To My Beloved Sister
I am not using your name because I want to do what I can to protect your privacy. I love you. I always have and always will. Nothing you or anyone else does can ever change that. Nothing would make me happier than having you decide to get back in touch. No apologies or explanation are ever necessary. There are no conditions. Just give me a call or write me a letter and say hi. The door is always open. It would be nice if you would even just let me send you letters and postcards. I’d be happy to promise not to discuss the accusations if that is your wish.
You are a wonderful person. You have brought great happiness to my life and to Mom’s and Dad’s lives and to the lives of everyone else you have touched. You have so many beautiful qualities. The way you took care of fallen birds when we were children showed the warmth and gentleness of your heart. Your love for nature and animals filled our lives with experiences we never would have had without you. If it weren’t for you, I never would have learned to care for a baby sparrow or incubate chicken eggs or raise a goose. Dad never would have learned to trim a cockatiel’s toenails or to clean an aquarium. Somehow, you had a special gift for mobilizing the entire family to save the latest wounded or sick or dying animal, and the escapades enriched all of our lives.
You are a writer of rare talent. You have an incredible ability to express an emotion in your prose. Your poetry is moving and lyrical.
The people around you sense and are impressed by all your wonderful qualities. When we came to search for you after your disappearance and to find out whether you were still alive, we talked with so many of the friends who you stopped seeing over the course of your therapy. All of them spoke warmly of how much you mean to them, how much it hurt to lose you, and how much they would like your friendship and company back. Your beautiful qualities shine brightly and illuminate the lives of the people you touch. Please call your friends and say hi. They would be thrilled to hear from you. Life is short and friendships are a gift to be treasured and renewed at every chance.
What happened in the summer of 1996 was not your fault. Like tens of thousands of other people, you have been misled by a well-meaning but misinformed therapist. She meant well, but she misdiagnosed your symptoms as evidence of repressed memories of ritual satanic abuse. She gave you a simple, easy answer for the very real pain you’ve been feeling– that all your problems are your family’s fault and the result of ritual satanic abuse–instead of the true answer–the sadness we all felt due to Mom’s long illness and repeated hospitalizations. Your therapist’s “memory recovery” techniques are extremely dangerous because they carry the risk of creating a strong belief in “false memories,” seemingly-real memories of events which in fact never occurred. Her “theories” of “memory recovery” are grounded in a misunderstanding of how memory works and have been rejected by every responsible scientific and medical organization that has examined them. Please read the official practice guidelines issued by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in a report called Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse: Recommendations for Good Practice and Implications For Training, Continuing Professional Development and Research, the Statement by the Board of the American Psychiatric Association on Memories of Sexual Abuse, and the American Psychological Association’s Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse and Report of the Working Group On Investigation of Memories of Childhood Abuse. Please compare these statements by professional organizations to the claims made by your therapist.
Here are some examples of the false beliefs that developed in your mind during this therapy:
- You wrote in your letter that both of us were the victims of ritual satanic abuse as children, but I’m quite sure I’ve never been abused physically, sexually, or emotionally by anyone.
- You broke up with your ex-boyfriend because you felt he was under the control of a satanic cult, and you told him in your letter to him that “it was in my third therapy session” that you realized that he too was the victim of satanic abuse as a child. But he is quite sure that nothing like this has ever happened to him either.
- You wrote in your letter that your body bears scars from sexual abuse and efforts to conceal it. Would you please see a doctor and ask her to confirm this?
- You wrote that there are hundreds of bodies buried under a gazebo on our grandparents’ old property. There was never a gazebo on that property.
- You wrote that there are bodies buried in the backyard of our home. I’ll be happy to get out shovels and dig with you until you’re satisfied that this is not true.
The reason I created this web site is that I want to prevent other young women from being misled the way you were and other families from having their hearts broken the way ours was. After all the pain that I have been through, I cannot sit silently by while this cult–and that’s what it is–exploits other emotionally troubled young women for their money and shatters other innocent families. The Memory Recovery Cult must be stopped, and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.
I wish you had given me a chance to talk with you about these things before you made the accusations, cut off all contact with us, and disappeared. Again, what you did is not your fault. The Memory Recovery Cult teaches its victims to make “hit and run” accusations and to cut off all contact without giving the accused people a chance to defend themselves. It has to. People who have been through so-called Memory Recovery Therapy quickly come to believe things which aren’t true and often things which can easily be proven false, just as you have. If the movement gave the accused family members a chance to defend themselves, it would quickly be exposed for the fraud that it is. To prevent that, the movement teaches its believers to make the accusations and cut off all contact. Please give me a chance to sit down with you in a location in which you feel comfortable and talk together about the things you have said. Hundreds of people–all your childhood friends, all of your relatives, everyone who knew you before you met this therapist–disagree with the things you have come to believe since your therapy. Those things simply aren’t true, and I can prove it to you if you give me the chance. Everyone should be innocent until proven guilty. Will you give me a chance to demonstrate my innocence? Please do. The truth is nothing to fear, and people who are confident they are right are never afraid to talk with others about what they believe. But if you’d simply prefer to resume contact by letters or phone without discussing what happened, that would be fine too.
Dear sister, I love you and I want once again to share the joy of life together. You have brought so much light and love into all of our lives. Please remember all the happy things that did happen in our childhood–the Parcheesi games, the trips to Jamaica and British Columbia and Maui, the games of flashlight tag, the joy of caring for pets and fallen birds and Banti chickens and geese, all of the things we shared together as a family. Our family has had tragedies, but it also has many blessings. We can share all of that happiness once again. Please reach deep into yourself, past the thin layer of things that therapist has taught you, and find the love and warmth and openness that no therapist or cult or movement could ever take away. You are a beautiful, wonderful person who has much love and goodness to give the world. Please let go of the hate and remember the love. Hate blinds people. Love opens their eyes. Let the love and truth triumph over hate and falsehood. We can have a happy ending to this tragedy anytime you’re ready to pick up the phone and call. So long as there is life, there is hope.
Van de website: http://www.stopbadtherapy.com/