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!!

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When Survivors of Ritual Abuse or Other Forms of Extreme Abuse Need Medical Care

Upcoming holidays –  7/19 S (Satanic and some Nazi) Full Moon: 7/29 (Nazi) Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party: 8/1 (Satanic) Lamas: 8/18 (Satanic and some Nazi)  Full Moon: 8/15 (Satanic) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: sundown 8/13 to sundown 8/14 (Nazi) Tisha B’Av: (Day of Mourning) Please note that Satanic sects build the year around pagan holidays and appropriate Christian holidays, some secular holidays, and may also mark holidays of other religions and cultures. Nazis and Neo-Nazis base their calendar on the Satanic calendar, add dates from Nazi history, and appropriate Jewish holidays.

Jade Miller’s wonderful blog, “Thoughts from J8: Notes on Attachment, Trauma, Dissociation, Multiplicity, SRA, and Recovery” is at http://thoughtsfromj8.com/ I hope you go visit it!

Jade and I have become friends over the last year. We are similar in many ways, dissimilar in many others. One of the ways we are alike is that we both come up with tons of wonderful ideas. But she starts working on them as soon as she thinks of them, while I put them on my to-do list. I start one in ten, while she finishes one in ten while I am still researching things.

A month or so ago we talked about how wonderful it would be to go to med schools and dental schools and tell the students about fear, PTSD, flashbacks, and all those good things that come from torturing children. And to write an article with doctors or dentists as co-authors. So far I have recruited one dentist and thought of another. She has decided to offer herself as a speaker and has started to assemble another website. She also wrote this guest post for me, which can serve as a first draft of the article on treating people like us.

So we happily share it with you – our idea’s first venture out into public. We see it as a step to more effective self-care and as an act of activism, as speaking out and educating others is activism.

Jade says that, if you think this would help with your medical care, you may print it out and give it to your medical provider.

When Survivors of Ritual Abuse or Other Forms of Extreme Abuse Need Medical Care
One topic that often comes up in conversation with other abuse survivors is the need for medical professionals to have a greater understanding of the issues survivors deal with in the doctor’s office. I say “doctor’s office” but I’m really talking about any kind of office where a professional is going to be consulted about some aspect of our physical health. So all of this includes dentists, eye doctors, ultrasound technicians, gynecologists, etc.

Things That Apply to All Survivors
In my opinion, one of the most important things for practitioners to keep in mind is that even the disclosure of abuse history is a very vulnerable and tender place for survivors. Filling out forms with questions about our medical history can feel very cold and impersonal, and we may not initially write these things on the lines on the papers. But face to face, if your staff is friendly and compassionate, if they take their time and don’t rush us through the check-in process, we may tell them snippets of the abuse that relates to the questions they have to ask. It’s awkward and scary for us, and we do it because we want help – not because it’s fun.

Another thing to be aware of is  – this may sound counterintuitive – sometimes compassion is not helpful when expressed as noticeable emotion. If I tell somebody about something abusive that happened to me, and that person starts to cry or get very angry, it puts an additional burden on me. I immediately feel guilty for saying something that caused pain – even though the pain was coming from a beautiful place of compassion. I feel I have to comfort them and I’m reluctant to say anything else – even if the information would change the course of my treatment – because I want to protect them from more painful knowledge. It makes it hard to just be a patient.

Presenting a strong and calm presence is beneficial for survivors because it conveys that you can handle anything we need to disclose. Statements like “I’m so sorry that happened to you,” and “I hate that you went through that,” along with, “Thank you for letting me know so that I can do everything I can to help you,” help calm our anxiety.

Another very important thing to know is that every single abuse survivor has been stripped of their own personal power at some point or another. We are in various stages of taking that power back – from not even realizing we have any personal power of our own, to taking baby steps, to full recovery. Making an appointment to see someone perceived to be in a position of power over us is really difficult. Oftentimes the only reason we choose to do it is because we are having some pain or problem with our bodies that has become greater than our fear of your perceived authority.

Because we’ve experienced abuse by more powerful people, we often naturally distrust people in positions of power. This is not personal or a statement about you. Power has been used against us and we have been violated, silenced, and shamed with it.

So with that in mind, one of the best things you can do for us is to honor our voice. Honor and even reiterate the fact that we are in control of our bodies and our treatments. Make recommendations, give us the facts, share your knowledge with us – and then put the ball completely in our court. Don’t argue with us if we choose something different than your first recommendation. Don’t belittle our choices or our questions.

Survivors who have been ritually abused often have specific reasons to fear the medical system. Many have been abused by doctors or people pretending to be doctors and have been told that cult medical personnel are in all hospitals and clinics. We believe, on some level, that all it will take is one phone call to set us up to be abused again. Because of this, many of us are interested in more holistic alternatives to medical problems.

We have often done research and asked questions and investigated alternative treatment methods. Honor our requests for information about other options if you feel professionally capable. If you don’t, be honest without being antagonistic. Tell us you don’t have enough knowledge or experience to practice what we are asking for but would be willing to make a referral.

Treating Patients Who Dissociate
Here are some questions that would be great for medical providers to ask patients who have disclosed that they have issues with dissociation. Keep in mind that answering these questions may be difficult and make the patient feel very vulnerable.

1) What happens when you dissociate?  For example, do you space out, switch to a different part, freeze up, flinch if you are touched?
2) What would be helpful for me to do if I notice that you’re dissociating? For example, give you a few minutes to collect yourself, ignore it, ask how you’re doing?
3) Is there anything that would help make the appointment less stressful? For example, bringing a stuffed animal or other comfort object or having a support person in the room?
4) When procedures have to be done, would you prefer that I tell you everything I’m going to do before I do it or just get it over with as quickly as possible?
5. Do you know of specific things I could do to prevent a flashback or help you through one?

We will try to answer your questions, but we may not be able to tell you everything up front. Some of us may not have the awareness or ability to articulate their experiences. Building trust takes time. There may be events or experiences in our past that relate to present-day medical issues but we just don’t feel like we can tell a complete stranger we’ve only just met. Patience and respect on your part will – over time – empower us to trust you with that information.

Summing Up
This post is just a starting point. I want to address providers on behalf of trauma survivors, but there are so many unique situations represented by this population that a ton of other information could be written about the subject. The best thing to do is to get to know the patient and form a partnership with them.

There is one final thing I would like to share. We don’t have two heads. We aren’t all that different from your other fearful, phobic patients. We just have different reasons for our fear. We’ve lived through things that you may never have heard of, but that doesn’t mean that the things that you do to reassure your patients won’t work for us. And it works the other way, too; if you learn something from us it may be applicable to the rest of your practice.

Jade Miller

http://thoughtsfromj8.com/

Talktoj8@gmail.com

I’m Not Allowed to Enjoy My Achievements

I had a lot of feelings, all sorts of different feelings, when I read the comments to my last post, “Coming Out as a Ritual Abuse Survivor.”

Of course I was, and am, very grateful to my friends who gave me such wonderful feedback. I had no idea people would feel this way about what I did. To have you thank me, and say I was brave and an inspiration, well, it blew my socks off.

I noticed that I immediately downplayed what I had done – I shared that in a reply I made. “Funny, it didn’t seem brave at the time. I just realized it felt selfish. I was willing to risk causing them discomfort in order to feel like a whole person. Isn’t it odd how, after all these years, I so easily change positive into negative?”

Bravery is doing something in spite of being afraid. I wasn’t brave because I wasn’t afraid and I felt I had nothing to lose. My attitude was, it wasn’t a big deal because there was no angst involved. But reading through what I wrote, I was scared. So I had to distort what I felt in order to put myself down.

Didn’t occur to me until right now that not having any sense of dread or anxiety, just a little fear, was, in itself, a big deal. That was a product of years and years of work on my SRA past.

And I didn’t brush the compliments off in just one way. It was as if the first reason explaining that what I did didn’t count wasn’t good enough and so I had to keep coming up with more reasons.

There is the old “don’t-go-to-Harvard-unless-you-plan-to-be-the-best-in-the world” attitude. Why in the world would I think I was brave compared to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the first person to publicly say they were a ritual abuse survivor, etc. etc.? I have to be REALLY brave to admit to myself that I am brave.

And why didn’t I do that ten years ago, at the last reunion I attended? There was nothing to stop me and yet I slunk around as if I had a shameful secret. Don’t say, “Well, you weren’t ready” – I should have been ready after all that therapy. But I wasn’t.

Not good enough, not soon enough, not articulate enough, and besides, I am too fat and not dressed well enough and can’t work my cell phone well enough and so I can’t get on the Internet when I promised I would. Boy, can I ruin a wonderful experience.

My parents weren’t impressed with my achievements.They only commented on the mediocre marks in my report card, not the good ones. They stood over me as I read aloud and harshly corrected any mistake. No “That’s right! keep going!” And when I finally conquered something, they were not impressed. There was always something wrong.

In the cult, too, there was no praise. Achievement meant having to do more of something horrible, and there was no rejoicing on anybody’s part. It was a double bind: you were punished for not learning something, or not doing it well, and punished for learning and doing it well.

It’s amazing that I, or any of us, can hear a compliment without having an anxiety attack. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to gain all this insight, as well as making me feel good about myself!