NON-STATE TORTURE, RITUAL ABUSE AND TORTURE, EXTREME ABUSE
As a survivor and a life coach for non-state torture, ritual abuse, and extreme abuse survivors as well as other types of abuse survivors, I am well aware of the immensity and intensity of this subject. In order to even begin to write this post, I need to take a deep breath to reach deep down within myself. To speak of sexual abuse, clergy abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, and rape takes courage. Most people know someone who has experienced one or all of these types of abuse. Many people believe they have not met someone who has survived torture or ritual abuse or mind control. Those subjects are still somewhat hidden. Many survivors keep their past of surviving ritual abuse and torture to themselves for fear of being disbelieved and/or thought of as mentally ill. I know. I was disbelieved (as was my daughter). I was also given a diagnosis of schizophrenia by a German court-appointed psychiatrist. (Read: www.hopeforus.wordpress.com). It can be easier to give someone a mental illness label than to believe that person and face the truth.
In my journey, I have connected with quite a few ritual abuse survivors, especially in the last two years. It has been healing to meet with others whose stories contain both differences and similarities.
When I researched the topic many years ago, I found the website of Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald. Their website is now titled: Persons Against Non-State Torture Including Ritual Abuse-Torture (RAT) and can be found at: http://nonstatetorture.org/
I highly recommend that you and almost any one in our society read all or parts of this website. These two Canadian women have named, defined, and explained non-state torture, ritual abuse, and extreme abuse better than anyone else or anywhere else I know. I’ve learned from communication with Jeanne Sarson how important terminology is in getting laws introduced as well as helping others to understand the entire arena of these types of abuse and their impacts on the victims. These two women have worked for 22 years in this field. They have worked to change laws at the United Nations level as well as Canadian law.
Do you know if there are laws against a spouse torturing a spouse or his/her child (non-state torture) in your state of residence? As far as I know, there are not laws regulating non-state torture in each state of the United States. How can you prosecute someone if there is no law saying it is illegal?
From Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald’s presentation at the 4th International Conference on the Survivors of Rape, (see E-book on http://nonstatetorture.org/, pages 66-72), they define state torture as being inflicted by State actors such as government officials, military or police. Non-state actors (abusers/torturers) can be parents, other family members, guardians or spouses or others. A list of torture actions is included on page 68. It consists of:
Beaten, burned, cut, whipped
Immobilization tortures, tied, hung, caged
Sexualized tortures: rapes, gang rapes, repetitive raping, gun, hand/object rapes
Psychological tortures: humiliation, degradation, dehumanization, animalization, terrorization, horrification
Witnessing torture of others
Those are the actions of classic torture that state actors (government officials, military, and police) inflict. These are also the same acts that non-state actors (parents, spouses, and others) inflict. Why is it that so many people can believe that human beings will torture in the name of militaries and governments; but, are in disbelief that human beings would torture a member of their own families? Most of the above listed acts of torture, I have experienced. The family members and the other perpetrators seemed like “normal” human beings. They were functional and normal in many ways. Some of the perpetrators were in the military, some were martial arts specialists, and some were priests, plus my mother, and others. The details are not important for this article.
There are also other types of torture, such as commercial-based tortures (trafficked for torturing, torture-porn, and snuff films/phots) and socio-cultural or religious tortures. See: http://nonstatetorture.org/files/3013/2788/1114/tortureinthe_homefs.pdf
This material is upsetting (which is an understatement); yet, we cannot as a society or individuals ignore the facts. On page 70, of Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald’s presentation, they have a chart which lists how many times a woman who endured non-state torture within a family system beginning as a child has possibly been raped. If someone is raped once a day for 20 years x 365 days it equals 7,300 rapes. I won’t go into further statistics or information. I do stress the need for people to be aware of this. It is the only way to change the behaviors of individuals and groups as well as society as a whole.
After reading those statistics, I have even more self-compassion. I was a psychological captive in both my family of origin and in my long-term relationship and marriage with Tom M. Torture-porn defines what Tom M. and the other perpetrators did to me with a frequency I cannot even begin to count. I could write more regarding cult definitions, human trafficking, etc. It is not necessary at this time.
Dissociation. Repression. Denial. Those are other terms that need to be understood. To know I dissociated, repressed, denied is completely understandable.
“If you cannot tolerate what you know or feel what you feel, the only option is denial and dissociation.”
– Bessel van der Kolk, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”
Human beings do what they need to do in order to survive. I did. I repressed the abuse for decades. It is quite common for survivors not to remember childhood sexual abuse until around age 40. I do know many people in their twenties who are facing the abuse in their past now. It is hopeful to me to know that individuals can recover and heal sooner.
We survive. Dissociation and repression are often necessary ways that individuals use to deal with the intense trauma and pain of the situation(s) of abuse, torture, rape, etc. Once we begin to heal, these coping mechanisms slip away in their own time. We no longer need them.
I am a survivor of ritual abuse, torture, mind control, extreme abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence, clergy abuse, spiritual abuse ………………………The abuse and torture do not define me.
I am a loving, giving , compassionate human woman. I am free! To be out of the abuse and healed to this point is such a relief. Relief!
Chances are, if you are reading this page, you are a survivor of some type of abuse and trauma. The point to keep acknowledging and to cherish is that we are survivors and no longer victims!! (If you are still in a domestic violence relationship or another type of abuse relationship, please know there is a future for you without the abuse. Please reach out to me or to someone. There are resources available. The road is not easy; yet, I believe it is worth it.)
One of the purposes of writing on these topics is to take away the shame and blame. We are not at fault. The blame and shame are not ours.
Another reason for me to write this blog on such an intense and sometimes overwhelming subject is to give you, the reader, knowledge and information. This knowledge, information, and terminology can make it easier for us, as survivors, to explain the horror of what we have lived through in a way that others will listen and understand. Personally, I sometimes find it easier to give a resource, a link, or an article to a person who is interested and who cannot seem to understand fully. A resource can lessen some of the emotional impact that a person who cares for us feels when hearing our own personal stories. People vary in what they are capable of hearing and when.
I am filled with relief and gratitude that I survived, that I am free, and that I am thriving. My past did not stop me from being a human being (as some of the abusers and torturers would have liked). My history did not stop me from being a person with a deep spirituality. It amazes me … the resiliency of a human person. It is imperative that we recognize the resiliency we contain inside our bodies, hearts and spirits!
People ask me, how did you survive? How can you be so healthy? Why are you not drunk, or on drugs, or dead? Those are great questions. I have asked them myself. I will address these questions in future posts. My answers are varied … concrete and vague … filled with reality and mystery … with spirituality being a huge part of my journey from victim to survivor and then to a person who thrives. . If you have signed up for my newsletter, you have received the “Highlights of My Therapeutic Journey”. That is only a short version of how I benefited from therapy. There is much more to survival and healing. Therapy is one aspect of a long, complex path.
Life is more than surviving. Life is meant to be lived … It sounds like a cliché; but, it is not. My desire to help others experience life more fully is great. Living well requires a purpose for many of us.
Traveling this part of my journey with you is exciting. I want to see you thrive. The peace I feel within me is deep and almost always with me. I want to share that with you. The sudden unexpected moments of intense gratitude and joy can overwhelm me.
Joy … Sometimes I find myself smiling … just feeling a moment of joy … for no apparent reason. I find myself smiling as I walk down the street or in other everyday places. (Smiles are contagious!) Then when I look inside I realize it is a joy that comes from being alive after all the PAIN I suffered. There does not need to be a better reason than that one. I am alive, healthy, smiling …. Amazing!
Feel free to contact me. I would like to hear your thoughts. As always, I am available to be your life coach. Remember, you are worthy of a life of freedom, peace, joy, and love!!
As Jeanne Sarson writes to me and I pass it on to you, take gentle care of your-Self!