrea with a lot of what hes saying here and contary to what a lot of abuse campagners false memory syndrome does exist and has been proven to exist.

    though i doubt that it is as common as proponents of it cliam.

  17. Jon – your very admirable determination to separate fact from fiction to uncover reality, rather than mindlessly drumming for one or another “party line”, will inevitably result in poop being flung at you from all sides, as you know. But you are not alone, others such as myself have lived this for many decades. To be true to ourselves, we must forge on nonetheless – eh?

    The process of separating fact from fiction requires examining specific claims and counter-claims in some detail, rather than simply applying stock phrases of any sort such as; “moral panic”, “cover-up”, “repressed memory”, “false memory”, “pedophile apologist”, “conspiracy theorist”, etc.
    Hence, many of my comments are mind-numbingly long and no doubt boring to many. There are no short-cuts to the truth, however. Some points with respect to this article;

    1) It is not factually accurate to say that Colin Batley or Peter Petrauske were “convicted for ritual child sex abuse”. There is no such criminal statute in the UK. They were convicted of various criminal sexual acts, and you choose to determine from the context in which those acts were committed, that they are guilty of “ritual child sex abuse” – applying a definition of your choosing to that phrase.

    2) I am an old fart, and hence a living witness to a number of things that have unfolded in my life time. One of those things just happens to be – the invention of, (NOT “the discovery of”), “satanic ritual abuse” by a Canadian psychiatrist whose lectures on the subject reveal that he was himself a sick & twisted pervert.

    3) I’m also a living witness to the historic sexual exploitation of children & youth in the 1960’s – 1980’s. I was never in London, but there were parallel social processes taking place in my nation at the same time. Strikingly parallel. I’ve mentioned that, while you had Playland Arcades we had Funland Arcades wherein exactly the same type of trolling for victims by predatory chicken-hawks was taking place in that period. I was aware of this as a pre-teen. In my teens, as a lower class gay youth, I knew many people involved – in many ways – in the child sex trade. I don’t talk about my personal experiences, publicly, but I can talk about what was taking place then in a general way. So, I feel obligated to point out problematic aspects of some other people’s accounts of their experiences. Richard Kerr’s account apparently involves the scenario of young males being blackmailed into silence and co-operation by the threat of having CSA images of them sent to their parents and friends. That scenario has been a tragic reality for many boys & girls of the internet age but is peculiar to the current situation ans WAS NOT happening in the 1970’s. To begin with, boys involved in the sex trade in the 1970’s almost universally used pseudonyms “on the street” and never gave accurate information about their families or life histories to “johns” or porngraphers, so such blackmail would have been impossible. But I invite you to go through ALL of the newspaper archives from that period available on Spotlight On Abuse site and see for yourself that such a scenario is never voiced by the victims of that era. So, what do we call Kerr’s problematic account. A lie? I don’t think he’s consciously lying. Do we call it “false memory”, or what?

    4) Yes, I’m also a living witness to the fact that terrible tragedies took place during this period, and I am one of those who will never allow the victim’s to be forgotten. I never see any mention, by the way, in UK discussions, about poor Emanuel Jaques – but I have never forgotten nor will I allow his memory to fade away while I yet live.

    • Hi JS,

      1) Yes, I have to concede that you’re correct. I was trying to put over the essence of the point and I took a few liberties.
      3) Last part – No Comment at this stage.
      4) I’ll look into Emanuel Jaques

      Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Jaques

      Second edit: George Hislop looks like a man to be admired with regards to this case- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hislop

    • tdf

      Justin Sanity,

      (3) If, as some have claimed, Kincora and associated networks were being controlled by intelligence services, then some of Kerr’s abusers could have had access to people who in turn had access to countrywide databases of name and address details (to send incriminating photos to parents). Bear in mind that the UK has had heavy state security apparatus from WW2 to Cold War to Irish ‘Troubles’ to current ‘war on Terror’ era.

      As it happens, just very recently, the BBC’s Panorama did a programme on how elements of the British state controlled multiple killers (on both loyalist and republican side) during the ‘Troubles’.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05x8gzs/panorama-britains-secret-terror-deals

    • Justin, I agree with you about Richard Kerr’s account of young males being blackmailed into silence and co-operation by the threat of having CSA images of them sent to their parents and friendswould not have happened. But I think he said that because he did not want people, to think that he did it for money, or mixing with important, rich people.
      He was abused, but not blackmaled. I think that

  18. Andy Barnett

    As I listened to this programme, I was struck by the repeated use of words and phrases that went beyond objective analysis and were clearly intended to convey the belief that ANY tales of ritual abuse must be false. These included ‘extraordinary’, ‘incredible’, ‘implausible’, ‘bizarre’, ‘unbelievable’, ‘right at the far edge of what a human being could be brought to believe’, ‘beyond belief’, and ending with the line “and (as we’ll discover next week) untrue”.

    Such words were used again and again in conjunction with descriptions of ritual abuse, as stated by the children concerned (or adults who had been abused as children): large groups, rituals, chanting, robes, knives, candles, pointy hats, drinking blood – every one of which are true descriptions of rituals carried out by long-standing organised religions, such as the Catholic Church (drinking the blood of Christ), or by secret societies, most notably the Freemasons. Add to this Joan Bakewell’s inference of a ‘nationwide, worldwide network’ then you have what is in fact a very plausible description that applies to at least two major organisations now known to have been involved with the sexual abuse of children – most probably on a very large scale. Who’s to say there aren’t many more?

    It is only when the descriptions of the actual abuse are added to this mix that we might begin to doubt: rape, torture and the murder of children and babies – all too horrible to think about. And yet these thing do happen, however difficult that is to believe and however much we don’t want to believe it. So the possibility that such things have gone on within a ritualistic setting is not at all implausible.

    Its only when those further descriptions are thrown in that we can relax and tell ourselves this is all nonsense: snakes up bottoms, sacrificing and eating babies, making shoes of baby skin. Who honestly would do such things? But did the children really see these things or were they just told them by the adults? “Stay still while I push this snake up your bottom, or it might bite you” seems a perfectly plausible line to use while raping a child. “Don’t tell or you will be next to be sacrificed”

    I look forward to the next episode to hear what evidence Aaronovitch has found that clearly shows that all claims of ritual abuse are false. I’ll eat my hat if he has any.

  19. @Andy – How fortunate, that you have in myself a living witness to how the kinds of explanations you have offered for impossible allegations, came to be. I can testify that the idea of children being deliberately deceived into thinking that impossible things had been done to them, only surfaced AFTER skeptics had exposed the physical impossibility of allegations WHICH ADULTS CLAIMED that children had made.

    If you are going to postulate alternate explanations like deliberate deception, why not postulate that the children were really abducted by aliens who subjected them to their infamous anal probing and other experimentation, and then implanted in the children memories of being “ritually abused”, as a cover.

    Or, you could postulate that Intelligence agencies used nazi mind-control to implant memories of having been abducted by aliens who subjected them to their infamous anal probing and other experimentation, and then implanted in the children memories of being “ritually abused” as a cover.

    • Sabre

      Missing the point, Aaronovitch is conflating the incredible with the credible in the hope that the prospering proposition is the incredible one.

    • Andy Barnett

      Sorry Justin – I’m not following you. I am simply questioning DA’s apparent assertion that ALL claims by victims concerning rituals, robes, chanting, etc. are not believable, since organisations implicated in abuse do indeed carry out such activities, and there’s no reason to think that other abusers wouldn’t do likewise. I am further suggesting that people like DA use the more remarkable claims as excuses to dismiss all allegations of ritual abuse, instead of seeking possible explanations for those cases – which might include the possibility that adults have told the kids what to say.

      • Struggling to find the right words, to help you understand this.
        In the beginning, “the more remarkable claims” were asserted in full sincerity, because the people (adults) asserting them subscribed to belief systems which made them utterly credulous. There was this famous assertion by a father-activist: “Satanists can do anything”.

        After skeptics began to demonstrate that “the more remarkable claims” were physically impossible and defied both science & nature, there were suggestions like: “perhaps the children were deceived by their abusers into believing that” “snakes were inserted in their bums” to use your example. These were not explanations, these were EXCUSES – excuses for falsehoods that originated in the minds of credulous adults, but came out of the mouths of manipulated children.

        “The more remarkable claims” constitute the entirety of “ritual abuse”, there never was anything else to it. Dr Lawrence Pazder, the inventor of “ritual abuse”, described it in his lectures in the most extreme terms – more extreme even than your examples. He claimed to believe, Andy, that toddlers who were subjected to extreme sadistic sexual perversion on a continuous basis would “become evil” – by which he meant that they would CHOOSE evil over good. Four year olds, he was talking about, lusting to be Satan’s personal sex slave.

        “Less remarkable claims”, quite simply, do not constitute “ritual abuse”.

      • Andy Barnett

        Justin, thank you for that reply.

        I happily accept I am ignorant of what has gone on and the truth or otherwise of any of these claims. Indeed the whole point of my contribution was not to offer my own explanation but merely to comment on what may or may not be described as “implausible”, “unbelievable”, etc.

        As Sabre noted, DA is conflating the incredible with the credible. In my opinion, the idea of child abuse occurring within a ritualistic setting (large groups, robes, chanting, candles, pointy hats, magical symbols, readings, rituals, etc.) is not at all implausible. Whether or not abuse has ever taken place in such settings, I really don’t know. But to imply that tales of that kind are ‘incredible’ is simply wrong. Those rituals do take place within large international organisations and those same institutions are implicated in CSA.

        Your focus on the other hand seems to be the truth or otherwise of those more ‘remarkable’ claims – those that are more difficult to believe because they are so extreme. Again, I have no knowledge of their veracity either way. I would like to believe it is all invention as you and DA suggest; the problem I have is that 3 years ago I would never have believed half what we now know to be true about CSA.

        My warning to anyone interested to know the truth is not to use one or two examples as ‘proof’ of the whole situation. The fact that evangelicals have imagined satanic abuse in America or that individuals in Hampstead have engaged in an elaborate hoax is not proof that ALL claims of abuse within a ritualistic setting are false. It’s not an all-or-nothing game. It is more than possible that some claims are true, while many others are false. Every case should be treated on its own merits, without prejudice.

  20. dpack

    this chap wrote some interesting and at times very disturbing things .
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1533818/John-Symonds.html

    i try to keep an open mind about such matters while remembering that if smoke and mirrors can be confusing so can simple but hard to believe truths.

    imho there is a high probability that crowley was “useful” to the powerful at times and that some who sought power via his teaching found themselves in his power and that of his “owners”.

    robin bryans mentions some of the activities of both crowley and tredagar as being an end in themselves and also as being a means to an end.

    some militarily orientated folk have mentioned using the fear of “black magic”to prevent the local kids toasting an observation post or spoiling a potential free fire zone as well as to instill fears and suspicions into a community which can then be exploited in a variety of ways .

    as a means to confuse and control the rsa/rcsa/ritual murder stories are possibly a more powerful tool than the reward/blackmail aspects of actual events.

    historically there are plenty of examples where what most folk could consider to be ra,rsa,rcsa,human sacrifice etc etc have archeological evidence and /or credible witness accounts to support the reality of folk being nasty and imaginative and finding such methods can be used to obtain or maintain power.

  21. Andy :) thank you for yours.
    What you say is essentially correct. For example, altar boys have been molested during rehearsals for Catholic Mass and in similar circumstances. There have been youths, and the odd adult man or woman, who used a made-up witchcraft or satanism club to extort sexual favors/acts during “the secret initiation”. Batley and Petrauske belong in that group. But none of these occurrences constitute “ritual abuse”. You have adopted a more accurate & correct terminology, when you say: “abuse in a ritualistic setting”. That abuse might include molestation, or rape or torture or even an act of murder, it would still not be “ritual abuse”. Ritual abuse is an imaginary term of no validity, invented by someone who was himself a serious pervert.

    And, I can personally guarantee you that no 4 year old child has ever lusted to be Satan’s personal sex slave.

    • Andy Barnett

      Hi Justin. Thanks again for that.

      I did avoid using that term ‘ritual abuse’, as debating the meaning of a word or phrase is (IMO) as pointless as debating which is the nicest colour. Words means whatever we want them to mean.

      But while we are on that subject, I would be interested to know what acts would need to be carried out (in reality) for you to declare that ‘ritual abuse’ had in fact occurred. I would agree that an altar boy abused during a rehearsal for Mass would not constitute ‘ritual abuse’ as it was not an actual ritual going on. So lets try a different example. Lets take a Masonic lodge that takes a child along to one of its meetings for the first time. That meeting involves a group of men in robes, holding candles, chanting, reading from ancient scriptures, worshipping a supreme being, etc. And as part of that ritual, they tie the child onto a stone table and take turns to abuse her.

      Would that situation, if it ever occurred, not constitute “ritual abuse”? It seems obvious to me that it would. I don’t understand then why you insist that term should only apply to imaginary abuse. Had you said that, in your opinion, “satanic ritual abuse” (involving genuine worship of the devil) does not occur, then I would be tempted to concur. But to simply declare that all ritual abuse is (by definition) imaginary, strikes me as unhelpful, if only because it encourages people to treat any child that claims they were abused within a ritual as a liar.

  22. @Andy – well, words don’t mean whatever we want them to mean, nor is reality whatever we personally choose to believe that it is.
    I did not say “all ritual abuse is (by definition) imaginary”. What I said was that THE TERM “ritual abuse” is imaginary, and of no validity. It is imaginary, unlike terms such as “murder”, “rape”, “child abuse”, “sexual assault”, which have both long histories of commmonly understood meaning and specific definitions under your legal statutes, the term “ritual abuse” was made up – invented – by a specific person at a specific point in time. It was made up by psychiatrist Dr Lawrence Pazder in 1980. You may be deliberately dodging this fact and it’s implications, simply ignoring this reality, or not. I’ve seen that many, many times over the last 30 years, believe me. You might be under the mistaken impression that Pazder invented the term SRA, but that the term ritual abuse existed before him. If so, that’s not true. Pazder invented the term ritual abuse, although he frequently used the derivative term “ritualistic abuse”.

    So, the question shouldn’t be “what acts would need to be carried out (in reality) for [Justin Sanity] to declare that ‘ritual abuse’ had in fact occurred”, the question should be – what was Lawrence Paxder’s definition of ritual abuse and what did that mean to him? I will take what you said earlier about being ignorant of the history, at face value, and assume that you really don’t know the answer to that question. Here it is:
    Pazder’s definition for ritual abuse aka ritualistic abuse, was this: “ritual abuse of children is repeated physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual assaults combined with a systematic use of symbols and secret ceremonies designed to turn a child against itself, family, society and God.” Pazder further stipulated that “the sexual assault has ritualistic meaning and is not for sexual gratification”.

    During his presentation for “The Emergence of Ritualistic Crime in Today’s Society”,conference at a “N. Colo.-S. Wyo. Detectives Association Seminar” in Ft. Collins, Colo., 9-12 September 1986, Pazder further delineates exactly what ritual abuse meant to him – the inventor of the term:
    “The abuses may be repeated 100-1000 times! The assaults target the physical level first, then the emotional, mental and spiritual levels of the child. They are a planned, detailed program designed to turn the victim against itself, society, and God.
    Every assault has a purpose. The sex-type assaults are not the ‘dog in heat syndrome for sexual gratification,’ but part of a process to degrade the child and produce guilt.
    Careful planning and execution is required by the perpetrators and the process takes a long time with repeated contacts.
    Every step is premeditated. The Motive: to remove the child from everything good, normal, healthy, Godly; to inculcate the child into the primary belief system of Satan. Ritualistic Abuse is an assault against innocence.
    Short-term motivation is to gain POWER over a child. This is not for sexual gratification…don’t make that mistake! It is very difficult to ‘capture a child,’ to turn him or her against everything that God wants him/her to become. Ritualized Abuse is not for the purpose of destroying the child, but rather to gain access to that child later in society. The Ritualized Abuse process will warp the child totally, make it predisposed to accept the devil’s philosophy later in life”.

    As you can see from this, the specific acts are of less importance to his imaginary concept of ritual abuse than THE MOTIVE and INTENTION of the abusers. The motive MUST BE “to turn the victim against itself, society, and God”, or it’s not “ritual abuse”.

    Now, when you said “Would that situation, if it ever occurred, not constitute “ritual abuse”? It seems obvious to me that it would” – you understand that you are presuming here to have a better knowledge & understanding of what constitutes “ritual abuse” than the man who literally invented the idea?

  23. @Andy – now, I’m not going to duck the concern that you’ve voiced above, about children’s claims to having been sexually abused being dismissed out of hand because some adult in their life has filled their mind with a lot of fantastical crapola. I’ve stated, many times, that no child’s claim of having been criminally violated should EVER be dismissed without investigation.

    But, let me be even more explicit about that, now. If a mother presents to police and says that her little boy claims that aliens abducted him and conducted anal probing experiments on him, and the little guy says: “They stick things in me bum!” – damned straight, there better be an investigation into whether or not SOMEONE has been sodomizing the child. Similarly, if a mother says her daughter claims that Satan comes into her room at night, takes her to Hell and violates her there, and the little girl says: “Satan sticks his pitchfork in me holes”, there better be an investigation into whether or not she has been criminally violated. But, it would be irrational to insist that there should be an investigation into the possibility that aliens might be abducting kids in that neighborhood, or that Satan might be taking kids down to hell. And it would be absolutely insane to insist that all the men in the child’s life should be suspected of secretly being aliens from Alpha Centauri or demons from Hell.

  24. ldavies2012

    This was the statutory guidance for professionals in all agencies dated 1991. It might be of interest for your blog discussion.

    Home Office, Department of Health, Department of Education and Science, Welsh Office (1991) Working Together. A guide to inter-agency cooperation for the protection of children from abuse. London. HMSO
    p38

    ‘Definition of organised abuse
    Organised abuse is a generic term which covers abuse which may involve a number of abusers, a number of abused children and young people and often encompasses different forms of abuse. It involves to a greater or lesser extent an element of organisation.
    A wide range of abusing activity is covered by this term, from small paedophile or pornographic rings, often but not always organised for profit, with most participants knowing one another, to large networks of individual groups or families which may be spread more widely and in which not all participants will be known to each other. Some organised groups may use bizarre or ritualised behaviour, sometimes associated with particular ‘belief’ systems. This can be a powerful mechanism to frighten the abused children into not telling of their experiences. ……’

    Subsequent versions of the same statutory guidance 1999, 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2015 mainly referred to ritual abuse in the context of abuse of children by adults because of their belief in children being ‘possessed’ by ‘spirits’. This guidance then focussed on abuse within the specific faith communities which held such beliefs. The definition of organised abuse in the widest sense and all the specialist requirements for investigation were eradicated from all guidance after 2013.

  25. Dr Davies – a lot could be said about the use & misuse of the term Organised Abuse and its definitions, all ultimately derived from Ken Lanning’s pioneering work on the subject for the FBI. I’ll leave that for another time, (and perhaps another place), except to note the idiotic hypocrisy of some members of self-professed SRA survivors networks casting aspersions on his integrity, going so far as to accuse Lanning of being the Grand Secret Chief of The Illuminati !

    I’m hoping that the public will get to hear more about your own work on unacknowledged murders of youths, who may or may not ever have been reported as missing. If you haven’t seen my rant on the subject, I consider the resolution of cold cases – missings, rapes, murders and false imprisonment – to be a hallmark of civilized societies. These are of great importance to me, personally. There was a long series in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer years ago on the subject of missing persons, which detailed the lack of interest, historically, by American law enforcement, in missing youth cases. All the boys & girls from the 1960’s & 1970’s simply written off as probable run-aways and never followed up thereafter, the case files indicating that NO investigation whatsoever was carried out even when someone cared enough to make an official report to police, the routine dumping into the garbage of files on “runaway youth” on an annual basis – gotta make room for more reports that will never be acted on. SO SAD and tragic, and grossly irresponsible.

    Some interesting developments in North America recently. Unusual weather patterns and improved sonar systems have resulted in various bodies of water giving up their secrets – the bodies of youths and adults missing for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. Non-criminal in most cases, still every discovery & recovery is a victory.

  26. It’s interesting to note that the same key players are involved in perpetuating the Hampstead SRA myth as the Hollie Grieg hoax.
    Namely, Belinda McKenzie and Sabine McNeill.