Letters to Editors by Gordon Waugh 1995
To the North Shore Times Advertiser, 26 July 1995
As reported in your July 25 issue (Page 16), the supply of "victims" for the North Shore Women’s Centre is finally drying up. Ms Milne blames it on the False Memory Syndrome. She and her colleagues should look closer to home, because they have stolen valuable resources and public confidence from genuine cases of abuse.
The cause of their business downturn stems from their use of psuedo-scientific pop-psychology encompassing Repressed Memories, Multiple Personality Disorder, Dream Therapy, Pastlife Regression, Re-birthing and other variants. They have mixed these with the teachings of discredited US authors such as Bass, Briere, Conte, Davis, Herman, Russell, Summit, and our home-grown crop eg Haines, McGregor, Saphira, Williams. There is not one supportable scientific fact in any of their psycho-babble. Counsellors could have achieved better results by resurrecting the Malleus Maleficum !
The ACC gravy-train no longer hands out thousands of dollars to thousands of supposed victims, and the incentive to become a victim has largely disappeared. Hopefully, so will many of the Counsellors. The False Memory Syndrome should indeed worry Ms Milne, and has always been "an issue". If there is only one case of a false memory, or one false allegation, scientifically trained Counsellors would want to know why it occurred. That there are many thousand of such cases should worry the life out of them. Any "therapy" based on fiction, confabulation and suggestion will ultimately fail. The signs are most encouraging. I challenge Milne and Stevens to publicly justify their beliefs and techniques.
G. Waugh, Whenuapai
To the North Shore Times Advertiser, 27 July 1995
So, the North Shore Women’s Centre has a dilemma. Barbara Milne complains of a shortage of clients. She needs help from experts to drum up more business. I suggest she try the following business plan.
The "statistics" these Counsellors use say that "One in three girls and perhaps as many boys have been sexually abused by the age of 18." That gives a market base of a little over a million sexually abused people. All they need do is apply two factors. Firstly, readjust the statistics to say, one in two. That will automatically generate a new market and add about three quarters of a million clients, which should keep them going for a while. Secondly, make it compulsory for women to attend counselling, whether they know they’ve been abused or not. The Counsellors will be able to convince them to remember abuse which never happened, which in turn will result in many more shattered families, and consequently create even more business for them.
The ripple effects can also be used to advantage. Because sexual abuse is a crime, and Ms Milne knows of hundreds of such cases, (of which only two took their abusers to court), she could make a buck or two by selling her obvious talents to her clients and getting many more of them to court. This way, thousands of men will over-fill our prisons as sex offenders, giving even more work to the Counsellors by way of re-training. At the same time, this mechanism will generate much more work for the Police and the courts, thereby creating new jobs. The economy will flourish and our taxes might decrease.
If all else fails, perhaps the Counsellors could take on some honest work cleaning the streets, or something else that is beneficial to the community.
C. McCarthy [that is, Colleen Waugh !], Whenuapai
To the Christchurch Press, 22 August 1995.
Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care (DSAC) appears to hold unscientific beliefs about sexual abuse. I understand they support the validity of "recovered memories", Multiple Personality Disorder, Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, and other discredited or unproved theories.
DSAC, partly funded by Anne Geddes Calendars, has been involved in recent times in bringing here a number of "experts" from overseas to teach . These include Briere, Conte, Herman and Summit, people who were at the leading edge of drumming up belief in their fanciful theories, and who have now been thoroughly discredited by the US Courts, professional bodies, academia at large, and sensible folk.
Incredibly, DSAC is bringing more such "experts" – Jon Briere again (11-13 Sep), Astrid Heger (13 Oct), and Arnon Bentovim (7-14 Nov). DSAC owes the public an explanation as to why they waste good money on bad theories and why they continue their involvement with these "experts".
G. Waugh, Auckland
To the Herald, 2 September 1995
On two recent occasions (8 Oct 94 and 2 Sep 95) letters from Clive A. Littin expressed his views on the widely-used theory of "repressed memories" in cases of alleged sexual abuse. If it is "daring" to state known facts, then count me in !
The irrefutable facts are these:
1. The theory has no scientific validity and has been roundly debunked.
2. Pseudo-memories can be generated with relative ease.
3. Without valid external corroboration, therapists cannot know whether a client’s memories are historically true.
4. Those who tell the Courts and ACC (or their clients) that uncorroborated memories of abuse are true, are guilty of professional misconduct.
Mr Littin claims to have been involved with hundreds of sexually abused women, and says that he believes his clients. Other therapists make identical claims. Are we really expected to believe that all such claims are genuine and have been externally corroborated as historically correct? If empirical evidence exists to substantiate these claims, he is obliged, as the professional he purports to be, to publish it for the betterment of mankind. I await his paper with interest.
G. Waugh, Whenuapai
To the Christchurch Press, 24 September 1995.
Doctors For Sexual Abuse Care
Dr. Gellatly (Sep 20) has avoided justifying DSAC’s actions by suggesting that I am either uninformed or misinformed, and by quoting the pedigrees of its visiting speakers.
Be assured I am very well informed. I do not dispute the professorial status or appointments of DSAC’s visiting speakers. I question what they think, believe and espouse. Their belief in unproved, invalid and unscientific theories related to Satanic Ritual Abuse, Multiple Personality Disorder, Repressed Memories etc is cause for the most serious of concerns. These belief-systems are transparent under the clear light of empirical science.
It is profoundly disturbing to know that some doctors, to whom vulnerable people turn in times of need, rely on such belief-systems for diagnosis, instead of the scientific methods of their profession, thus putting patients in jeopardy. DSAC must now publicly justify its beliefs or face the criticism of dealing in quackery.
G. Waugh, Whenuapai
To the North Shore Times Advertiser, 25 September 1995
Once again, the North Shore Women’s Centre is in the news by advertising its wares in your newspaper (19 Sep 95). It now offers an 8-week course for mothers whose children have been sexually abused "to help mothers deal with any feelings and questions they may have about sexual abuse and their child/children". Course administrator Chris Coppersmith says "the course will help answer any questions mothers have about sexual abuse".
Is this yet another attempt by a group of feminists, self-appointed experts and guardians of the moral highground, to spread their warped and unscientific beliefs about sexual abuse? The very last thing a mother of a genuinely sexually abused child needs is eight weeks of indoctrination and exposure to their brand of claptrap.
ACC, in its annual report to Parliament on 21 Sep 95, noted that more than $8.3 million had been paid out in counselling fees for sexual abuse. The report said "The principal entitlement being sought is payment for counselling, and this has become an issue of concern to the corporation." Many others are also concerned about these hand-outs.
In regard to this "course", the Centre now needs to explain to the public:
a. what evidence exists that the course is necessary,
b. what valid qualifications the "tutors" have to teach this topic,
c. the total cost of the course,
d. how the course is being funded,
e. how much each "tutor" will get paid, and,
f. who gave the Centre the authority to run such a course.
G. Waugh, Whenuapai
The Western Leader, 30 October 1995
Proof that false allegations of sexual abuse do occur and have devastating effects is evident from your report (Oct 24) that three people have been arrested and charged with extortion after their demand for $25,000 from a man now dead. They had threatened to make their allegations of sexual abuse public. The poor victim left a note saying he could not see a way out.
Using false allegations of sexual abuse as a weapon is sordid and contemptible. It is widely used in matrimonial disputes over child custody and by adult women who "recover memories" during counselling. It is all too simple to make such allegations. Neither complainants nor counsellors have to provide any evidence or corroboration of the alleged events. Innocent men are wrongly convicted. Some men have committed suicide. Wrongly accused parents die early deaths. Children are wrenched from their homes, and abused by intensive interrogation by mis-guided counsellors looking for abuse where none occurred. Children are used as pawns and are scarred for life. Families are shattered and financially ruined. ACC has paid millions of dollars to thousands of so-called victims, and to their counsellors, often without one shred of evidence that abuse actually took place. Commonsense has bolted through an open window.
I urge anyone being falsely accused of sexual abuse to contact Casualties Of Sexual Allegations Inc. (COSA), through me. There is a defence. There is a way out. There is support and help.
G. Waugh, Whenuapai
To the Western Leader, 31 October 1995
Thank you for publishing my letter (Oct 6), but I have a bone to pick with you. The point of my letter was to make people aware that therapists who dabble in bogus therapies based on belief-systems, and who charge for their services, are quacks. I included the topic of Past Life Regression. You gave my letter the title "Past Lives". I would have chosen "Bogus Therapy" or "Beware the Quacks" or something similar. Heading it "Past Lives" has resulted in Susan Wood (Oct 27) and Zara Smith (Oct 17) being compelled to express their views publicly, which is rather unfair on them. Now their powder is damp and I fear they may never be able to fire another shot.
They have the right to believe whatever they choose. Perhaps they find solace and comfort in their belief-systems. I thank Zara Smith for leading me up the Path(finders). I applaud Susan Wood for having the courage to admit that she cannot prove that her clients accessed their past lives.
That Susan Wood makes money out of Past Life Regression is deplorable. To be fair to her clients, she should add Future Life Progression to her repertoire (it is currently quite fashionable in the USA). I might add Neuro-Linguistic Programming to my list of desirable things to do, but in the meantime, I’ll content myself with Flat-Earthing and flogging off a bit of snakeroot tonic in my spare time. Any takers?
G. Waugh, Whenuapai
The Sunday Star-Times, 28 November 1995
You reported (Nov26) that the Psychologists’ Board had rejected a complaint that Dr Lynne Haye, a Christchurch psychologist, should have recognised that the emotional state of a client (Ms Simone Doublett) may have been caused by factors other than sexual abuse. The Board thought Haye was "duped" into believing stories of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). Dr Haye was paid $4,000 by ACC in counselling fees. The Board’s decision was an ill-considered exercise in closing ranks..
Earlier this year, USA Government agencies investigated some 12,000 allegations of SRA. No evidence to support the allegations could be found. Similar studies elsewhere had the same result. If some evidence that SRA actually exists could be found, the Board might have a point, but in the obvious absence of evidence, it is a paltry excuse to believe that Dr. Haye was "duped".
Satanic Ritual Abuse is fantasy and confabulation, no different to so-called Recovered Memories, Multiple Personality Disorder, and other wacky theories, but there are many therapists who believe in them. Vulnerable people have turned to therapists in times of psychological need, to their ultimate detriment. Paul C. Stern said it well. "Separate common sense from common nonsense, and make uncommon sense more common."
The Board’s decision has shattered the trust some held in its objectivity, and is a clarion call for its resignation. Until a new Board persuades its members to return to the systematic application of scientifically sound principles, instead of "trained intuition", or in this case, $4,000 worth of plain old gullibility, its decisions will be viewed with cynicism.
G. Waugh, Auckland
To the Western Leader, 28 November 1995
Quite a few people have contacted me recently over actions taken by the Children’s & Young Persons Service (CYPS) – particularly its Henderson office. I already knew of many others. CYPS needs to face the serious criticisms of a growing body of angry parents and families, falsely accused of sexual and other abuse in custody disputes, that it is causing incalculable distress through ignorance and misguided zeal, and that it has shown how unbridled power can be abused in the hands of the inept.
Their perceptions are these. A relationship breaks down. A custody dispute arises. An almost-obligatory allegation of sexual abuse ensues. No credible evidence exists to support the allegation, but CYPS must find abuse. Children are snatched from their homes, and once in its clutches, CYPS hides behind the infamous Balance of Probabilities equation to retain its custody. Children become frightened of their wrongly-accused fathers because the notion that "Dad must have done something terrible" has been firmly implanted in their minds by the CYPS Coven. CYPS is abusing children by mis-using a system designed to protect them.
CYPS uses psychologists to interrogate children and to ensure that abuse is found. Some reports are incredibly naive, and draw ridiculous conclusions from simple, everyday events. After hours of "therapy" with little children, a psychologist reported, inter alia, that a father made his children drink "poo" milkshakes. Improbable at best, arrant and disgusting nonsense at worst ! There are many more examples. Dare I mention that CYPS issued a Trespass Notice to prevent certain people entering its taxpayer-funded office? Should I discuss the cruelty they call "supervised access"?
CYPS is a tax-payer funded SERVICE, not "The Godfather". It must eschew the rustic notion that because an allegation was made, it must be true. It must rid itself of those staff and psychologists who don’t know their base from their apex. Instead of finding abuse where none occurred, it needs real knowledge, tempered with commonsense, a balanced viewpoint, and credible methodology to better meet its responsibilities. Stand up and be counted, CYPS.
G. Waugh, Whenuapai
To the Christchurch Press, 29 November 1995
Ian Geary (psychologist, Timaru) deserves congratulations for his efforts to bring some backbone and accountability to his profession.
Conversely, the Psychologists’ Board condemned itself by concluding that Dr Lynne Haye (psychologist, Christchurch) was "duped" into believing her client (Ms Simone Doublett) suffered sexual abuse from Satanic Rituals. If Satanic Ritual Abuse could be shown to exist, we would all like to see the evidence.
The Board must demand that its profession returns to the systematic application of scientifically sound principles, instead of believing in "trained intuition". It could learn much from Paul C. Stern’s tenet "Separate common sense from common nonsense, and make uncommon sense more common."
G. Waugh, Auckland
To the Sunday Star-Times, 28 December 1995
Three hearty cheers for Bruce Slane, the Privacy Commissioner. The Police are challenging his decision allowing the release of information from an alleged sexual abuse "victim" to her alleged abuser (Star-Times, Dec 24). ACC has similar requests from other alleged abusers. The Commissioner for Children "thinks it is really important that people can report to state agencies and their identities can be protected".
Men falsely accused of sexual abuse have a fundamental right to clear their names of these scabrous allegations, a right to have any relevant information to defend themselves against this weapon, and a right to know the identity of their accusers.
Many such allegations arise after adult women have counselling and "recover memories" of alleged sexual abuse years, decades earlier. They claim compensation from ACC. No evidence or corroboration of the alleged abuse is required. On this basis, ACC has paid out over $600 million to over 50,000 women in the last three years or so. Falsely accused men have become impatient with this farcical process. Very few of these alleged abusers have been charged, because no evidence of actual abuse exists.
It is high time that ACC and the police demanded real evidence and corroboration in these cases, or charged the accusers and their counsellors with making false statements, wasting police time, and fraud where ACC compensation has been awarded.
G. Waugh, Auckland