September 23, 2014

The 12-Step Healing Process for Survivors

This week, I am so excited to continue our series brought to us by Neil Brick, founder of the S.M.A.R.T (Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse Today) newsletter. This week, Neil talks with us his own personal journey of healing and how the 12-step program guided him in his recovery.

In the past, I attended a variety of 12-step programs to heal from addictions I had before I started the major part of my recovery years ago. During this presentation, I will be referring to the adapted 12 Steps of Survivors of Incest Anonymous. For more information on Survivors of Incest Anonymous, see
Please note that the interpretation of the steps below is mine only, and not necessarily representative of S.I.A. or any other 12-step program.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over the abuse, the effects of the abuse, and that our lives had become unmanageable.
As a child abuse and ritual abuse survivor, it was very difficult for me to admit that I am powerless. The power over my body and my soul was taken away from me at a very young age. The last thing I wanted was to be powerless again. But I realized that this step meant something different. What it really meant was that I was powerless over what happened. As a young child, there was no way I could stop the abuse. I was powerless to stop the effects of the abuse and the problems the abuse caused for me internally.
Once I realized I was powerless, I could begin to let go of the guilt of the past abuse and heal and grow. I could take back the power from the abuser. I could become whole and healed and powerful in my own world.
It has always been easy for me to admit that years ago my life was unmanageable. The first time I went to 12-step meetings, I started to realize what a mess my life was. At the time, I was in the middle of many life changes. I was trying to rebuild my life and at the same time many memories of the abuse were coming up. My life was definitely unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe that a loving Higher Power, greater than ourselves, could restore hope, healing and sanity.
As a child abuse and ritual abuse survivor, this was a very difficult step for me. Most of the “higher powers” I had known in my life had hurt and abused me. It forced me to admit that there is a power greater than myself, something I did not want to admit. I did not trust any power greater than me. Now I realize that there is some sort of higher power, something that connects all of us that leads me to hope, healing and sanity. This helped me healed a lot. Now I have hope and feel stronger than I did years ago.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a loving Higher Power as we understood Her/Him.
It was one step to believe in a loving Higher Power. But it would take a much larger step of faith to turn my will and life over to that Higher Power. I still haven’t totally done this. At times, I still don’t trust that Higher Power. But in my stonger moments, I realize that the power that connects me to things is the right thing to follow. This doesn’t mean that I give up my individuality or soul, all it means is that I go with the flow of things and adapt to the world.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, the abuse and its effects on our lives. We have no more secrets.
The two times I did this step fully in my life, I made major growth steps in my life. By writing down my inventory and the things that had happened to me in my life, including the ritual abuse, I was able to see these things from a different perspective. I was able to see what I had gone through and concealed from the rest of myself. This tore down many internal walls and began a very big healing process. This helped me have no more secrets about myself.
Step 5: Admitted to a loving Higher Power, to ourselves and another human being our strengths and weaknesses.
Now that I had shared the terrors and the horrors of my life with another safe person, I was no longer alone. I told them all of my memories. I told them all of my fears. By sharing all this I was breaking one of the rules of the abusers, do not tell. But I did tell, and it made me stronger. It also made the world a safer place, because more people knew about child abuse and ritual abuse and it made it harder for the perpetrators of this abuse to continue practicing it in secret. I realized that nothing bad happened to me when I told. I was clearer-headed and was able to move forward in my recovery. It was all right if I had strengths and it was all right if I had weaknesses.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have a loving Higher Power help us remove all the debilitating consequences of the abuse and became willing to treat ourselves with respect, compassion and acceptance.
During the recovery process, the debilitating consequences of the abuse were gradually lifted. The personality defects that kept me separate from other people started to disappear. One problem after another was removed. Though I was unsure about a loving Higher Power, I was more sure that change was occurring. I was growing and healing.
It was more difficult to treat myself with respect, compassion and acceptance. For the longest time, I didn’t feel I deserved these. I felt that since I was forced as a young child to be a participant in child abuse and ritual abuse, I was evil and bad. It took me a long time to realize that I was forced as a child to do these things. I started to realize that I deserved to be loved by the world. I deserved to be respected and accepted by myself.
Step 7: Humbly and honestly asked a loving Higher Power to remove the unhealthy and self-defeating consequences stemming from the abuse.
I wanted to be released from the problems I had. I wanted to stop being so internally angry and tense. I suffered from these and other consequences of the abuse for many years. But I needed to ask somehow. I realize I did this even before I started having abuse memories. I wanted to know why my life was messed up. Why I was so unhappy. Why I was so tense and angry a lot of the time. I was tired of living this way. And the more I asked, and the more I worked on these problems constructively, the more I was released from these unhealthy consequences. By wanting to be released from these problems, I was asking. And I didn’t even need to direct my questions to a loving Higher Power. I just needed to ask. And after years and years of asking, I changed.
Step 8: Made a list of all the people we had harmed (of our own free will), especially ourselves and our inner child, and became willing to make amends to them all.
I did this years ago. The person that I hurt the most was myself. By continuing to live in the consequences of the abuse, I was continually hurting myself and others. It was never my intention to hurt anyone or myself. At the time, I didn’t even know I was causing myself or anyone else pain. But I was. I was willing to make amends.
Step 9: Made amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would result in physical, mental or emotional harm to ourselves or others.
I made amends to a lot of people when I was working the steps years ago. I wrote some and called others. If I felt it would hurt someone more than help them, I didn’t do it. I did it when I was sure emotionally it was the right thing to do.
Step 10: Continued to take responsibility for our own recovery, and when we found ourselves behaving in patterns still dictated by the abuse, promptly admitted it. When we succeeded, promptly enjoyed it.
Throughout the years of my recovery, I have learned that I need to take responsibility for my actions and when falling back into an old pattern, like holding a grudge or losing my temper, I admitted that it was an old pattern that I no longer needed. What has been more difficult for me has been to enjoy my successes. I am learning to do this now though. I need to be happy that I have succeeded and not fallen back into an old pattern again.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with ourselves and a loving Higher Power, as we understood Her/Him, asking only for knowledge of Her/His will for us and the power and courage to carry that out.
This has been a difficult step for me to follow. I never believed in prayer. Whenever I prayed for something as a child, I usually didn’t get it. So I stopped overtly praying. But now I realize that prayer for me can also be wishing and hoping that things get better. Meditation has always been easier for me. Sitting and meditating has been a big help in my life. It has helped me prepare for some of the major steps of my recovery. I have found a sense of peace and quiet in meditation. By being able to quiet myself, I have been able to learn how to heal further. By quieting myself, I have been able to see which directions I needed to go in to help others and heal.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other survivors and practice these principles in all our endeavors.
By working the 12 steps, I realize that I have had a spiritual awakening. I have grown and healed tremendously in my recovery. I am now able to carry the message to other survivors. I have learned how to let go and let the healing process work for me. The newsletters, web pages, e-groups and conferences are all part of my carrying this message to other survivors.
Child abuse and ritual abuse survivors face other difficulties in 12-step programs. These include sharing in groups and sitting in circles. But these problems can also be overcome. It is incredibly powerful to be able to share in a group and stay present. This breaks the myth that one can’t discuss child abuse and ritual abuse, or they’ll be hurt. I have shared many times, and it has made me stronger.
Some 12-step local groups in various programs may be infiltrated by cults. I believe that in healthy groups, this will not be a major problem, since there are many examples of strong recovery already present. This is why it is important to support healthy ways of healing and for all survivors to continue becoming stronger.

I hope that this discussion of the 12-steps helps people in their recovery.


Neil Brick is an advocate and researcher for survivors of child abuse. He has worked for years to educate the public about child abuse. Neil Brick has written many research papers on child abuse issues, including his Master's thesis on how child abuse effects interpersonal relationships. Neil Brick runs several Internet lists to help survivors of child abuse and their supporters.

September 16, 2014

Ritual Abuse and the Fight Against Child Abuse

This week, I am so excited to continue our series brought to us by Neil Brick, founder of the S.M.A.R.T (Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse Today) newsletter. This week, Neil talks with us about the importance of believing the stories of survivors and the societal incentives for keeping things "hush-hush", especially when it comes to ritual abuse.

The existence of ritual abuse has been one of the four places where so called skeptics and false memory syndrome proponents have tried to attack the credibility of child abuse survivors.

The second one is attacking the theory of recovered memory.  However, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that recovered memory exists as a phenomenon and it has fairly high corroboration. There is also a lot of evidence that those attacking the theory of recovered memory may have ulterior motives, for example, they may have been accused of child abuse crimes or may have been connected to mind control research in the past.

The third is that somehow therapists have implanted memories in child abuse survivors. However, there is little evidence that this is possible and when it has been claimed, so called retractors (if the victims even ever retracted) may have had prior symptoms of trauma before these so called implantations occurred.

The fourth is the questioning of the existence of dissociation and DID/MPD. However, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that these diagnoses clearly exist and that trauma contributes to the manifestation of these diagnoses.

By attacking these areas, some so called skeptics and false memory syndrome proponents have worked to discredit all child abuse survivors and child abuse crimes.

I will be focusing on why the support of the existence of ritual abuse by all the child abuse movement is crucial to the protection of the child abuse movement as a whole.

Ritual abuse crimes are often the most difficult to believe because of the extreme nature of these crimes. Societies have a tendency in general to not want to believe that horrible things can happen right next door or down the street from them. Many of the atrocities that have happened throughout history have occurred in populated areas. Yet members of societies have stated after the fact that they did not know that anything was going on or that any atrocities were committed.
This denial is at times encouraged by those that may have a vested interest in society maintaining a high level of denial or they may simply have trouble cognitively having an accurate world view, possibly due to their own psychodynamic issues.

Catherine Gould stated:

“Not only do skeptics…choose to ignore eyewitness/victim accounts of ritual criminal activity, they apparently also choose to overlook the significant number of cases of ritual abuse in which perpetrators have confessed to their crimes.” (Denying Ritual Abuse of Children – Catherine Gould – The Journal of Psychohistory 22 (3) 1995)

“When we understand the fact that ritual abuse is usually perpetrated by groups which are deeply involved in organized crime, the underlying incentives of these cult/perpetrator groups become clear…How much money do these groups actually generate, and is it enough to impact the culture at the level of, say, media-created public opinion? This, of course, is the cloudy part of the economic argument for why ritual abuse is as wide-spread as it is, in families and in preschools, and why we as a society have been so slow to recognize and respond to the seriousness of this problem. It is by definition difficult to know who belongs to groups whose membership is highly secretive, especially when many of the membership themselves are amnestic to their involvement.

Therefore, it is difficult to assess the degree to which members of these groups influence media accounts of ritual abuse, derail ritual abuse investigations by law enforcement, are instrumental in getting children complaining of interfamilial ritual abuse sent back to an abusing parent, or hire officials to make public statements on behalf of a national law enforcement bureau to the effect that no substantial evidence of ritual abuse exists.” (Denying Ritual Abuse of Children – Catherine Gould – The Journal of Psychohistory 22 (3) 1995)

“In my opinion, we in the United States deny the reality and seriousness of ritual abuse, especially as it impacts on children, in part because it threatens our images of ourselves as Americans. The thinking of the skeptic often goes something like this: Hideous crimes involving torture and mind control “don’t happen here.” (Denying Ritual Abuse of Children – Catherine Gould – The Journal of Psychohistory 22 (3) 1995)

It has been stated that incest is universal.

deMause discusses the universality of incest:

“In several hundred studies published by myself and my associates in The Journal of Psychohistory, we have provided extensive evidence that the history of childhood has been a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken. The further back in history one goes – and the further away from the West one gets – the more massive the neglect and cruelty one finds and the more likely children are to have been killed, rejected, beaten, terrorized and sexually abused by their caretakers.”(The History of Child Abuse – Lloyd deMause – The Journal of Psychohistory V. 25, N. 3, Winter 1998)
“That it is incest itself – and not the absence of incest – that has been universal for most people in most places at most times. Furthermore, the earlier in history one searches, the more evidence there is of universal incest, just as there is more evidence of other forms of child abuse.” (The Universality of Incest – Lloyd DeMause - Journal of Psychohistory 19 (2) Winter 1991)

It has been stated that child pornography is a billion dollar industry and there are frequent arrests around the world for crimes of its production and possession.

“Billion-Dollar Black Market Industry – Child porn has emerged as a multibillion dollar black market industry, though “average people don’t believe it,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “The reality is, with the advent of the Internet, the problem of child pornography has exploded,” said Allen…..“There’s a myth here,” he said, “and that is the myth of the stranger.” Allen pointed to NCMEC’s data, which show that most child sexual exploitation victims know the perpetrator of the crime — at least 35 percent of them are the victim’s own parents and 70 percent are other family members or someone close to the child. “Overwhelmingly, the people who are victimizing America’s children, photographing it and distributing it via child pornography are close to the child,” he said. “Many of them are their dads.” (Captured: 'King of the Child Exploitation Suspects' May 2, 2007 By PIERRE THOMAS, JACK DATE and THERESA COOK ABCNEWS)

The cover up of ritual abuse may be due to the potential financial losses some of these groups may have if the children are believed.  So the perpetrators may have a financial motive to create a social situation where children are not believed.  The DSM-IV-TR  states under its DID diagnosis that the reports of patients suffering from DID are “often confirmed by objective evidence,” and that the abusers in those situations may be inclined to “deny or distort” these acts.

Tactically, perpetrators began to see the legal and financial ramifications if their crimes against children were exposed. Cries of “witch hunt” and “panic” were used to spin and cover up crimes against children. Those (like Anna Salter and David Calof) that were working to expose these crimes or expose those that were trying to cover up alleged crimes were harassed, causing some to stop researching and advocating for children. Many presentations of child abuse crimes, like ritual abuse crimes in the media and on the web carry only one sided accounts of these crimes, minimizing or leaving out the victims’ and prosecutors’ perspective, even in cases where convictions were found and appeals were denied.

The media turned on child abuse survivors in the early and mid 1990′s and began to in essence support those that had perpetrated crimes against children, believing unfounded stories about so called “miscarriages of justice.” Due to the extreme nature of ritual abuse crimes and the psychological need for the public denial of these crimes, it became an easy sell to spin these crimes against children for the public to believe the misstatements about falsely accused perpetrators. After ritual abuse was discredited, then other child abuse crimes could be more easily discredited.

Salter discusses this in “Organised abuse and the politics of disbelief” – Michael Salter – Faculty of Law Faculty of Medicine – University of New South Wales (Proceedings of the 2nd Australian & New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 19 – 20 June 2008 Sydney, Australia – Presented by the Crime & Justice Research Network and the Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Network)

During a period in which women and children’s testimony of incest and sexual abuse were gaining an increasingly sympathetic hearing, lobby groups of people accused of child abuse construed and positioned “ritual abuse” as the new frontier of disbelief.

The term “ritual abuse” arose from child protection and psychotherapy practice with adults and children disclosing organised abuse, only to be discursively encircled by backlash groups with the rhetoric of “recovered memories”, “false allegations” and “moral panic”. Seeking to recast the debate on child abuse according to an older politics of disbelief, these groups and activists attempted to characterise sexual abuse testimony, as a whole, through the lens of “ritual abuse”....

It does not take much effort to understand why people accused of child sexual abuse may engage in a vigorous defence of their innocence, nor why they might be joined by professional defence experts that make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year defending them. What does bear explaining is the purchase that their rhetoric found in the media, academia and the broader community.

Since the 1980s, disclosures of organised abuse have been disparaged by a range of activists, journalists and researchers who have focused, in particular, on cases in which sexually abusive groups  were alleged to have behaved in ritualistic or ceremonial ways...Whilst these authors claimed to be writing in the interests of science and social justice, what has emerged from their writing are a familiar set of arguments about the credibility of women and children’s testimony of sexual violence; in short, that women and children are prone to a range of memory and cognitive errors that lead them to make false allegations of rape.

As survivors of child abuse, we need to rebut these arguments (of the so-called skeptics). We need to know the facts. We need to fight against the arguments that protect child abusers. Every time a statement is made in the media against survivors of child abuse, the media needs to hear from hundreds of survivors. Everyone needs to write an intelligent letter, backed by facts. Every time a biased web page is created against survivors of child abuse, we need to create several intelligent, well-written pages to counter these. We need to get into the debate to tell our side of the story in every place we can. Wherever there is an opening for our side of the story, we must be there to tell it. And we need to say why we are telling this side of the story, to protect children from being abused and to help those that have been abused. We need to start getting published again in peer reviewed journals and start publishing nonfiction books about this topic in major publishing houses.

I will close with a quote from Audre Lorde:

“I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood…. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you…. and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.” Audre Lorde (The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action, Sister Outsider).


Neil Brick is an advocate and researcher for survivors of child abuse. He has worked for years to educate the public about child abuse. Neil Brick has written many research papers on child abuse issues, including his Master's thesis on how child abuse effects interpersonal relationships. Neil Brick runs several Internet lists to help survivors of child abuse and their supporters.

September 9, 2014

Understanding & Defining Ritual Abuse

This week, I am so excited to start a series brought to us by Neil Brick, founder of the S.M.A.R.T (Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse Today) newsletter and many conferences to address this very important area of abuse that sometimes goes ignored or is greatly understood. I am so pleased to have Neil sharing his insights about this topic and hope you will learn much from it! To get us started, I am sharing with you the information Neil submitted for the Wiki page on ritual abuse.


Ritual abuse exists all over the world. There have been reports, journal articles[1][2][3], web pages[4][5][6][7][8] and criminal convictions of crimes against children and adults [9][10][11].


Ritual abuse has been defined as:

    a brutal form of abuse of children, adolescents, and adults, consisting of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and involving the use of rituals. Ritual does not necessarily mean satanic. However, most survivors state that they were ritually abused as part of satanic worship for the purpose of indoctrinating them into satanic beliefs and practices. Ritual abuse rarely consists of a single episode. It usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time. The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful, sadistic, and humiliating, intended as means of gaining dominance over the victim. The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual/indoctrination, which includes mind control techniques and mind altering drugs, and ritual/intimidation which conveys to the victim a profound terror of the cult members and of the evil spirits they believe cult members can command. Both during and after the abuse, most victims are in a state of terror, mind control, and dissociation in which disclosure is exceedingly difficult.[12]

and as

WHAT IS RITUAL ABUSE? (BROAD DEFINITION) Ritual abuse is the abuse of a
child, weaker adult, or animal in a ritual setting or manner. In a broad sense, many of our overtly or covertly socially sanctioned actions can be seen as ritual abuse, such as military basic training, hazing, racism, spanking children, and partner-battering. Some abuse is private...some public. Public ritual abuse may be either open or secret. 

WHAT IS RITUAL ABUSE? (NARROW DEFINITION) The term ritual abuse is generally used to mean prolonged, extreme, sadistic abuse, especially of children, within a group setting. The group's ideology is used to justify the abuse, and abuse is used to teach the group's ideology. The activities are kept secret from society at large, as they violate norms and laws.[13]

Origins of the term

Pazder introduced the term "ritualized abuse" in 1980, describing the experiences of an adult survivor that was disclosing satanic abuse memories. He defined the phenomenon as "repeated physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual assaults combined with a systematic use of symbols, ceremonies, and machinations designed and orchestrated to attain malevolent effects." Later definitions came mostly from professionals addressing ritual abuse in child care settings. Finkelhor, Williams, Burns, and Kalinowski elaborated on Pazder's definition, defining ritual abuse as "abuse that occurs in a context linked to some symbols or group activity that have a religious, magical or supernatural connotation, and where the invocation of these symbols or activities are repeated over time and used to frighten and intimidate the children." Kelley referred to ritual abuse as the "repetitive and systematic sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of children by adults as part of cult or satanic worship"[14].


There is a great deal of evidence supporting the existence of ritual abuse crimes as a worldwide phenomenon. Bottoms, Shaver and Goodman found in their 1993 study evaluating ritual abuse claims that in 2,292 alleged ritual abuse cases, 15% of the perpetrators in adult cases and 30% of the perpetrators in child cases confessed to the abuse[15]. "In a survey of 2,709 members of the American Psychological Association, it was found that 30 percent of these professionals had seen cases of ritual or religion-related abuse (Bottoms, Shaver & Goodman, 1991). Of those psychologists who have seen cases of ritual abuse, 93 percent believed that the reported harm took place and 93 percent believed that the alleged ritualism occurred....The similar research of Nancy Perry (1992) which further supports (the previous findings)…Perry also conducted a national survey of therapists who work with clients with dissociative disorders and she found that 88 percent of the 1,185 respondents indicated ”belief in ritual abuse, involving mind control and programming.”[16]

Recently an online survey[17] of over one thousand people answered questions about ritual abuse and extreme abuse crimes. In a summary of the survey [18], it was found that ritual abuse/mind control is a global phenomenon. Fifty-five percent stated they were abuse in a Satanic cult. Seventy-seven percent of the adult survivors that responded "had been threatened with death if they ever talked about the abuse." Also, "257 respondents reported that secret mind control experiments were used on them as children." Eighty-two percent reported being sexually abused by multiple perpetrators.

Anne Johnson Davis in her book Hell Minus One reported that her parents confessed to her abuse in writing and verbally to clergymen, and to the detectives from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Her suppressed memories started when she was in her mid-30s, which were fully substantiated by her mother and stepfather[19][20].

Many scientific journals articles have discussed the reality of ritual abuse and its effect on its victims. Some of these articles have discussed the extreme nature of these crimes[21], proof of the reality of the ritual abuse phenomenon and victims' symptoms[22], the connection between ritual abuse, multiple personality disorder and mind control[23] and the connections between ritual abuse reports and the higher levels of symptoms of childhood sexual and physical abuse[24]. Several additional studies and organizations have compiled research on the reality of ritual abuse crimes[25][26][27].
Ritual abuse and mind control crimes have also been confirmed in other books[28][29][30][31].

A study which identified 270 cases of sexual abuse in day care settings found that allegations of ritual abuse occurred in thirteen percent of the cases[32]. Additional evidence of ritual abuse in day care and child abuse cases has been found in news reports, journal articles and legal transcripts[33][34][35][36][37].

Ritual abuse occurrences have also been found in the Netherlands [38]and the United Kingdom[39][40] [41] [42][43]. A ritual abuse case in the United States in 2006 had a confession and convictions. The case included up to 25 children.[44]

Kent believes that intergenerational satanic accounts are possible and that rituals related to them may come from a deviant interpretation of religious texts[45][46]. Others have stated that the theories and research around recovered memory "strongly confirm the reality of...cult abuse" of SRA survivors[47].


Neil Brick is an advocate and researcher for survivors of child abuse. He has worked for years to educate the public about child abuse. Neil Brick has written many research papers on child abuse issues, including his Master's thesis on how child abuse effects interpersonal relationships. Neil Brick runs several Internet lists to help survivors of child abuse and their supporters.

September 3, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: It is Not Only What Happened; It Is What Didn’t

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie speaks about speaking up!


I have a brother, Scott, who has the most amazing baritone voice. He’s always sung in the church choir and a group of Barber Shop Quartet singers who perform worldwide has repeatedly tried to get him to join them. He always declines. I have another brother, Brian, who is a talented artist. From when he was a kid he could bring to life just about anything with his drawings. When he was in the eighth grade, we were living in a house that had a blackboard, and while mom and dad were out shopping one day, he drew several female nudes on it. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea he was so talented. All the drawings were perfectly proportioned. Once I got over being stunned, especially at his subject matter, I told him he’d probably better erase it before mom and dad returned. An automobile accident took the life of my beloved baby sister, when she was 25. She was in the middle of writing a biography on the pirate, Jean Lafitte. My other younger sister had a lovely contralto voice and still does Karaoke.

One day my Scott made the comment, “Sis, can you imagine how our life would have been if we hadn’t lived in an abusive home with non-supportive parents? I had never thought of that. In my recovery and post recovery, I had been so busy thinking about the trauma and aftermath of pain and dysfunction that I had never considered what life could have been. Despite being a highly imaginative person who spins stories in her head on a daily basis I’ve never been keen on spending too much time reminiscing about what might have been. Interestingly enough, my favorite poem, Maud Muller, is by John Greenleaf Whittier and one of the last stanzas is:

“For of all sad words of tongue or
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been’.”

It is not just the excruciating mental, emotional and spiritual pain inherited by victims of child sexual abuse; it is not just the enormous cost in billions of dollars a year spent on their medical care, to say nothing of the cost to industry, it is the loss of what “might have been”. Brian might today be a world famous painter. Scott might be singing for the New York Metropolitan Opera, my younger sister might be a successful performer in nightclubs and I might be a world famous author. Jeanne……she’s another story for another day. 

How many musicians, writers, physicians, inventors, successful businesspersons, political figures, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, and Nobel Peace prize recipients have been lost to the world because of child sexual abuse?  Think about that little four-year-old girl with the lovely curls who had such a lively imagination and was so entertaining until her uncle dragged her in to a closet one day.  What of the Cub Scout who dreamt of being President of the United States, until his father entered his bedroom in the middle of the night? Then there was the little boy who decided at the age of ten that he wanted to be a cardiologist when he grew up. His parents trampled his lofty goals when they made child pornography films their latest entertainment, with their son as the first star.

A young man who decides as a freshman in high school, when his mother dies of pancreatic cancer, that he is going to find a cure for this deadly disease.  He is determined in his quest. Then his father remarries unknowingly, a woman who finds her young stepson ripe for her unhealthy sexual desires.   His life is in ruins as his self-esteem and his dream disintegrate. Two already convicted and then released child perpetrators kidnap and gang rape a teenage girl, who wants to be a fashion designer. Her dreams have disappeared into thin air. The list is endless. So many perpetrators have desecrated potentially talented humans, people needed in a world that has so many needs…. and so many child molesters.

How long are we going to continue allowing lives to be destroyed, lives that might have made a huge positive difference in our own? We need to put perpetrators behind bars for good. It is a proven fact that you cannot rehabilitate sexual perpetrators. Pedophiles do not molest only one child; they molest a long line of victims.  You not only rob a child of their soul when you sexually molest them, you rob them of any potential they might have realized as adults.  How many souls are we going to destroy before we get it? Child sexual abuse is worse than murder.  Educate our children at a young age how to protect themselves from pedophiles. Common sense strategies and guidance are available to protect them. Kings County Sexual Assault Resource Center in Renton, WA has published a pamphlet titled, “He told me not to tell – A parents’ guide to talking to children about sexual assault.” I cannot recommend this pamphlet enough. Every parent should have a copy. If you call them at 425.226.5062, they will mail you, free of charge, a copy. What are you waiting for?


Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.
Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse,  REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.

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