Talk:Satanic ritual abuse/Archive 2

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Possible Compromises

Matt has asked me, as a religion editor, to take a look at the article. This is a subject about which I know nothing and since many of the above comments seem to refer to text in earlier drafts that is no longer in the article, I was not able to follow the entire discussion. But I will be happy to be educated about it and perhaps can lend some sort of hand in clarifying how to proceed.

1. Structure of the article. Currently there is a definition at the beginning and a series of quotations about Satanic ritual abuse, mostly addressing the subject indirectly. There is also a dispute whether the phenomenon is real or not. Perhaps it would be best to structure the article with three sections: (1) definition; (2) evidence in favor of the existence of the phenomenon; (3) evidence against the existence (or widespread existence) of the phenomenon. The order of the last two sections is important and I do not know which order is better. Generally, whichever section goes last gets the last word and therefore is the overall judgment of the article writer. If the article's thesis is "Satanic Ritual Abuse is an alleged phenomenon, but the evidence for its widespread existence is slight" I would put the sections in the order I listed. It is important to make it clear whether the entire phenomenon is being denied, or whether its widespread nature is being denied. I admit it is hard to define "widespread" but I think that has to be considered a professional judgment. From what I have seen in the article and subsequent discussion, I would not be inclined to call the phenomenon "widespread," but I would not deny absolutely its existence.

2. Definition. Getting the definition right is the key. The current definition is "the extreme and sadistic sexual, psychological or physical assault on another perpetuated by one or more Satanists in a specific ritual." Could one drop the "and sadistic" or even "the extreme and sadistic"? Presumably "abuse" includes the word "extreme" in it already. The placement of "sadistic" suggests one can have sadistic psychological abuse, which I suppose is possible. Is "sadistic" somehow included in "extreme . . sexual" abuse or even "sexual. . . abuse"? I have not thought about these terms in detail before; I don't know. I'd consider anything "sadistic" to be "extreme."

3. Use of "SRA." Once we have the definition clear, "SRA" simply stands for the definition, so I have no problem using the abbreviation, as long as each use consciously has the definition in mind.

4. Use of Gould, Young, etc.: It is true that professional articles in a particular field just use someone's last name. The reader, as a professional, is expected to know who the person is. But Citizendium is designed to appeal to a general audience and thus the reader needs more clues. I would include not only the first name, but a very short identifier: "Charles Gould, an anthropologist. . ." (I have no idea who "C Gould" is, so this is an example). I think you would agree that "C Gould, an anthropologist" has a very different feel than "C. Gould, a criminologist" and colors how the text is read. But this is legitimate if the identifier is chosen in as neutral a fashion as possible.

5. References. The references section is a great place to let our collective hair down and provide a rich set of notes, both descriptive ones to clarify and amplify the article and citations to other opinions. This is not a book where we are concerned about how many trees we kill. We won't bust the hard disk; it's big enough. If a source is a press release, if you want to include it because it adds valuable content not available elsewhere, make the nature of the source clear. (If, on the other hand, there's a peer reviewed source, start with that; but even then the reference could also include "in addition, similar points are covered in a press release here" and include a link.)

6. Overall tone. I am going out on a limb here, as I do not have a lot of experience as an editor of articles. Maybe Matt can correct me. I am inclined to think that Citizendium exists to get articles by experts that reflect the professional judgment of the experts. It is difficult to achieve that by committee. Therefore, whoever drafted the first version of the article, in my opinion, needs to have a dominant (but not exclusive) voice in the article's content, unless the initial author was not an expert in the subject or proved to have a highly idiosyncratic view about the topic. An article of this sort calls for both neutrality AND a professional judgment; the question of whether Satanic Ritual Abuse exists needs to be explored from both sides, but some sort of judgment is appropriate. Robert Stockman 18:40, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Robert, thank you for offering to help with the article. I agree with all of your points above. Neil Brick 01:47, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

I absolutely agree with your point #2 being critical. In my opinion, the article can work only if the definition is quite precise. The reason that I asked for Religion help is that to me, one can reasonably refer to something as upper-case Satanic if it is specific to a belief system in Satan, that being Satanism. The sadism, extreme, etc., simply confuse the situation.
Certainly SRA can be used if it refers to a clear definition, but if SRA has several interpretations of "S", and even further overlaps an even more general "RA", how can we get anywhere?
Your point is taken regarding the source names. It is common practice in the science and engineering publications with which I work, but it is agreed those are for specialists. If it can be a requirement that both academic/government researchers are identified by profession and function, it also seems only fair that writers for advocacy groups also be identified.
I would welcome context-setting articles on Satan and Satanism, by someone more expert in those topics. Note that there is also a ritual abuse article that is not specific to Satanism, but does consider other belief-system-based abuse. There is, and has been before all this started, a child abuse and a child sexual abuse article that would seem to be the place to discuss things principally motivated by sadism, unless there is a theological link betweeen Satanism and sadism.
Might I request a ruling, from you as a Religion Editor, that this article needs to be restricted to a definition that clearly links to Satan? With that constraint, then the literature can be addressed to survey what evidence exists for there being, or not being, a significant phenomenon of now-specific Satanic ritual abuse? Howard C. Berkowitz 21:55, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
By "Satan," Howard, I assume you mean a definition relating to Satanism? I would rather start by determining what definition people want to use. Can we use something like "sexual, psychological or physical assault on another perpetuated by one or more Satanists in a specific ritual." This doesn't include "extreme" or "sadistic" because "assault" seems to embody either one or both adjectives. Presumably an assault is, by definition, an abuse.
What do you think of the idea of then having two sections where the term's validity is discussed, pro and con? Is there a better structure we can come up with to make an article that is clear?
If I may, I want to thank the people who are debating this article for laying out the issues. That's a big step toward coming up with something that works.
Robert Stockman 22:18, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
By Satan, I was using the term for the supernatural being or concept, the etymology, I believe, is from the Hebrew for "adversary". Again not being an expert in the subject, my further understanding is that the usage is of medieval Christian origin; I hesitate to get (here at least) into the nuances of Lucifer, Satan, "the Devil", etc. There certainly were allegations of Satan worship in the past, and there are symbols and usages associated with it. We do have the modern Church of Satan formed by Anton Szandor LaVey, complete with what I completely agree is an upper-case Satanic website,[1]. I would be hesitant to use your suggested language of "sexual, psychological or physical assault on another perpetuated by one or more Satanists in a specific ritual" unless we first have a specific definition of Satanism; I would also like to discuss if the definition would mean someone with a religious belief system in Satanism or if symbols alone qualify. Personally, I prefer it be restricted to the former. The swastika was a symbol in Native American and South Asian traditions long before Adolf Hitler was conceived; it is not reasonable to assume anything with a swastika is Nazi, any more than a counterculture music group making good money by shocking with their use of Satan-related symbols necessarily believe in Satanism.

Some symbols, such as the black mass, have classically been associated with Satanist ritual, although variants do appear in other occult traditions focused on what they consider to be adversarial to at least Abrahamic concepts of good (e.g., Aleister Crowley, who rather boldly declared himself the "wickedest man on earth"). Unfortunately, the pentagram is a perfectly acceptable symbol to many neopagan groups that are horrified by the thought of honoring evil. In like manner, a representation of "the devil" also corresponds to various Horned Gods (e.g., the sun spirit in many Wiccan traditions, Pan in the Greek pantheon, etc.) who tend to be male archetypes not at all considered evil (see, for example, Jung's Man and His Symbols).

I realize I'm defining Satan and Satanism here, which really should be articles of their own. To try to focus on the subject of this article, I would suggest, minimally, that the topic be constrained to be abuse that involves at least symbols specifically attributed to Satan, if not a formal Satanist belief system. This excludes generic sexual, sadistic, etc., abuse, and indeed religiously based ritual abuse that does not use this symbolism. To offer a suggested clarification of ritual abuse, which is culturally specific, female genital mutilation is fairly widely accepted, at the international level, as abusive. It is very real, it is traditional in some societies, but it is not Satanic. If the people doing it, whom I personally consider abusers, seek no personal sexual gratification, it is not sadistic. Let me not get too far afield.
Once the definition is limited to specifically involving symbols of, or belief in, Satan, it is then possible to get into alternative views of whether Satan-based abuse, not necessarily of children but necessarily of nonconsensual victims, exists. The literature I have reviewed suggests there are at least three possible categories:
  1. Nonconsensual abuse by people who perform the acts as part of a belief system in Satan.
  2. Nonconsensual abuse who use Satanic symbols as means of inducing fear, but do not actually believe in Satan; they might indeed be gaining sadistic gratification, the symbol-induced fear being part of the means of inflicting psychological as well as physical pain, injury or death
  3. No evidence of any systematic use of Satanic ritual, but perhaps individual or small groups that, possibly for delusional reasons, use some symbols without a systematic plan.
Could instances of any of these exist? I believe so. The next major issue, however, is the prevalence of these cases, and, as some advocacy groups maintain, if there are large-scale hidden conspiracies for conducting any.
There probably will not be any compromise on two positions:
  • One, which I believe represents the majority of social science and criminal investigative positions, there is no substantial evidence of large-scale conspiracy
  • There is a well-hidden systematic conspiracy. I use "conspiracy" not in a pejorative sense, but in the sense of conspiracy (legal).
We could make some progress, I believe, if we at least use as precise a definition as possible, not using nonspecific adjectives such as extreme or lower-case satanic. If we establish that there is a strong position such conspiracies do not exist and the alleged cases are questionable, this is a valid criticism to link, for example, to articles on books describing allegations of such abuse. The question also arises is whether stand-alone articles on individual books about Satanic book claims make sense, or whether they might more properly be in the bibliography of this article. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:38, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I would disagree with the use of references that clearly link to only satanism, because SRA is a subset of ritual abuse. Some research that covers ritual abuse also covers SRA. It would be an artificial distinction to state that an article that doesn't discuss SRA in detail not be included in the article. I believe that a choice of references used should be decided on a case by case basis. Neil Brick 01:47, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
In my opinion the focus should more about the victims of these groups and what they suffer and less about the ideology behind the deeds. I worry that focusing too much on Satanism including all the shock value makes us forget the crimes that are being committed.Nitsa Kedem-Oz 01:11, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
This article is on the ideology behind a certain class of deeds. There is a child abuse article, apparently being ignored, that will address victims independent of abuse. This article is not about victims. It is about a specific ideology. More general ideologies can be addressed in ritual abuse, if it is indeed ritual. If the abuse is generically sexual, then there is a child sexual abuse article. There are opportunities to create balanced articles on child prostitution and child pornography. The mission of CZ, however, is not to publicize "crimes being committed", with no context. The mission of CZ is not to conduct campaigns for victims or to pursue villains. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:55, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we need to spend much time defining "Satan"; I think the popular image will be precise enough. I don't know the history of the idea, but I suspect it is far older than medieval Christianity. In Arabic and Persian, "shaytan" means the same thing. Furthermore, if there are various groups of Satanists, their use of Satan may vary, so precision may not be possible.
But defining "Satanism" is worth a sentence or two or three. Don't you agree, Neil? I could see two ways of doing this: (1) sticking with the highly precise and narrow definition of "Satanism" as referring to specific organized groups that self-identify as Satanists; or (2) noting this specific definition and adding that a fuzzier "penumbra" sometimes surrounds the specific definition and includes smaller, non-organized self-identified groups that might broaden out into punk rocker type groups. The latter approach would have the advantage of noting that a fuzzy definition exists in practice and I gather that is true. This would also help classify the literature better, as some seems to include the broader category, rightly or wrongly.
Regarding what literature to include, I think that's a case by case situation. If something on ritual abuse has something to say about Satanic ritual abuse, it may be worth including. If it seems to deal with the fuzzier "penumbra" group, that should be stated.
Perhaps I should define the terms "umbra" and "penumbra" more clearly. The "umbra" is the dark center of a shadow; it tends to be surrounded by a wider partial shadow, where some of the disk of the sun is blocked and some is shining through. I am using this as an analogy for defining Satanism, which perhaps has a clear core definition (referring to the larger, well-organized, formalized groups) and a fuzzer set of vaguer uses around it. If there is literature about ritual abuse using the "penumbra" definitions, they probably should be included in the article as well, but separated out as using a vaguer definition.
Since I have not read any of the literature, I am inferring from the precious discussions. Is this generally correct? Is this a useful way of thinking about the subject?

Robert Stockman 05:04, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

P.S. On further reflection: I suspect that the notion of a "well organized" Satanic group may be itself hard to define. I bet many groups do not have legal incorporation with bylaws, for example. Many of them may have evolving practices. Many of them probably include ideas that are not strictly "Satanic" such as reincarnation or nature worship. So I wonder whether the umbra and penumbra don't grade together as continual shades of gray.

Robert, I agree that we could define Satanism in a couple of sentences. I also agree with you that a case by situation would work, since there is a great deal of overlap between ritual abuse and SRA in the literature. I think that your ways of looking at it are very useful and something we could possibly apply to the writing of the article.Neil Brick 15:19, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

I am simply not going to address a vague "SRA", or accept the interchangeability of Satanic ritual abuse and ritual abuse. There is a point, in writing an encyclopedia article, that something becomes so gray as to be unmaintainable. The "Satanic", unless as precisely defined as possible, is inflammatory. Numerous law enforcement organizations have been unable to find evidence of what they considered large-scale Satanic practices; having lived in Virginia for many years, if their task force had found evidence, that would have delighted some political constituencies.
Indeed, I would be perfectly willing to delete this article, moving relevant material to ritual abuse. Is there any question that nonconsensual female genital mutilation, done to cultural and perhaps theological tradition, is an abuse that is part of a ritual? Is there any question that a child's death due to a beating to "drive out the [Christian] devil is ritual abuse? Why is it useful to use an extremely hard to define additional descriptor to deal with one special case? Would an article on Christian ritual abuse be acceptable or useful?
Even non-Satanic ritual abuse is going to be hard to define in some cases. No one is going to argue that a girl grabbed and submitted, screaming, to infibulation is being abused. If I may be permitted a brief and nongraphic painful memory of my own, it was hearing sounds of an attempted an emergency pelvic examination on an infibulated adult, before humanity took over and general anesthesia was given. But what of adolescent that submits to scarification, tooth filing, male circumcision, etc., in a coming of age ritual? Is that consensual, if not submitting would cause immense loss of status? At what age does one give informed consent to mortifications, to the Sun Dance, to self-flagellation? I don't have simple answers, and I think any that literature insists on emphasizing any shocking symbol, rather than the result, must pass a high bar of validation.
Ritual abuse is far easier to describe than arguing an unmaintainable Satanic subcase. Of course, if it were agreed that Satanic ritual abuse is about as easy to define as "evil", it might well be that other articles centered around allegations of it might not, themselves, be maintainable or notable. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It encourages CZ neutrality. Howard C. Berkowitz 05:37, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
There are cases in the literature and legal system of well organized SRA practices, the Hammond, LA case being the most recent one. I am unsure of the idea of combining articles, if done, this would have be done carefully with full editorial input.Neil Brick 15:19, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I think you make several important points, Howard.
1. We need to be as precise as we possibly can. I would ask this: should an article try to be more precise than the literature it describes? I don't know the answer to the question. If there is a "subfield" (sub-sub-sub field?) studying Satanic ritual abuse, it is probably best describing the conclusions of the field. Encyclopedia articles certainly can interpret and advance a subject, but their principal purpose is to summarize.
Would an article on Christian ritual abuse be acceptable. I agree that it would be considered inflamatory, partly because of the breadth of the term. If Satanism is a legitimate phenomenon in our secular, neutral society then it deserves the same respect as any other religious group or institution. If Satanism does seem to include a certain amount of abuse, the phenomenon is a legitimate one to study (just as "Christian snake charmer ritual abuse" would be; but note this is not generic "Christian" ritual abuse). But that raises the other side of this discussion: the people who are studying Satanic ritual abuse. If most of their work is biased and an attack on Satanism, then an article on "Satanic ritual abuse" needs to at least note that and probably needs to devote substantial space to it.
I am not sure that male circumcision is a completely good analogy. It is not a Christian custom in the sense of being in the New Testament or being an ancient Mediterranean Christian custom. It was customary in the US in the twentieth century largely because of public health benefits. I gather it is now shrinking as a customary thing in the US. In the US it is not a religious ritual; it performed in the hospital by a doctor with no clergyperson or parent present, and with no prayers or other rituals. (I am speaking of US Christians here, not Jews.) I do not think circumcision was an African Christian or Indian Christian or a Japanese Christian custom. I agree strongly that "female circumcision" is abuse. It is not scriptural in Christianity or Islam. It is most common in parts of northern and eastern Africa among both Christians and Muslims for, I suppose, local cultural reasons. It does not have medical benefits that the modern medical establishment has accepted and has numerous negative medical impacts medicine has identified. To what extent it is performed in a ritualistic context, I do not know. That would be an important question to consider if one wishes to include it as "ritual abuse."
This also raises cultural issues about how to define "abuse." I will give an example. A friend of mine is Lakota and was once describing a sun dance to me, where men pull a small stick through the skin on their chests, tie a cord to it, and dance round and round a pole, pulling on the cord, until the skin breaks or they collapse from exhaustion (and sometimes have mystical experiences). I asked him whether anyone gets hurt and he said "sure, but we have some ambulances standing by"! Religions all call on people to stretch their bodies beyond their usual limits. Most have a fasting ritual of some sort (with exceptions for the infirm, old, and very young). Many include the taking of a mind-altering substance, though often not enough to alter consciousness (wine in the eucharist, for example). Some include night vigils (no sleep all night). None of these are meant to be abusive, but they occasionally will do harm.
Robert Stockman 15:31, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Responding to Robert's examples

Some subheads will really help make this readable. Given the appearance of impropriety, I'm not going to create them in other than my own comments, but I urge others to do so when they are starting a distinct subtopic.

When I thought of Christian ritual abuse, how about the People's Temple Christian Church in Jonestown, Guyana? If symbolism alone can define a ritual abuse, do the admitted violations of trust in the pedophilia admitted by the Catholic Church count (I'm really not sure, but it's food for thought).

As far as ritual male circumcision, I think first of it as Jewish. Clearly, an eight-day-old boy cannot give informed consent, as opposed to the participants in the Sun Dance, or Shi'ite Muslims in Ashura, or various Catholic practices of self-mortification.

So, several things have to come together to make ritual abuse: nonconsensuality, a belief system or at least symbolism that makes a ritual, and some type of suffering. I see Satanic ritual abuse as the subset of this in which the belief or symbolic system is associated with some concept of Satan.

A symbol, in and of itself, is not diagnostic of a belief system. Obviously, a crucifix is a basic Christian symbol, but it was perverted as a fictional in The Exorcist, and almost certainly was present in black masses as an occult but not necessarily Satan-oriented practices of Aleister Crowley. A pentagram is widely associated with Satanism, but it is also a Wiccan holy symbol. In 2005, the issue arose when a Wiccan soldier wanted the pentagram as the religious symbol on his tombstone at a military cemetery in Nevada, U.S.; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rejected it but state officials permitted it. [2] From direct personal knowledge, I can say that a Wiccan regards having the pentagram deemed Satanic with the enthusiasm of a Jew having a swastika substituted for the Mogen David — and the swastika was a perfectly acceptable symbol of good in South Asian and Native American traditions long before the unfortunate [mis]conception of Adolf Hitler. Howard C. Berkowitz 08:54, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Case by case undesirable

Might we stop and ask what is trying to be accomplished here? Why is the question of case by case decisions being made? Is an encyclopedia to be an index of cases? I see it as an expanded definition and explanation, describing the issues, positions of the major sides, and both careful synthetic writing and and sourced material, the latter identified, in this context, if the author(s) have an identified strong view and also relevant credentials.

Why would individual cases be in question? I don't rule that out, but, in other areas, CZ is very deliberate in citing individual or primary sources. A primary source of a court decision (especially an appellate court) or treaty is appropriate because it formally is a definition, or the basis of one. In Health Sciences, consensus guidelines tend to be preferred to individual studies, unless the individual studies are described, by expert writers and editors, in a careful context. Even in the medical literature, many case reports of Satanic ritual abuse are true in what the patient recounted, but come with disclaimers of no external validation. I did cite, but had removed, a number of studies by national and regional law enforcement/interdisciplinary task forces that sought but did not find strong validation. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:29, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

I suggested case by case because I am only aware of the few cases mentioned in the draft article. If there are dozens and dozens of cases, one could classify and describe types or cite paradigmatic cases. But if this is not a real phenomenon, how could there be dozens and dozens of cases?
Robert Stockman 15:38, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
This is a real phenomenon though, defined in the literature and legal cases. Deciding on which references to use on a case by case is desirable and part of the collaborative process. I do agree we need to describe the positions of the major sides. Neil Brick 15:42, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Correction to the above: reports of the phenomenon are real. There is no widespread scientific or legal consensus that the phenomenon is widespread and real. It is not a matter of "major sides" with equal positions. May I, Robert, point to homeopathy as an example of how such a controversial subject was handled and got to Approval? That article both clearly defines homeopathy, in a manner acceptable to practicing homeopaths, but also makes it clear that mainstream medical opinion does not regard it as having demonstrated efficacy.
There are many case reports of people stating Satanic abuse. There are very few cases where there was any validation of the reality of the report, but there are major national and state studies -- see task forces above, including the UK, Netherlands, and US -- saying they could find no legally admissible evidence.
As to why there might be many reports, see moral panic. There were enormous numbers of denunciations, in the U.S., during the McCarthy period. There were, indeed, Soviet agents, some of whom who were never accused, and many other false accusations.
Unquestionably and deplorably, children are abused. As a standard of comparison, is there any serious question that female genital mutilation is not a widespread practice, with world-level activity to stop it? That is clearly ritual, sometimes cultural, sometimes religious, sometimes both. Is there the same standard of evidence that Satanic ritual abuse exists? Think of FGM as a standard of evidence. It is gets a specific mention as a worldwide problem from Amnesty International [3], and there are extensive examples of governmental and non-governmental organizations that recognize it and try to stop it. There is a Convention against Torture and worldwide recognition of the problem. Are the wide range of anti-torture groups spending any significant effort on Satanic ritual abuse?
Sorry, this is a very emotional subject for some people, but there is simply not the huge evidence base that they claim. If it can't even be defined, and needs case-by-case, that is indicative of a problem. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:55, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent)This is long, but needed to prove the point that there is legal and scientific evidence that the phenomenon is real.

  • A recent case with FBI involvement - [4]
  • Ninth sex cult suspect due in La. By Debra Lemoine

"Detectives also believe that members dressed in black to perform rituals that included _____ on a pentagram" This case has convictions and organized SRA.

web pages on Hammond case

This case has convictions and organized SRA.

Two legal case archives -

  • Believe the children (1997). “Conviction List: Ritual Child Abuse”. [7]
  • The Satanism and Ritual Abuse Archive contains 92 cases as of February 12, 2008.[8]

Corsini encyclopedia article [9] "most survivors state they were ritual abuse as part of satanic worship for the purpose of indoctrinating them into satanic beliefs and practices" quote from Report of the Ritual Abuse Task Force - Los Angeles County Commission for Women [10] The article also states that "sadistic ritual abuse" is also know as satanic ritual abuse or ritual abuse. p. 1437 describes SRA symptoms and treatment

  • Satanic Ritual Abuse: The Evidence Surfaces By Daniel Ryder, CCDC, LSW [11] author of Ryder, Daniel. Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse: Recognizing and Recovering from the Hidden Trauma. Compcare Pubns. ISBN 0-89638-258-3. 
  • Driscoll, L. N. & Wright, C. (1991). Survivors of childhood ritual abuse: Multi-generational Satanic cult involvement. Treating Abuse Today, 1(4), 5–13.
  • deMause, Lloyd, “Why Cults Terrorize and Kill Children” The Journal of Psychohistory 21 (4) 1994 [4] [12]
  • Fraser, G. A. (1990). “Satanic ritual abuse: A cause of multiple personality disorder”. Special issue: In the shadow of Satan: The ritual abuse of children. Journal of Child and Youth Care, 55-60
  • Goodwin, J. (1993). “Sadistic abuse: definition, recognition, and treatment”. Dissociation 6 (2/3): 181-187. [13] includes SRA as a type of sadistic abuse
  • Gould, Catherine. (1992) “Ritual abuse, multiplicity, and mind-control.” Special Issue: Satanic ritual abuse: The current state of knowledge. Journal of Psychology and Theology 20(3):194-6
  • Common Programs Observed in Survivors of Satanic Ritualistic Abuse David W. Neswald, M.A. M.F.C.C. in collaboration with Catherine Gould, Ph.D. and Vicki Graham-Costain, Ph.D. The California Therapist, Sept./Oct. 1991, 47-50
  • Hudson, P.S. (1990). “Ritual child abuse: A survey of symptoms and allegations.” Special issue: In the shadow of Satan: The ritual abuse of children. Journal of Child and Youth Care, 27-54.
  • Jonker, Fred. “Reaction to Benjamin Rossen’s investigation of satanic ritual abuse in Oude Pekela,” Special Issue: “Satanic ritual abuse: The current state of knowledge.” Psychology and Theology 20(3) 1992 pp. 260-2 [14]
  • Kent, Stephen. (1993). “Deviant Scripturalism and Ritual Satanic Abuse. II: Possible Masonic, Mormon, Magick, and Pagan influences”. Religion 23(4):355-367
  • Kent, Stephen. (1993). “Deviant Scripturalism and Ritual Satanic Abuse Part One: Possible Judeo-Christian Influences”. Religion 23(23):229-241.
  • October 20, 1997 ASSESSMENT OF THE SATANIC ABUSE ALLEGATIONS IN THE [name deleted] CASE Stephen A. Kent (Ph.D.) Professor Department of Sociology University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta T6G [15]
  • Leavitt, F. (1994). “Clinical Correlates of Alleged Satanic Abuse and Less Controversial Sexual Molestation.”. Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal 18 (4): 387-92. doi:10.1016/0145-2134(94)90041-8. [16]
  • Leavitt, Frank. “Measuring the impact of media exposure and hospital treatment on patients alleging satanic ritual abuse.” Treating Abuse Today 8(4) 1998 pp. 7-13 [17]
  • Neswald, David W. and Gould, Catherine. “Basic treatment and program neutralization strategies for adult MPD survivors of satanic ritual abuse.” Treating Abuse Today 2(3) 3 1992 pp. 5-10 [18]
  • A survey done in June 2000, at the National Victim Assistance Academy in Fresno , CA , 82 questionnaires given out, 44 criminal justice professionals responded to the questions, "Have you or a co-worker ever worked with a client/victim that claimed to be a victim of satanic ritual abuse?" Seventeen, 38% of respondents, had worked with clients who claimed to be victims of satanic ritual abuse or had co-workers who had worked with these clients. [Dawn Mattox, Butte County , CA , District Attorney’s Office, 2000]
  • Rockwell, R.B. (1994). One psychiatrists view of Satanic ritual abuse. The Journal of Psychohistory, 21(4), 443-460.
  • Young, W. C., Sachs, R. G., Braun, B. G., & Watkins, R. T. (1991). Patients reporting ritual abuse in childhood: a clinical syndrome. Report of 37 cases. Child Abuse and Neglect, 15(3), 181-189.
  • (edited for family friendly page)

description of study - Young et al. (1991) describe 37 adult patients, all diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (MPD) or dissociative disorder not otherwise specified who reported similar abuses by satanic cults. Apparently, most of the data were collected while the patients were in treatment with the authors. The article lists ten types of ritual abuse and the percentage of subjects who reported each type: sexual abuse (100%), witnessing and receiving physical abuse/torture (100%), witnessing animal _______ (100%), death threats (100%), forced drug usage (97%), witnessing and forced participation in human adult and infant ______ (83%), forced _____ (81%), marriage to Satan (78%), buried _____(72%), forced ____ and ______ (60%).

other books -

  • Sinason, V (1994). Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10543-9.
  • Oksana, Chrystine (2001). Safe Passage to Healing - A Guide for Survivors of Ritual Abuse. Lincoln, NE: ISBN0-595-201000-8. 1994 pub. HarperPerennial.
  • Brown, D. (1994). Satanic ritual abuse: A therapist’s handbook. Denver, CO: Blue Moon Press.
  • Raschke, Carl A. (1990). Painted Black. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-104080-0

There are more studies and cases. I am only presenting certain ones here to illustrate the point that SRA is a real phenomenon.

There is an understandable overlap in the literature between SRA and ritual abuse cases. However there are definitions of SRA and one can easily be created for this article. How about this -

Satanic Ritual Abuse usually involves repeated abuse with Satanic symbols and/or rituals over a period of time. It includes extreme physical, sexual and psychological abuse and may include the use of ritual indoctrination.Neil Brick 03:04, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Link to yet another clarification of CZ policy

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.) Howard removed white space from the formatting of the above post. D. Matt Innis 20:20, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Further, the article is titled Satanic ritual abuse and, in its introduction, states a definition. While I'm not claiming "ownership" of an article, I appeal to Editors and the Constabulary to consider that conflating many definitions encourages imprecision. All sadism is not Satanic, there is Christian (as well as many other) ritual abuse of children (e.g., fatal exorcism), etc. No matter how much one Citizen repeats it, SRA is not accepted to be an abbreviation for multiple concepts; indeed, there is a substantial body of opinion that using interchangeable SRA and RA is a large part of why a serious discussion is difficult. I refuse to discuss anything called SRA. I will discuss Satanic ritual abuse. I will discuss non-Satanic ritual abuse in ritual abuse. I will discuss sadistic child abuse in child sexual abuse, an existing article that has never been updated in all the recent activity. I will discuss nonconsensual sadism under sadism and torture, because nonconsensual sadism is not limited to children.

May I point out that a pentagram is not uniquely Satanic? Howard C. Berkowitz 14:41, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Trying for civil explanation; please accept that links alone are not especially convincing, nor are journalistic reports of detectives' allegations, nor books from obscure publishers. Quantity of notes does not overwhelm.
If one must put in a long list of sources:
  • Bullet them (prefix with an asterisk) and do not separate references with whitespace.
  • Put links in square brackets so they are clickable, but do not display lengthy URLs.
  • Be sure that there are no hard carriage returns inside text, which break indentation
Howard C. Berkowitz 21:08, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Regard the use of the abbreviation SRA "3. Use of "SRA." Once we have the definition clear, "SRA" simply stands for the definition, so I have no problem using the abbreviation, as long as each use consciously has the definition in mind." - Robert
I agree with Robert above. The use of the abbreviation SRA is acceptable as short hand for Satanic Ritual Abuse. Sadistic Ritual Abuse was used later as a term by some. The field itself is imprecise around the terminology depending on the author. Perhaps we could add a paragraph to the article about how the terms work in the literature, how some see RA as a subset of SRA and some may see them as more synonymous. Then we can work toward a decision on how there may be subsets of RA and define each as well. I believe that journalistic accounts of convictions of SRA cases are convincing.Neil Brick 01:41, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposed definition

As far as the proposed definition,

  • Satanic ritual abuse usually is repeated abuse, in the context of Satanic belief systems with Satanic symbols or rituals over a period of time>. It includes extreme physical, sexual and psychological abuse and may include the use of ritual indoctrination.

"Repeated" is not necessary; one act of nonconsensual abuse involving a ritual is offensive. "Extreme" is ill-defined and dramatic. "Ritual indoctrination" has no content here; any ritual system may involve indoctrination. Abuse is not limited to children. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:41, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

If we don't use the word "extreme" then I believe we need to find a synonym, because SRA crimes are usually extreme in nature. I think we should include the idea of indoctrination somehow, as some SRA systems do use this in their practices.Neil Brick 01:44, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
No. What, then, would be "mild" ritual abuse? The adjectives are imprecise and emotional.
Also, "ritual" does not necessarily imply indoctrination. In many societies, captured warriors of the other side were killed quite ritualistically, but that hardly is a form of indoctrination. That's a general anthropological and military observation, though, since I am not and will not comment on something called "SRA", which I do not accept as an agreed-to abbreviation for anything relevant to this article.
Since the article is about Satanic ritual abuse and that abreviation has been associated with several other sorts of abuse, I will not use it in discussion. Do not tell me "the literature" supports it; "the literature" does not universally support the existence of Satanic ritual abuse. Please accept that this is a controversial issue and your definitions will not automatically be accepted. If you wish to entitle an article SRA and use these vague definitions, you may see if it gets acceptance. Now, I do not "own" this article, but I will not discuss a generic SRA. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:52, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
OK, I agree with the deletion of the adjective. The definition stated "may include the use of ritual indoctrination." I believe this is important to add, since many SRA cases do include this. Note the use of the word "may." This implies that only a certain amount of cases use indoctrination. I would agree to changing it to "may or may not" to cover your example as well. I never stated that the literature universally accepts the existence of SRA, but much of the literature does back its existence.Neil Brick 02:41, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
What is an SRA case? For that matter, what, exactly, do you mean by indoctrination? Indoctrination, for example, is, among other things, a term of art used for the process of authorizing access to a specific type of classified intelligence information. Some colleges speak of "freshman orientation", but mine used "freshman indoctrination". Howard C. Berkowitz 02:45, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
You make a good point here. Perhaps the word "brainwashing" would be better.
1. Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person's basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs.
2. The application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as an advertising campaign or repeated suggestion, in order to develop a specific belief or motivation.Neil Brick 22:34, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Brainwashing is absolutely unacceptable to me, as yet another ill-defined term, the Free Dictionary notwithstanding. See thought reform and torture for extensively sourced discussion of it that is not useful as a term.

Changing the word does not change that ritual abuse, of any sort, does not necessarily imply any mental persuasion. A human sacrifice would constitute ritual abuse, and there is little question it was practiced, for example, by the Aztecs and Mayans, or, to the other side of the pond, by various Celtic societies. Having one's heart pulled from one's body or being immolated in a wicker man provide, at best, an extremely short time to affect the belief system of the sacrificial victim. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:59, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Since some systems of Satanic ritual abuse do use forced indoctrination, how about this - "and may include the use intensive, forcible religious indoctrination."Neil Brick 21:21, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
No. Indoctrination, brainwashing, or other supplements to abuse are nonstarters. It's not essential to the definition, especially when some allegations focus on sacrifice or suffering.
First, even if there were established Satanic ritual abuse, it is the abuse that is key, not the attitudinal changes. The fact that you include "intensive and forcible" before religious indoctrination is dramatic, rather than informative. I can think of friends complaining that during their Bar Mitzvah preparation, they'd drill the repetition for hours, and have their hands slapped with a ruler for every mistake in preparation. Does that make it Satanic?
Further, no one else is agreeing there are systems of Satanic ritual abuse. Why not concentrate on getting a definition with no superlatives, no dramatic effect, no attempts to enlarge the problem, such that the substance can be discussed? I can discuss a definition of Satanic ritual abuse that would be objective if there were or were not demonstrated groups. Any phrasing that assumes "systems" of it implies that the existence is a given.
Minimalist definitions will get far further in discussions. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:13, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I believe that a minimalist definition would not be accurate in this case. The definition should be inclusive of what for some is one of the basic reasons for Satanic ritual abuse. I used the terms "intensive and forcible" because simple indoctrination would be an incorrect description.Neil Brick 03:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, we clearly disagree, since in some accounts, sacrificial murder is a basic reason for some Satanic ritual abuse. Voodoo ritual abuse, I suppose, might include posthumous indoctrination.
What, then, is simple indoctrination? Where does simple become "intensive"? Why are you coupling "intensive" with "forcible", since torture is often counterproductive as a means of persuasion? Sorry, I don't read them as anything more than adjectives used to be dramatic.
So, we are stuck, it seems. Insisting all Satanic motivations must be extreme actually makes the argument less plausible, because it restricts the subset of possible abusers. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we can find a middle ground here. I used both adjectives as per the dictionary definition above. A compromise could be that we state it may or may not be the case, depending on the type of Satanic ritual abuse. Neil Brick 04:35, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't accept a dictionary as at all authoritative on the subject. Perhaps I'm not communicating something; let me try to be more explicit. There is a substantial body of literature, as in the national-level reports that I cited, that state that they found no convincing evidence of organized Satanist ritual abuse. There are reports that it does, but I note that those reports tend to get softer in definition. Your definitions all have a flavor that the existence of Satanist ritual abuse is a given, which is not universally accepted. My attempt to be specific and free of emotion-laden words is to be able to talk about existence without the topic being a constantly shifting target. Satanic ritual abuse, in English, has to be a subset of ritual abuse.
If, however, there is Satanic ritual abuse, it is quite sufficient to say it is abuse. The adjectives do not add information, but dramatize. The more dramatic, the more desperately it seems to be an attempt to convince about existence in the style of moral panic. Your argument might be much better served if the rhetoric were minimized.
Again, I urge you to look at homeopathy, and see several things there. CZ: Neutrality Policy does not require every statement to be balanced with the opposing view, if one of the views has much larger support than another. At the same time that the article presents very substantial mainstream medical doubt that homeopathy is effective, there is also a definition precise enough that the homeopaths could live with it, with enough caveats that the mainstream felt there were reasonable disclaimers. Even with those, there's been considerable criticism of that article as too pro-homeopathy....said Howard C. Berkowitz (talk)
My definition as originally posed doesn't make a statement nor does it imply either pro or con the existence of Satanic ritual abuse. I don't see the terms "intensive" or "forcible" as being emotionally laden or containing rhetoric. I see them as simply adding more description to the idea that indoctrination may be a part of Satanic ritual abuse. Please note that I used the word "may" as not all forms contain indoctrination. As a compromise, the article could contain two definitions, a short one and then a longer descriptive one. I have seen this done before with this topic.
Possible article text - There are different definitions of Satanic ritual abuse.
Short definition
  • Satanic ritual abuse occurs in the context of Satanic belief systems with Satanic symbols or rituals. It includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse.
Long definition
  • Satanic ritual abuse is often repeated abuse, in the context of Satanic belief systems with Satanic symbols or rituals. It includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse and may include the use of forcible religious indoctrination.Neil Brick 02:57, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Continuing problem about primary sources role

Nevertheless, there continues to be a continued misunderstanding of the role of primary reports, to say nothing of primary reports from anecdotal sources, in CZ. The purpose of CZ is to establish context, not peer-review anecdotal or small-group studies. Look at homeopathy; there are relatively few primary studies cited, always with a context for doing so; the emphasis is on meta-analysis.

For those Editors and others who are not following the discussion at recovered memory, may I call attention to Gareth Leng's comment at Talk:Recovered_memory#Just to be clear? Howard C. Berkowitz 14:41, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

In establishing content, I believe it is important to draw information from the entire field. Not all sources may be on a page, but since a meta-analysis may be biased or somewhat inaccurate, all data needs to be considered.Neil Brick 01:47, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Unlocked article

I've unlocked the article. D. Matt Innis 17:14, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

more sources

These sources were provided to us by email through the constable mailing list. I leave them here for those working on the article to decide how best to use them. D. Matt Innis 13:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

de Young, Mary (2004). The Day Care Ritual Abuse Moral Panic. Jefferson, North Carolina, United States: McFarland and Company. ISBN 0786418303.

Frankfurter, D (2006). Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Ritual Abuse in History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691113505. .

LaFontaine JS (1998). Speak of the Devil: allegations of satanic abuse in Britain. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521629349. .

Nathan, D; Snedeker M (1995). Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt. Basic Books. ISBN 0879758090.

Victor JS (1993). Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend. Open Court Publishing Company. ISBN 081269192X. .

From any perspective, these books are from what are called the "Nihilists" and have a strong anti-perspective. To get a balanced perspective, the article would need to include balancing sources from different schools of thought.Neil Brick 02:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
"Any" perspective? May I offer the disproof that I had never considered them nihilistic?
Further, CZ: Neutrality Policy does not require that every statement be 50:50 balanced, if there is a difference in expert perspective about the predominant view. Again, look at homeopathy. It defines what homeopaths consider to be their model of healing, but the article also makes it clear that the majority view in medicine does not support their usage.
Homeopathy, on the other hand, is a discipline, with curricula, licensing in some areas, etc. No one questioned its existence, and there was a reasonable consensus, between homeopaths and physicians, what homeopaths do. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:03, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
The schools of thought had been previously divided into different points of view. One was called "nihilistic." From the sources cited so far, it appears there are many sources on both sides of the line, as well as some in the middle.Neil Brick 03:09, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Who is doing this dividing, and why is their division authoritative? Howard C. Berkowitz 03:16, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Noblitt has a chapter "Nihilists and Revisionists" [19] page 222 where he discusses the history of the term.Neil Brick 03:48, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Ah. So the Noblitts, who have taken a strong position that Satanic ritual abuse is widespread, get to define the terminology for all people in the discussion? In homeopathy, we eventually adopted the ground rule, from the Editor-in-Chief, that "skeptic" was not an acceptable term. We adopted "critic" as relatively more neutral. "Nihilists and revisionists is, to me, rather disparaging of anyone who does not agree with the Noblitt viewpoint. I certainly don't accept it. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:56, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
If you read the page, you'll see the term did not originate with him. Several people have tried to divide the field in different terms. I was not suggesting we use the term in the article. Editors working on the article can define their own terminology.Neil Brick 04:03, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) It would be helpful to know when something is intended for use in the article. The usage comes across as rather patronizing, and if there Is Only One Truth. What would be wrong with describing those sources as "dubious about the existence of widespread Satanist ritual abuse?" Howard C. Berkowitz 04:09, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that this is a good description because not all proponents of the existence of Satanic ritual abuse would agree it is widespread. Perhaps we could use the terms "supporters" and "critics." Neil Brick 04:18, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Now, that's interesting. How widespread would it have to be, such that it becomes a widespread entity worthy of more than a minor note in ritual abuse? I have never objected to the idea that there is ritual abuse, but to the singling out of Satanic abuse of the many kinds of ritual in this world. Now, if it were well understood that ritual abuse contained cultural and other religious contexts, I'd find that much more plausible. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:30, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Biased phrase?

As a former editor of the Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) article in Wikipedia (WP), the CZ phrase "One article has termed the Wikipedia article on the subject a promotion of pedophilia" strikes me as pretty POVish and just wrong, even though it's sourced. Has any of you taken a good look at the very extensive WP skeptics/believers debate on the archived SRA talk pages? By the way, this is my very first post in CZ. Please tell me if I'm not supposed to talk about WP here or WP slang ("POV", etc). Thank you! --Cesar Tort 20:02, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Hi, Cesar, welcome aboard! I'm the Constable who recently approved your request to join. We can certainly talk about WP here, although we try to avoid spending much time on the subject, and we (as far as I know) absolutely refuse to accept anything in WP as being a reliable source for citations or references in any of our own articles. In other words, in our article on Martinis, you can say on the Talk page, "Well, gee, the WP article has sixteen sources saying that the martini originated in Crete in 1751." You can't, however, put that info into the article itself and cite WP as being the only source of that info. We also particularly eschew a couple of the WP abbreviations, particularly NVOP and a couple of others that I can't remember at the moment. As you'll see in some on-going discussions on some of the talk pages and right now in the Forum, we also try to avoid "notability" in favor of "maintainability", which has somewhat difference nuances. Best, Hayford Peirce 20:23, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice, Hayford Peirce. I'll now read your CZ policies. Cheers :) --Cesar Tort 22:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Totally agree with Hayford. These pages have more information on wikipedia problems.
[22]Neil Brick 03:04, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I've just started the article Infanticide. In sharp contrast with the mythical Satanic Ritual Abuse, it gives you an idea of what scholarship is about the very real subject of ritual abuse of infants and children. Cheers. —Cesar Tort 11:23, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Excellent! At first glance, it looks like a good start. I'd be glad to help with some the CZ conventions, such as metadata, which might not be familiar. Metadata, in turn, creates (or permits the creation) of subpages, some of which replace sections (e.g., external links, bibliography) on main pages at WP.
We have an additional mechanism to encourage linking and discourage orphaned articles, the Related Articles page. It's tricky at first, in that it's designed around what we call r-templates, which give a wikilink but also a definition of a relevant term. One of the nice things about Related Articles is that you can use it to start outlining, even if there are topics for which there is no article as yet -- it's more structured than just having redlinks. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:13, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
"Mythical" as an adjective would not be accepted as accurate by most in the field studying the topic of Satanic ritual abuse. Even those most skeptical would accept the fact that dabblers and other individuals have committed Satanic ritual abuse crimes. Many would also state that other groups have also.Neil Brick 03:33, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
As one of the more skeptical, I do not necessarily accept that, certainly without a hard definition. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Neil: Just curious: Are you familiar with the long Wikipedia debate that resulted in this article? Cesar Tort 13:47, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I heard about the debate and research involved in it. The article above looks more like a cartoon in some ways than a serious article on the topic. It shows the problems with wikipedia, as listed in the web pages mentioned above. Curiously, I noticed that you joined CZ a short while after this article started. How did you hear about CZ? Neil Brick 00:03, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Puzzling addition to bibliography

This was added in response to my comment that the article, titled about "sadistic", not "satanic" ritual abuse mentioned "Satanic" in one paragraph and one footnote. I may have missed this table. The table, however, adds no detail: it uses the word once, in the course of constructing an acronym. Five of the six other bullets don't mention it.

Defining sadistic abuse: A summary mnemonic

  • Sadistic sexual and physical abuse
  • Accounts of torture
  • Despotic over-control, intentional terrorization
  • Induction into violence
  • Satanic, cult, and/or ritual involvements
  • Malevolent emotional abuse and neglect

Yet Satanic abuse is not the topic of the article. One might think that if the author were concerned with Satanism, there would be more concern about it — indeed, "sadistic" is the emphasis, as the key word in the title.

Let me make a point or two here. I have no trouble, at all, believing that there is sadistic abuse, meeting the DSM-IV definition of "sadism". I have much more problem with a plausible case for large-scale Satanic abuse, using a reasonably precise definition of Satanism. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:25, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I included the quote because it shows that the article does include Satanic involvement as a subset of sadistic abuse.Neil Brick 03:52, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
That is an extremely tenuous connection. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:30, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
But the article does mention a connection and that it is a subset of sadistic abuse.Neil Brick 03:26, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with there being any meaningful connection in that article. On further reading in other sources, I find more evidence, which I shall bring up if necessary, that she found "Satanic" to be quite problematic and thought "sadistic" or "sexual" was a more useful term. Again, I have no particular problem agreeing there is ritual abuse. Not all ritual abuse necessarily involves sadism, non-sexual infliction of suffering, indoctrination, or sexual abuse, although combinations certainly take place.
It is entirely plausible, given such things as the writings of the Church of Satan, that there could be abuse that is sexual but not sadistic. There could be ritual consensual sexual activities that are not abuse. Certainly, there is abundant evidence of sacrifice where pain is involved but not sexual gratification. There are also ritual, consensual activities in non-Satanist religions, just as there is symbolic cannibalism. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Moved to talk for discussion "only mentions "Satan" in one table and one footnote."Neil Brick 19:17, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I insist that this article, whose title is ""Sadistic abuse: definition, recognition, and treatment." is not primarily about Satanic ritual abuse and is not a source for it. See [23]. The only mention of Satanic is one word in Table 4, and the Greaves footnote. The Greaves footnote is in the text about a references to the practices of Aleister Crowley, whose belief system was not Satanic. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:29, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Fringe source

The web site SMART, Ritual Abuse Pages, which appears in the References section, is fringe. Here’s an example:

The article lists ten types of ritual abuse and the percentage of subjects who reported each type: sexual abuse (100%), witnessing and receiving physical abuse/torture (100%), witnessing animal mutilation/killings (100%), death threats (100%), forced drug usage (97%), witnessing and forced participation in human adult and infant sacrifice (83%), forced cannibalism (81%), marriage to Satan (78%), buried alive in coffins or graves (72%), forced impregnation and sacrifice of own child (60%). [my bold type] [24]

The article mentions the 2007 International Survey for Adult Survivors of Extreme Abuse, cited below by Nitsa Kedem-Oz. It's a good example why, unlike extremely credulous psychotherapists, criminologists don’t take Satanic Ritual Abuse surveys seriously. Human adult and infant sacrifice reported at 83% and forced cannibalism at 81%? Really? One would expect much forensic evidence of it, but none is forthcoming. Cesar Tort 14:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Mr. Tort is mixing two studies above. The first quote is from a peer reviewed journal
"Young, W. C., Sachs, R. G., Braun, B. G., & Watkins, R. T. (1991). Patients reporting ritual abuse in childhood: a clinical syndrome. Report of 37 cases. Child Abuse and Neglect, 15(3), 181-189.
Here's the full quote, adding what he deleted
Young et al. (1991) describe 37 adult patients, all diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (MPD) or dissociative disorder not otherwise specified who reported similar abuses by satanic cults. Apparently, most of the data were collected while the patients were in treatment with the authors. The article lists ten types of ritual abuse and the percentage of subjects who reported each type: sexual abuse (100%), witnessing and receiving physical abuse/torture (100%), witnessing animal mutilation/killings (100%), death threats (100%), forced drug usage (97%), witnessing and forced participation in human adult and infant sacrifice (83%), forced cannibalism (81%), marriage to Satan (78%), buried alive in coffins or graves (72%), forced impregnation and sacrifice of own child (60%).
The Extreme abuse survey study [25] did have 750 pages of documentation and reports from over 1000 survivors. With this many reports and peer reviewed articles discussing the topic, this hardly makes it fringe, but a phenomenon noteworthy of attention.Neil Brick 18:55, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Extreme Abuse Survey was moved to Cold Storage and locked by the Editor-in-Chief, after much discussion. I believe that is an indication that it is not terribly relevant to continuing CZ discussions. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:29, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
It was decided by the Editor-in-Chief that the article itself was not maintainable. However, it may deserve cautious mention in certain articles.Neil Brick 20:06, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I would be *extremely* cautious in mentioning it in any articles at all. If it is enough of a fringe study that an article cannot even be written *about* it, then it almost certainly cannot be used as a source or reference anywhere *except* perhaps as an example of a fringe study. Hayford Peirce 20:13, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
From the reading I did it is not true that there is no evidence with the police. These criminals are savvy and their victims are pre- schoolers who are terrified by torture and what they have to see. Nitsa Kedem-Oz 11:25, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Related discussion at Talk: Infanticide

There is an overlapping discussion at Talk: Infanticide. I'm not trying to repeat material there, and am leaving it to Constables/Editors to decide what to move/copy where and how to maintain revision history.

The fact, however, that infanticide, as well as the sometimes-related not-interchangeable topics child abuse, ritual abuse, child sexual abuse, and sadism, all point to the difficulty caused by trying to use an overly broad definition of Satanist ritual abuse. Also, it cannot denied that while some believe that, however defined, Satanic ritual use exists, there is a substantial amount of sociological work that considers the specific "Satanist" adjective, as well as possibly gratuitous "sexual" or "sadistic", are exemplars of moral panic. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:38, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

The specific thread is this one. Cesar Tort 18:41, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
The CZ article should represent all points of view on the topic fairly, as the peer reviewed literature appears to be divided on the topic. Neil Brick 19:07, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
With due respect, the above needs Editor guidance. I would strongly disagree that the literature is evenly divided. Further, I will again point to CZ: Neutrality Policy, which does not require all views be given equal weight, if the expert consensus is that there is a predominant view. Look, for example, at homeopathy. The article does not judge if homeopathy is effective, but it both indicates what homeopaths believe it is, and that the majority of medical thinking is that it is no more effective than placebo — which, of course, does not mean ineffective. Take this, simply, as advice from someone that has a reasonably broad experience with the CZ approach to a wide variety of subjects, not a policy ruling.
I could not accept a definition of Satanic ritual abuse that does not include recognition that there is very extensive opinion that it is an ill-defined term and, also, in the opinion of many researchers, an example of moral panic. I am far more willing to discuss child abuse and ritual abusenot synonyms —, rather than focusing on one apparently ever-changing subcase. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:19, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
It has been shown on this talk page that the literature is definitely divided on this topic. Some researchers believe that Satanic ritual abuse does occur and this would need to be fairly represented on the page. As far as defining the terms, we could start with a simple defintion and then show how other researchers in the field have defined it, pro and con.Neil Brick 02:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Saying that Satanic Abuse torture is moral panic, really ignore both evident and research on the topic. I guess it is the same as people who deny the Holocaust ever happend. Are you all familiar with the 2007 International Survey for Adult Survivors of Extreme Abuse? I think this research should be mentioned in the article, as it gives much data on survivor's experience. Nitsa Kedem-Oz 11:27, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
The literature was divided on this topic, but in the present century believers in the reality of it can only publish in the fringe or vanity press. In contrast, skeptics have been able to publish in the more respected publishing houses and, of course, in recognized journals. Again, that’s why the skeptics won the debate in the Wikipedia article with the same title. Comparing Satanic Ritual Abuse with the Holocaust is not helpful. The overwhelming majority of historians agree that the Holocaust was historical. Similarly, the overwhelming majority of criminologists and sociologists dismiss Satanic Ritual Abuse as moral panic. This has been discussed ad nauseam here,here,here,here,here, here and here. In that wiki it has also been discussed why surveys of “extreme abuse” in these cases are not hard evidence (i.e., forensic evidence) at all. Some psychotherapists are notorious for their credulity. The consensus among police investigators is that claims of satanic abuse (this includes surveys of patients) could be as deceiving as claims of “UFO abduction” sexual abuse. Are we supposed to go again in CZ throughout the long discussion linked in the previous sentence?… Cesar Tort 12:07, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
As shown in sections above, wikipedia is NOT a reliable source and has historically been shown not to be accurate at times. And some sociologists are known for their strong biases in the field. And those that believe the phenomenon has credence have been publishing in this century as well [26] [27] [28] Neil Brick 19:12, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I've never said that the wiki was a reliable source. And instead of further soapboxing I can only call attention to the sentence "the purpose of a CZ talk page is not to argue the issue but to improve the article" just below this thread. Cesar Tort 19:22, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Then I believe we should delete the wikipedia links from this talk page. We only want to discuss reliable sources on this page. As you state, we are hear to "improve the article" not advocate for nonreliable sources.Neil Brick 19:28, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps some refocusing?

Remember that the purpose of a CZ talk page is not to argue the issue but to improve the article. There's an old saying that to eat an elephant, one has to start with a single bite; in a CZ article; the first goal may be trying, even if just on the talk page, to try to agree on an introduction/definition. This hasn't happened; I'll give some thoughts on why it hasn't and how it might -- I'm not convinced it can but I could be wrong.

To answer your question, Kitse, yes, CZ is very familiar with that 2007 survey. After several months, of intense argument, it was moved to Cold Storage and locked. Cold Storage is a category for things that might someday be reworked, but are locked for changes and for general access. See CZ Talk:Cold Storage/Extreme Abuse Survey. The principal reason it was moved there was that a number of experienced contributors, from the Editor-in-Chief on down, believe it does not meet CZ: Maintainability. The core of that decision was that it was had not gone through sufficient peer review, and otherwise had methodological flaws, that it did not meet the criteria to be meet our goals of expert-guided accuracy (some say scholarly, but I personally hate that term). That decision is now closed.

As a personal suggestion, I'd really suggest that it's not a good idea to try to equate the specific term — and it really has to be something that can have a specific definition or it's not maintainable — Satanic ritual abuse to Holocaust denial. There's just a bit of difference in documentation and forensic evidence compared to, say, United States against Otto Ohlendorf (i.e., the Einsatzcommando Case at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals). We might get somewhere with a more general case of ritual abuse that is not necessarily Satanic, when no one here seems to agree on an unambiguous definition of Satanism. For that matter, if you do want Holocaust metaphors, consider the blood ritual accusations against Jews, obviously involving more people, and then the accusations that pentagrams are invariably Satanist symbols when they are also holy symbols in a variety of nature religions.

Now, to return to definition. Neil, the definitions you have proposed all read to me as if they assume "the fact of" Satanic ritual abuse; your last comments have been focused on "types" of Satanic ritual abuse, and such things of whether it involves indoctrination and whether it needs adjectives such as extreme. They are not ideal, but here are some examples, the first of which is Approved, of definitions of controversial topics. Would you say either of them assume the fact that the theory or phenomenon is true, or merely define it?

  • Homeopathy [r]: System of alternative medicine involving administration of highly diluted substances with the intention to stimulate the body's natural healing processes, not considered proven by mainstream science. [e]
  • Intelligent design [r]: Claim that fundamental features of the universe and living things are best explained by purposeful causation. [e]

Note that these definitions do not have emotionally laden words, adjectives such as "extreme", or try to suggest there are many definitions. Whatever literature may say, I will suggest, from some substantial experience at CZ, that there will never be consensus that Satanic and sexual and sadistic, etc., are all synonymous. There won't even be consistent that they are all subsets of ritual abuse; sexual and sadistic abuse, certainly by individuals and even such things as international sex tourism, are not necessarily ritual.

I'll also suggest that this is CZ and not WP, and it's not productive to cite or refight WP arguments. Different rules, different assumptions.

So, I would suggest starting, on the talk page, to come up with a sentence or two of definition that will be acceptable to those that agree it is a real phenomenon, those that believe that there may be individual cases but not a widespread phenomenon, and those in a middle position. The CZ style cannot work with a definition that keeps bringing in special cases and saying "well, someone called it that."

Abraham Lincoln once asked, "If you call a horse's tail a leg, how many legs does a horse have?" When someone suggested "five", he said "No. Calling a tail a leg does not make it one"." In like manner, if there is a reasonably well defined core set of criteria for Satanic ritual abuse, which have some plausible direct connection with Satanic beliefs, that can be discussed. Otherwise, some of the "sadistic" or "sexual" cases could, and have, been equally plausible with abuse in Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic belief systems. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:28, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Point taken. No need to refight or arguing unrelated to improving the article here. But perhaps it's good to have those links to old archived wiki discussions in this talk page? Cesar Tort 15:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not an Editor on this article, but I am an Editor in other areas, an author in many areas, and a member of the Editorial Council. This is purely my own opinion, but I would be very uncomfortable archiving Wikipedia talk pages in CZ talk pages. There are several reasons for that, not being that we are anti-Wikipedia but that we differentiate ourselves from Wikipedia. As Hayford pointed out, Wikipedia cannot be sourced in a CZ article. We also do want to give proper credit for WP material that is imported and meets our criteria.
As a more fundamental point, however, look at this discussion and look at Wikipedia's. The most obvious difference should be that this involves real-name-only discussants. It's one thing to take verifiable sourcing from those pages and have a real person introduce them here, but it would make me very uncomfortable to take those discussions as potential influencers of the discussion here -- unless specific people are restating, non-anonymously, the positions there.
Neither Wiki is perfect, but there are certain areas where we have some fairly fundamental differences in approach, many of which are most obvious on the way talk page discussion is conducted. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:31, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  • "I would be very uncomfortable archiving Wikipedia talk pages in CZ talk pages"
Oh no! I was only talking about leaving my above post (12:07, 5 April 2009) intact with its wikilinks. Of course, importing the whole thing here would be inappropiate :) Cesar Tort 15:38, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
My hesitation to even make them visible, right now, is that I'm seeing evidence wars, forensic vs. psychotherapeutic views, etc. rather than a focus on fundamentals: can we agree on a definition? Frankly, I'm dubious that there is a clear definition, and my own fallback is to have subsections of ritual abuse deal with particular belief systems. I suppose I wonder why there is so much emphasis on Satanism, when it seems there is at least a monthly U.S. murder trial, with a body, over such things as a Christian exorcism gone bad. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:58, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Howard above "I'll also suggest that this is CZ and not WP, and it's not productive to cite or refight WP arguments. Different rules, different assumptions." And I have shown above that wikipedia is not always an accurate source of information. I also agree with Howard "I would be very uncomfortable archiving Wikipedia talk pages in CZ talk pages." I agree that we should get back to defining a satisfactory definition.Neil Brick 19:24, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Material moved by Constable from Infanticide talk page: if it's duplicated here, anyone can remove the duplicated material

Yes: that was one of my problems with Wikipedia. So-called reliable sources are often unreliable. In this case however (Child sacrifice vs. Satanic Ritual Abuse) my personal view is that sources are important since all authors who believe in the reality of it belong to the fringe and the "psycho-therapeutic" professions, not to the mainstream of sociology and criminology, which is overwhelmingly skeptical. In fact, whereas there are tons of evidence of child sacrifice through history and even prehistory, there's no forensic evidence for so-called Satanic Ritual Abuse. Cesar Tort 14:33, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

There are legal cases and articles that show there has been forensic evidence, such as those on the Satanic ritual abuse talk page. Those professionals that have first hand experience with survivors of ritual abuse would likely have more knowledge of the field than others. And published sociologists like Kent and criminologists like Pepinsky would disagree with your statements above.Neil Brick 23:43, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
It's a fact, not an opinion, that presently most sociologists and criminologists consider it the iconic paradigm of moral panic. The Wikipedia debate, which is over now (skeptics won it because of the policy of “reliable sources”), was useful since it demonstrates that only in the fringes psychotherapy dissociative patients and some of their shrinks believe in it. Psychotherapy, of course, can provide zero forensic evidence. As the headperson of CSI Las Vegas said: "I don't believe you [the patients' claims], I believe the evidence" :) Cesar Tort 11:46, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps some of this should move to Talk: Satanic ritual abuse. I'm putting a link on that talk page. This is getting into challenging interdisciplinary issues; there are all manner of top-level articles that touch on topics in this article as well as others, some not written. The distinctions, for example, among infanticide, exposure (needs disambiguation), etc., are important. Ritual abuse is clearly not limited to children and not limited to one belief system. The issue of moral panic has been mentioned. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:30, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm OK with the moving. Since they're mythical, satanic rituals are not mentioned in the scholarly infanticide literature. Exposure on the other hand is a legitimate subcategory of infanticide, as can be seen in the present article. Cesar Tort 18:33, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I'm going to leave the mechanics of moving to a Constable/Editor call. While infanticide is fairly clearly child abuse in modern society, it clearly was acceptable in some cultures — there should, however, probably be a link to the child abuse article. Perhaps, if infanticide or exposure was culturally defined, to ritual abuse, with due regard that ritual abuse is not limited to children. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:42, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

In these awful "cultural relativist" times, there are only a handful of scholars who regard both infanticide and exposure in, say, tribal societies as child abuse. One of them is Lloyd deMause. By the way, is it OK here to link articles to Wikipedia, as I have been doing? Cesar Tort 18:49, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I think I'm speaking here as a Constable now -- it's fine to link to WP in Talk pages, as you did above, but it is absolutely unacceptable to link to WP for any reason within an article. Just as you may NOT cite WP as a source for any citation within an article. Sure, you can find a source (reference, ie, NYT, July 31, Sunday Magazine, Frank Rich) that backs up a statement in a WP article, and you can use that same source here in OUR article, but you CANNOT just link to that source via Wikipedia. It has to be independently recreated. Hayford Peirce 19:03, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with moving this to Talk: Satanic ritual abuse if this is what is decided by the Constables. Looking at the wikipedia article you mentioned at the Satanic ritual abuse talk page, it is hard to believe there was a debate. The page pretty much presents only one point of view. Victim accounts are evidence. They are allowed in court. Of course, there is forensic evidence of Satanic ritual abuse in certain legal cases as well.Neil Brick 18:58, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry but the "victims" claims do not account for evidence in court nowadays, not since the phenomenon was discredited in the late 1990s. Also, there was indeed an extremely long debate at Wikipedia, as you can see in the seven archived talk pages, starting from here to the current talk page. Cesar Tort 23:47, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Victim claims of crimes do account for evidence, as was seen in the Hammond, LA case. Certain news accounts did mention Satanic rituals connected to these crimes. Though some believe the phenomenon was discredited and though the majority of literature was published in the 1990's on this topic, some are still publishing evidence and accounts of these crimes.Neil Brick 02:21, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
The discussion of this subject belongs to talk:Satanic ritual abuse (where I have just posted other links to archived discussions, including the Hammond case), not in the talk page of this article. Cesar Tort 12:21, 5 April 2009 (UTC)


I think the following is true and if so might be an appropriate definition. Satanic Ritual Abuse is a phrase coined in the 1970's to refer to well publicised accounts of extreme child abuse allegedly organized by a satanic cult in the USA; there is doubt about whether any such cult existed.

There seem to be two significant aspects to this article: a) the factual basis, if any, for the allegations arising in the 1970's b) the media and public response to the allegations

I think it may be a mistake to try to place this topic in a broad historical context of religiously inspired abuse (except very briefly). That seems destined to be endless and hopeless. I'd suggest anchoring this article in the accounts from the 1970's onwards.Gareth Leng 16:40, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

It is difficult. We don't even have an accepted definition of "cult". The issue is interdisciplinary. When I speak of ritual abuse, however, I don't restrict that to religion, given the blurry aspects of secular religions, extreme political movements, etc. Further, sexual abuse and sadistic abuse, not necessarily of children, are increasingly conflated with "Satanist" in some of the more recent literature being cited. Sadomasochism can be consensual among adults, as, indeed, can be Satanic worship at least as defined by the overt Church of Satan--hardly a large movement.
One can either look at the historical etymology of "Satan", or look at its current rhetorical use calling nations the "Great Satan" or "Lesser Satan", and not tend to suspect that discussions about it may be a bit hard to maintain and focus. Incidentally, when Churchill said, "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons," would that have been a Satanic ritual, abusive from a Nazi perspective? Howard C. Berkowitz 16:56, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Definition has been discussed at length elsewhere. My own view on the subject of definition is to take an iconic case of Satanic Ritual Abuse, such as the McMartin trial and also seeing Oliver Stone’s film about it, to have a bit of a flavor of what we are dealing with. Cesar Tort 18:48, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Cesar, however useful it may or may not be, we at CZ are really not interested in what WP discussions may have been about the definition. I said earlier somewhere that WP can be cited in CZ talk pages. Yes, it can be -- but there are also definite limits about *how often*: I would say that WP should only be brought in in *very rare cases*, certainly not as a common occurrence. Hayford Peirce 18:54, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Point taken. However, it's not Wikipedia's view to regard the McMartin trial as an iconic case. It's my personal view, as well as my suggestion to see Stone's film ;) Cesar Tort 18:58, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Hayford above. I would appreciate it if Mr. Tort would stop bringing in sources from wikipedia. As he stated above "I've never said that the wiki was a reliable source." And the wikipedia link he has for the McMartin movie above admits the movie was biased.Neil Brick 19:38, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Here's my rewrite of Gareth's definition - Satanic Ritual Abuse is a phrase coined in the 1980's to refer to well publicised accounts of extreme child abuse allegedly organized by a satanic cult in the USA; these accounts are controversial, some believe in their veracity while others deny their existence.Neil Brick 19:38, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks; I've inserted this wording. I agree with Cesar though that the article needs an early specific example to anchor the article in an iconic case.Gareth Leng 08:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Just wanted to point out that the whole issue of incest and "victim reports" about it was questioned and unbelieved when it first came up. I don't think that today anyone still deny that it is happening. Ritual abuse torture (be it Satanic or any other source) is merely a more sever expression of incest and child abuse. I guess society just needs a little time to get used to new information. I can assure you, as a therapist who worked with ritual abuse survivors for 18 years it is happening, it is very real and it is important to discuss it both for the survivors and for the children who still suffer. Nitsa Kedem-Oz


Just a note, Gareth -- the Lanning and other national reports had been in the early versions of the article, but were removed to the talk page; it was unlikely they would get back without a revert war. They are in the archive. Indeed, there are also UK and Netherlands reports, as well as several major studies by US state-level law enforcement. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd also note that I tried to track down some of the books in the bibliography; while there are several Blue Moon Presses, the one in Colorado may be a vanity publisher. Neither it nor Word Pub appear to have websites, but Word Pub may be a subsidiary of a Bible publishing house I did find. CompCare does have a website; you may want to look at it.
Please look at #more sources above, and see an almost immediate reaction calling them "nihilist and revisionist". I now have the Nathan book on interlibrary loan, and I certainly can put some annotation into the bibliography page. I'd call it quite critical, and indeed with some sociological perspective by a journalist, but "revisionist and nihilist"? Howard C. Berkowitz 17:29, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
This is not the Other Place; there'll be no revert wars here; these references to major reports (or a secondary sourced account of them) obviously seem to belong in the article. I placed the Lanning details pro tem on the Bibliography pending other, better sources. I also have concerns about the present contents of the bibliography page and the external links. CZ neutrality policy states: " ... you actually must balance the statement of your own views with the sympathetic description of views you disagree with." I think that has to apply to all subpages. Before I go and interrogate the articles referenced on the bibliography page in detail, does anyone wish to make a case that this selection is balanced and unbiased? Or shall I do my own thinning and balancing? Gareth Leng 17:43, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I added, I believe, two references to Bibliography and none from External Links, but did not create any other content there. As I mentioned, I put what I believe were some important references (e.g., Victor) in the early drafts of the article, which were removed. See [29]. The Victor "excessive" quote taken actually had been converted from a quote where he referenced the various official studies, to a reduced quote with a bulleted list of direct citations of those studies.
To take a garden metaphor, feel free to thin and balance, but I would like to transplant a few things there as well -- although I still believe a subset,such as Victor, have a place in the main article. I'll try to get through the Nathan book in the next day or two.Howard C. Berkowitz 18:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

An issue with definitions and the bibliography

If one looks through a number of the bibliographic references, one will find that the emphasis is often on "sexual" or "sadistic" or "ritual" abuse, rather than focusing on the "satanic". Now, I personally believe that these former motivations are more likely to exist than something that involves a belief system involving Satan. A number of Asian countries, for example, have cracked down on an overt pedophiliac sex tourism business, and there is substantial forensic evidence for large, often electronically link, child protection rings.

What appears to be a trend in this area, is not to be describing these reasonably well-defined criminal offense, but a change to more plausible terminology among workers that had moved away from the more spectacular term "satanic". The dates of publication are worth examining. Nathan and Snedeker (pp. 241-242), describe psychiatrist Jean Goodwin as writing about incest in the 1970, and Satanic acts in the 1980s. In the 1990s, she was drawing on the similarity of modern abuse descriptions with medieval "Christian subversion" work, which various historians described as pre- and Inquisition imagery of the challenges to Christianity; she began writing of a role for exorcisms. Nevertheless,she proposed the term "sadistic" replace "ritual" and "Satanist", for several strategic reasons.

Now, I make no argument that nonconsensual sadism is a real phenomenon, certainly not limited to children. From the original writings of the Marquis de Sade, to Stalinist and Nazi experience with a subset of their torturers "losing focus" in obtaining confessions and enjoying pain, to the related work of Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo. Zimbardo's work was predictive of what happened with guards at Abu Ghraib Prison, when unsupervised individuals "improvised" on already questionable coercive interrogation.

Nevertheless, Goodwin suggested her terminology change would help with a prosecutorial credibilility problem. Nathan and Snedeker paraphrase her sauing "While talking about "satanic" ritual abuse posited behavior that criminologists and the public had never heard of, the term "Sadist" recurred to real historical precedents: Caligula, the Spanish inquisitors, Jack the Ripper, John Gacey". She also cited parallels in behavior between her cases and that seen with serial killers (another "s" word), although the victims of most serial killers are not alive to recount memories. Most serial killers operate singly or with a partner; with kill quickly or imprison victims rather than release the victims expecting their return; and have predominantly been men — all different patterns than the archetypal large organized rings of the 1970-1980 U.S. allegations.

These are emphatically not the only writers to observe the gradual change and broadening of the terminology from the first burst of accusations to the present time. Were this article entitled "organized sexual abuse of children", I might have far less problem with these evolving definitions. Nevertheless, examine the broadening of the definitions in the literature, consider how some of these may conflate with abusive patterns having nothing to do with Satanist rituals, and then reexamine why I call for sharply drawn definitions if the descriptions are not to be suspect of social panic. I can speak to quite a few well-documents patterns of adult torture and humiliation that relate to sometimes confession-driven political torture, and, as at Abu Ghraib and the Lubyanka, where disturbed and unsupervised individuals indeed practiced nonconsensual sadism on adults.

  • Make the definition precise; bounding it in time in one possibility; but if a time period is selected; observe the changing terminology, not "some believe and some do not"
  • Have a clear policy for references: either accept the somewhat systematic changing of definitions, the conflating of satanic abuse with other types more common in adults, and the sometimes lack of emphasis on actual satanic abuse; or insist the reference have a visible reference and major focus on Satanism.

It is not helpful to barrage back with large numbers of references to people claiming "it's real" without refuting these apparent sociologic and tactical changes. I note that child abuse is real enough without diverting attention and resources from the widespread "ordinary" patterns to the extreme. Recognizing that anecdote is not the singular of data, personal and peer experience reminds me how difficult it was for a child, in the fifties and sixties, to be heard about being beaten or used sexually. Maybe we just didn't use dramatic-enough language. I won't describe the graphic details by abusive teachers in the 1959-1960 military boarding school I attended, but there wasn't much ritual about it -- meanness and power and some sexuality, yes. Howard C. Berkowitz 09:42, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm just going through these references to see what they actually seem to say if anything, and which are worth any note at all; let's capture the facts to include from these. Then we can throw the rest of the chaff away. I just want to be sure that we're not missing anything.Gareth Leng 12:48, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

re: the new Definition

Can one inflict a ritual? I'm not H.W. Fowler or William Safire, but I surely think not. One can inflict pain, say, as part of a ritual, but a ritual, I would suggest, is something that is "carried out", or "observed", or some such, but not "inflicted". Hayford Peirce 15:18, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Reconsider workgroups?

This is one of those very interdisciplinary subjects. When I assigned the workgroups on creating the article, I had not had the benefit of seeing discussions on related articles, and where expertise lies. The current assignments are:

  • Religion
  • Law
  • Anthropology

As I think about it, either a religion or an anthropology Editor can look at the historic and symbolic aspects, making the call if certain practices and symbols are consistent with the symbols used in the acts described.

Law/law enforcement would still be very useful, but I'm not sure we have anyone. Here's the challenge: are we looking more at the exact evidentiary and interrogating techniques, or are we looking at the phenomenon in society? If it's the latter case, that's more sociology. I will comment, without trying to call myself a specialist editor, that I have written extensive general content on interrogation and at thought reform; that includes information on eliciting false confessions.

I do note that a great deal of the references are from health sciences, and perhaps that should be one of the workgroups. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:20, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I can see why Law and Religion should be there, but I think that Sociology and Health Sciences would be more pertinent than Anthropology. There is, of course, considerable overlap here.... Hayford Peirce 15:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, There Can Be Only One Highlander (from the TV show, not Scotsmen), but we do have to pick only three workgroups. Otherwise, I'd agree completely. Do I have a great answer? No, other than Anthropology could be replaced as long as Religion is there. Religious experts usually are aware of tribal practices, and anthropologists know about religion in society; obviously, there are specialists in both. That actually brings up an interesting question for the future: what if we assigned these groups, and then discovered a History editor had specialized in the Inquisition? Howard C. Berkowitz 15:34, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Sociology seems best to me?Gareth Leng 16:09, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
There has been relatively little religion or even anthropology needed in this article, so far. Most of the discussion has focused on psychological and criminological articles. There has been, for example, no discussion of a particular ritual and whether the ritual really is a ritual (which would be relevant to experts on ritual studies), and no discussion of Satanism and where in its belief systems ritual abuse is anchored (which would be relevant to experts on New Religious Movements and Satanism). The silence about those subjects, it seems to me, is evidence of how little is really known about "Satanic Ritual Abuse" and therefore how rare and unlikely the phenomenon really is. This entire discussion, so far, has been over the reliability of psychological, criminological, and journalistic articles. What is needed is editors with expertise in those areas, or who have time to become expert in those areas. Robert Stockman 16:34, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Hard to parse sentence

I did a little tweaking on the first sentence of the Belief in widespread ritual abuse section, but I'm still having a little trouble with reading this.

"Thus while most experts have concluded that many, if not most, of the memories of child sexual abuse recovered in adulthood are a true reflection of history[20] some psychiatrists believe that there must be at least tens of thousands of survivors of ritual abuse in the U.S.A.[21]"

Something seems missing here. The phrase starting "...some" seems to be placed to counter the first part of the sentence. Is the implication is that while most experts think memories are true, they believe there are very few cases of ritual abuse because, as in the previous sentence, few have encountered it? Was it the intent to say these were "true reflection" or is something missing? Howard C. Berkowitz 21:28, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I would tentatively state that most psychiatrists dismiss claims of satanic ritual abuse, while quite a few psychotherapists believe in it. As stated above, there is a conflict among the professions, with sociologists and criminologists (the only professionals who deal with hard evidence) being skeptical and "some" mental health professionals being credulous of their clients' claims. Of course, child sexual abuse exist, but Satanic ritual abuse often implies a sort of conspiracy theory, with teachers and political authorities supposedly trying to cover up the evidence. Cesar Tort 23:13, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Verifying balancing references

One cited official report, Report of Utah State Task Force on Ritual Abuse - Utah Governor’s Commission for Women and Families (1992) [30] is narrative and descriptive only, with no case reports. The only quantitative data is the last paragraph, which cites a poll saying 90% of the Utah citizenry believe abuse is occurring and 68% want the Attorney General's budget to be increased to allow more investigation of abuse.

The link given to the Report of the Ritual Abuse Task Force - Los Angeles County Commission for Women [31] is a personal webpage, which appears to contain extracts and personal commentaries on this report. If this truly is the report, it consists totally of narrative, glossaries, and lists of groups allegedly involved in abuse; there are no specific case descriptions or other hard data.

The criticism of the Lanning report comes from the noted sociological journal, Vanity Fair.' Howard C. Berkowitz 03:24, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

The task force in my opinion is credible, coming from a governor's commission with a large committee of investigators. The L A Report is used in the definitions section, this is a well known report and definition in the field. Lanning's paper is not peer reviewed and I question whether it should be given as much standing as it gets, considering that I have seen no evidence that the FBI backs it up in any way. It is one person's non-peer reviewed opinion.Neil Brick 03:49, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I understand that this is your opinion about the task force reports; I doubt you would have posted them had it not been your opinion.
As far as Lanning, in testifying to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives on May 1, 2002, Michael J. Heimbach, Crimes Against Children Unit, Criminal Investigative Division, FBI said [32]
the most recognized law enforcement expert in the field of Child Sexual Victimization for the past 20 years has been SSA Ken Lanning (FBI, Retired as of 2000). As a member of the NCAVC, BAU, Lanning published numerous peer-reviewed articles and monographs on the sexual victimization of children and offender behavioral characteristics. These articles have been cited in hundreds of publications and the concepts they discuss have been presented to tens of thousands of law enforcement officers, attorneys, judges, and mental health professionals around the world. In fact, Lanning has testified before Congressional Committees on seven previous occasions.
Heimbach was, incidentally, testifying on Internet child pornography and also on sex tourism, for which there is a bit more evidence than there is for widespread Satanic rings. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:02, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Bibliography [2]

The book - Lockwood C (1993) Other altars: Roots and Realities of Cultic and Satanic Ritual Abuse and Multiple Personality Disorder. Minneapolis, MN: Compcare Publishers.

was deleted due to To the best of my knowledge, IPT is not peer reviewed and was founded by the late Ralph Underwager, who scholarship and accuracy has been questioned. I can provide evidence of this.

I am wondering why this was deleted - no explanation in the edit summary - McCulley D (1994) Satanic ritual abuse: A question of memory Psychol Theol 22:167-72

and why the journal was deleted from this one - Rogers ML 1992 “The Oude Pekela incident: A case study of alleged SRA from the Netherlands.” Psychology and Theology, 20:257-59Neil Brick 03:41, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

For each of the books I have looked to see a) if the author is an academic, b) if the publisher is an established academic publisher c) if the book has been reviewed at all in academia - in other words for any evidence that it is taken seriously. The review is published by the Institute for Psychological Therapies, and is the only academic review I found for this book, written by a journalist and published by a non academic publisher. Many books published are dismally researched, sensationalist trash and I saw no objective, verifiable reason that CZ should appear to give this one any credibility.Gareth Leng 08:25, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
The Rogers article is part of the special issue of J Psychol Theol. Rather that let a selection appear, a selection that appeared to me to be unbalanced, I simply referred to the full issueGareth Leng 08:25, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
The McCulley article I haven't been able to access except its abstract. The author has no publications listed in PubMed or in the ISI Web of Knowledge, and I can't locate a homepage or any other details of him. I am far from confortable about this journal, it is published as the house journal of an evangelical Christian school (Rosemead) and requires that all articles should be consistent with an evangelical position; it has no editorial board listed. I'm accordingly unsurprised that it's not given houseroom in general academic libraries.Gareth Leng 08:50, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Since Treating Abuse Today has been restored to the bibliography, I've been trying, with not much success, to find information about the journal. The GetCited database lists it [33], but has no information on its editorial board or its review process. Google reveals no website for the journal or the publisher, Cahill Mountain Press, although the latter seems to be a small book publishing house. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:43, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
While I don't have the physical Corsini Encyclopedia at hand, Wiley's sample excerpt shows that all articles are signed. Who wrote the article being cited? Yes, it may indeed show synonyms. Unfortunately, one can only infer from the available information that some literature interchanges other terms for satanic.
As far as the book Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse, it is mentioned as being reviewed in the Wiley-Interscience Journal of Traumatic Stress. Unfortunately, that journal reference is paid content only. Google, however, does include a few words, as it often does for Deep Web material: "uccess rate of. SO-85%. Yet, the source of this statement was not given, leaving me with a degree of discomfort regarding its veracity." Those words are tantalizing, although not necessarily supportive of a positive review. Amazon's entry shows what appears to be a mass market paperback, not commonly the form of peer-reviewed publications. The same author is listed as having written Cover-Up of the Century: Satanic Ritual Crime & World Conspiracy. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:15, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Neil, none of these sources seem credible not only to Howard, but to just about everyone else here, and they don't seem credible to me either. I agree with Howard and Heyford; it's time you let them finish up this article and stop watering it down. Robert Stockman 04:20, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
With all due respect, I do not believe I am watering the article down. I am attempting to add respectable sources for balance, as not all believe that Satanic ritual abuse was a moral panic. Treating Abuse Today was peer reviewed, and was only added to the bibliography. Breaking the Circle was reviewed in a peer reviewed journal, and was only added to the bibliography. I believe that the reason that the Lockwood book was deleted from the bibliography was because of the IPT article, which is not necessarily a valid reason. Corsini should probably be added to the article as a secondary source, but has not been yet. I disagree that my edits have "watered" anything down at all. Citizendium is a collaborative process. I have presented a strong case for my edits, which have been minor compared to others.Neil Brick 04:31, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
"Being reviewed in a peer-reviewed journal" does not indicate that the original material itself was peer-reviewed. Now, a book can certainly go through exhaustive review; the technical reviewers for my books are identified, and indeed Wiley also had a highly visible editorial council for the book series. Unfortunately, this information isn't available from this publisher. The review of the book, as I have mentioned, is not accessible to me, although one of our academic Citizens may have access to Wiley-Interscience. The words that Google did retrieve are not reassuring.
Yes, it is a collaborative process. That process, however, has not necessarily regarded some of your cases as strong. I think it is very fair to say that there is agreement that you disagree, but has there been collaborative support for the substance of your disagreements? Howard C. Berkowitz 04:59, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
It is important that all sources go through the same rigorous checking of peer review qualifications. I believe that skeptical sources needed to go through the same process that the others do.Neil Brick 13:57, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I agree, strict standards and no double standards. No websites from them either; all the references I'm using are verifiable - electronically linked, and I started by using only peer reviewed secondary reports from PubMed - and incorporated every one of those that I found. I've been checking everything, and still am. This doesn't look good and I've taken it out.

"Fraser stated that Satanic ritual abuse can cause multiple personality disorder and claimed to have clinical evidence to prove this. (ref)Fraser GA (1990). “Satanic ritual abuse: A cause of multiple personality disorder”. Special issue: In the shadow of Satan: The ritual abuse of children. Journal of Child and Youth Care, 55-60" There are several problems here; the article isn't readily available but the journal is not an academic journal -it's a journal for practitioners including poetry, commentaries "academic type articles and invited articles - this is an invited article as part of a special issue. Not peer reviewed. The statement I've tried to follow up; Fraser did publish two articles on interviews with MPP patients but as far as I can tell doesn't mention satanic abuse - at least the abstracts talk only of sexual abuse. Whatever, these data can't prove anything of the sort claimed.Gareth Leng 14:24, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

I believe there are double standards. It appears that some of the skeptical sources on the page have had the bar dropped low. Here are some citations in the article -
Example 1 - Church of Satan
Example 2 - for Nathan D, M. Snedeker (1995) Satan's silence: ritual abuse and the making of a modern American witch hunt - the first review is not peer reviewed, the second goes to an amazon books page with no review.
Example 3 - for the book - Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History.
The award url goes to a page that doesn't exist.
1)The first review goes to the publication: Church History
2)the second one is the same as the fourth one at a different url from Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft by
Bailey, Michael D.Neil Brick 03:23, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Example 1. Right. What overt, not invisible, Satanists say is irrelevant to a discussion of Satanist ritual abuse. After all, you've insisted on all sides. Do the self-identified Satanists not have one?
Example 2: There is a difference between a book review and a review of the literature; the former are not expected to be peer-reviewed, given that by definition they are signed individual opinions. For the second, (I think this is fair use),
A pull-no-punches expose of the forces behind a nationwide wave of false charges of ritual child abuse. In the 1970s and 1980s popular culture was rife with rumors that America's children were threatened by occultists, pornographers, child molesters, and kidnappers - stories that, according to Nathan and Snedeker, were promoted and spread by the media, politicians, feminists, psychotherapists, and child-protection professionals. At the same time, right-wing Christian fundamentalists were raising fears about bizarre satanic cults. Journalist Nathan, whose articles on ritual abuse in the Village Voice won her the Free Press Association's H.L. Mencken Award, and criminal defense lawyer Snedeker examine in detail three California cases of alleged child abuse: two in Kern County and the famous McMartin Preschool case in Los Angeles County, showing how the psychotic delusions of a few people fed existing social fears. They carefully document what happened when mental-health workers, untrained in forensics and committed to the belief that children never lie about sexual abuse, took over the investigation of child-abuse allegations, and they liken the surge of ritual abuse cases that followed those in California to the Salem witch trials. Nathan and Snedeker give a compelling and disturbing picture of an America in which seemingly responsible and respectable individuals, organizations, and institutions were caught up in an appalling hysteria that sent many innocent people to prison while civil libertarians and political progressives were shamefully silent. The authors call for reforms in the judicial system and the child-protection system, but see larger economic and social changes as essential to preventing sexual abuse of children. Satanic rituals make striking headlines, but incest, they point out, is the real problem. A powerful document that names names, ranges wide, and probes deep. (Kirkus Reviews)
I didn't write the third reference so I can't comment on it. I can comment, however, on the continued use of the term "skeptical" for those who do not consider widespread, clandestine Satanic ritual abuse to be plausible. I accept that you believe it exists, and I won't convince you otherwise. Professionalism might suggest that you accept that others do not believe in it.
From a neutrality standpoint, that starts to come across as derogatory; in the homeopathy project, the word was eventually banned by the E-I-C from the talk page. The consensus here about the widespread matter -- as opposed to the real and reprehensible child sex trade and commercial child pornography -- is "not proven", or, in a classical reference, mene, mene, tekel, upharsin, Howard C. Berkowitz 03:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I do accept that others don't believe in its existence. "Skeptical" is the common term used in the field and is not considered derogatory in the field. I don't see the reason for a link to a non peer reviewed book review. If we are going to set the bar high for pro sources, than con sources should also have the bar set high.Neil Brick 04:02, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
No, "skeptical" is the term used in the polarized context of "the field". It is not a term that tends to be accepted by Citizens; one of the basic tenets of courtesy is to accept the term a group uses for itself. Again, I encourage you to read the ground rules that were established for homeopathy, when it was ruled that "skeptic" was being used by pro-homeopathic people for people who were not convinced of homeopathy; the term was not used in reverse. In that context, "skeptic" was ruled derogatory, from the perspective of the people being called skeptics. "True believer" might have the same flavor in the other direction.
I really don't know what you mean by a peer-reviewed book review. Book reviews, like editorials, may be judged by the context. Reviews of literature are, indeed, peer-reviewed. In this case, however, Kirkus Reviews [34] is a well-known, internally checked book review service. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:17, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, let me know what term CZ uses for different positions and I will try to use them.Neil Brick 04:26, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
There's no specific term; my experience is that we don't find simple labels all that useful. Pro- and anti- don't work in this context. I'd suggest a bit of narrative: perhaps "a person/source that does|does not not agree with the existence of widespread Satanic ritual abuse." I could live with pro and con, as long as pro isn't interpreted as in favor of the practice, but simply of its existence.
Now, I think it is evident that the consensus of authors here do not agree that it is a widespread phenomenon, and the relevant Editor has ruled, "Neutral" in this case does not mean equal time for both sides because this does not appear to be a case where the two sides deserve equal weight.. Certainly, the article can and does mention that there are people that believe, very seriously, of the existence of a real threat. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:37, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

On the specific examples that Neil raised, I'll look at them. Ceratainly I think that the link to Church of Satan should be in the external links section not in the main article, along with selected links to campaign groups of all persuasions. The books I'll look more at.Gareth Leng 12:45, 8 April 2009 (UTC) OK on the Frankfurter book; The fourth link which was a duplicate I've replaced with another; basically this is an academic book published by a leading academic publisher that has been widely reviewed; he's a historian so a review in Church History seems appropriate. (Academic publishers send manuscripts to external "academic readers" for review and criticism before publishing) I haven't preselected the reviews, just linked them as I found them and stopped at the first four. As a source, it's about as good as any book can getGareth Leng 13:04, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
While I agree that overt Satanism is fragmented, I do believe a link to at least some overt Satanic writing is relevant in the main article. Otherwise, the two sides to the debate seem to be the authorities about what Satanists do and do not believe, at least those willing to present a belief system. The link is rather minimal; I did not include any position statements of Satanists on ritual abuse. Nevertheless, not having a minimal link to some sources on Satanism (as distinct from the assumption of Satanist ritual abuse) would rather be like excluding homeopaths from an article with positive and negative views on the benefits of homeopathy. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:38, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
That's a good point. But is there an "establishment" Satanism? Or are there merely a multitude of self-declared cults. Am waiting to find a Church of Satan (Marxist-Leninist). There must be one somewhere.Gareth Leng 16:31, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, if you accept the concept that LaVey codified, the accompanying academic review from Marburg does discuss his (now reformed) organization as a nexus for a wide variety of splinter groups, some competing, some loosely allied. If one explores further, there are other groups that have a perhaps nastier theology, such as some of the Set groups. LaVey won't be Marxist, but he's generally accepted to have taken quite a bit from Ayn Rand; the "virtue of selfishness" doctrine comes through, and the search for personal power. That's one of the theological/anthropological questions about why any systematic Satanic belief system would focus on children; children don't have power, and their concept of Satan respects the powerful. If you told me they were sacrificing professional athletes, it would be more plausible.
Of course, if you wanted to talk about Stalinist ritual abuse, you might well get an equivalency to Marxist Satanism, or something like that. Personally, I find actually trying to read Das Kapital rather abusive, at least to prose. I have no difficulty in believing more children were tortured during the Great Terror than by the most extreme proponents of SRA.
Of course, a sadist that uses devil masks to terrify may be using popular symbols of Satan, but isn't acting from belief systems. A trident is often considered Satan's weapon of choice; what does that make Neptunus Rex? The pentagram is popularly associated, but it was also the symbol of the Pythagoreans, as well as modern Wicca. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:50, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


I think the last few weeks of discussions have been helpful to hash out the various aspects of this article. At this point I would ask Neil Brick to refrain from editing the article itself and let Howard, Gareth, and others finish it. Neil can continue to post his comments on the Talk page and make his point of view clear there. But I will defer to the others to create an article that is accurate, fair, and reasonably neutral. "Neutral" in this case does not mean equal time for both sides because this does not appear to be a case where the two sides deserve equal weight. Thank you, everyone, for retaining civility and maximizing collaboration while we worked through a series of difficult issues. Robert Stockman 16:07, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

I am considering the above comment by editor User:Robert H. Stockman to be a ruling. D. Matt Innis 15:15, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Does this mean that I am not allowed to edit the article? If so, I object. I have worked to add appropriate sources to the article and have not edit warred, so I do not see why I should not be allowed to add appropriate sources. The only way to have a fair article is to allow those with different perspectives to edit it.Neil Brick 17:07, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
That is correct; you can comment on the talk page, but cannot edit the article. You can always appeal this, if you'd like. Robert Stockman 17:05, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Editors have that power. See here [35]
The pertinent paragraph is: Recommending content-based bans. Some authors will prove to be very difficult to negotiate with in this way. Therefore, if an editor feels that a certain author produces such a quantity of bad edits, which require so much "cleaning up" (if not outright deletion) that it would actually be better for the project if the person simply were not to work in an area (or on the project as a whole), then the editor may recommend that the author be banned from editing a certain article, from any of a group of articles, or from the Citizendium as a whole. Only editors (individually or in editorial workgroups) may make such a determination. The determination is privately given to the Constabulary, and what happens after that is determined by the Constabulary--see policy on content-based bans--not the editor, although the editor may be asked to explain points and offer evidence. Note that extensive bans (such as bans from working on the entire website, or lifetime bans) will require testimony from more than just one editor; again, see policy on content-based bans. Hayford Peirce 17:16, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
This seems very unreasonable to not let members edit the article even if you disagree with them, or don't like their point of view. There is plenty of evidence the SRA does exist. At 1992 at a workshop 32 mental health workers in Utah reported treating 360 separate survivors of ritual abuse torture.
Also, an empirical study by Goodman, Qin, Bottoms and Shaver (1994) was founded by the National center on child abuse and Neglect.
The researchers interviewed 6,910 clinical psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists and 4,655 enforcement agencies including department of social services, county district attorneys officers and municipal law enforcement agencies.
Respondent reported 12,264 cases of suspected or alleged satanic ritual abuse involving children and adults.
Some people claim that people are being accused of things there did not do. However a study in 1993 to evaluate ritual abuse torture (By Bottoms, Shaver and Goodman) found that in 2,292 alleged ritual abuse cases, 30% of the perpetrators in child cases and 15% of the perpetrators in adult cases confessed to the abuse.
There was on 2007 an International Survey for Adult Survivors of Extreme Abuse. In that research 1471 survivors from 30+ countries responded. Out of these survivors 986 report being ritually abused.
By not allowing people to give testimony about SRA we are covering up for these groups and so we are supporting a billion dollars industry of Child Pornography and Child prostitution. The time has come for the truth to come out.
I can't imagine why one member will disallow another member to edit simply because they disagree.Nitsa Kedem-Oz 02:30, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Please sign your posts with four tildes ~~~~ so that the time of posting will show as well as your signature.
I can't imagine, either, why one member would disallow another to edit simply because they disagree, since that is not what happened here. The ruling was by an Editor for one of the workgroups responsible for the article, a person who has made no changes to the article itself, and is giving both his own expert opinion on the matter, and on the information presented by other authors.
As I have mentioned previously, the Extreme Abuse Study was discussed for several months, and moved to CZ: Cold Storage, where it is locked to editing. Extensive talk archives there will show the reasoning by which it was judged unmaintainable, principally because it was not peer-reviewed, but also, among other reasons, that its methodology was questionable.
Several of the references you cite have been discussed in the talk page or are in the article. It was not a single Citizen that disagrees with the conclusion that large-scale SRA is credible. At the same time, I do not, in the slightest, doubt the existence of child prostitution and child pornography, for which there is abundant credible evidence independent of any Satanic aspects. I believe you also earlier mentioned questioning SRA as equivalent to Holocaust denial; I'll again observe the immense difference in evidence. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:59, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Let me weigh in here in my official capacity as a Constable. I do indeed recall the SRA skepticism as being called equivalent to Holocaust denial. Unlike Germany, say, we at CZ have no rules (or laws) pertaining to mentions of Holocaust denial, but I *do* think telling another Citizen that he is making that comparison is pretty close to what we call non-professionalism, in other words, things that really shouldn't be said. So you might want to take a look at our article on what we consider professionalism at -- And we look forward to your own contributions! Hayford Peirce 01:11, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
May I add that the 1992 workshop and the 1994 study by Goodman, Qin, Bottoms and Shaver cited above came out when the SRA craze reached its peak in the Anglo-Saxon world. While nowadays they are taken seriously by "some" psychotherapeutic professionals, the moral panic is largely dead. There's no serious discussion going on in academic or police circles. Cesar Tort 01:42, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
What if there was no "craze" but instead people were starting to finally talk about this type of abuse. There were court cases with mentions of this kind of abuse at the time with some forensic evidence. And many reports of course in treatment.Neil Brick 03:52, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
The question for me is, why I am being told I cannot edit the page. My edits were good ones. Though other editors may have disagreed with the content of my edits, most were peer reviewed or directly related to the topic and credible. I believe this is due to the fact that my edits presented rebuttals to the predominating Citizens' opinion of moral panic. My edits were small ones. If they were removed, I did not restore them. Also, I believe that many of those working on the article started with a set opinion of skepticism and have shaped the material to back that opinion. I base this on prior comments made on this and other talk pages before the article was seriously worked on. Some of the edit content is shaped to state there is no evidence of Satanic ritual abuse, even when the article was sympathetic to the possible existence of this abuse. Certain nonskeptical peer reviewed articles are challenged simply because they are difficult to find. Or they are questioned numerous times simply because someone believes they may not be peer reviewed, and are later found to peer reviewed. Yet, the skeptical peer reviewed articles do not go through this process. I do not believe that I produced a "quantity of bad edits."
What my banning amounts to in reality is the extinguishing of a different opinion. Without a counter balancing force editing the page, the page will not be neutral (even in CZ terms) or a fair presentation of the minority opinion. I plan on appealing this banning. The policy states "the appeal should be sent to the Editorial Appeals Committee." If someone could let me know who to write, I would appreciate it.Neil Brick 03:52, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Neil, I'm sorry, I missed this post. Please check your email. D. Matt Innis 00:17, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
There is a problem with articles that are difficult to trace: it becomes hard to verify what they say and the status of the contents - do they contain evidence or opinion, and if opinion how notable is the journal and/or author. If we can't verify reasonably we must exclude, and for that really we need some links to text and some verification of content and notability. The number of journals published is vast and they vary enormously in credibility. PubMed filters out non-academic journals in its sphere of coverage, but is imperfect - it includes many that are barely credible and some that are not peer reviewed and excludes some that contain strong content (and doesn't cover all areas of academic work). There are some collateral checks on credibility - the ISI Web of Knowledge allows any artcle to be studied for how often it has been cited for example. Selection is tough but as far as I'm concerned I'm actively trying to ignore the opinion conveyed and select only on objective grounds. I tried to put everything possibly relevant I found from credible sources on Bibliography page, regardless of the message. There then becomes the issue of whether all notable opinions are represented in the article - I think they all are, or if they're not they will be - but we can't making it appear that opinions are backed by credible evidential sources if we can't find any such sources. We can and must state what the opinions are, who holds them, and why they hold them. That's it. As far as coming at this from a skeptical viewpoint, well that's true of me insofar as I'm skeptical of everything, that's what scientists are about. But skepticism is doubt, not denial. Citizendium is about declaring the evidence, reporting opinions, explaining as needed for understanding, and leaving it there.Gareth Leng 09:55, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


From the bibliography page, I've tried to track this:

Gelb JL.1993 “Multiple personality disorder and satanic ritual abuse,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 27:701-8 I can't access the article but did locate this quote Dr Jerome Gelb, a Melbourne psychiatrist who has recently treated nine women for satanic abuse, says he now believes the stories are false beliefs. "I have had three patients who have openly stated that their `memories' were induced by the therapists they were seeing," said Dr Gelb. "They were pressured into accusing family members of incest, pressured into saying they were satanically abused, and in one case pressured into leaving home." Suggest we just drop this reference completely. Any objections, comments? Don't see there's anything to include.Gareth Leng 15:48, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Predisposing belief systems

Without answering directly, let me add some information I've just come across. MPD, as you know, features prominently in many of these accounts. MPD was first publicized by the 1973 book, later TV show and movie, Sybil (i.e., prior to Michelle Remembers). Her therapist then went to the University of Kentucky and did hypnotic work. Nathan and Snedeker (pp. 49-50) mention that a large number of these patients came from fundamentalist Christian families, especially Pentecostal backgrounds where the theology explained mental illness in terms of demonic possession. Exorcism became a popular means of therapy in the 1970s; I happened to live just down the street from Georgetown University when the movie, The Exorcist, was made. Blasted wind machine!

In any event, one factor to consider in the accounts is that some, certainly not all, of the patients came from religious backgrounds that variously might involve Satanic imagery in worship. The patient in Michelle Remembers had attended high school in a Catholic convent, while her psychiatrist, Pazder, was knowledgeable in West African rituals that are analogous to some in the book.

There is a great deal of work in symbolism (e.g., Jung's Man and his Symbols) suggesting that fear can manifest in archetypes, which may come from religious or cultural backgrounds. I personally gained some insight from dream analysis in psychoanalysis, although I'm dubious about the overall value of Freudian models. Nevertheless, it was always important, in Freudian analysis, to distinguish between a remembered symbol and its possible historical origins as consciously remembered. Even then, when the symbol led to an apparent childhood memory, it seemed much more important to focus on the reactions that association caused as an adult, not the absolute truth of my childhood memories. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:28, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

I see that the paper by Coons, Distinguishing between Pseudomemories and Repression of Traumatic Events, addresses this (at least the first page I can read without JSTOR). I'm beginning to wonder if it might be appropriate to precede the Michelle Remembers heading with a section on predisposing social factors, such as the rise of MPD, the increase in religious belief systems that believed in a Satan or equivalent, and certain feminist views of the seventies (Brownmiller, Dworkin, MacKinnon). I don't want to get too far afield. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:54, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
If anyone could send me the Kent papers, I'd appreciate it. I'm attempting to find some specific articles, although Nathan & Snedeker do discuss it, that there is a different reading on Kent's assertions: while I don't disagree that holy symbols might deliberately be perverted, these, or their reverse, can become archetypes in dreams and visions (Jung, Joseph Campbell, other symbol-oriented psychologists, to say nothing of shamanic experiences). Further, some imagery of Satanic symbols may derive from things used by Inquisitors for confrontation; their artists essentially reversed Christian symbolism. The idea of the Black Mass appears to be more 19th century. Christian symbol reversal also is evident in Crowley's writings, but Satan, per se, was not a figure in his writings. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:05, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Just a technical note

In order to avoid future conflict, I want to make sure that everyone is aware that there is a technical issue that is just becoming apparent that is apparently deleting text. There seems to be a timing problem that is occasionally resulting in deleted text or misplacing it within the history.

For instance, this article's history shows that my edit was made before Robert's above, which was not the case. I think that it is quite probable that this problem is likely causing dropped text from posts that are close in time. This might be the reason we had accusations and denials of deleted text earlier.

If this happens to you, please consider that it might well be a mistake. D. Matt Innis 15:58, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

For anyone technical, I can tell you that, though I posted that last comment at 12:58, the history says 11:58 (I am - 4 hours from UTC). Both Gareth and my posts are on the same clock, while Robert's appears to be on another time (1 hour later), if that helps. D. Matt Innis 16:04, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
My computer is set on Central time. Robert Stockman 16:15, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I've been noting this as well -- not necessarily deletes, but even minor typographical changes are not being time-stamped in the order in which they are being made, at least according to Related Changes.Howard C. Berkowitz 17:55, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Rewritten lede paragraph

That's an excellent rewrite -- it says what should have been clearly stated a long time ago! Hayford Peirce 18:09, 7 April 2009 (UTC)


Comments PLEASE from anyone. I hope that this section recounts the whole issue clearly. I hope it doesn't assert which view is correct, but just coolly summarises how the issue unfolded. Is there anything in it wrong or open to dispute?Gareth Leng 11:26, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi Gareth, I'll make a quick review and see what I think. Right off the bat, this sentence in the lead leaves a question for me:
  • Some writers consider the terms ritual abuse, sadistic ritual abuse, and organized sadistic abuse to be virtually interchangeable but others do not; see Changing terminology below.
Are we trying to say that these three terms are interchangeable with each other? or with SRA? If SRA, are all four interchangeable with each other? D. Matt Innis 12:27, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks - there are still gliches with the article, but it's the last Overview section I'm particularly concerned to get right as a balanced section - your impressions will be very valuable there especially.Gareth Leng 12:42, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay! I skipped to the overview and am terribly impressed of course. I accept that it is academically accurate and probably exactly the type of summary that is appropriate here. I am struck by two things, 1)it is not specific to satanic abuse, but could be appropriate for any or all of the abuse articles - including incest without any organization or ritual, and 2)it concentrates on the professional responsibilities of social workers and journalists, but doesn't mention religious implications, which I would think a 'satanic' ritual abuse should consider... unless we consider that satanic ritual abuse is but a small part of a bigger set of abuses and would rather rename this one and include only a section on satanic rituals. D. Matt Innis 13:02, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
This is part of the problem for an encyclopedic entry. Most "SRA" cases in the 1980s and early 1990s didn't involve real Satanism at all. That's why I suggested to watch the above-mentioned film based on the McMartin trial, the most expensive trial as to date in the US, even more expensive that the OJ Simpson trial. Cesar Tort 13:26, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm from North Carolina, I lived the trial! I agree it's a problem to delineate. D. Matt Innis 13:38, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps it has been missed, but, at the same time as this, I created an article, ritual abuse. No need to rename. I created this one, but I would be perfectly happy if it were merged into another; to me, me, this leverages the "scare word" satanism, or changes adjectives not to be accurate but for better media/court play. I created Satanic ritual abuse, without an exact goal other than to have a specific discussion on whether this subset of ritual abuse and child abuse was meaningful.
The multiple other articles were the appropriate place to look at the various rituals that are abusive for children or adults, as well as rituals for children that are not abusive. At one point in my Scouting days, Matt, I had a solo vigil in the woods. Was I well trained in survival? Yes. Was it frightening? Yes. Was I badly beaten in 6th grade military school? Yes. Was that ritual or discipline or just child abuse?
Also, I created a stub entry for sadism for things that actually are sadistic, independent of age. Note that there can be consensual sexual sadomasochism, which need not be at all ritualistic.
Before any of this started, there were articles on child abuse and child sexual abuse. I find it ironic that some citizens have mentioned "SRA" in the context of child prostitution and child pornography, things that are fully established yet have no articles. One of the reasons I created moral panic is to help show the sociological pattern of scapegoating, whether it be witches or Communists or Jews, so focus can be drawn from larger, less tractable social problems.
Ritual abuse includes religions and cultures. What of ritual scarification and ordeals in tribal societies? Is the voluntary Sun Dance or Shi'a self-flagellation during Ashura abuse? Religious fasting? Quasi-consensual, but Jonestown killed more adults than children, although a large number of the latter. Female genital manipulation is a major culturally-based worldwide problem with attention at the international human rights level. Exorcisms with fatal outcomes, one trial having closed in the last week?
Yet what seems to be the priority at CZ, not only in this article but several related ones? Satanism, including descriptions (at least case studies) that conflate Wiccan symbols with satanic ones? Confusion about rebellious teenagers and rock bands that decide to use symbols?
And yet when I gave a link to the official site of the overt Church of Satan, I was told that was a low bar. Words fail me. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:45, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Now, Gareth, on the overview proper. I'm wondering if we should not include some of the directly predisposing social factors of 20 years or so before the 1980s epidemic, including, as well, some American social history (e.g., Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1964). The 1972 or so book and movie Sybil, which popularized multiple personality disorder (MPD). The MPD researchers that found a significant prevalence in people of religions with an existing concern with demonic possession; the popularization of possession in Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. The rise of Christian fundamentalism as a political force, and its puritanical alliance with certain radical feminists. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:45, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
"Satanic Ritual Abuse" is a handy term to refer to the 1980s and '90s social panic. It's basically unrelated to the Church of Satan (which by the way reject such practices). Scholars like Frankfurter use the term and even the acronym SRA in his 2006 academic book. Since it is often related to conspiracy theories in the late 20th century rather than factual and historical ritual abuse (again, take a look at the article I started, Infanticide), a distinct and separate article on the subject ought to exist in CZ. Cesar Tort 15:05, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Howard, I'm thinking that the detail that you suggest for the 'overview' is already mentioned in the body of the article repeating it to that degree would be redundant.
Cesar, (and probably Robert) it appears that the term 'satanism' as used in the '80s and 90s moral panic' can only be traced back academically to the 'accusers' not the 'abusers'. Does anyone else refer to the devil as satan other than christians and self proclaimed anti-christians.
D. Matt Innis 15:36, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) You asked a fairly nuanced question. Yes, Satan or cognates are used in other groups, but other groups do not necessarily have the concept of the Christian devil. As I remember, "Satan" derives from both Hebrew and Persian words, and means something like "adversary" without the intensity of "devil". Contemporary Jewish usage might speak of "dybbuks", but those are more evil spirits than the Evil One. There are different Christian beliefs; the Manichaean belief, judged a heresy by the Church, sees a battle between God and Devil, without a preordained outcome. Yet other non-Abrahamic religions have a symbol of evil, but from the standpoint that good cannot exist without evil; they may also not so much symbolize it (as in Buddhism) but think of good and evil acts.

As best I remember, "satanism" was not an accusation during the Inquisition; it was more commonly heresy or witchcraft. Of course, the Great Satan in current Islamic-political contexts isn't theoretical.

I don't think the article really makes clear some of the immediate historical predecessors, such as the 1960-1970 reawakening of interest in possession and the neopuritanism of the confluence of revived Christian fundamentalists with certain feminist theoreticians that regarded all sex as patriarchical exploitation. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:48, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

To D. Matt Innis: Yes. After the panic broke, SRA became secularized, especially because of the (stupid in my view) approach of social workers and psychotherapists. It was the first time that the therapeutic profession claimed to have found something that the police and the authorities could not see. Despite its often tenuous satanic connotations, the term has been used loosely by secular and religious people alike. Cesar Tort 15:54, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I would disagree with the above. Victims accounts are often considered in court. And some therapists have been harassed by the groups (or cults) their clients were formerly in. This makes their opinions much more reasonable.Neil Brick 04:08, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Being harassed makes one more reasonable?
Seriously, "cult" is an ill-defined term and is hard to discuss. Not knowing the nature of the harassment, it's hard to know if it's criminality or free speech. If an Orthodox Jew marries outside the faith, the family may act as if their child is dead, and even harass the "murderer". Howard C. Berkowitz 04:18, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Suggested changes to the article

Accuracy corrections

Since I am not allowed to edit the article, I hope that an editor or author will look at my suggested edits below and change the article if they agree.

this sentence in the lede "Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) is a phrase coined in the 1980s to refer to well-publicized accounts of extreme child abuse allegedly organized by a satanic cult in the USA. Most of these claims about SRA assert that there are secret, criminal organizations motivated by worship of Satan, which commit ritual torture and sexual abuse of children to "program" them into the ideology of Satan worship."

should be changed to this

"Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) is a phrase coined in the 1980s to refer to well-publicized accounts of extreme child abuse allegedly organized by satanic cults in the USA. Some of these claims about SRA assert that there are secret, criminal organizations motivated by worship of Satan, which commit ritual torture and sexual abuse of children to "program" them into the ideology of Satan worship."

Many claim that a particular group or family may have commited Satanic ritual abuse, and not assert there is a network. Many would also state that there are several cults and not one.

Seems fine by me Gareth Leng 14:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I've done it. Hayford Peirce 17:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


the phrase "That purported evidence also included the book" should be changed to "That supposed evidence also included the book" as purported is not a neutral term and could be considered prejorative.

Also fine by me Gareth Leng 14:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I've done it. Hayford Peirce 17:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


I still disagree with the inclusion of this link Church of Satan It is not scholarly or peer reviewed.

Agree we should find a better source reference - apart from anything else I doubt that the website will be stable. I'm looking.Gareth Leng 14:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


In regard to the sentence "Such fantasy events can be elicited under hypnotic procedures and structured interviews which provide strong, repeated demands for the requisite experiences, and which then legitimate the experiences as "real memories."

Some researchers would question the fact that hypnosis can produce false memories of abuse.

I believe this should either be counterbalanced or removed.

A possible counterbalance could be "Though some believe that false memories of traumatic events cannot be created."

The sentence doesn't specify "of abuse" and it would be unethical to try to show that you can induce these. In the text, the phrase "such fantasy events" follows the preceding specific mention of "past-life experiences, or UFO alien contact and abduction". I doubbt if there can be dissent that these are false memories. But the reservation you mention should be stated somewhere if it's not already, I thought it was but I'll check Gareth Leng 14:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I've done some copyediting here but didn't really change anything of substance. In the Summary box for this edit I miswrote something about a phrase needing another verb -- please ignore it. Hayford Peirce 20:31, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


This statement has been backed up by certain studies "Many therapists believed that recovered memories were likely to be accurate, that early trauma was a common cause of later psychological or behavioural disorders, that memories of traumatic events were often suppressed..."

Recovered memories have been shown in some studies to be accurate.

This should be re-written to add the sentence above after "beneficial therapeutically"

Can't put it in in exactly those terms; it's true that some apparently recovered memories are memories of events that actually happened. That's different in several respects from what you say here, but it can be well supported and should be in.Gareth Leng 14:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


This statement "But throughout the 1990s, academic psychologists began to demonstrate that false memories can be induced quite readily, especially with hypnotic-like techniques..."

is false because there are no studies I know of showing that false memories can produce abuse memories. It should be deleted or re-written.

The sentence isn't specifically about abuse memories, and is true as written. As stated, the question of whether abuse memories can be created can't be tested for ethical reasons. But memories of events that would have been traumatic to a child but are not to an adult can be created readily.Gareth Leng 14:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


"A succession of high-profile court cases dissolved under judicial examination for lack of adequate objective evidence," This statement should be qualified. One could add "though some believe that there were convictions in cases that contained Satanic ritual abuse information."

There are convictions and trials for Satanic ritual abuse type cases. See [36] [37]Neil Brick 04:04, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Actually the first link is quite a good catalogue showing the collapse of many cases, and the sparsity of cases that provide any evidence of Satanic conspiracies. The first example (Memphis three) was a rare one of multiple prosection for a case linked (in the press at least) to Satanic symbolism, (though I didn't find anything in the court transcript). But that was a prosecution of three teenagers, one mentally deficient, and since DNA testing is now a cause celebre of miscarriage of justice alleging coerced statements from the mentally deficient youth - DNA tests found no trace of the defendents but traces of other parties. Whether these are guilty or not, there's no evidence of organised Satanic cult involvement. a) disturbed teenagers often display Satanic symbols (and other offensive symbols) as marks of rebellion - that's rather common, so common that it wouldn't be noted except in a climate of fear about cult conspiracy; b) disturbed teenagers and psychotic individuals sometimes commit horrific crimes; but this doesn't indicate organised conspiracy; c) murders with multiple perpetrators are very rare, and are seldom linked evidentially with even any signs of cult involvement.Gareth Leng 14:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
The survivors that I had personally spoken to, as well as information in research reports that often the abusers were adult family members. They were very far from being "psychotic teenager" but rather respectable members of society. One survivor I personally worked with told me that her mother, who was the dean of women studies in the local university was the one who introduced her to the torture of Satanic group. Another survivor, whom I heard giving public testimony on her trauma, said her father was a director of the local YMCA and a respectable member of the Free Masons.
From my understanding of this activity of organized crime it takes much planning and coordination to run such a huge illegal operation of child pornography and child prostitution. Nothing that can be accomplished by disturbed teenagers.
The fact that ritual abuse is so wide spread (reported from every state in the US, every county in Canada) also suggests that it is a serious and profitable organized crime and not isolated acts of teenagers. The 2007 International Survey For Adult Survivors of Extreme Abuse (Carol Rutz) also reported survivors from 30 other countries in the world.
An empirical study by Goodman, Qin, Bottoms and Shaver (1994) was founded by the National center on child abuse and Neglect.
The researchers interviewed 6,910 clinical psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists and 4,655 enforcement agencies including department of social services, county district attorneys’ officers and municipal law enforcement agencies.
Respondents reported 12,264 cases of suspected or alleged satanic ritual abuse involving children and adults.
A study in 1993 to evaluate ritual abuse torture Bottoms, Shaver and Goodman found that in 2,292 alleged ritual abuse cases, 30% of the perpetrators in child cases and 15% of the perpetrators in adult cases confessed to the abuse.
Clearly, this is a wide spread phenomenon and not random acts of disturbed individuals.Nitsa Kedem-Oz 13:52, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Nitsa, I agree with you that those teens may have been extremely abused by their parents (see my user page), as you say above. But here’s the rub: did the SRAbuse happen as reported? If so, why there’s no shred of empirical evidence of mutilations, ritual murders, humiliating orgies and so on? The most parsimonious interpretation is that family victims are unconsciously dramatizing their traumas in their yearning to get a little empathy from their therapists and social workers. Since forensic evidence is zilch (see Frankfurter’s 2006 book on the subject), Occam’s razor applies here unmercifully. Patient’s SRA claims, however dramatic, are no match to the police’s lack of forensic evidence. Cesar Tort 14:20, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
With all due respect, Mr.Tort's statement about no evidence is false. There is evidence of Satanic ritual crimes. And "parsimonious interpretations" have no evidence whatsoever. They are pure conjecture.Neil Brick 15:30, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Do you have a source rebutting Frankfurter? He published in a major university press. Do you have an university or peer-reviewed academic journal that challenges Frankfurter's statement that there is zero forensic evidence of SRA? If so, please let us know. Cesar Tort 15:57, 10 April 2009 (UTC)