RITUAL ABUSE (RA)
Pr 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Eph 6:1-4 Children, obey your
parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first
commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the
earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Also called Cult Related Abuse, Satanic Ritual Abuse, Ritualized
Abuse, Sadistic Ritual Abuse, etc.
What is a ritual?
A ritual is an act which is repeated according to a specific procedure.One simple superstitious example is throwing of a pinch of salt over your shoulder after you have spilled some salt. A Roman Catholic mass is an example of a majestic, complex religious ritual. Societies have many rituals related to major life passages, like
birth, marriage and death.
What is ritual abuse?
Ritual Abuse has been defined as psychological, sexual, and/or physical assault on an unwilling human victim, committed by one or more people whose primary motive is to fulfill a prescribed ritual in order to achieve a specific goal or satisfy the perceived needs of their deity. Children are most frequently the victims of all types of ritual abuse,largely because of their vulnerability and lack of power.
What does this have to do with religious tolerance?
Many ritual abuse seminar leaders, lecturers, authors identify an enormous variety of groups who engage in ritual abuse. Some blame Satanism as well as such respected faiths as Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, Quakers, Santeria, Wicca, etc. They sometimes blame benign, spiritually oriented groups such as men's fraternal organizations, self-help groups, 12 step groups, etc.The result is that some seminars and books create public panic, hatred and fear, and victimize many innocent people in the community.
What kinds of ritual abuse exist?
Many people believe that ritual abuse
exists in six forms:
1.Some conservative Christians believe that individuals can be
"possessed" by devils. They conduct exorcisms to drive out the
demons. This often involves physical and emotional abuse. Two
victims died in 1995 during exorcisms: a woman in California
and an infant in Ontario, Canada.
2.Other devoutly religious folks sometimes withhold needed medical
attention from their children in favor of seeking a cure
through intensive prayer sessions.
3.Some parents follow the "spare the rod, spoil the child" rule and
abuse their child physically, often in a type of ritual. This
often consists of physical abuse, religious motivation and ritual.
Whether it is ritual abuse depends upon your precise definition
of the term.
4.Some people perform religious rituals which involve sexual activity.
This is normally done in private between committed adult
couples. In rare instances, children are included, as victims,
perpetrators and/or observers. This constitutes abuse, because of
the children's age. A recent US Government study of childhood ritual
abuse found one such case in the United States.
5.A few child molesters use a Satanic motif during abuse. They may buy
book on Satanic ritual, an altar, some candles etc. and
pretend to conduct a Satanic ritual while abusing the child. The
perpetrator is not a Satanist, but finds the ritual useful as a
control technique. Three cases of this sort were uncovered during a
major study into ritual abuse in Great Britain.
6.When people think of ritual abuse, they usually refer to Satanic
Ritual abuse (SRA). A goal of SRA would be to satisfy the
perceived needs of the Christian devil, or to use "black" magic to
achieve certain ends. This type of abuse is in a class by itself,
and is said to involve a highly organized, secret, often
multi-generational group who engage in mutilation, ritual killing,
cannibalism, drinking of blood, systematic torture to produce
robot-like, programmed, children, etc. Some people use the term
Sadistic Ritual Abuse to describe similar forms of abuse done by
non-Satanists (e.g. by men's fraternal organizations).
How widespread is Satanic/Sadistic ritual
All ritual abuse is criminal; most victimizes children; none is done in public. Thus, there are no accurate estimates of its incidence in society. We have listed a number of cases where some form of ritual abuse actually occurred or was suspected.
Although there is general agreement that the first five forms of ritual abuse (listed above) exist, there is much controversy over the existence of Satanic or Sadistic Ritual abuse. There are many self-help, Christian and other groups who believe in its widespread nature. You can consult: http://www.xroads.com/rahome/ for information from one group who believes ritual abuse to be widespread and attributes the abuse to Christians, Neo-Nazis, Neo-Pagans, Santerian, Satanists, white supremacists and Vodun (Voodoo) organizations.
Another page promotes the idea that Satanic Ritual Abuse exists, but is not as common.
Many researchers of Satanic/Sadistic ritual abuse believe that it is extremely rare; some deny that any exists at all. You can consult: http://www.power.net/users/aia. They are a Christian group which is skeptical of RA. This home page contains an excellent review of the history of RA beliefs and lists many indicators of its non-existence. The US government tried to obtain reliable information by funding a massive study of childhood ritual abuse. They obtained data from over 10,000 psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, as well as from police offices, district attorneys' offices and social service departments. They found an alarming incidence of child ritual and non-ritual abuse during exorcisms, by withholding medical attention and beating children One case of incest within a family during Satanic rituals; No unequivocal evidence of: bizarre and horrible satanic ritual abuse scenarios or of large scale, organized Satanic cults. Investigations into non-Christian ritual abuse were conducted by the governments of the State of Virginia and the Netherlands between 1991 and 1994. They concluded that it simply does not exist. A similar study in England uncovered a few cases. Each involved a lone child molester who was pretending to be a Satanist in order to better control his victims.
Is there any evidence of Satanic/Sadistic Ritual Abuse?
There is no hard evidence of this form of ritual abuse by organized
Satanic, Pagan, or other non-Christian groups. Typical types of hard evidence would have
been human blood at a ritual site, dead bodies, underground tunnels where children said
they were taken (as in the famous McMartin Day Preschool centre in California (1), etc.
There is a truly enormous amount of soft
Many books have been written since 1980 by women alleging to be abuse survivors and by at least one man alleging to have once been a Satanist and engaged in ritual abuse: Michelle Remembers, Satan's Underground, Satan Seller and He Came to Set the Captives Free Many dozens of children have memories of being victimized during Satanic rituals. Their memories often include being lowered into graves, very scary experiences with rats, snakes and spiders, and with urine and feces. These beliefs often materialize after an investigation into suspected widespread sexual abuse at a day care centre or baby-sitting service. Tens or hundreds of thousands of adults have recovered memories of horrendous abuse. Their memories often include ritual torture, mutilation, rape, killing, cannibalism, drinking of human blood, etc. (Recovered memories are recollections uncovered for the first time during recovered memory therapy which typically involves hypnotism, guided imagery or age regression). The soft evidence tends to disappear like a mouthful of floss candy, when it is further investigated:
One wonders why no survivor came forward prior to 1980 when the first of the "survivor books" (Michelle Remembers) was published. The survivor books mentioned above have all been exposed as hoaxes. Many believe that children's memories of ritual abuse were implanted during incompetent questioning by police officers, social workers or child psychologists during intensive investigations into abuse at day care centers. Many therapists and memory researchers believe that therapeutically
recovered memories are usually of events that never happened. They were created as an unexpected by product of questionable techniques during therapy (hypnotism, guided imagery, age regression, etc.). One wonders why the events described by the children are so different from the memories described by adults who believe they are survivors of child abuse.There are many indicators that ritual abuse by underground, evil groups does not exist in North America.
There is growing evidence that most therapeutically recovered memories :
of abuses during "previous lifetimes" of medical experiments on board UFO's sexual abuse and incest during childhood
ritual abuse during childhood are false memories. Therapeutically Recovered memories are recollections uncovered during therapy which were not present when the therapy began. False memories feel very real; however, they are of events that never happened. Adults who have had continuous memories of non-ritual incest or other sexual abuse, with no amnesia between childhood to the present time, are undoubtedly survivors. Other adults have had no continuous memories, but recollect long forgotten memories which have been triggered by an event in the present (e.g. reading an newspaper account involving the perpetrator). These are evidence of very real, non-ritual, abuse which is probably our most serious social problem.
Why do people believe that Satanic/Sadistic Ritual Abuse is common?
Most people believe that there are very evil people following a very evil religion, who kill babies, drink their blood, eat their flesh, and who engage in degenerate sexual practices. This belief system has existed for decades without any hard evidence. Many reasons have been cited for this belief: There are many people who believe themselves to be ritual abuse survivors who deliver seminars and write books which promote the concept. Some Evangelical Christians and feminist therapists deliver
lectures, conduct seminars and write books promoting it. The belief system was started by the Roman Empire in the second century when they were persecuting Christians. It was reused by the Christian Church against the Witches (Wiccans). It was used by the Nazis against the Jews. It is being used today against some therapy, religious or spiritual individuals and groups. Whenever the rumor was active in the past, most ordinary citizens believed it to be true. They do so today also.
Now that Communism is no longer a menace, we need an internal "evil empire" to demonize.
1.John Earl, article in Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, Volume 7, #
2, published 1995-Spring, Institute for Psychological
Therapies, 13200 Cannon City Blvd., Northfield, MN 55057, $15 USF;
$20 USF (foreign)
2.A list of WWW sites dealing with Satanic Ritual Abuse and Childhood
Sexual Abuse can be found at: