Carla's description was typical of survivors of chronic childhood abuse. Almost always, they deny or minimize the abusive memories. They have to: it's too painful to believe that their parents would do such a thing. So they fragment the memories into hundreds of shards, leaving only acceptable traces in their conscious minds. Rationalizations like my childhood was rough, he only did it to me once or twice and it wasn't so bad are common, masking the fact that the abuse was devastating and chronic. But while the knowledge, body sensations and feelings are shattered, they are not forgotten. They intrude in unexpected ways: through panic attacks and insomnia, through dreams and artwork, through seemingly inexplicable compulsions and through the shadowy dread of the abusive parent. They live just outside of consciousness like noisy neighbors who bang on the pipes and occasionally show up at the door.
David L. Calof
Some alters are what Dr Ross describes in Multiple Personality Disorder as 'fragments'. which are 'relatively limited psychic states that express only one feeling, hold one memory, or carry out a limited task in the person's life. A fragment might be a frightened child who holds the memory of one particular abuse incident.' In complex multiples, Dr Ross continues, the 'personalities are relatively full-bodied, complete states capable of a range of emotions and behaviours.' The alters will have 'executive control some substantial amount of time over the person's life'. He stresses and I repeat his emphasis, 'Complex MPD with over 15 alter personalities and complicated amnesia barriers are associated with 100 percent frequency of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse.' Did I imagine the castle, the dungeon, the ritual orgies and violations? Did Lucy, Billy, Samuel, Eliza, Shirley and Kato make it all up? I went back to the industrial estate and found the castle. It was an old factory that had burned to the ground, but the charred ruins of the basement remained. I closed my eyes and could see the black candles, the dancing shadows, the inverted pentagram, the people chanting through hooded robes. I could see myself among other children being abused in ways that defy imagination. I have no doubt now that the cult of devil worshippers was nothing more than a ring of paedophiles, the satanic paraphernalia a cover for their true lusts: the innocent bodies of young children.'m Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind
Alice Jamieson
There seems to be a direct correlation between the spike in suicides by young people and the increase in cyberbullying amongst young people.
Germany Kent
I remembered during puberty, through the anorexic mists of intermittent menstrual cycles, that man, my father, lifting Shirley's nightdress over her head and asking her in his mocking way to choose what colour condom she wanted. 'Red or yellow?' Which did she choose? I can't remember. Perhaps she alternated. Perhaps there were other colours. It didn't happen once. It happened again and again. I had no power to stop it. That man, my father, had some control over me. I was drugged by the black silence in that big house, the vile whiff of aftershave, the crushing torment of inevitability. My father fucked Shirley using red or yellow condoms and it was those condoms that brought it all to an end. It was my last realization of the day; any more would have been too much to contemplate. That time when my mother had found used condoms in bedroom, he had admitted, after a pointless burst my father's of denial, that he had been going to prostitutes. That was no doubt true but I can't imagine clients take used condoms away with them; prostitutes would surely get rid of the things. No. My father kept those used condoms as a prize. He was fucking his fourteen-year-old-daughter. He was proud of it. Rebecca welled up with tears. Poor thing, she kept saying. Poor thing.'m Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind
Alice Jamieson
If I was set an essay on Friday, I’d spend three hours on Saturday morning in the library. Was that normal? I didn’t know. What I did know was that I felt less prone to depression and more normal walking through Venice or staring out over the lake in Zurich. At home I wrestled continually with my moods. The black thing inside me gnawed like a rat at my self-esteem and self-confidence. I felt there was a happy person inside me too, who wanted to enjoy life, to be normal, but my feelings of self-loathing and the deep distrust I had towards my father wouldn’t allow that sunny person to come out. When the black thing had an iron grip on me, I couldn’t even look at my father: Did you do bad things to me when I was little? Like a line from a song stuck in your brain, the words ran through my head and never once came out of my mouth. Not that I needed to say what was in my mind. I was sure Father could read my thoughts in my moods, in the blank, dead stare of my eyes. It was hardly surprising that there was always an atmosphere of strain and awkwardness in the house and the blame was always mine: Alice and her moods, Alice and her anorexia; Alice and her low self-esteem; Alice and her inescapable feelings of loss and emptiness.'m Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind
Alice Jamieson
Some readers may find it a curious or even unscientific endeavour to craft a criminological model of organised abuse based on the testimony of survivors. One of the standard objections to qualitative research is that participants may lie or fantasise in interview, it has been suggested that adults who report severe child sexual abuse are particularly prone to such confabulation. Whilst all forms of research, whether qualitative or quantitative, may be impacted upon by memory error or false reporting. there is no evidence that qualitative research is particularly vulnerable to this, nor is there any evidence that a fantasy— or lie—prone individual would be particularly likely to volunteer for research into child sexual abuse. Research has consistently found that child abuse histories, including severe and sadistic abuse, are accurate and can be corroborated (Ross 2009, Otnow et al. 1997, Chu et al. 1999). Survivors of child abuse may struggle with amnesia and other forms of memory disturbance but the notion that they are particularly prone to suggestion and confabulation has yet to find a scientific basis. It is interesting to note that questions about the veracity of eyewitness evidence appear to be asked far more frequently in relation to sexual abuse and rape than in relation to other crimes. The research on which this book is based has been conducted with an ethical commitment to taking the lives and voices of survivors of organised abuse seriously.
Michael Salter