A look at the sexual abuse industry

Written in the political spirit of the former SOLIDARITY group

A threat to all parents

Parents, especially fathers with daughters, have reason to be concerned about the activities of the sexual abuse industry, not least because much of it is strongly influenced by a current of separatist feminism, itself heavily swayed by developments in the United States, which would like to see men removed from parenting.

Theirs is an ideology in which 'victimhood' thrives. (The current use of the jargon of 'survivorism' is a purely cosmetic change. The use of the word 'survivor', in lieu of 'victim', is an attempt to make less play on victimhood.)

The milieu which they influence, both prescribed and free-lance counselling, is fertile ground in which to push the idea among those being counselled that the cause of their mental worries is parental sexual abuse, committed on them, when they were children.

Where once the slogan was 'all men are rapists', now there is a more sinister and covert approach suggesting that a large proportion of fathers are abusers of their children.

On the internet there are statements by American feminists, intent on exposing sexual abuse, saying that having the public believe one in four or five fathers is an abuser is not enough!

They want to get the ratio up to one in two or even more, "because they know it is happening everywhere"! (If this was the case then it would mean incest was no longer a taboo, which it undoubtedly and rightly still is.)

In Britain there are many people who believe much the same things; a lot of them with easy access to the media, others with influence in the social work milieu and considerable numbers operating in academia.

The zealots had a problem however. It is not doubted by the pub1ic that serious sexual abuse is occurring within a certain number of families but few believe the exaggerated figures the zealots are putting about. People who have actually been seriously sexually abused, both those who have talked and those too frightened to talk of it, do not come anywhere near the numbers they want the public to believe have been abused.

However, help was at hand through books published in the United States, which announced that previous' abuse could be remembered through 'recovered memories'. The Courage to Heal, the best known of these publications, (authors: Ellen Bass and Laura Davis), is a catalogue of unproven, dubious theories and assertions.

The clear message of this book is, "if you feel or think you have been abused then you have". It is much referred to in some feminist circles and used by a number of therapists. Some NHS staff including doctors, who should all know better, have been using the book. Indeed, possible legal action is pending against at least one NHS doctor who gave it to a patient. (The issue here might be misplaced ideology as well as negligence).

A list of ailments and symptoms are given as indicators that sexual abuse has taken place. As these cover the whole human condition and every person has or has had some of them, this is a net to trawl-in every father as an abuser.

Aimed at women, here was a very helpful method for upping the figures and so confirming their beliefs and the 'truth' of an epidemic of sexual abuse on children.

Utterances on the couch by the supposedly abused have to be believed by the therapists. In other words, judgement and scepticism have to be suspended. The counsellor encourages the 'client' to believe a false, concocted version of her past and so the accused father, on giving the true version, can be labelled a liar. Should a client/patient reject the therapists' suggestions and say they had not been abused they are said to be "in denial' ~ likewise an accused parent or a partner/spouse of the accused who rejects the accusations is said to be "in denial' ~ These are neat catch-22 formulations designed to ensnare and prevent innocence being established.

The public is being asked to swallow the idea, backed up by pseudo-science, that children could systematically wipe out of their mind serious incestuous sexual abuse soon after it happened. (Sadly, many gullible people do believe this). There the memories would lie dormant for decades until they could conveniently be 'rediscovered' by therapists with a vested interest in finding them.

The figures for the numbers of accused parents are unknown but it is thought that they run into thousands. It is not something most accused individuals would talk about, let alone publicise. The fathers involved are supposed to have been short tern, even 'momentary', paedophiles who indulged in these sexual desires over a period in their daughters' younger lives and then returned to a non paedophiliac sex life. Yet most of the evidence is that paedophiles act to satisfy their desires throughout their lives.

It is not being denied that there will have been genuine occurrences of incestuous sexual relations within these large numbers but to suggest that the accused are the tip of a widespread practice of past paedophiliac lechery waiting to be exposed is preposterous.

In addition, the ideologues have put about the idea that there is something unique about the distress and despair resulting from sexual abuse committed by fathers on their children that leads to repression of the memories of it by the vast majority of the sufferers.

This they claim makes it different from other serious threatening incidents and occurrences in childhood, for example, violence within the family, rape by strangers, severe bullying, loss of home security from say; a fire, being caught up in the dangers of war, terrorism and violent crime and, most of all, suffering in concentration death camps. (It would appear that the only way to forget about any of the above would be to have suffered parental sexual abuse at the same time as the distressing events!)

No wonder there was opposition to all these highly questionable and fanciful theories of repression with the 'rediscovered memories' being denounced as imaginings and inventions. The 'recovered memory' fanatics retort that "no one fantasises abuse." (Bass and Davis). On the contrary, everyone can imagine being sexually abused by their parent(s). What is disturbing is that the lobby encourages people to believe such fantasies.

Although the high-profile, worst cases of paedophile crime usually involve men who are not the fathers of the boys or girls involved, these public scares help generate an atmosphere where the ideologues hope the implausible can be believed - that most fathers have incestuous relations with their daughters!

The fathers accused as a result of 'recovered memories' are mainly between the ages of 55 and 75, with their accusing daughters mainly in their thirties and forties.) The implausibility of even one sibling daughter 'recovering memories' descends into the unbelievable in those not-inconsiderable cases where her sister (or sisters) is persuaded by the counsellor to 'recover memories' of sexual abuse as well. (Sadly the scare the zealots are putting about could destroy the credibility of those who have always remembered the incestuous abuse they were subjected to; those who say that you never forget such distressing events.)

Those who recover memories are then dramatically described as 'survivors'. The word as it is used here is an insult to reality and intelligence, eclipsing as it does those who have coped with ('survived') truly distressing situations.

A witch hunt

The 'recovered memory' movement is a new witch-hunt. As in the practice of water immersion in earlier witch-hunting where the accused were 'innocent' if they drowned or 'guilty' if they did not (only to then be hanged!), protestations of innocence by the accused (almost overwhelmingly fathers) are useless. Indeed in the modern version they are taken as proof of guilt! The fanatics would no doubt declare that given centuries of patriarchal dominance of women, what does it matter if innocent men go to the stake.  Indeed why not create a climate which makes it easy to publish lists of suspected paedophiles (with every father on it for a start) prepared by the free-lance enthusiasts. Revenge justifies all.

Inventing abuse through 'recovered memory' means every father could at some point in the future be snared in the trap which equates false 'recovered memories' with 'always remembered' memories of real sexual abuse. Alleging 'recovered memory' allows the accusers and their therapists to legitimise the most outrageous lies and fabrications, deliberate or otherwise, which in ordinary circumstances would lead to action for defamation and libel or to charges of perjury.

'Recovered memory' syndrome, since the accuser “has to bee believed", gives this particular sexual abuse lobby a means of subverting cross questioning and undermining any public debate and open discussions trying to get to the truth. ("Honest your honour, I've been therapised" !)

Lying about one's parents through false accusations (to be exonerated as they are 'recovered memories') is as despicable an offence as sexual abuse when this results in wrongful imprisonments. Yet such lies have been 'licensed' by 'recovered memory' therapy.

In no other area of life are 'recovered memories' given credibility so why allow the sexual abuse industry to do so? (The wife of one wrongfully accused father said that going to jail for something you did not do could make you wish you were doing time for something you did do, like harming your daughter's therapist who had put you inside.)

Behind the public face of mainstream counselling is a large network of enthusiasts at work, much of it being paid for by the public purse. For example, Julian Turner and Varija Rao, from Off Centre in Hackney, London, England received £151,000 from Hackney Council as well as £86,000 from other sources (Annual Report 1995), ran a workshop at a conference in 1996 of the Ritual Abuse Information Network Support (RAINS), an organisation much into belief in satanic abuse.

Also prominent at the conference was Sheila Youngson, a clinical psychologist at Wakefield and Pontefract Community Health Trust. Do the Trust go along with her, given that she said that she and her work colleagues are operating as if satanic ritual abuse (SRA) is "all around us"?

A conference paper by Sarah Nelson, a research fellow in the sociology department of Edinburgh University, had all the crusading zeal of a person who also thinks SRA is everywhere. ( Nelson's article in Community Care magazine July-Aug 97. exemplifies the conspiracy theory nature or the cause in her imaginings about the 1000s [thousands] of Leeds abusers in 'certain socio-economic groups' (!), who need to be found.)

Also at the conference, was Valerie Sinason, a consultant research psychotherapist at St. George's Hospital, London, who uses NHS funds to try to establish the reality of SRA - and how it gives rise to multiple personality disorders (I) another unbelievable condition and con.

From her book, Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse, Sinason also believes, despite a distinct lack of babies' bones found and babies reported missing, that there are lots of ritual abusers engaged in baby sacrifice and cannibalism, enjoyed, along with a bit of urine, semen and faeces consumption ! (Please stifle your laughter over these murderous, abusing coprophagous!)

Yet, while Sinason continues to proselytise at public expense, the Conservative government had accepted Professor Jean La Fontaine's research which concluded that there was no evidence to support the widespread existence of SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse).

Interestingly what has been called the Achilles heel of the movement is where those believers in satanic ritual abuse, who are hostile to the patriarchal family, find agreement with the arch anti-satanists and stout defenders of the patriarchal family, among religious fundamentalists.

We have to look at the labyrinthine world of the sexual abuse industry and those who influence it; individuals such as Bea Campbell, the writer and former,(?) Stalinist, Judith Dawson-Jones (the social worker at the centre of the Nottingham [Broxtowe] child abuse case and formerly with the National Children Home (NCH)), and Sue Richardson, the social worker at the heart of the Cleveland child abuse fiasco and recently also with NCH. All three campaign vigorously for the vindication of their practices and beliefs and are deeply enmeshed in what is going on.

Another influential lobbyist is Dr. Arnon Bentovim from the Great Ormond Street Hospital Sexual Abuse Unit. Among others involved are Liz Kelly, an academic in the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit at the University of North London, Julie Bindel, Assistant Director of The Violence, Abuse and Gender Relations Unit at Leeds Metropolitan University and Helen McCollum, a Policy Manager in the Strategic Policy Unit of Hackney Council. Their 'subject' is taught in education institutions and finds its way on to training courses and workplace seminars. This is 'Sexual Abuse PLC' - who have inserted the parlance of sexual abuse into the language.

Society's expanding culture of victimhood permeates the intertwined network which supports the 'recovered memory' idea, comprising social workers, probation officers, community activists, academics, legal professionals, police, teachers, educationalists, physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, right through to politicians and the media.

Within the culture is an interlocking network, not an organised structure, in which self-interest and career advancement can masquerade as altruistic political ideals. Engineered moral panic by a small section of the feminist movement has made the search for child sexual abuse a growth industry.

There are those who will readily assume that any form of disturbed behaviour is caused by parental sexual abuse. Others who should arouse concern and suspicion are those operating in the areas of self-harm and eating disorders who claim that these problems are always caused by childhood sexual abuse. The genuinely well-meaning as well as the ideologues are involved.

In this atmosphere, sceptics have to keep their heads down. At conferences on the subject, enthusiasts' papers are regularly listened to by unquestioning, even gullible audiences, including the police from the child sexual abuse business. Others keep quiet, look on conference attendance as career enhancement, put it on their CV and pocket the expenses.

Given the extent and influence of this 'recovered memory' lobby among the recognised professional psychiatry and psychology bodies, it is not surprising that these institutions are failing to denounce such practices as 'recovered memory' therapy. Any guidelines they issue are likely to be circumvented by those in the 'recovered memory' movement.

Indeed, the disinclination among the professional bodies representing the mind-business to come out firmly against 'recovered memory' therapy comes from their great fear that both the belief that psychological repression actually occurs and the means for recovering the cause of it, psychotherapy, would be questioned. (See Richard Webster's book Why Freud Was Wrong.)

While in the media spotlight, the ideologists' front is one of reasonableness but in their less public utterances, vengeance and distortion is the theme. For example. Marjorie Orr of Accuracy About Abuse, astrologer (!), TV and radio pundit and Daily Express Columnist, showed her nasty side at a conference organised by the Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre last year, calling those who disagreed with her, scum and paedophiles. Others manufacture and talk up unverifiable research and statistics, validated only by the sexual abuse industry, often laced with condemnations of men.

Unfortunately there is no really serious outside scrutiny or rebuttal of this self-acclaimed 'expertise' by society at large or investigation of its funding. So claims can be made, such as in a recent British Psychological Society survey, that large numbers of 'recovered memory' assertions have been corroborated. Yet this figure comes from biased therapists providing 'the evidence' themselves, not from questioning the 'abused' and 'accused' and independent sources.

If so many accusations had been corroborated, the police would have questioned and charged many of the parents. There is a need to be extremely suspicious of these statistics given the motivation of some therapists. This is confirmed in the above survey which revealed that 50% of responding therapists were engaged with clients 'recovering memories', without explaining that this was probably a minority group made up or the busybodies.

Within this minority, professionals as well as fringe practitioners all seem to be believers. Other outrageous assertions, such as that by the Zero Tolerance Campaign, stated in a Leeds Library and Information Services Briefing that 175,000 (50%) of adult women in Leeds (and by implication, everywhere else) have been sexually abused in some way during childhood and, according to one campaign worker, serious incestuous abuse is a very high proportion of that figure, go virtually unchallenged. Several Labour-run Councils around the country have supported and widely publicised these campaigns using council funds. Many men (and women) have had to stifle their anger on seeing large hoardings, as occurred in Leeds, proclaim men as ubiquitous sexual abusers of young girls.

Elsewhere, it was often 'nutty-left' Councils which have been most enthusiastic in supporting those looking for paedophilia in every child's bedroom. Islington and Southwark, for example, went to great lengths, for politically-correct reasons, to cover up paedophile activity among some of their employees involved with children in council care.

Challenging the moral panic

The 'recovered memory' industry is intent on keeping a moral panic going. Unfortunately the enterprise is well resourced through public funds and charities and usually quite capable of using its influence to ward off the unwelcome attentions of any accused parents or enquirers.

Start asking questions of the organisations involved and they will use client confidentiality to obscure and hide what are clearly matters of policy, strategy and ideology. However, there may be some encouraging signs that the 'recovered memory' advocates might be finding it more difficult. For example, their lobby tried to suppress findings, which are unpalatable to them, in the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Report on the validity of 'recovered memories' but are not able to stop its full publication now that parts of it have been leaked' and commented on by the media (Mail on Sunday 29.6.97). We should also note that the 90% of clinicians responding to the recent British Psychological Society survey, who say they believe in the accuracy of 'recovered memories', are probably the dangerous busybody minority.

The 1997 Channel4 documentaries which featured the Cleveland, Nottingham, Rochdale and Orkney child abuse cases had the imprint of the zealots influence and lunacy on them as they attempted to present themselves in a fairer light than the enquiries and public outcry at the time had done. Cleveland in particular had highlighted the overweening enthusiasm of some consultant doctors in the NHS such as, Jane Wynne in Leeds and Geoffrey Wyatt and Marietta Higgs in Cleveland.

These programmes restated the enthusiast's case and were a desperate attempt to exonerate them. They were backed up by sympathiser Sarah-Jane North writing in Community Care (June 1997) who states that the abuse findings had been substantiated in 90 of the 121 cases (75%). By whom and how? The article does not tell us! Middlesbrough Council's Social Services Press Office were unable to comment on the claim when telephoned by us in August.

Tim Tate who had his book Children for The Devil - Ritual Abuse and Satanic Crime withdrawn after libel action, produced the documentary on Cleveland and works on PR for RAINS. Ray Wyre, a self-proclaimed expert on SRA, appeared on Tate's production.

On another of these programmes Liz Kelly made the preposterous suggestion that abusers use satanic rituals as a cover so that the children's stories are unlikely to be believed If the abusers are found out. This is the line she takes in the 'British Joumal of Social Work, No. 27. in an article co-written with Kate Cook from Manchester Justice for Women. (The Journal also debates the imaginings of people claiming to have been sexually abused by alien abductors !)

Everywhere we see examples of the continuing pressure to keep the idea of a rampant epidemic of sexual abuse alive. The protests of a women's group in the Wirral, membership size unknown, publishers of Women at Work, helped bring about the resignation of three women members of the council of management of Refuge (set up originally to protect - battered wives) because the three were concerned that false memories of abuse endanger innocent people (Daily Telegraph 17.5.97).

The Leeds Rape Crisis Centre protested about the withdrawal of funding by the Council, asserting that they were counselling a woman who they claim was ritually abused in an extended family cult ('client confidentiality' and Rape Crisis Centre secrecy, as usua1, prevents any verification of this) in order to seek a judicial review of the Council's decision (Independent 25.6.97). The Council has relented and will continue funding (Observer 24.9. 97). Ironically, labour-controlled Leeds was one of the Councils which gave considerable support, financial and otherwise, to the Zero Tolerance Campaign in the city.

Equally disturbing, a new front has been opened up against, mainly younger, fathers who are recently separated from their wives or partners. Cases are emerging of these men being accused of sexual abuse of their children where social workers, no doubt influenced by the same ideology behind 'recovered memory' abuse gaining a hold within Child Protection Agencies, are suggesting to the mothers that sexual abuse may have been committed by the father. Given the acrimony which often surrounds splitting up and the self-interest related to financial settlements, this will be fertile ground for the ideologues to operate in. These younger fathers have a lot in common with older parents caught up in the 'recovered memory' issue and other younger parents suspected of sexual abuse, simply because their children have exhibited disturbed behaviour.

The moral panic caused by uncorroborated assertions of widespread paedophilia has made the plight of innocent parents accused of sexual abuse by their children, supposedly committed decades earlier but only brought to light by their children's 'recovered memories', even worse. Unlike most other people accused of serious crimes, parents accused as a result of 'recovered memories' are not being given the opportunity to defend themselves. The therapists divining these memories instruct their 'clients' to confront the accused parent(s) with details of the 'offence' and then to break off all contact with them.

The prescription, since it is based on a concocted and therefore wrong diagnosis, is not going to alleviate the anxieties which took the 'client' to the counsellor in the first place. Indeed it makes the situation worse, but that does not matter as the intention is to make the 'client' dependent on the counsellor; even to provide an alternative 'family'.

This is a nasty, outrageous invasion of parent-offspring relations by considerable numbers of interfering, nanny counsellors. In the present climate of fear only a brave few of the accused parents are willing to go public to clear their name, either by campaigning or in the courts, bringing as it does further grief when their family is subjected to embarrassing exposure.

Thousands of individuals and families are quietly suffering. They are forced into silence, frightened by the power that the ideology of a current within radical feminism, combined with the actions of a number of unscrupulous therapists, is exercising on society. It is time that these purveyors and practitioners were subject to more public questioning and their funding scrutinised.

The sexual abuse therapy business in the United States is now threatened by an insurance industry wising up to these charlatans who are fleecing the companies via their clients' insurance, for fees for endless counselling sessions. Having public, academic arid charity funding removed would help do the same in Britain. Or perhaps this dangerous fad will just disappear, leaving the sad, wrecked lives of falsely accused parents and their accusing offspring in its wake. Then, given the hypocrisy and self-interest of the sexual abuse industry, the ultimate irony would be if the accused parents suffered the indignity of offers of therapy from the sexual-abuse therapists, in order to 'recover' their equanimity! If it was not for concern over all those caught up in it, this whole travesty could be viewed as a wonderful farce played out in therapy-speak featuring the thought police of feminism.

There we could laugh at the antics of these humourless busybodies, oozing false earnestness, as they make common cause with anti-satanists, fools who think people can form multiple personalities and cranks who believe in sexual abuse by aliens from outer space.

There could be even more fun if it played with the idea that the need of those who believe in 'recovered memories' for a society mired in sexual abuse suggests a wish-fulfilment to be abuse perpetrators themselves.

The ethos of trauma

The idea of a society where people gain victim credibility from a 'traumatic experience', preferably caused by 'oppression' or 'disadvantage', motivates many professionals' and volunteers in the 'caring' business. Their altruism is often energised by politically-correct anger and indignant moralising over past wrong-doings.

Counsellors who believe in widespread sexual abuse play their part in trying to generate the 'traumatised' society and so procure a gravy train of funds to manage it. Suggesting that most men are potential abusers and that many female partners and spouses would cover up for them, enables the abuse-searching parasitocracy to justify their (ab)use of public funding and other support resources for their own advancement.

Worst and most damaging of all is that the self-serving activities and philosophy of this parasitocracy makes the task of identifying those who actually are suffering parental sexual abuse much more difficult. The particular issue of false and imagined memories of sexual abuse implanted by therapists is part of this wider phenomena of awarding and achieving a victim identity through a 'trauma' experience; The practices and beliefs are an example of the pervasive nature of authoritarianism in society. The public is expected to accept that patients/clients are in need of particular therapies because their 'trauma' is supposedly caused by incest. The sexual abuse therapy industry has a vested interest in keeping them that way, subject to their power and influence and away from circumstances where their charges might retract the accusations against their parents. In response to the zealots it is not surprising that the slogan 'therapist = the rapist' (in contrast to the self-image of many therapists as 'rescuers') appeared recently, doing nothing for well-disposed counsellors.

Women in particular are often encouraged in those therapeutic circles to find status in victimhood, reinforcing the sexist view that women only gain power or attention, as manipulators, through adopting the victim or weak role. The psychobabble and mystical nonsense emanating from so many unproven, mind therapies flies in the face of the public politics of community solidarity, social concern and ecological health.

Sadly, counselling seems to be losing a lot of its admirable qualities, offering modest, comforting insights to vulnerable individuals to enable them to rejoin the common, shared consciousness and helping them to retake responsibility for themselves. Too many of the competing mind therapies have become a cackle of confusing voices which can only add to the inner terror that comes from even a minor temporary loss of self-belief, never mind a psychotic episode. Their inner mental life is invaded by politically-correct altruists in the mind business, highlighting human vulnerabilities which can then be permanently managed by the 'caring', professions.

The culture of victimology and survivorism has made a decent life something to search for through private counselling, rather than struggle and strive for in the public realm. Injustices are supposed to be squared by counselling, in order to placate anger, instead of by effective political action. No wonder society is becoming one vast encounter group with people making a spectacle of themselves through public confession via the media. The belief that 'the political is personal' has contributed to this egocentrism.  


Ends.  November 1997

VICTIMHOOD: A look at The sexual abuse Industry: Appendix:

Comment by a number of individuals associated with the former SOLIDARITY group.

The SOLIDARITY group and its publications and politics were justifiably well-known in the 60's and 70's among those with a knowledge of the deeper political issues which the party machines tended to ignore. SOLIDARITY used to raise important matters of political principle, often ones that the left, 'for the sake of unity in the face of the class enemy', did not want aired. 'Unity' was an odd word given that the cabals running and manipulating the left movement and trying to control the labour movement, had competing claims to represent 'the workers' or 'the people'. To the condescending left groups, these were the 'victims" of the time and this pamphlet shows how groups operate in the same way today on behalf of the 'victims' they claim to represent. Victimhood, with its inculcated passivity, is another manifestation of authoritarianism. Two of the most important words used in the area of 'recovered memory' victimology are 'in denial'. These are mendaciously used to undermine and silence anyone who questions what is being said and done.

In the past, there was often silence on uncomfortable matters which might offend the comrades or the women's movement. SOLIDARITY never went along with any of these attitudes. Critical examination was seen as essential. SOLIDARITY said information is power and the dissemination of it a revolutionary act. In these times of widespread surveillance, silence might be more appropriate especially on the touchy subject of sexual abuse and the harmful influence of a particular feminist credo. But it is being said now with this short pamphlet.

Two decades ago SOLIDARITY exposed the bureaucratic nature of the mainstream left and the official trade union structure. Also, SOLIDARITY was almost alone among political groups in matching rights with responsibilities, long before the vindictive, political right and the moralists of the left talked about the link. Certainly the traditional left was, at worst, generally unwilling to publicly criticise and make ethical judgements on the working class no matter what they thought or did, at best, excusing their ideas and actions as false consciousness. The economic and social determinism at the core of old left politics meant that by dint of their 'class', the individual was supposedly fated with a set of values, attitudes and required actions.

Today the non-judgemental ism inherent in freedom of choice and entitlements (no criticism is expected of peoples' preferences) sits well with New Labour's acceptance of the consumerist ethic which they are pleased to share with the Tories. Among the choices and entitlements claimed are the right to victim status and the attribution of blame for dubious traumatic stress disorders. Even in our guilt-denying culture, blame is still very much alive. What our increasingly-litigious, legal establishment does not rein in for itself, the victimology industry will deal with outside legalism. The consumer is always right, says the free market mantra. The victim is always right, says the sexual abuse mantra. With judgement suspended the 'sexually abused' client has to be believed, so an accusation is enough to condemn.

Consumer sovereignty is an illusion of power and therefore hardly a revolutionary state of affairs. It is nothing more than another economic rearrangement to suit financial interests. Yet, the myth of consumer power has become a strong motivating force. The illusion manifests itself in the obsession with immediate gratification and personal entitlements as well as health and fitness faddism pandering to every anxiety amidst longings for a risk-free and accident-free life. Given these pre-occupations with soulless consumerism it is no wonder that 'stress' counselling is everywhere, intent on placating personal failings and awarding everyone 'victim', or 'survivor' status. Meanwhile, those with serious mental illness and in real need of help are often forgotten about.

The sentimental tabloid approach to history encourages nostalgia in a way which contradicts our trusted memories. This sort of social amnesia has allowed the 'recovered memory' nonsense to flourish. Persuasive counsellors can get their charges to accept a different personal history from what they remembered. This is the Stalinist way of rewriting history. The psychological downsizing of people to the minimal identity of the victim undermines resistance to authoritarian pressure and the case for personal responsibility. These are hardly the conditions for a society in which mature and confident individuals can thrive. One example is the practice in many cults of conning members to 'search for the inner child' or to 'return to the womb for a rebirth'; therapy techniques which deliberately infantilise their subject. Some of these bizarre notions overlap with new-age feminist beliefs which blame men for pollution, proclaim earth goddesses and call for an alliance of women and female nature(!) against a common masculine enemy. These hapless but malign therapies mask a desire for a gender war which can do nothing to improve the position of women and only undermine social cohesion and the chance of political change beneficial to men and women.

The one-dimensional approach to people by the business world which sees them as nothing more than customers or clients adds to this therapeutic reductionism. To label people as victims or survivors in turn reduces the complexity of the self even further and makes attempts to discover the more radical and flexible being, willing to engage with shared social and ecological concerns, much more difficult. This 'immaturisation' of people stems from the new dependency culture of consumer entitlements and inculcated 'needs' and 'wants'. The bureaucratic creed which professionalises and systematises life requires that firstly, children are rushed through childhood then finally to become adults locked into childishness in order to create demanding consumers.

Demand-making by the resolution-passers at Old Labour and Trade Union conferences was the antithesis of Solidarity politics. Demand-making is central to the ideology of the free-market right and the entitlements lobby on the left. The so-called 'culture of contentment' is in fact an ethos of dissatisfaction engineered through permanent demands. The free-marketeers and the welfare business are together in trying to manage and commodify, all public and private life and to order and capitalise the cloudier areas of consciousness where childhood anxieties lie.

With the management and commodification of our future, pre-fashioned by the social-engineers and the money markets, in full flow it is to be expected that the past, lodged in the private world of our psyches, will also be fair game for exploitation. After all the heritage and nostalgia industry is hard at work using 'reminiscence' as a form of therapy and a sales technique. Manufactured discontent and anxieties, bred both by free market ideology and its supposed opposite in the welfare parasitocracy, create the conditions for victimology enterprises to continue.

Although the parasitocracy's political inclinations are likely to be closer to both Old and New Labour, they have flourished without hindrance, even encouragement, through entrepreneurial and voluntary initiatives in the long period of Conservative government. Therapism was to be expected given the anxieties caused by two decades of attempting to reduce the common life to stake holding and client relations and to straight jacket politics within the business ethos and its nexus of cash transactions and customer contracts. With therapism, misconstrued feelings and rambling conjecture are raised to the status of 'truth' while the spirit and ego become 'facts'. Thus the pre-occupation with the hedonistic self through life skills training and individual empowerment is perfect ground for cultish therapy merchants seeking to exclude the close relatives of those they 'counsel'.

Then there is the embarrassment from TV and tabloid therapy, when individual tragedies are presented as a societal calamity, with press conferences and sound-bites from those affected, demands for compensation, offers of counselling, blame put on someone and the ritualistic appearance of shrines of flowers or candles.

The spectacle is one of mawkish concern, often with the propensity to become a witch-hunt when mass hysteria is encouraged by the media. In this swamp where self-respect has all but vanished it is not surprising that more private, common-sense counselling, used to tried and trusted therapeutic techniques and often supported by relatives' involvement, is threatened with marginalisation.

Although absolutely justified by those wrongly accused of sexual abuse as a result of 'recovered memory' counselling, legal action and skirmishes, even those resulting in victories, will not of themselves defeat this rotten ideology.

Similarly the minutiae of endless debate where survey results and statistics are traded by the protagonists is the lifeblood of 'experts' with their academic conferences and research grants intent on keeping the issue going for their self-aggrandisement and as an income source,

The sense of moral righteousness that the sexual abuse industry draws on makes popular dissent and criticism difficult. Compassion is subtly exploited with celebrities like Esther Rantzen a master at this. Amidst all the nauseating glorification and sentimentalising of children, safe in female hands from masculine influences (safer still if they became female property!), such activities are to be expected. Nevertheless the presumption of endemic sexual abuse has to be challenged politically by ordinary people recognising and understanding the particular, radical feminist doctrine, full of bitter resentment, pushing this line.

Fortunately there are many women, feminists and others who do not accept the zealots' arguments and are willing to confront them. All of us have a difficult task though. Victimhood and survivordom is good for business! While the sympathy for the trauma and victim culture across most of the political! spectrum will not be helpful.

To conclude, is it any surprise that so many people have a fear of collective self-management, rejecting social solutions to their problems, when there is all this victimhood around? Political action based on social solidarity and self-help is being replaced by well-managed encounter groups and controlled networks of focus groups, overlaid with soundings(!) by the government. In the words of Christopher Lasch, these are "new controls sincerely disguised as benevolence”. The political life founded on the highly questionable idea that the personal is political has all but degenerated into new age individualism with its cosmic mysticism and self-absorption.

All this strengthens the privatised, utilitarian and managerialised world which we need to undermine, as there is more to life than mere survival through consumerism. The traditional left, both Marxist and non-Marxist, has much to answer for. They shared the most fundamental belief of their capitalist enemy; increasing economic growth through more intensive production. They may have disagreed with the bosses over how the wealth was to be redistributed (high wage/low profits versus low wage/high profits) and supported industrial action to achieve this, but ultimately, letting the product complete its journey to become a commodity for consumption was never questioned. So when Thatcherism exploited and trumped the philosophical paucity of traditional left politics, which were nothing more than crude economism, they were finished. The left is not equipped for a struggle at the point of consumption.

Any ethical opposition to endless economic growth and material entitlements and to meaningless consumption occurs within currents in environmental, politics, opposed to both Marxist and free-market economics. The separatist-feminist ideology which is pushing the idea of widespread sexual abuse by fathers on daughters has many of the hallmarks of authoritarian Marxism and free-market absolutism. They all have a desire for processes engaged in by people to be inevitable, a rigid and oversimplified view of the divisions in society and what causes them and an elitism stemming from access, denied to others, to the 'only truth'.

All of these reflect an illiberal intent to proscribe political and social action and so increase the amount of bureaucratic influence in our lives. The fanatics in the sexual abuse industry are attempting to engineer a public scare, with scapegoats, where there is none, unlike say the ecological threats which give cause for real concern, without creating scapegoats. Their whole project to have us imagine then believe that there is widespread sexual abuse of children by their parents is another example of puritanical political correctness which needs to be heavily criticised and defeated. As a start the 'recovered memory' business needs to be put out of business immediately. .

Published from the former SOLIDARITY address. 123 Lathom Road, East Ham London E62EA

Autumn 1997.


VICTIMHOOD 2: A look at the sexual abuse industry

UPDATE.- The response to the above pamphlet ( VICTIMHOOD ) has been very encouraging. There have been supportive letters and phone calls from former SOLIDARITY people, contact with sympathetic journalists, individuals and organisations and requests for permission to reprint it and to put it on the Internet.

Two Marxist journals have responded positively but in general the left have gone to ground - a combination of the influence of Bea Campbell and feminists like her, sympathy for therapism and politically correct silence on sexual abuse among right-on, do-good leftism. As we hoped there are signs of a backlash from the sexual abuse industry with evidence of action by RAINS (anti-occultists three feet short of a witch's broomstick) and Women at Work (child sexual abuse obsessives) and suspicious enquiries from two journalists; the satanic abuse hunter, Tim Tate and the child sexual abuse sleuth, Sarah Nelson.

However, we have been on the offensive with more investigations of organisations and individuals. They are worried. For example, the Professor of Clinical Psychology at Leeds University has suggested a believer in satanic abuse on his staff seek legal advice to try and deter us.

We are spotlighting a parasitocracy, much of it left-leaning and New Labourist, of the kind SOLIDARITY always opposed. It is using friends in the media to create a moral panic with false claims of widespread child sexual abuse in order to achieve public resources to 'manage' it.

By suggesting that most men are likely to be child molesters, the active real paedophiles are given more cover beneath a blanket condemnation of all men.

A phoney concern for children masks their true intentions; satanic abuse scares by one group and vilification of the testosterone classes by the other.

The core ideology of the sexual abuse industry brings together a mix of anti-satanist, pro-family, religious fundamentalism and militant feminism with a strong tinge of spiteful lesbianism.

Judith Dawson, the partner of the 'chief executive' of the industry, feminist and ex-communist, Bea Campbell, comes from the satanic abuse chasing tradition!

But do the anti-satanists know of that old separatist feminist idea that young girls explore any lesbian sexual desires physically with older lesbians? Feminist zealots among the parasitocracy would have some explaining to do about this form of 'child sexual abuse'.

THE FUTURE. Another pamphlet with further exposure of the sexual abuse business is proposed. We need to spotlight more of the activities of these people and organisations to show just how influential their network is. Just like old times!

Your help with these investigations would be welcome. You will find the parasitocracy in hospitals (psychology and paediatrics), academia (womens' studies and psychology), local government (womens' committees and social work), charities and organisations (with the words 'Child', 'Abuse', 'Rape' etc. in the title), magazines (like Community Care and British Journal of Social Work) and of course, in the media and at conferences.

Friends of the former SOLIDAR.ITY group 123 Lathom Road, East Ham, London E8 2EA November 1997

Comments and Support: Contact: victimhood@myway.com