The Awareness Center

Upcoming Holidays
August
information on August holidays https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
8/1 Lamas/Lughnasadh
8/7 Full Moon
8/7 Partial lunar eclipse: visible in most of Europe, most of Asia, Australia, Africa, and eastern South America.
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
October
10/5 Full Moon
10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/13 Friday the Thirteenth
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
1
0/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve/
Hallowmas/All Souls’ Day/Start of the Celtic new year, the “dark” half of the year
Important dates in Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
10/16 N Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
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The Awareness Center

Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, there were many very good organizations devoted to ritual abuse resources and healing. Many of them folded after a few years. The WayBack Machine only started archiving websites in 1996 and it didn’t really get going until 2000. Some website owners specifically asked that their material not be archived or, when they took down their webpages, asked to have the material removed from the archives. I was very saddened because I thought that information was lost forever.

You saw how excited I was when svali returned to the web and posted all her past writings and promised new articles. Now I have found another treasure.

The Awareness Center was a project of the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA). It served as a clearinghouse of information, resources, support, and advocacy and was on the net for fifteen years – from April 30, 1999 to April 30, 2014.

Although the website disappeared, JCASA’s founder, Vicki Polin, collected the finished webpages and put them in blog form. You can find them at http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com.

Jewish communities, like all persecuted groups, are very silent about sexual abuse and assault. They do not want to give their enemies any information that could be used to discriminate against them and persecute them. Although there are Jewish cults that practice Satanic ritual abuse, this secret is held very, very tightly, for fear of reactivating the “Blood Libel.” This centuries-old myth claims that Jews kill babies and use their blood as an ingredient in the wafers that are used in the most holy part of Catholic masses. For centuries the “Blood Libel” was used as an excuse for pogroms.

Of the major Jewish branches, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, the Orthodox branch is most active in its efforts to keep all information about abuse within the community. People who say that they suspect abuse are told to talk to a rabbi, who will forbid that person from going to the police. If somebody does talk to the police, they and their families are shunned and verbally abused. People have lost their jobs and been banned from their synagogue. Their children have been expelled from school. Even women who have been raped as adults are shunned if the assault becomes known.

I have known only a very few Jewish survivors. Of these few, most were abused by non-Jewish groups, usually Neo-Nazi groups who wanted a Jewish child to use as a scapegoat. I can only think of three survivors of Jewish ritual abuse within the family – three in twenty-eight years! And between people I met in person and those I corresponded with by e-mail, I must have met over 2,000 survivors. Of course, many were focused on healing in the present and did not share much of their past with me, so the number may be a lot higher.

Back to the Awareness Center Blog. If you scroll down on any page, underneath “popular pages” you will find the blog archives, which start at May of 1970. Obviously that was not a 1970 blog entry; Vicki Polin must have filed information or kept it in a diary.

At http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com/2001/01/articles-written-by-awareness-center.html there is an index with articles grouped under the topics: community issues, clergy abuse, clinical (issues), cults and missionaries, general, family members of sex offenders, holidays, legal, offenders, parenting issues, rabbis, survivors of childhood abuse, and survivors of sexual assault. It includes space for articles planned for the future as well as those already written. Unfortunately, links to a couple of really interesting entries lead to a celebrity gossip page: https://www.axs.com/. I wonder how that happened.

It took an incredible amount of courage for Vicki to create first the webpage and then the blog. Every Jewish survivor deserves to know that this blog exists, for the knowledge of its existence will challenge the feeling of being the only one.

Can I ask a favor of all of you?

Will you tell every Jewish survivor you may know about this resource? And can you tell all the other survivors you know about the blog and ask them to tell their survivor friends to spread the word. Here is a sample paragraph for you to copy if you wish. “Could you tell all your survivor friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, about this blog? It has information and resources about sexual assault in the Orthodox community. http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com. Wide distribution about its existence will ensure that it will reach many Jewish survivors and lessen the burden of feeling that they are the only one who has suffered like this.”

Thank you so much!!

The Armchair Activist

You can find information on Candlemas at https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/ and Valentine’s Day at https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/

Most everybody thinks of activists as rare, brave, incredibly talented individualists like Ralph Nader, Cesar Chavez, and Mother Teresa, or as loners with a burning desire to change the world. They are larger than life, their scope is far grander than anything we could imagine, and their actions have nation-wide or even worldwide consequences.

Well, folks, people like that comprise about 0.0000000000000001% of all activists. The typical activist is an ordinary person stuffing envelopes for a few hours or objecting to an offensive joke. Of course there are some headline catchers, but the vast majority of activists are unknown individuals consistently acting on their beliefs and values.

These days, it is easier than stuffing envelops. You don’t have to leave the house, you don’t even have to leave your desk chair. There are all sorts of things to do on the Internet that count as activism.

What do we survivors collectively want to do? We want to heal from the ravages of ritual abuse, and we want others to heal, too. We want to see people escape from abusive groups. We want to stop passing on evil from generation to generation. We want an end to ritual abuse.

Here’s how we can work toward these goals. By educating ourselves and the general public about ritual abuse and about the process of getting free and healing. If we are free, we can be a role model for all those who are still being abused. By demonstrating, not only in words but in our lives, that being free is better than being enslaved, making choices is better than obeying, loving is better than hating. If we are not yet free, we can still be role models of courage and determination

Activism starts small, at home. It starts in the heart, with a decision to reach out to others even though we feel incompetent and insignificant. We tell ourselves that at least somebody may see that we are lost, lonely, and suffering in the depths if despair and may see themselves reflected in us. We have given that person the gifts of validation and of easing their loneliness.

Now here is a small something you can do to help. Find a survivor blog and write a comment on the latest post. (Just search WordPress for “ritual abuse”or pick a blog from the list at http://ra-info.org/for-and-by-survivors/blogs/) Read a bit of the blog, and, if you like it, check the box that allows you to follow it. You would be surprised how much this means to the blogger. This little action makes your voice be heard for a moment and strengthens the ties that form our community. If you keep on commenting, you will find you have joined a welcoming, supportive group of survivors.

For a card-carrying activist, I am extremely lazy. I love it when others have great ideas! (Saves my brain cells.) And I really love it when  we all get involved. Last night I fell asleep dreaming of a thousand new blogs. Hundreds of submissions for workshops submitted to An Infinite Mind, Ivory Garden, First Person Plural, S.M.A.R.T., Survivorship, ISSTD, IVAT, therapist study groups, Christian ministries – the list of places is limited only by our imagination. I even envisioned handing out pamphlets in a supermarket parking lot!

Please remember that the majority of us, whether we are survivors struggling with our pasts or therapists, activists, or supporters of survivors, feel under-educated and inadequate to the challenge. The reality is that we all have something to offer each other and that our community is hungry for connection and information. Whatever your experience, it is valuable to the rest of us.

Of course, you can take many of the suggestions here and apply them to other causes you feel strongly about.

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?