Playing chess with survivors of CSA

 Street painting by El Teneen, Cairo

Writing this blog has helped me to understand the false memory movement much better. This means that if I stumble across something online or hear somebody say something about false memories I don’t curl up into a paroxym of pain anymore.

Also, as I wrote in my last two entries, I know that I can’t make the false memory movement go away. However much I tell them how much pain they have caused me I don’t think they will listen. They have other interests at heart than my pain.

What I can do is use the understanding that I have gained whilst writing this blog  to enable the pain that the false memory people cause me to be managed. To understand that they are simply media-savy people who feed off others misfortume and greedily search for examples of incidences which they can interpret as the result of false memory. They then blow these incidents up with the use of metaphors to make it look as if these incidents are the norm.

It means also that I think it is very important that those who wish to write about sexual abuse have a heavy responsibility to do so as accurately as possible. Although sexual abuse needs to be exposed in  the UK it is better to err on the side of caution when doing so in order to avoid a backlash and not give the false memory people something to feed off.

For this reason I am rather sceptical of the web-based news agency Exaro which appears to over-sensationalise stories of sexual abuse that involve politicians without worrying too much about facts. Feeding off others´pain to acheive cheap headlines does not seem to be too different to feeding off stories that can be twisted to illustrate false memory syndrome. In both senarios the survivor of sexual abuse is being used as a pawn in someone else’s chess game

Pain Management II

Frida Kahlo and a hawk

Yesterday I wrote about “managing” the false memory arguments, that is, seeing them as obstacles and hardships that can be dealt with, rather than being defeated by. It’s something I’m trying to learn.

Therefore I thought it would be useful to include something written by a lawyer on the subject, a lawyer that represents child abuse survivors.


This is an extract from the lawyer Peter Garsden writing in 2013

The recent change in police  attitudes to the investigation of abuse, and perhaps some re-introduction of the banned police “trawling” from the early millennium, has affected us all.
Everyone has a Savile story to tell.
It is somewhat ironical that, the same stories those of us who were around in the late 1990’s heard, are all being revamped, and re-rolled by a once again hungry media.
I am sure we have all had varying media calls ranging from “do you have any Savile victims who want to be interviewed?” – a somewhat insensitive approach, to the more interested and intelligent investigative journalist wanting a “new angle” on the story.
I know the Survivor Groups are inundated with those wanting help.
It is also ironical that whilst I was pushing hard for a public enquiry into abuse back in 1997 for what went on the North West, we are now awash with enquiries into all aspects of the problem from, one wonders, a somewhat apprehensive government who are anxious to be seen to be doing the right thing in a transparent fashion.
The recently announced Operation Fernbridge involving, allegedly, allegations against Members of Parliament, will be an interesting development.
The point which the media sometimes forgets is that victims all over the country, who are not even connected with celebrity abuse, are being triggered into wanting to do something about their abuse (I have avoided using the term “historic”) from long ago.
We have to listen empathetically to what they have to say, and that is what ACAL is all about.
Unfortunately there is the other side of the story ie the allegedly falsely accused also coming to the surface.


 Some of you may have heard Richard Scorer on Radio 5… on Sunday morning facing the other side’s lobby. You may also have read the hatchet article by David Rose in the Sunday Mirror about David Greenwood, which I know he is taking advice upon.


Years ago I put my head above the parapet and had it shot off, when giving evidence at the Home Affairs SelectCommittee enquiry.


Thankfully, as the years go by, I get older and wiser, but no less passionate about the subject.


The times when my head appears have become less and less common

Pain Management I

Art by `Sharik` (Ukraine)

The wiki definition of pain management is

 A branch of medicine employing an interdisciplinary approach for easing the suffering and improving the quality of life of those living with pain… Pain sometimes resolves promptly once the underlying trauma or pathology has healed, and is treated by one practitioner, with drugs such as analgesics and (occasionally) anxiolytics. Effective management of chronic (long-term) pain, however, frequently requires the coordinated efforts of the management team.

Emotional pain also requires pain mangement and this includes the pain from sexual abuse.

Part of the pain that people experience as a result of sexual abuse can involve the the fact that the victim is not beleived. Not being believed can make the pain much worse (1).

Because my self-identity is split up  into different parts ( which according to some theorists is the result of childhood trauma ) it’s not easy for me to believe my own history. Some parts of me believe it and other parts are skeptical. This is why the false memory argument affects me and other people who suffer from structural dissociation so hard (2).  We can’t just dismiss their arguments like some other people can.

However I’m slowly learning to manage these different parts of myself. It’s like pain management where I know that the conflict between different parts of me won’t go away entirely (not in the short term anyway ).  However I’m learning tools that can help reduce the pain – like writing this blog.

Pain management on a societal level

I’m wondering if one can draw parallels between my own splittered self-identities and that of the UK in relation to child sexual abuse. That is: that the UK has a terrible problem with CSA  and it is becoming aware of this problem in bursts, starting and then stopping when the magnitude of the problem becomes too apparent.

The false memory movement is able to exploit this doubt and attaches itself to certain events that are reported in the media. These events may have nothing to do with so-called-false-memory but are then reported in the same context. The false memory argument then spices a rather mundane story up a bit –  and creates new drama.


(1) Matsakis, A. “I can’t get over it: a handbook for trauma survivors”. 1996. This is an old book ( in the histoy of trauma studies ) but a very good one if you suffer from PTSD for any reason. I quote from it because I happen to have it at home on my bookshelf.
(2 )I am using the phrase “structural dissociation” here ( Hart 2008) to distinguish it from forms of dissociation that everybody can experience at times.



More False Memory Spin

When I first started to write about the false memory movement, I understood that these people were good at managing the media.

I didn’t understand that this is because it IS a media movement.

The falsely accused people who they claim to represent didn’t spontaneously just gather together in a grass roots type fashion.

Or if they did, they were soon taken over by more media savy individuals ( such as when Richard Webster discovered F.A.C.T )

These were people who knew how to milk public sympathy by presenting the “falsely accused” in a positive light.

A news item might have nothing to do with the issue of memory, but the false memory movement will claim and promote an article as “theirs”

 I wonder if they will do the same with regards to the following article in the Daily Mail?

The article describes how a local authority will no longer be funding a charity which supports adult survivors of child sexual abuse. This is to do with issues of governance, lack of professionally trained staff and consequently poor therapeutic techniques. The charity appears to have been given the opportunity to correct these shortcomings – but had not done so.

Given the pressure that local authorities are under I don’t see anything strange about this decision. The clients of this organisation will be given the opportunity to continue recevting support from other organisations with qualified staff.

None of this has anything to do with the issue of false memory. 

Infact the decision of the local authority to allow the charity’s existing clients to direct access to professionally qualified staff would seem to me evidence that they take the needs of these clients seriously.