Why do people believe the lies of child molesters?

Charles Whitfield (2011) researched the defense tactics of accused and convicted child molesters and found that of all the defenses that a child molester has at his/her disposal, the most effective is our collective desire not to know. We all so much want the abuser not to have happened that when an accused person says they didn't do it, it resonates with our own personal hopes and beliefs about the incident.

How Society Enables Child Molesters
Charles Whitfield (2001) researched the defense tactics of accused and convicted child molesters and found that of all the defenses that a child molester has at his disposal, the most effective is our collective desire not to know. We all so much want the abuse not to have happened that when an accused person says they didn’t do it, it resonates with our own personal hopes and beliefs about the incident.

Read more about this research from The Leadership Council’s post

“Society gives the image of sexual violators as weird, ugly, anti-social, alcoholics. Society gives the impression that violators kidnap children are out of their homes and take them to some wooded area and abandon them after the violation. Society gives the impression that everyone hates people who violate children. If all of these myths were true, healing would not be as challenging as it is.
Half of our healing is about the actual abuse. The other half is about how survivors fit into society in the face of the myths that people hold in order to make themselves feel safe. The truth is that 80% of childhood sexual abuse is perpetrated by family members. Yet we rarely hear the word “incest”. The word is too ugly and the truth is too scary. Think about what would happen if we ran a campaign to end incest instead of childhood sexual abuse. The number one place that children should know they are safe is in their homes. As it stands, as long as violators keep sexual abuse within the family, the chances of repercussion by anyone is pretty low. Wives won’t leave violating husbands, mothers won’t kick their violating children out of the home, and violating grandparents still get invited to holiday dinners. It is time to start cleaning house. If we stop incest first, then we will strengthen our cause against all sexual abuse.”
― Rosenna Bakari, Talking Trees facebook page

Related Posts

Emotional Abuse Does not show Scars

Emotional abuse – know the signs

violence hurts

Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mentalabuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Emotional abuse is just one form of abuse that people can experience in a relationship. Though emotional abuse doesn’t leave physical scars, it can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem. There are a couple of different types of emotional abuse and it might not be noticeable at first. However, if you are being emotionally abused there are a number of things you can do to get support.

Emotional abuse is elusive. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it’s happening.

It can be more harmful than physical abusebecause it can undermine what we think about ourselves. It can cripple all…

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Ritual Abuse/Mind Control survivors – Internal Keys to Safety by Alison Miller

Trigger warning
A minority of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder or Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (DDNOS) have experienced ritual abuse (also known as trauma-based mind control). The combination of both creates additional struggles in healing because typically alter personalities will have been created to actively disrupt and prevent healing.
Fighting against these alter personalities tends to lead to more problems and prevents healing – but their roles and motives can be understood in a positive way, and survivors can learn to negotiate with and educate these parts/alters in order to heal together. Often these parts/alters will have been lied to and tricked by abusers, and may have been traumatized by them as well. If they discover this they may choose to work towards – rather than against – healing.
Psychotherapist Alison Miller recognizes two areas of problems for survivors of RA/MC:

  • Emotional instability and psychiatric symptoms
  • Inability to keep physically safe from the perpetrator group

She states both are related to programming – which is “the training of child insiders (alter personalities) to do ‘jobs’ assigned by the perpetrators.”

Trigger Warning yellow triangle

Download Internal Keys to Safety by Alison Miller (survivorship.org) to learn more – could be very triggering. 

Survivors may want to review this with your therapist or support person before reading it. This presentation is not meant as therapy or treatment.

Related Links

Books on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control by the Sidran Institute

Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse by Alison Miller (book cover) 

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Skepticsm decreases with information and education about Dissociative Disorders 

Many studies have shown the majority of both psychiatrists and clinical psychologists view the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) as valid. As understanding of Dissociative Disorders increases world-wide, skepticism decreases.

Warwick Middleton: Australian psychiatrist


Now when the [trauma and dissociation] unit first started, there were psychiatrists in the hospital that was established who had the sort of reactions that were talked about here this morning, with raised eyebrows and shaking of heads, like borderline hell had just moved in. In fact, it’s sort of interesting that by not attacking, by not being overly defensive, by being warm, inviting, encouraging dialogue, giving appropriate information, research material, articles, books, et cetera, if they were requested, but certainly never attacking anyone for being a disbeliever or having a different paradigm, it’s very interesting over the years just how many of those psychiatrists that were openly incredulous and dismissive, have become stalwart admittants to the unit.  In fact, I can remember one psychiatrist … this is going back more than a decade and a half, who rang me, at that stage he was a senior registrar … it says something about the ambivalence about this area, he rang me saying he doesn’t believe that DID exists, but nevertheless he has a patient with it that he’s like to refer.

Research (Newest articles first)

Leonard, D., Brann, S., & Tiller, J. (2005). Dissociative disorders: pathways to diagnosis, clinician attitudes and their impact. Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry, 39(10), 940-946.
Results: Of the 250 clinicians, 21% reported experience with more than six cases on average of any one of the dissociative disorders, 38% with less than six, 42% with none; 55% regarded them as valid diagnoses, 35% dubiously valid and 10% invalid. Of the 55 patients, 76% reported delays in diagnosis (57%, <3 years and 25%, <10 years) with adverse consequences in 64%; 80% had experienced sceptical or antagonistic attitudes from clinicians, rated as destructive by 48%. They were disabled (60% rated as <50% impaired) and were heavy consumers of health services (48% hospitalized, 68% <5 times). There was considerable comorbidity including moderate or severe depression (96%), self-harm (68%), suicide attempts (69%), panic disorder (53%), eating disorders (75%), substance abuse (25%), poor physical health (44%), major interpersonal (70%) and sexual problems (90%). Patients rated individual psychotherapy as the most helpful treatment (90%) but medications, such as antidepressants, were also valued (60%). Conclusions: Although over half of the responding Australian clinicians thought that dissociative disorders were valid, the rest were dubious about their validity with 10% believing them to be invalid. Only 21% had considerable experience with the disorders. These findings may relate to some of the difficulties perceived by patients, which included delays in diagnosis, suboptimal treatment and negative experiences with clinicians. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/j.1440-1614.2005.01700.x

Somer, E. (2000). Israeli mental health professionals’ attitudes towards dissociative disorders, reported incidence and alternative diagnoses considered. Journal of trauma & dissociation, 1(1), 21-44.
Results: Years  in clinical  practice  (including postgraduate  and registrar  training)  did not  differ  between psychologists  (mean =  16.1 years, SD  =  9.68)  and psychiatrists  (mean =  18.8 years, SD  =  10.05). Overall, there  was  a  greater  tendency to believe  in the  existence  of  the  condition with 48 (55.8%) respondents  replying “Yes,”  and 32 (37.2%)  replying “No”  to the  reality of  DID. Five  (5.8%) participants  replied “unsure,”  and one  did not  respond to this  item. Excluding the  unsure responses  and one  missing value, a  chi-square  analysis  between psychologists  and psychiatrists for  this  item  showed a  significant  relationship between profession and belief  (chi-square  =  13.00, p  <  .001). Psychologists  showed a  greater  tendency to believe  in the  existence  of  DID  (23 yes, 3 no), while  the  slight  majority of  psychiatrists  did not  believe  in the  clinical  reality of  DID  (25 yes, 29 no).

Abstract Clinical diagnoses of dissociative disorders (DDs), including Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), are controversial because there are mental health professionals in North America and elsewhere who are skeptical about whether these psychiatric disorders actually exist. This paper explores the attitudes of mental health professionals in Israel toward DDs and DID through a survey of 211 practicing clinicians (return rate of 39.5%). Of the sample, 95.5% scored at or above the point on a 5-point Likert scale measuring belief in the validity of DDs (m = 4.17, SD = 0.78); 84.5% declared at least a moderate belief in the validity of DID (M = 3.5, S.D. = 0.97). The average Israeli clinician surveyed had made 4.8 career-long DD diagnoses (S.D. = 18.06) and carried an average of 1.05 DD patients in his/her caseload (S.D. = 2.86). DID had a career-long diagnosis frequency of 0.14 patients per clinician (S.D. = 0.59) and was currently seen at a frequency of 0.03 cases per clinician (S.D. = 0.20). The five most frequently considered alternative diagnoses to DID in Israel were Borderline Personality Disorder (24%), Psychotic Disorder/Schizophrenia (23%), PTSD/Anxiety Disorder (10%), Malingering (8%) and Depressive Disorder (7%). The findings suggest that attitudes of Israeli clinicians are similar to those of North American clinicians despite the geographical and cultural differences between them. Full paper – https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eli_Somer/publication/232909347_Israeli_Mental_Health_Professionals’_Attitudes_Towards_Dissociative_Disorders_Reported_Incidence_and_Alternative_Diagnoses_Considered/links/02e7e51cef1213f1df000000.pdf

Cormier, J. F., & Thelen, M. H. (1998). Professional skepticism of multiple personality disorder. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 29(2), 163.
 If you saw a patient who appeared to have more than one personality, what diagnosis would you make? And how would you vary your clinical approach? Data from 425 respondents indicated that the majority of psychologists believed multiple personality disorder (MPD) to be a valid but rare clinical diagnosis. Respondents cited extreme child abuse as the foremost cause of MPD. Approximately one-half of all respondents believed that they had encountered a client with MPD, whereas less than one-third believed that they had encountered a client who feigned MPD. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pro/29/2/163/
Professional attitudes to Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD) in Britain: More on treating DID where it doesn’t exist.  Paper presented at the 4th conference of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation-UK branch. J Mcintee. 1998. and

Davis, J.D. & Davis, M.L. (1997). The prevalence of dissociative disorders within the mental health services of a British urban district.Paper presented at the Fourth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. Chester, UK, April 19-11.

Summarized by Somer, E. (2000) A recent survey conducted in Britain sought to test the prevailing view in the United Kingdom academic press that DID either did not exist or was fashionably over-diagnosed by gullible practitioners, influenced by ill-advised North American colleagues. The survey was designed to examine British psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ attitudes towards the identification and treatment of dissociative disorders (McIntee, 1998). Dissociative disorders had been encountered by 66% of respondents, of whom 14% attributed dissociation to iatrogenesis. The 965 British mental health professionals responding to the survey reported having seen a total of 3225 clients with DDs, 526 clients diagnosed as DID, and 596 clients with Dissociative Disorder–Not Otherwise Specified. The estimated life prevalence rates for a British research sample reported a year earlier were 15.2% for DDs in general and 5.7% for DID specifically, with clinical profiles resembling those described in the North American literature (Davis & Davis, 1997).
Hayes, J. A., & Mitchell, J. C. (1994). Mental health professionals’ skepticism about multiple personality disorder. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 25(4), 410.
Three studies were conducted to investigate the nature of mental health professionals’ skepticism regarding multiple personality disorder (MPD). An initial pilot study was conducted to develop a psychometrically sound survey instrument. In Study 2, the results of a national survey of 207 mental health professionals supported the hypothesis that skepticism and knowledge about MPD are inversely related, r = –.33, p < .01, although the strength of this relationship varied among professions. Moderate to extreme skepticism was expressed by 24% of the sample. Results from Study 3 supported the hypotheses that MPD is diagnosed with less accuracy than is schizophrenia and that misdiagnosis of MPD is predicted by skepticism about MPD. Findings are related to literature pertaining to mental health professionals’ skepticism about MPD and consequential effects on treatment. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pro/25/4/410/

Dunn, G. E., Paolo, A. M., Ryan, J. J., & Van Fleet, J. N. (1994). Belief in the existence of multiple personality disorder among psychologists and psychiatrists. Journal of clinical psychology.
Surveyed the attitudes of 664 psychologists and 456 psychiatrists with regard to the existence of dissociative and multiple personality disorders (MPDs). 97.5% of the Ss indicated that they believed in dissociative disorders, while 80% reported a belief in MPD. 12.3% did not believe in MPD, and 7.7% were undecided. Belief in MPD was related significantly to profession, age, and years of experience. Young Ss with less professional experience believed more in MPD than did older Ss. Ss who had worked with patients with MPD would tend to believe in the entity. http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1995-21368-001

Barton, C. (1994). Backstage in psychiatry: The multiple personality disorder controversy.
Arguments about the existence of multiple personality disorder (MPD) are creating a professional dispute. Skepticism is manifested in literary as well as behavioral forms. The most widely cited recent skeptical paper is that of H. Merskey (see record 1992-31500-001). Merskey uses arguments that are sociological in nature but with little attention to empirical evidence. Merskey’s skepticism about MPD differs from skepticism in natural science. Proponents’ research is ignored rather than being subjected to critical examination and disproof through attempted replication. His skepticism appears largely based on challenges to the integrity of MPD patients and questions about the competence of therapists. http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1995-29438-001 Mersky’s response – and Barton’s response to it

Dell, P. F. (1988). Professional skepticism about multiple personality. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 176(9), 528-531.
Therapists who have treated patients with multiple personality disorder (MPD) were surveyed about professional skepticism regarding the existence of MPD. Of these therapists, 78% reported that they had encountered intense skepticism from fellow professionals. Much of this skepticism appears to be explainable in terms of a) the lengthy decline of psychiatry’s interest in dissociation, b) under appreciation of the prevalence of individuals with dissociative ability, and c) misconceptions about the natural clinical presentation of patients with MPD. These factors, however, could not explain the behavior of those skeptics who deliberately interfered with the clinical care of patients and who engaged in repeated acts of harassment against the patient and/or therapist. Half of the survey respondents reported that they had encountered these latter forms of extreme skepticism. http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/1988/09000/Professional_Skepticism_about_Multiple.2.aspx

Life After Abuse: What No-one Tells You

It’s easy to assume that the end of an abusive relationship means the end of the problems caused by abuse. This may happen for a few people, but it’s not true for everyone!

Life After Abuse: What No-one Tells You. "Your old life doesn't just snap back into place immediately. You changed, and others changed along with you. - Thomas Fiffer, The Good Men Project

Your old life doesn’t just snap back into place immediately. You changed, and others changed along with you. – Thomas Fiffer

The lingering effects of abuse, and the extent of the damage that it is caused may only become apparent some time later. You will also find that coping with the abuse has changed your way of interacting with others, lowered your self-esteem and distanced you from those close to you (or, those who were close to you but no longer are.

If this sounds overwhelming and depressing then remember that recovering is both possible, and worthwhile. You can begin to have the good life you deserve. You might find it helpful to read the excellent article below – and to share it with those close to you, to help them understand that possible reactions after the end of the abuse – and what can be done to help.

    The Unspoken Secrets about Life After Abuse by Thomas Fiffer (The Good Men Project)

Related Links

It’s my fault, it’s always my fault: Self-Blame (traumadissociation.wordpress.com)
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (traumadissociation.com)
Denial: A psychological defense against trauma (traumadissociation.wordpress.com)
If the Abuse is Ongoing (traumadissociation.wordpress.com)
Being male and a survivor (traumadissociation.wordpress.com)
The Misconcepts of Misandry (hatred against men) (rhsroyalreport.wordpress.com)
Signs of being in a pscyhologically abusive relationship (violencehurts.wordpress.com)