We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

We Are Survivors

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In my blog, Dissociative Disorders - Part 17, I wrote about Paul McHugh’s support of Catholic priests who had been charged with pedophilia. Now I want to address Elizabeth Loftus’ role as well. In Dissociative Disorders - Part 10, I wrote about her studies validating repressed memories. With her support of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) and lucrative payments defending Catholic priests, she apparently reversed what she stated in her earlier research about the validity of repressed memories.

There are three related assumptions that still serve as the basis for much policy and practice in the criminal justice system.[1] The first assumption is that maltreatment of children and violence against women are completely separate phenomena. The second is that children who witness violence are not significantly affected by it. The third is that the non-abusive parent in a domestic violence situation (the mother in 95% of cases) should be held accountable for the actions of the abuser.

Posted by on in Abuse and Neglect

A report was made public recently that addressed the response of Bob Jones University (“BJU”) to disclosures by its students of sexual abuse.  BJU is a Christian educational institution that currently enrolls about 3,000 students in various undergraduate and graduate programs.  In response to national media reports of BJU’s mishandling of sexual abuse complaints, the school hired GRACE (“Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment”), an organization whose mission is to empower the Christian community to address the sin of childhood sexual abuse, as an independent ombudsman to review and report on BJU’s practices and policies regarding sexual abuse disclosures. 

Posted by on in Healing

Once a person is victimized as a young child, particularly if they do not get any type of help to heal from their abuse, they are susceptible as adults to being revictimized. When someone suffers from trauma that hasn’t healed, reactions from the old wounds can affect their adult lives in a variety of ways, everything from substance abuse, binge eating, dissociation, having flashbacks, not having healthy boundaries, and feeling suicidal. All of these manifestations due to being abused as a child work toward destabilizing survivors and leaves them open to further abuse in their adult lives.

The relationship between girls being abused and their involvement in crime later in life was studied by the National Institute of Justice.[1] It found that when compared with girls who have not been abused and neglected during childhoodabused and neglected girls are:

A task force conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[1] found substantial support for the use of early childhood home visitation for the prevention of child abuse. It found that home visitations by trained personnel play an effective role in the reduction of child maltreatment. The task force recommends home visits be considered for families at risk for abusing children. Studies reviewed by the group suggest that approximately 40% of maltreatment episodes might be prevented through programs of early childhood home visits.

Some major work began to appear in the physical (versus mental) medical field that provided more evidence in the brain’s ability to suppress memories. This is important in the area of child abuse. Remember, researchers in the psychiatric field have been stating this for over 100 years. Another article shown below addresses this issue.

Barriers to reporting child abuse or neglect (CA/N) most often cited by respondents in a Kentucky study (2006) were an uncertainty that reporting would help the child, fear that reporting will make it worse for the child, a loss of relationship with the family, inconsistent response (by the system) to previous reports, unfamiliarity with social workers, and risk of medical malpractice.1

There is a significant lack of education and training in the medical field when it comes to education and training about child abuse or neglect (CA/N). There is no specific percentage requirement for continuing education units (CEUs) in the area of CA/N.1

Too often medical professionals and service agencies do not report child abuse and neglect to authorities for a multitude of reasons. The State of Oregon has been very progressive, though, in identifying areas of concern and steps that need to be taken to address this enormous problem.

Posted by on in Legal Issues

What do cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and childhood sexual abuse all have in common?  The multi-faceted answer sheds a needed light on the lack of a coherent societal response to each of these despicable acts.  To start, society first needs to recognize that these acts constitute major crimes and must be addressed as such.  Regrettably, there is growing evidence that our legal institutions marginalize these crimes and fail to respond to them with the level of seriousness they warrant. 

Children who have been sexually abused and placed in foster care or are adopted need rules to help provide structure, comfort and security. Experts in the field of adoption and child sexual abuse believe the guidelines listed below will help the child to build trust with their new family.1

Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diane says #
    I am very happy that you have connected with someone who really understands the issues. Yes, I have received your book but have no
  • Cohen says #
    Hello Diane. I just want to know if the book I mailed to you arrived. I had another nice experience today. As you know, I've beem
  • Diane says #
    Sad to say, your niece and nephew are typical of a large number of families. The abused and neglected children fight back many tim
  • Cohen says #
    I'll definitely read your autobiography and send a copy of my book to you. Just so you're not confused when you get it, I used a
  • Diane says #
    Thank you for your insights and feedback. Sadly, most people working with abused children or adults are not trauma-trained or even
  • Cohen says #
    I've been browsing the internet trying to identify people and groups who might be interested in a novel my publisher released this

The family is the primary vehicle to socialize children about what is appropriate behavior within a family and society. Since it is critical for children to feel they are connected to the significant people in their lives, they usually conform and accept the family’s rules. In abusive households, family members many times have to sacrifice what is needed for healthy functioning to survive their living environment.

Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mars Tin says #
    Really sorry to hear that. However, very happy to learn you will keep on sharing your insight. Also, no virus can undo what your b
  • Diane says #
    Thanks for staying in touch. The reason there has not been any blogs lately is that a little over a month ago, someone infected my
  • Mars Tin says #
    The problem in a nutshell, isn't it? I can see there have been many changes since my last visit a few years back, and congratulat

As I discussed in Cycle of Child Abuse Trauma—Part 1, the cycle begins with the “Original Setup.” This post, however, talks about this cycle in terms of adult survivors.

Child abuse and neglect encompasses lifelong consequences due to what I have identified as a “Cycle of Trauma.” We, as survivors, don’t realize until much later in life that the methods we developed and used to cope as children are carried forward into our adult lives. I’ll discuss four aspects of the trauma cycle, both in childhood and then how it is carried forward into adulthood. It begins with what I call the “original setup.”

About five years ago the state of New York, like other states have done in the past, tried to extend the Statute of Limitations allowing child abuse survivors to sue their long-protected abusers. As usual, they ran into tough resistance from, you guessed it, the Catholic Church. And who did they have as their strong ally? Paul McHugh from Johns Hopkins. But he has been their ally for a long time. Let’s look at some relevant articles.

In my last discussion, Dissociative Disorders - Part 15, I talked about the media’s focus on presenting misleading information about the reality of multiple personalities and the impact on therapists who treat patients with this disorder. I would have preferred that Mike Wallace talk about how therapists were being targeted and harassed simply for doing what they were trained to do—treat adult survivors of child abuse who were displaying dissociative symptoms.

In 1997, the issue of multiple personalities was discussed by the national media. As usual, it was not helpful at all for the millions of adult survivors of child abuse or the therapists who treat them. Paul McHugh was selected by 60 Minutes to talk about this issue, I guess because he was the Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. Once again, the millions of viewers were presented with McHugh’s diatribe and insulting rhetoric about one of our trauma disorders.1

The move to silence therapists and child abuse survivors in making claims about childhood abuse moved into a new direction in the 1990s. Elizabeth Loftus joined Paul McHugh in denouncing memories of survivors, especially in the area of trial law. She conducted  experiments with people, successfully convincing some that they were “lost in a shopping mall” as a young child and used films of car accidents in her research. She then blatantly stated that this naturally meant that false memories of child abuse could be implanted into client’s heads and used her “research” during lawsuits. As I told my therapist, “You’re good, but you’re not that good.”

Posted by on in Media

Anyone that says the media has no role in sex education, that it is just “reflecting everyday life,” is either blind or doesn’t care to understand how powerful its messages of “anything goes” are to young children. To the tens of millions of American citizens like me who were raped and forced to live in a sexualized household as a child, I say they are dead wrong.