What We Could Call Ourselves

Here are two pages about my personal feelings about Christmas: 
https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/christmas-plans/  (The images disappeared – I don’t know why.)  https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/ephemeral-equilibrium-another-christmas/

This page is about the source of winter holiday customs. I wrote about Yule and the winter solstice but a great deal applies to Christmas, too. https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/

Stay safe, everybody!

 

There have been many discussions over the years about changing the name we call ourselves so that we could become more credible and could ally ourselves with survivors of other kinds of abuse. The idea was that we’d become stronger and more influential if we joined with others.  By and large, the idea fizzled, as we were afraid we would be swallowed up and lose our identity.

However, we have an awful lot in common with survivors of child prostitution, child pornography, gov/military mind control, and child soldiers. Taking a broader look, ritual abuse can be seen as incest, physical, sexual, and spiritual child abuse, domestic abuse, and human trafficking. Think of the number of people who have suffered these abuses!

What if we all could come together under some common umbrella? We could use our common name when we were fighting for recognition and justice and still use our chosen name when we talk among ourselves or to those who know something about what we have been through. We could have the best of both worlds.

Michael Salter is a sociologist and criminologist at Western Sidney University, Australia. In an interview with Borne Press in 2014, he stated: “A lack of health services and limited access to the criminal justice system are common to victims of child sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence. These are indicative of major systemic failings that can only be changed slowly, over time, through collective social and political pressure. I know many survivors of organised abuse are working within organisations that aim to address these problems and I’d encourage others to think about the kinds of partnerships they can strike up with like-minded social movements.”  (http://bornepress.com/michael-salter-on-organized-abuse/

Michael is very knowledgeable about ritual abuse and knows well that claims of RA are greeted with rejection. He believes that using the term “organized abuse” brings real advantages, one of which is that it lessens rejection. People can understand and believe what he is saying and not get freaked out as they would if they heard about ritual abuse without preparation. Once they have understood the concept of multi-perpetrator and (usually) multi-victim abuse (e.g. organized abuse) they are more open to accepting ritual abuse as a type of organized abuse.

On 10/9/2016, in a private e-mail, Michael Salter explained his approach: (quoted with permission)

“Rather than ‘mind control’ or ‘programming’, I generally talk about the ‘deliberate induction and manipulation of dissociation’. Mainstream audiences can understand what this means. It’s also a more inclusive term since it describes the conduct of a range of perpetrators and groups, including those abusers who aren’t particularly sophisticated or knowledgeable about DID.

I don’t like the term ‘programming’ since a) I find it sensationalist and dehumanising (human beings are not computers! …. and b) ‘programming’ sounds quite mechanical and underplays the emotional/attachment aspect of the control that perpetrators have over victims. Instead, I prefer to talk about ‘phased’ and ‘strategic’ forms of torture. Again, mainstream audiences can grasp this fairly well.

I use the term ‘ritual abuse’ specifically where ritual has been used in sexual violence, and the term ‘organised abuse’ to describe the broader category of abuse involving multiple, coordinated offenders. The two terms sometimes get conflated but this is a mistake in my view. A significant group of organised abuse victims have never been exposed to ritual abuse, although they’ve experienced overlapping forms of sadism and sexual exploitation.”

Much as I cling to the term “ritual abuse,” I believe I could adopt this approach without feeling I had lost my identity. And I believe others could, too. The name “organized abuse” should be freely chosen by ritual abuse survivors, not something imposed from outside. We would have to be flexible, choosing which name to use in a range of different settings. We had to learn to be flexible very early in life to survive and we have not lost that ability.

I’ve been daydreaming about connecting with people who have undergone forms of extreme abuse which did not include adherence to a particular ideology as either the goal of the abuse or a rationalization on the part of the perpetrators. I imagine it would be like meeting other RA survivors. “That happened to me, too!” “That’s a lie to control you!” “We were both used and degraded.” I also imagine that my family, my tribe, would expand and therefore I would be lots more comfortable in the world.

That in itself makes it worth trying. But if we became more powerful and could actually, together, change society? Wow!!!!!

I’d really love to have somebody write a powerful song that could unite us – something along the lines of “We Shall Not Be Moved” or “Solidarity Forever” or “Which Side Are You On?” Is anybody out there a singer-songwriter?

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