FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - August/September, 1992 - Vol. 1, No. 8, HTML version

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3508 Market Street suite 128,  Philadelphia, PA 19104,  (215-387-1865)

This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000

Dear Friends,
  "I had no idea that this phenomenon was so extensive!" exclaimed a
CBC television producer who attended a recent Toronto meeting of more
than 140 parents, siblings and spouses of FMS victims. "Just how big
is this?"
  We don't know the answer to his question. Since the last newsletter,
the number of families who have called to tell us the same story has
almost doubled (1,132 as of August 28). During this time more than
eighty women and one man who have identified themselves as having
personal experience with recovered memories of childhood incest and
other abuse have also called us. What do these numbers tell us? We
have learned from the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse
July newsletter, "Update" that more than 750,000 copies of "The
Courage to Heal" have sold. If this book is indeed the "bible" of the
incest recovery movement, what do these sales figures mean? Given the
pressure that we feel from the calls to the office, we are beginning
to take seriously a notion that the nation is experiencing a
pseudo-scientific social phenomenon of vast proportions revolving
around "therapy" and "recovery." We were asked this week by a senior
scientist if we had contacted the Center for Disease Control. In fact
we did receive a query from someone in that organization and we sent
them a packet of information. In the interim, we will continue to
listen, to document, and to look for patterns in the stories that
people tell us to the best of our abilities and resources.
  Doctors and parents particularly ask us to tell them about the calls
from people who have experienced recovering memories of childhood
abuse. We had two calls from people with memories of abuse by space
aliens. We had approximately thirty calls from people who told us that
they were certain that their memories were accurate. To a person,
these women told us that they had Multiple Personality Disorder and
one said she had diagnosed herself. Just under forty of the callers
wanted us to tell them how they could be sure if their memories were
accurate. We told them what we tell parents: they are the only people
who can evaluate their own situations but that evaluation doesn't make
sense unless they first inform themselves about what scientists have
learned about human memory. We had twelve calls form women who told
us they were sure that the memories that they had recovered in therapy
were false memories.


  A new situation came up this past month: two people asked us if we
could call their parents. The answer was "yes" and those stories seem
to be moving toward a happy ending. One father spoke of his love for
his daughter and the irony that he had learned about the FMS
Foundation from her. He thanked us.
  With our increased numbers have come ever more kind letters and
stories. Doctors and lawyers have written to thank us for helping
their clients. Family members have written to say that they can
understand the situation much better after reading the material we
send. We wish that we could answer each letter personally, but that is
just no longer possible. Each letter, each story, each news clipping,
each brochure is archived. For researchers trying to understand what
is currently taking place, these will someday provide valuable
evidence. Please continue to help us document this phenomenon by
sending us these things (carefully labeled with the date, location and
  We will continue to find ways to publish collections of stories from
the perspective of parents, siblings, and spouses, Please include
written permission if you want us to use your story in this way. We
hope that the many therapists who have called us to tell of their
personal experiences with this issue will also send us written
material. Nothing that can personally identify an individual will ever
be released by us, but the sheer size of the collection of material
and the absurdity of the majority of stories will surely help alert
reasonable people to the fact that something so bizarre that it is
almost unbelievable is actually going on. Families are being destroyed
on the basis of memories recovered from hypnosis, sodium amytal, dream
interpretation, trance writing and other similar techniques as well as
from what are called "body memories" that are supposed to be recovered
with "massage therapy."


  Not everyone is pleased with the existence of the Foundation. We are
accused of harboring perpetrators. Since the members of the
organization are anonymous, it is not clear to us how anyone could be
harbored. We would suggest that a more serious concern is that an
organization such as this will make it difficult for victims to come
forward with legitimate claims of abuse. That is something we worry
about and not something we want to see happen.

  The past decade has seen increased understanding of some of the
issues of child sexual abuse. We have learned that it is more
extensive than previously thought. We have become more sensitive to
its devastating effects. We have learned about the societal pressures
that have kept people silent on the subject, and we have made it a
little easier for people to speak out. We have had a national mandate
to address the situation. We view all this as to the good and have no
wish to go back to any former period.
  We see it as urgent, therefore, that issues that are tearing
families apart be addressed as quickly as possible and that they be
based on the best scientific evidence available.
  The "Believe The Children" Illinois Chapter included the following
heading in its summer newsletter, "WARNING: Growth of a New
Organization," and then goes on to tell about the FMS Foundation. We
do not understand why "Believe The Children" views us as a threat
since we have nothing to say about children or believing children. FMS
Foundation is concerned about adults and the techniques some
therapists are using to "help" adults find memories. We would suggest
that addressing the issues of children's memory raised by current
research (e.g. Dory, (1991) "The Suggestibility of Children's
Recollections" American Psychological Association) are of greater
consequence to that organization than is the existence of the FMS
  Another organization that seems to view us with alarm is The
National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. This seems odd since
we appear to share a common goal. In their attack on us they say
"...It is critical that allegations are investigated promptly,
thoroughly and objectively by trained law enforcement and other
professionals. Sensitivity and skill are necessary not only for
reliable interviews but to avoid unnecessary trauma for victims and
those accused." ("Update," July, 1992) If these procedures had been
followed we would not be getting calls from families.
  The writers of "Update" interviewed Laura Davis one of the authors
of "The Courage to Heal," to ask her response to our comments about
that book. Davis was quoted as saying, "It seems clear that the
community of survivors and those who work with them has become strong
enough and poses sufficient threat to move us into the stage of
backlash. We have become effective enough to make an impact on people
who have an investment in abusing children, hiding abuse they've
committed, denying their spouse's abuse, denying incest in their
families, and on a larger level, those who profit from child
pornography and child prostitution. Add the people who don't want to
believe that so many children are abuse -- or in such severe ways --
and there's a sizable number to oppose us."
  We find ironic the references to investment and profit. We have
heard many professionals express concern about the economic aspect of
"Courage to Heal" in which therapists are encouraged to diagnose
incest (memories or not!), inform the client that healing will take a
long time, suggest that the alleged perpetrator should pay for the
therapy, tell the patient that she can get strong by suing and even
provide a list of lawyers who will do it. This has looked to many more
like a financial plan for therapists than a therapy plan for patients.
  The writers of "Update" claim that they received the following
information in a letter from a male incest survivor, "...the FMS
Foundation also denies the existence of Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder, Multiple Personality Disorder and even repression itself."
Is this the level of scholarship? Why would such a ridiculous
statement even be repeated by the prosecutors?
  The writers of "Update" make a gross gratuitous assumption about the
genesis of the FMS Foundation that happens to fit their view of what
they perceive, apparently, as the "enemy." It is not comforting to
think of the nation's prosecutors embarking on legal actions with such
a disregard for simple fact. (We review the history of the Foundation
in the next section.)
  "Update" chastises us for quoting the statistics that the rate of
unsubstantiated accusations has moved from 35% to 65% since 1976. They
complain of our failure to "caution" readers that "unsubstantiated"
may mean "lack of investigation, lack of follow-up, lack of
appropriate resources or non-caretaker abuse." They note that we have
left the impression that "unsubstantiated" is the same as "false." We
reply that in our education we were taught that in the American system
of justice, a person is assumed innocent until proven to be guilty. We
would gladly share with the prosecutors articles about people who have
lost their jobs and families because of "unsubstantiated" charges of
abuse and even of statanic ritual abuse, as situation for which
empirical evidence is lacking. The prosecutors seem to be saying that
person is considered "guilty until proven innocent," if the charge is
sex abuse. Since, rightly or wrongly, that appears to be the case, we
hope that the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse will urge
other to follow its own guidelines. We quote them again: " is
critical that allegations are investigated promptly, thoroughly and
objectively by trained law enforcement and other professionals.
Sensitivity and skill are necessary not only for reliable interviews
but to avoid unnecessary trauma for victims and those accused."
  Given scarce resources and the enormity and urgency of the task of
eliminating child sexual abuse, wouldn't it make more sense if the
National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse joined us in that
effort by ensuring that false accusations are kept to a minimum and
that therapist are guided by scientific principles rather than by a
book which states in the introduction that it is based on "no
scientific principle."

/                                                                    \
| U.S. Representative Pat Schroeder is heading an investigation of   |
| issues related to some of the questions you have raised about      |
| hospitals and techniques of therapists. If you have questions for  |
| information you wish to direct to that office write:               |
|  c/o Mickey Uelses                                                 |
|  The Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families              |
|  Room 364                                                          |
|  Ford Building                                                     |
|  Washington, DC 20515-6401                                         |

                            THE FOUNDATION

  The False Memory Syndrome Foundation was formally organized in
March, 1992 by a group of professionals and parents in order to
document the scope and to understand what appeared to be a growing
phenomenon of parents telling professionals that they had been falsely
accused of abuse and then cut off by their adult children on the basis
of memories that were supposedly repressed and then recovered using
techniques that are questionable by scientific standards. The
Foundation received its status as a tax-free public charity (501-C-3)
from the IRS on June 2, 1992. Prior to its formal organization, a few
members paid for the services of the Institute for Psychological
Therapies in Minnesota to answer the 800 telephone and to help develop
material to send to callers.
  The Foundation is focused on research and education that may be used
to develop a practical and theoretical base for helping all people
affected by the phenomenon. The Foundation facilitates informal
alliances of families at the state level. Families are encouraged to
educate themselves on issues that affect them. While various grant
applications are in preparation, the Foundation is currently funded
through the dues and contributions of its members. The Foundation has
no religious or other affiliation.

/                                                                    \
|              Where do 1,132 Families Live? 8/28/92                 |
|   AK(2)   AR(1)   AX(34)  CA(129) CO(14)  CT(15)  DE(1)   FL(37)   |
|   GA(12)  HI(1)   IA(10)  ID(8)   IL(34)  IN(12)  KS(20)  KY(5)    |
|   LA(4)   MA(20)  MD(17)  ME(4)   MI(54)  MN(18)  MO(25)  MS(1)    |
|   MT(4)   NC(15)  ND(2)   NE(5)   NH(1)   NJ(44)  NM(7)   NV(7)    |
|   NY(50)  OH(47)  OK(12)  OR(17)  PA(107) RI(3)   SC(4)   SD(1)    |
|   TN(3)   TX(35)  UT(70)  VA(19)  VT(3)   WA(44)  WI(49)  WY(2)    |
|   DC(2)  Canada - AB(1)   BC(7)   MB(1)   NS(1)   ON(84)  PQ(2)    |
|   SK(1)   Abroad (4), Israel, France, England                      |

                       WHO'S WHO IN THE OFFICE

  The Foundation office has been managed by volunteers and two
employees who are paid part time but who work day and night and
weekends to help find the answers to callers' questions. Many of you
have spoken with Anita or Zipora (who have no personal family
involvement in this phenomenon), but you may be unaware of the extent
of their efforts and concern on behalf of callers. One or their
children told me last week, "When I asked for dessert, mommy took out
stamps to lick!" The fact that people have trusted us with such
intimate details of their lives is in large part due to these
remarkable women's ability to listen to respond in a non-judgmental
way to story of each caller.
 Like me, Anita and Zipora are educators. We are not psychologists or
counselors although we are well-grounded in the areas of child
development, learning, motivation and group behavior. Each of us has
taught at the university, high school and elementary levels in the
area of science and technology. Each of us has been involved in
research projects that examine the nature of people's misconceptions
in science and in the development of educational materials designed to
address the fact that scientific principles are often
counter-intuitive with respect to every-day observations.

                       WHO ARE THE VOLUNTEERS?
  Enclosed in this mailing are several "volunteer forms" which we hope
that members will complete and return to us quickly. Here are some of
the things that volunteers are doing:
  OFFICE: The volunteers who help in the office are mostly form the
Philadelphia area. In addition, we have had volunteers come from New
York, New Jersey, Maryland and Washington, DC to spend a few days with
us. "I had no idea you were so busy!" is what people tell us after a
day in the office. "Where did the time go!" You would no have received
your initial packet or this newsletter without the generosity of
office volunteers.
  PROFESSIONAL: Professionals in psychiatry, psychology and law are
volunteering their expertise. They help us understand the issues at
each level and they help us find answers to the questions that callers
ask. We simply could not operate without their support.
  TELEPHONE: We have developed a structure to use volunteers across
the country to help with the telephone calls. When we received over
600 phone messages in three days after the publicity from the New York
Times Science Section article and the "Sally Jesse Raphael" show both
on July 21, it was clear that we desperately needed immediate
help. You gave it. We called families that we knew well and asked if
they would help in "callbacks." It worked. We have codified the
procedures and developed training materials so that the documentation
of stories will be consistent. With this system we can monitor many
thousands more calls and stories with the help of volunteers from
across the country.
  LEGAL INFORMATION: A committee has started to gather information on
the 17% of families who have been threatened or are involved in legal
actions. A survey has been sent out to these families and the
information obtained will shed light on some of the new legal issues
that arise in the context of repressed memories. Many lawyers have
asked us for this information.
  This committee is interested in the identity of lawyers who are
representing and helping members. We are already in touch with many of
these people. Please help the committee by sending that information.
  In addition, we are asking members to keep us up-to-date on state
issues of statute of limitations and professional licensing. We think
that this will be best done through the informal state alliances of

  FUND-RAISING: In addition to several very generous donations and
pledges at the $10,000 through $25,000 level and many contributions at
the $1,000 level, we have received gifts of stock and of employer
matching donations. We have had members tell us that they have changed
their wills so that the Foundation would receive money from their
  With six exceptions, we have not solicited individuals. Frankly, we
don't have time given the explosive growth. We have a committee
willing to help with fund raising, but we will not give them names to
call because we understand the need for anonymity in so many
cases. This is an unusual situation. No one will be personally
solicited without permission. We trust that you will do what you can
to speed the end of what is a terrible nightmare for many people. We
hope that some of you will volunteer to discuss contributions with the
  PUBLICITY: Every single person can help with this by writing letter
to papers, to television shows, to lawyers, to government officials,
to medical people and to others who should be aware of our
situation. If we want people to know what is going on so that they can
help us, then we have to tell them. We'll do our part from the central
office, but you will have to do your part too if we are to be
  It's no good calling us and complaining that the television talk
shows are only telling one side of the story if we do not have
families willing to tell the other side. We need to put together a
file that we can consult when we are asked for families who will be
interviewed or who will appear on radio or television.
  The most effective public representatives are those who are not
accused. When parents tell their story, no matter how convincing,
people often think, "Well, of course they would deny the accusation."
When a non-accused brother or sister or a husband or wife of a person
who has become obsessed with childhood incest talks, the story is more
compelling. If the therapists and lawyers who have thanked us for
starting this organization will speak out about what they have seen,
then surely we can stop the unscientific practices more quickly.

/                                                                    \
|                         ABOUT THIS MAILING                         |
| Because the Foundation has doubled in size since the last          |
| newsletter, we have had to reorganize, increase the office space   |
| and arrange for more people to help. This newsletter will be       |
| mailed to all who have expressed an interest in what is going on   |
| but members will also receive two papers and several forms:        |
| * Wakefield, H & Underwager, R. "Recovered memories of alleged     |
| sexual abuse: Lawsuits against parents." (In press, Behavior       |
| Sciences and the Law).                                             |
| * Loftus, E. (1992) "The reality of repressed memories." The Psi   |
| Chi/Frederick Howell Lewis distinguished Lecture presented at the  |
| Centennial meeting of the American Psychological Association,      |
| Washington, DC, August.                                            |
| * Note: The long-promised survey will be mailed separately. We are |
| making further revisions because we have been asked by other       |
| researchers if we will collaborate with them in collecting         |
|information that will seek to examine some hypotheses about what is |
| going on. Please continue to be patient on this. We want to do     |
| this in the best possible fashion.                                 |

                     MORE ON SEX-ABUSE STATISTICS

  A recent publication from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN, April
1992) is the "Working Paper I, 1990 Summary Data Component,"
(available from the Clearinghouse on Family Violence Information,
P.O.Box 1182, Washington D.C. 20013). The discrepancies and problems
in the state-by-state collection of data on this subject are clearly
explained. We urge readers to examine it. If child sexual abuse is
really the great concern that so many people in our society say it is,
then let it be shown with financial support needed for the accurate
collection of information on which to base policies. "Guesstimates"
are not data. A range in reported data from 6% to 62% as is currently
the case tells us that we do not even know the "ball park" of sexual
abuse statistics.

                          A SURVIVOR'S STORY

  We received the following from a new member:

  I would like to tell my story about false memories and you have
permission to share it with whomever you care to, professionals and
laymen alike.
  It all began back in November of 1989. I was hospitalized for
depression in Long Beach, California when I started getting my first
false memories of child sexual abuse.
  While hospitalized for depression, I was asked by several hospital
workers if I had ever been touched sexually in my childhood. I could
not remember anything, however I felt pressured to come up with some
"answers" for my condition that would be acceptable. I was reading
John Bradshaw books and The Courage to Heal book when I started having
a sensation of hallucination of being raped by my father. The
hallucination consisted of a pelvic pounding sensation, which I
attributed to abuse by my father.
  When I told about this sensation to my psychologist, I instantly
felt a sense of acceptance and empathy from him, so I continued to
tell whomever I could and to talk to anyone who would listen about it
from then on. However, I was not sure of the age in which it
happened. (I started with the age of 4 and then changed it to 6 and
then 7.) I was definitely encouraged by my psychologist to talk about
it in groups and in therapy sessions. My psychologist and I confronted
my mother about it. I wrote a letter to my father about it and with
the help of the hospital social worker, I turned him into some hot
line for child sexual abuse and continued to accuse him.
  For the next three years, this problem ruled my life. I went on
disability as I could no work without having "flashbacks." I did
hardly anything besides reading The Courage to Heal and crying and
feeling depressed and angry. It didn't seem as though I was "healing"
at all, but just getting worse. I felt a desperate need to remember
more of what happened to me. I was always thinking and trying, trying
hard to remember. I tried all the "tricks" in The Courage to Heal and
the Workbook, but still I could not remember anything concrete,
although I was convinced that it had happened.
  At the same time, I was constantly beset by doubts about my
experience. It felt like I was "making it up" but it said in The
Courage to Heal that the memories often feel that way.
  At the recommendation of friends and a person I know who had started
an organization called Sexual Abuse Victims Enlightenment, I started
litigation against my father for the imagined childhood rape.
  Also, in hopes of my memories being triggered, I founded the only
Survivors of Incest Group, Anonymous in my city. I was the leader of
the group and supplied everyone with literature on "remembering" and
the 20 questions of S.I.A., which I am enclosing here. In the
questions, it says that if you have answered yes to three or more of
these questions, "Survivors of Incest, Anonymous can help." Upon close
inspection of the questions, however, many of them can be applied to
just about anybody.
  After starting the group, my internal pressure to remember the
sexual abuse increased greatly and that is when I entered regular
therapy. I started going to both a hypnotherapist and clinical
psychologist at the same time. I told them that I believed I had been
raped at a young age and that it was causing all my present emotional
and mental problems. Both of the therapists encouraged and pushed me
to "remember" more and more, even though I was starting to show signs
of psychosis during the treatment sessions. One of the things that the
psychologist did with me was to have me look him in the eyes while I
"remembered" the sexual abuse scenes and to describe them to
him. During one of the sessions, I visualized an internal part of me
that was like an angel and I told him about my hallucination, but he
was not concerned.
  I also started, at that time, to have hallucinations or "memories"
of ritual abuse which were always accepted by my therapists and I was
never asked to question. As a result, I came up with many more
hallucinations, and some very graphic and detailed sexual abuse
stories which started to involve murder and satanic abuse.
  At the enthusiastic encouragement of my hypnotherpist, I began
showing signs of multiple personality disorder. Meanwhile, I continued
to read books such as The Courage to heal and books on MPD (Multiple
Personality Disorder) and my symptoms grew much worse with therapy
until at least I suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized
because of the hallucinations I was having.
  During the hospitalization, I was give a small amount of [a drug] to
take and I realized that all the detailed and graphic memories had not
been real, but some kind of hallucination or figment of my imagination
that had been encouraged by my therapists,. I was diagnosed by my
doctor as having Borderline Personality Disorder.
  I have since stopped the litigation against my father and apologized
to him and my family, although whether they can forgive me for three
years of false accusations remains to be seen. I still remain
perplexed and very disturbed as to how this all could have happened to
me, but I know that The Courage to Heal book had a lot to do with it.
                                                      Alice L.
/                                                                    \
| Included in the letter from Alice L. was this incredible document: |
| 1. Do you have problems with self-confidence and self-esteem?      |
| 2. Do you feel that you are either passive or aggressive? Do you   |
| have problems acting assertively?                                  |
| 3. Do you feel that you have to "control" your emotions?           |
| 4. Do you feel easily intimidated by authority figures?            |
| 5. Do you sabotage current relationships, especially sexual        |
| relationships?                                                     |
| 6. Do you fear that people are interested in your primarily for    |
| sex? Does the importance of sex seem exaggerated? Do you feel      |
| that you have to be careful how you act and dress because you      |
| might sexually arouse others?                                      |
| 7. Are you afraid to love -- always questioning "what will they    |
| want from me now?"                                                 |
| 8. Do you act "different" or passive around your family of origin? |
| 9. Currently, do you over-react or misdirect your anger in         |
| situation that frustrate you? Are you afraid of anger?             |
| 10. Do you avoid taking control of your life today? Do you have    |
| trouble making decisions?                                          |
| 11. Are you a perfectionist, over-achiever, or generally a         |
| compulsive person?                                                 |
| 12. Do you get upset when you hear a rape, incest or child abuse   |
| victim tell their story?                                           |
| 13. Do you have trouble trusting others or trusting your own       |
| perceptions?                                                       |
| 14. Do you have unrealistic, unreachable expectations of your self |
| as a parent? Do you feel you have to compensate for something?     |
| Do you try to be a superior parent or have you deliberately        |
| avoided becoming a parent altogether?                              |
| 15. Do you have blocks of your childhood you can't remember? Do    |
| you have a sense that "something happened"? Do you have memories   |
| of abuse with no emotions associated with those memories?          |
| 16. Have you ever been promiscuous? When you have sex are you      |
| really seeking love, affection , and acceptance?                   |
| 17. Do you feel sex is "dirty?" Do you avoid mirrors? Do you feel  |
| you're unattractive?                                               |
| 18. Do you feel you are different, a freak? Do you fear someone    |
| will discover your secrets?                                        |
| 19. Do you have a problem with alcohol, drugs, food, migraines, or |
| back pain?                                                         |
| 20. Have you ever considered suicide? Have you ever suffered from  |
| depression or felt that there was a "black cloud" hanging over     |
| S.I.A. by calling or writing                                       |
|  Survivors of Incest anonymous, Inc.                               |
|  World Service Office                                              |
|  P.O.Box 21817                                                     |
|  Baltimore, MD 21222-6817                                          |
|  301-282-3400                                                      |

                           BECOME INFORMED

  In order to understand the phenomenon in which the therapeutic
community is now embroiled, we need to become as informed as we
possibly can on what people who identify themselves as survivors think
and what are the influences on them. Besides familiarity with "The
Courage to Heal" and Incest Survivors Anonymous there are some other
sources of information:
1) Attend an incest survivors meeting. These are usually listed in
local papers.
2) Make a visit to the recovery section of a bookstore and browse for
a while.
3) Subscribe to
  The Survivor network
  P.O.Box 80058
  Albuquerque, NM 87198
  This organization has a newsletter, a magazine and a Resource
Directory. A special feature of the directory is a section with
information about therapists, their fees, schedules and areas of
specialty in working with survivor issue.
4) Subscribe to
  Survivors Newsletter Collective
  Women's Center
  46 Pleasant Street
  Cambridge, MA 02139
5) If you have access to CompuServe, read the bulletin board devoted
to sexual abuse issues. If you are an academic with access to the
internet, subscribe to the newsgroup "alt.sexual.abuse.recovery."
These are all revealing sources of insights into understanding the
incest survivor movement.

                            WHY MY CHILD?

  Given the obvious pseudo-scientific aura of all this, parents ask us
over and over again: "How could my child who was highly educated and
trained to look for evidence fall for this?" We don't know the answer,
but more than one psychiatrist has suggested that it may be because
the people who recover memories were such good students. It's a
hypothesis that makes sense to parents and to educators.
  Pilot data from 140 families show that the children were generally
high achievers (over a quarter with advanced degrees). They did well
in school and also did well in piano lessons, violin lessons, drama
lessons, tennis lessons, swimming lessons, etc. In other words the
children could go into any classroom and get an idea very quickly what
was expected to get an "A", had the mental capacity to do it and, even
more important, had the self-control and determination to do it. When
these people are "compliant" because of a therapeutic setting and if
an expectation that sexual abuse is the cause of every ailment is
embedded in that setting, then these children become the most
abused. They are the best students the therapist has and so recover
not only the most memories but also the most bizarre memories. They
are great students. This is, of course, only a hypothesis and it does
not fully explain the situation, but it is an observation that make s
a lot of sense to most parents.
  In fact, after looking at the data we have been collecting,
Dr. Martin Orne has suggested that indeed the families of origin of
these people who recover memories might even be described a families
in which some of the "best parenting" has taken place. So intrigued is
he with this hypothesis that he has started on a research project to
test its validity.


  On a past weekend we had occasion to see a John Bradshaw video
during a public television fund-raising effort. The listener was told
that if a father said to his daughter, "You're daddy's little girl,"
that was sex abuse. We can't think of a thing to say in response
except that we are not the organization that is making the critically
important issue of child sexual abuse seem trivial

  This show raised many questions in our mind. It contained a ritual
in which participants appeared to say "good bye" to their parents and
family of origin and to join the recovery movement, a new family. Has
the disintegration of the family reached the point where such rituals
are sanctioned on public television? We began to wonder about
society's approval of "distance" therapy in which powerful
psychological techniques were employed with thousands of people about
whom the therapist had no information as to their mental state. Where
does evangelism begin and therapy end? We began to wonder about a
society that in almost every state allows any person to get a small
business license and put out a shingle calling himself or herself a
"therapist." Are we not really abusing our adult children if we let
such a situation remain uncorrected?


  If only we know the answers to such questions! The material in the
packed that goes to parents was designed for parents. We do not think
that it will be generally well received by most children and, in fact,
might seem threatening. Yet parents have told us stories about the
spouses of accusers coming to change their views after getting copies
of the material. While some parents have told us that sending the
information started a dialogue, about the same number of families said
that their children cut off all communication.
  The fact that we have begun to get calls from people who have
recovered memories will help us to learn what questions these people
have. We are working as quickly as we can to prepare information that
will be helpful to these people.

  [Include with the Newsletter was a two-page description and
order-form for the forthcoming "Confabulations: Creating False
Memories; Destroying Families" by Eleanor Goldstein with Kevin