MENZ logoISSUES logo

Miscellaneous Early MENZ Articles

The Men’s Hour – inaugural broadcast July 1997

Hitting Home: men speak about abuse of women partners. A critique of the study awarded ‘The Bent Spoon’ by the Skeptics in 1995.

To Blame Or Not To Blame – That Is The Question It is with some amazement that I have been watching the revival of blame, finger-pointing and making people accountable for their, dare I say the word, "bad" behaviour. Strangely, most of this blame is coming from women, while most of those blamed are men, middle-aged family men.

Falsely accused fathers awarded custody A few judges are on to it.

Letter to: The Hon Jennifer Shipley, Minister for ARCI Minimising false sexual abuse claims.

Counsellors and the Sex Abuse Industry Gordon Waugh interviewed by Robert Mann

False allegations of sexual abuse: a mother’s view. Colleen Waugh, interviewed by Robert Mann

Whores of the Court -The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice Harper-Collins Publishers 1997 A few quotes from Margaret A. Hagen PhD.

The Men’s Hour – inaugural broadcast July 1997

Over the last three years the North Shore Men’s Centre has received hundreds of phone calls from men in crisis. The majority of these are concerned with relationship stress and break-ups, and consequent problems with access to, and maintaining of, children. There are few traditional resources available for men with these kinds of family problems, partly because many of the situations we hear about are relatively recent phenomena.

For most of human history children (and wives too for that matter) were considered to be the property of men, and women unlucky enough to lose their husbands often faced a life of poverty and destitution. Not surprisingly, divorce was rare. Marriage was expected to be a contract for life, which obligated the husband to provide financial support and protection in return for the emotional support and homemaking role of his wife.

By the 1970s however, it was recognised that this situation meant that some women were trapped in horrendous circumstances, especially if domestic violence was involved. Professionals began to realise that child abuse in dysfunctional families was much more common than previously recognised, and it became obvious that women were not always treated fairly in the division of matrimonial property. Feminist organisations lobbied successfully for change.

Since that time, New Zealand has made many radical modifications to the way our society deals with family breakdown. Many men now have the experience of being disadvantaged by laws and institutions that seem to be biased in favour of women’s interests. Although the man’s obligation to provide financial support for his children continues (as it should), many men find that they have no corresponding right to continue their relationship with their children, or to be involved with their rearing.

Around three quarters of divorces are initiated by women, who can be secure in the knowledge that 3 times out of 4 they will win custody of the children if it is contested. This will guarantee them the domestic purposes’ benefit to live on. They will usually receive legal aid assistance to fight any court actions, whereas the man will generally have to pay his own legal bills. Court orders for shared or joint custody are rare.

The most tragic situation is where there is a significant possibility the woman might not get custody automatically (for example if she has a history of psychological problems or criminal record). In these cases the common tactic is to make an accusation of sexual abuse or marital violence in the Family Court. Because judges are taught that women and children never lie about abuse, the uncorroborated word of an hostile ex-partner is all it takes to ensure the father immediately loses all rights to be with his children alone. In a few minutes we’ll be talking about the group COSA based on the North Shore, which was formed to help those people affected by false accusations of sexual abuse.

Women can ignore access orders with impunity, knowing that they are unlikely to be enforced, and are free to move to another city to prevent men seeing their children. Fathers on the other hand find that Liable Parent Contributions are removed automatically from their bank accounts wherever they might try to hide. Quite naturally, some men feel that they shouldn’t have to pay for a child they are not allowed to see, and many go to great lengths to avoid the tax system. Others struggle to support a second family while paying money to an ex-wife who may enjoy a far higher standard of living with her new boyfriend. Many people now believe that the pendulum has swung too far and needs to be moved back to the point where men and women are treated equally.

We know that girls from fatherless families are much more likely to bear children out of wedlock themselves, and to get divorced if they do get married. We know that fatherless boys are more likely to fail academically, end up in jail or commit suicide. Why then do so many of our social policies act to undermine the institution of marriage and the role of fathers?

Over the next few months we’ll be looking at how this situation has developed, and at some of the theories that underlie the changes that have been made. We’ll also examine some of the resulting horror stories that men have told us. If you want to share your experiences or thoughts with us we welcome your contribution. You can write to us at Box 34215 Birkenhead or leave a message on our answer-phone at 480 2168.

The Commissioner for Children has recently announced that his team of female researchers is about to undertake a study of fathering. There has been plenty of publicity over recent years about "dead-beat dads" who fail to pay their child support, or to get involved in their children’s lives. We hope that this study will pay particular attention to the plight of thousands of fathers in New Zealand who would dearly love to have contact with their children but who are frustrated by a system that does not take their rights into account

Earlier, we mentioned the problem of false sexual abuse accusations. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this position, or even suspect you might be because a custody dispute is turning nasty, we suggest you get assistance at the earliest possible point. This is a very serious situation to be in and you should be aware that there are dozens of men in New Zealand prisons who are in all probability completely innocent. Peter Ellis, the Christchurch Creche worker who is still in jail, is the best known example of many men convicted on evidence implanted in children’s minds by well-meaning but deluded counsellors.

Over the next few months we’ll examine cases of men who have been wrongly convicted of sexual crimes. There are others who have been acquitted in the High Court but who still cannot overturn a Family Court decision to prevent access because they have a much lower standard of proof. Still others never get charged with any criminal offence but still lose their kids. Once the accusation has been made you are presumed guilty, and there is in fact no procedure available to clear your name. We’ll talk to men who can only see their children for 2 hours a fortnight if they pay to be closely supervised by young trainee social workers, despite the fact that there is no actual evidence they ever did anything wrong.

About three years ago Auckland doctor (and the author’s wife) Felicity Goodyear-Smith published a book called "First do no Harm – the Sexual Abuse Industry" which described how professionals were creating abuse out of nothing. As a result she was contacted by hundreds of families with disturbingly similar stories about false accusations. She went on to form the organisation COSA, which stands for Casualties of Sexual Allegations. They publish a monthly newsletter detailing their efforts to educate abuse workers and the public, lobby for change and support their members. They also run a monthly support group on the North Shore where new members can meet others who are suffering the same fate, and take advantage of the experience of those who have tangled with the family court in the past.

There are now many voices calling for changes in the law to make it harder to convict a man on the uncorroborated evidence of a woman or a child. Others are saying we need a statute of limitations to stop elderly men being charged with crimes they supposedly committed over 30 years ago. Some suggest that people who deliberately make false accusations for revenge or extortion should be punished severely instead of the slap on the wrist they receive at the moment. It is time the government took a hard look at these issues, so we’ll be talking about the background to these much needed changes to our legal system.

We at the North Shore Men’s Centre are also concerned that our welfare system is biased against nuclear families and the tradition of marriage. Men who are unemployed or on low incomes have become a financial liability to a woman who adds up what her friends are getting on the DPB. We know parents who avoid marriage and cohabitation so that they can receive the increased benefit available if they live in separate households. The most bizarre situation occurs with students. While those with children are better off if they live apart, single students can increase their income by pretending to be married!

Not surprisingly, families headed by a single woman are the fastest growing method of child-rearing in the 1990s, particularly among lower income groups and Maori. The stigma that most human societies have traditionally placed on illegitimate children has almost totally disappeared. In many New Zealand communities solo mothers now enjoy greater financial security than the traditional married couples supported by a male breadwinner.

On The Men’s Hour we’ll be discussing the effects of all these changes on New Zealand society, from the perspective of men. Remember we welcome your feedback, your questions and your support. Our phone number again is 415 0049

written by: John Potter

Hitting Home: men speak about abuse of women partners

August 1995 saw the publication of the Justice Department’s research project "Hitting Home: men speak about abuse of women partners", said to be the most comprehensive study of attitudes to domestic abuse which exists anywhere, and to present "prevalence rates of abuse of women by NZ men". The results of this $1.5 million Hamilton project were said to show that men abuse their women partners at twice the rate previously thought, and of course there was an accompanying call for more funding to deal with the problem.

The study reported that 21% of the 2000 men surveyed admitted physically abusing their women partners in the past year, and that 53% had psychologically abused them. 35% reported committing at least one act of physical abuse and 62% at least one act of psychological abuse in their life-times.

Domestic violence is without doubt a very serious problem which besets our society, and to reduce its incidence is a laudable cause. In no way do I condone physical violence between people. However there are grave flaws in interpreting the data from this study as "1 in 5 men beat their women partners" or that "1 in 2 emotionally abuse them".

Firstly, the definitions of abuse used were extremely broad. Domestic abuse is defined as "abuse of women by male partners". Physical abuse includes pushing, shoving, grabbing or throwing somthing at a woman partner. Psychological abuse includes insulting or swearing at her, preventing her having money (amount undefined) for her own use, criticising one of her friends or family, throwing or kicking something, or "tring to keep her from doing something she wants to do".

Rather than be surprised at the high reported incidence of such abuse, it is astounding that so many of the men have had such peaceful and congenial relationships with women that 65% have never even pushed or shoved one, and over a third have never even insulted a woman partner.

Secondly, there is the assumption that all domestic abuse is inflicted by men and suffered by women. A number of international studies have demonstrated time and time again that both women and men equally engage in physical violence in their intimate relationships (a reference list of 17 such studies is available). Certainly men do not have a monopoly on insults, throwing objects or kicking the door. Some women have a far greater mastery of psychological weapons than their male partners, and are quite capable of manipulating men from doing things they wish to do.

There is a marked parallel here with sexual abuse statistics and other studies which seek evidence that women are victims of male brutality, and greatly magnify the problem to gain funding, support, vindication and ammunition (see Literature Review of Gilbert, Hoff-Sommers and Bonilla in COSA newsletter Aug 1994 1 (4) p4-5). Just as gender feminism has expanded the definition of of rape from a heinous crime committed by a violent individual against an innocent victim to the victimization of all women by all men, so too does this study expand the definition of domestic abuse to the point of meaninglessness. Trivilising violence in this way affronts the real victims of assault.

I predict that such an approach will only serve to make the whole problem worse. Men are presented as being totally responsible for domestic abuse, and women in no way to blame.

However, domestic violence is a relationship problem. Only when both men and women recognise and acknowledge the part they play in the conflict, will the problem be able to be redressed, and happier, mutually more trusting and co-operative relationships be established. Making men solely responsible for the problem gives women carte blanche to be as vicious or nasty as they like. This will only hasten the demise of their relationships and leave both parties angry and embittered.

With sociologist Greg Newbold a notable exception, very few professionals have spoken out about the flaws and dangers of this study. The other major critic was The NZ Skeptics, whom I applaud for giving it their "Bent Spoon Award" for 1995.

Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith

To Blame Or Not To Blame – That Is The Question

Most of you will have seen the television campaign over recent months sponsored by the Police and the Land Transport Safety Authority which is attempting to make the public aware of the consequences of careless, bad and drunken driving. In graphic detail we are shown not so much the blood and guts which used to mark such educational campaigns, but now harrowing emotional scenes in hospitals, court rooms and homes involving, usually, wives and mothers shouting at, crying in front of, or otherwise blaming, male drivers for the consequences of the horrendous accidents they have caused.

Very powerful stuff, and it will be interesting to see just how effective this new tack will be. And let me say right at the outset, the carnage must stop, and I am right behind tough measures to fight death and destruction on the roads.

But hold on. Just how new is such a campaign? I would suggest, in the context of recent times, totally new, totally different. Let’s go back a bit.

In the early seventies we introduced a "no fault" accident compensation scheme. Even if your own careless inattention or wilfully ignorant stupidity caused the accident, there was no way you could be sued for compensation if you carelessly injured another person. Blame and personal responsibility just didn’t come into it.

And you could claim considerable sums yourself for your own injuries, despite your own carelessness. In this era we also brought in "no fault" divorce. It was no use blaming the other party for adultery any more, nobody was responsible. "Unhappy differences" and living apart for a sufficient time were enough grounds for the court to terminate the marriage. Of course, people still found fault with each other even though the law may have declared fault no longer officially existed. And it could be argued that the vicious fault-finding battles we now see over children and property when relationships end is one way people have of making someone responsible for the pain and loss.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that in 1971 an American Sociologist, William Ryan, came out with a book which was to have a tremendous impact on how we view the poor, the disadvantaged and the criminal. This book was called "Blaming the Victim" and it set up the framework by which nobody could be blamed for anything. Its political correctness, before the term "political correctness" came along, was breathtaking. No longer could people be held accountable for their behaviour, we had all become victims of bad parenting, violent childhoods, abuse, neglect, poverty, being the wrong race, the wrong gender and a thousand and one other ways in which people have claimed oppression and victimhood status over the last twenty-five years.

It was perhaps also no coincidence that the rise in no fault, no blame, no personal responsibility occurred at the same time as a decline in traditional concepts of right and wrong. Value-free education became a "good" thing and in the best post-modern tradition, truth and reality were just two more social constructs. Criminals were still tried according to the criminal law, but prisoners’ rights began to be taken seriously as criminologists and sociologists looked to excuse the behaviour, by pointing to the criminals’ disadvantaged backgrounds. If one thing became dominant, it was the death of blame, taking responsibility, and being accountable for your behaviour. Civil and personal rights dominated civil and personal responsibilities.

So it is with some amazement that I have been watching the revival of blame, finger-pointing and making people accountable for their, dare I say the word, "bad" behaviour. The graphically emotional scenes from these TV enactments are meant to shame dangerous drivers, to heap social opprobrium and censure on them, to show blame from the road accident victims themselves or the angry, crying resentful relatives of dead victims.

Strangely, most of this blame is coming from women, while most of those blamed are men, middle-aged family men. Certainly, the ads are powerful, and middle-aged men watching will feel guilt by association, whatever their driving record, and will feel very uncomfortable under the accusing stares and the angry words from the mainly middle-aged women in these scenes. But is this the group that needs targeting? I have seen only one ad featuring a young man as the driver, the one where the two young women come into the pub while the young men are drinking and playing pool. This is surely the target group that causes the most accidents, or at least so we are told by the police.

Make no mistake – I am all for making people responsible for their behaviour. But if blame and shame are coming back into favour, let’s target it accurately. And let’s not stop at road accidents. Let’s consider bringing fault back into other accidents, and into divorce. The rise of OSH, the office of Occupational Safety and Health with a clear implication of fault and heavy penalties for infraction is a sign that the accident scene needs the concept of fault and taking responsibility. But let’s do it right across the board. If only one gender is being singled out for fault, if only one gender is being asked to take responsibility for bad behaviour, then we would like to know what other agendas may be operating.

Mark Rowley, 8 September 1997

810AM Community Access Radio

Falsely accused fathers awarded custody of children

In Dec 1994 a Family Court judge rejected allegations of sexual abuse of her daughter then aged 3 by her ex-husband, and awarded custody of both daughters to the father. The mother appealed this decision and the case was heard by in the High Court in April-June this year. The judge completely upheld the Family Court decision that there is no evidence of post-separation sexual abuse, but the mother is clearly fixated on sexual abuse and has a deep-seated (erroneous) belief that it had occurred. The judge was critical of the fact that the examining doctor clearly supported the mother in her belief that the daughter had been abused, despite the fact that her medical evidence was "only of the weakest character". He also stated that "those responsible for investigating this matter, had painted themselves into a corner by an explicit denunciation [of the father]. There was, with all due respects, subsequently conducted something close to a justificatory witch hunt… There are few signs that [the girl] has been traumatised by alleged abuse apart from the statements of [the mother] and her supporters".

Another falsely accused father awarded custody of his children

Another custody case heard by a Family Court judge in July 1995 also centred around false allegations of sexual abuse. In May the father had been acquitted by a jury of all criminal charges.

"The mother has convinced herself that the children have been sexually abused, and this perception was allowed to become part of the fabric of reality of her household" however the judge found that "it is overwhelmingly more probable than not that quite innocent and innocuous actions have been invested with an over-imaginative interpretation which is entirely false".

"It appears customary in (this) area at least to describe a child’s assertion that an incident of sexual abuse has happened as a ‘disclosure’… In the present case, it is said that ‘disclosures’ were made in the evidential interviews, and when one of the children was referred to counselling by a psychologist there was some expectation that in the course of the counselling sessions he might make a ‘disclosure’. Use of the word ‘disclosure’ betrays a process of thought which assumes that what is ‘disclosed’ must have happened as described and must be true. Its use precludes the notion that what is described might not have occurred… An allegation does not assume a truth or validity of its own merely because it has been made. In any rational system of investigation an allegation that certain events have occurred constitutes no more than an untested hypothesis. While that hypothesis remains untested, and particularly if it is challenged, it is intellectually dishonest to treat it as though it were valid and as though its validity cannot be questioned."

"Both the father and the children have become victims of serious injustice in the period of nearly 18 months from the start of the investigation to the criminal trial to the present hearing. That injustice was created because of uncritical acceptance and continued official support of allegations which arose in circumstances which demanded immediate, close and critical inquiry into their truth. There is no evidence that any such inquiry was undertaken before the course was set for criminal proceedings and the children were effectively isolated from their father".

The child was examined "by a paediatrician who is active in sexual abuse matters and has become an expert in the field. She found no physical evidence of abuse, but it appears… arranged for the completion of accident compensation claim forms so that [the child] could be referred for supportive counselling." The judge expressed his opinion that such a referral would have been "inappropriate in the absence of professional judgement that it was justifiable."

The younger son was later incorporated into the same counselling sessions as his brother. This was arranged by a social worker who reported "hopefully so he can be brought to the point where he will be prepared to talk about abuse" the judge concludes that the younger son’s "allegation of alleged abuse was no more than attention-seeking fabrication, placed in his mind by others at home".

The judge further queried whether it was wise for the ACC-funded counsellor:

  1. to become engaged as counsellor for [the 2 boys] on issues of sexual abuse which where disputed and had not been forensically established;
  2. become involved in the CYPS case conference as he did;
  3. hold himself out as available as an independent psychological assessor for the Court in the present proceedings;
  4. act as a specialist consultant for the prosecution in the criminal proceedings against the father;
  5. there was at one stage a probability that he might be called as expert witness for the Crown at the trial.

The judge’s specific criticisms of the case include:

  • The mother’s 1st report of [the child’s] complaint of abuse was accepted uncritically and treated as justifying an immediate evidential interview;
  • It appears to have been assumed that [the child’s] reported behaviour problems were wholly or partly the result of sexual abuse, whereas inquiry from the school would have revealed… there had never been any question or suspicion of sexual abuse until the mother herself raised the point immediately she reported it to the [Children and Young Person’s] Service;
  • Once it was known that the father strongly denied the allegation, the fact of his denial, far from stimulating any further inquiry or investigation, seems to be put to one side on the basis of some assumption that people charged with sexual abuse usually deny it;
  • It was assumed without any critical examination or independent checking, that what [the child] disclosed in his evidential interview must be believed and taken as true;
  • The wisdom of engaging a child in therapeutic counselling under accident compensation auspices on the basis of what the child has said must be true, when it is known that the truth of what the child has said will be contested, is very much open to question;
  • The evidential interviewing methodology was open to criticism including the interviewer using of leading questions at inappropriate points; seriously misconstruing what the child was saying on one occasion without realising her error; and being pre-disposed at least one point to over-intepret a particular situation that developed during the interview, so effectively prejudicing the child’s ability to reccount his story in a natural and non-coercive setting;
  • From an early stage of the Family Court proceedings efforts were made on behalf of the father to obtain access to the CYPS files and records. These efforts were met with official opposition, and even at a late stage of the present proceedings an attempt was made to place reliance on the Official Information Act and the Privacy Act… Since the request for information was made by the children’s co-guardian on a matter of importance to the children’s welfare, it is not clear to this Court what ground there could have been for failing promptly to provide the necessary inspection."

Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith

Letter to: The Hon Jennifer Shipley, Minister for ARCI

17 September 1997

Dear Minister,

Thank you for your letter MIN 8646 dated 1 September 1997.

Although your closing comment was your regret at being unable to further assist me in the matter I put forward, I believe that you can be of assistance in revising the ARCI legislation to improve the way in which claims of alleged sexual abuse are considered and treated by the Corporation.

With good reason, a widely-held opinion prevails in the community that the present system of handling ACC claims for alleged sexual abuse actively encourages findings of sexual abuse. Claims of sexual abuse provide an avenue for clients to obtain treatment for psychologically-based illnesses which they cannot get (or afford) from other sources, even though such illnesses may or may not be related to sexual abuse. Counsellors encourage clients to seek compensation and treatment funded by ACC, and rarely, if ever, conclude that a client was not sexually abused. In its 1995 Annual Report (on Page 21), ACC itself noted the difficulty in "separating the psychological effects of sexual abuse incidents, from the psychological effects of other trauma and events in the claimant’s life."

I am sure you are now fully aware of the concerns held by many in the professions and the in wider community, regarding the extent and devastating effects of allegations of sexual abuse which arise from the counselling process. For a population of our size and composition, the tens of thousands of such claims made to ACC in recent years, and those which are not handled by ACC, far exceed the ordinary and realistic numbers handled by the police and the courts. While there can be no doubt that some claims of sexual abuse are valid, much concern has been expressed that many claims and allegations cannot reasonably be substantiated. A further concern is that ACC is simply being used as a ready and accessible source of funds for both claimants and counsellors, and as a means to obtain counselling for conditions not related to sexual abuse.

Any allegation of sexual abuse, whether it is true or false, imposes a life-time sentence on the client herself, on her family and friends, and on the accused person. Unless corroboration and reasonable evidence exists, that is grossly unfair to all the parties who become directly or indirectly involved. The numbers of people adversely affected in this way is estimated to now approach one-third of the total population.

Under existing legislation, it is sufficient for a person to claim that he/she was sexually abused, without any external investigation or corroboration. If, during an assessment, an ACC-approved counsellor believes the client, then that is taken as sufficient "evidence" of itself. At best, that is no better than hearsay, and is a poor and unreliable basis on which to rest a decision which has such powerful and overwhelming effects on the client, her family, and on those whom the client and the counsellor, accuse of criminal acts.

On this essentially uncorroborated and hearsay basis, ACC has paid out many millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to recipients of compensation and counselling fees. ACC has said it does not know how much, but it is reasonable to suggest that many of the claimants received the "standard" lump-sum compensation of $10,000 each. Others received considerably more. The existence of 50,000 or so claimants in the period 1992-96 therefore implies an ACC payout of some $500 million before lump-sum payments were terminated. There are many in the community who view this as an irresponsible and unjustified use of taxpayer funds.

The underlying causes of the problems I explained to you in my letter of 20 August are that claims for alleged sexual abuse are allowed as "personal injury", and that the standard of proof required is virtually non-existent. Claims for the singular aspect of alleged sexual abuse do not rationally appear to have any greater imperative or weight than many other forms of injury which are not allowed, and it can be argued that they should not be included in the ACC legislation at all.

However, if for political or other reasons it is deemed necessary that such claims are an appropriate function of the ACC process, then it must also be recognised in the legislation that every such claim is also an allegation of criminal activity. It can be fairly said that the large majority of ACC claims do not derive from, or result in, criminal prosecutions.

If a counsellor or a client claims to know that sexual abuse has occurred, then they also know that criminal acts were committed, and must also know in the identity of the those who allegedly committed those acts. In those circumstances, it could be said that it ought to be mandatory to report such allegations to the police. To succeed as prosecutions, allegations must then withstand scrutiny to the level of proof required by criminal trial, that is, beyond reasonable doubt. There is good reason to doubt the veracity of many of the claims, and it is highly unlikely that they would result in prosecutions or convictions. Moreover, if the rate of claiming is maintained at or near recent levels, the police would be overwhelmed with extra work for no good purpose.

In the absence of valid external corroboration, a counsellor cannot know whether a client had in fact been, or was likely to have been, sexually abused. If external corroboration is absent, then the client and the counsellor should not be permitted to claim otherwise.

However, it is an ethical and moral imperative that allegations of criminal acts should not be ignored. The number of ACC claims in recent years reflects allegations of a huge number of criminal acts of the most serious kind, and that up to 60,000 or so alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse have gone untried and/or unpunished. That is unethical and immoral, and opposes the public good and the maintenance of law and order. Another aspect of this matter alludes to justice and privacy issues. It is a fundamental right of a person to know that an allegation of criminal activity has been made against him/her. It is also a basic premise of our justice system that an accused person know the identity of the person who has made an allegation, and have the opportunity to test the credibility of the accuser. Inescapably, claims of sexual abuse to ACC are allegations of criminal acts.

Because the counselling and ACC processes are conducted in secret, many of those accused by clients and counsellors do not know of the existence of a claim, what the alleged acts were, or that they might have been identified in that claim. That level of secrecy denies alleged perpetrators the exercise of their rights under the Privacy Act, and possibly other legislation.

I understand that the Canadian system of victim compensation requires the accused person to be advised of the existence of a claim, and believe that this should also be put into effect in our legislation.

I am aware that the numbers of enquiries and complaints about sexual abuse claims to ACC (and probably to the Ombudsmen and Privacy Commissioner), have increased significantly in recent years, and it is reasonable to suggest they will continue. From a management perspective, the amount of corporate effort and resource expended in this area is costly, time-consuming and therefore inefficient. With changes to the legislation, those problems can be overcome. It is clearly in the interests of Government, the public, and the Corporation, to improve this situation.

In order to achieve those efficiencies, provide a sensible and practical measure of protection against the misuse of allegations of sexual abuse, and ensure the principles of justice and fairness are observed, I propose to you that the ARCI legislation be amended by introducing the following mechanisms; either remove sexual abuse as a cause of personal injury, or remove the existing incentive to base claims solely on alleged sexual abuse by making provision in the legislation to allow claims for the treatment of the psychological effects of injuries sustained from a wider range of causes.

To curb the of misuse of allegations of sexual abuse : Compel counsellors and claimants to provide ACC with valid external corroboration and accurate descriptions of the alleged acts of sexual abuse, and the identity of the alleged perpetrator, except in cases where convictions have previously been entered.

To preserve the principles of justice: establish a requirement for ACC to notify the alleged perpetrator of the existence of a claim, the identity of the accuser, and an accurate description of the alleged events.

To preserve the principles of justice and privacy for the accused party: Provide a statutory right and opportunity for the alleged perpetrator to challenge the credibility of the allegations, before compensation, treatment, or payment of counselling fees is approved by ACC, except where a conviction has previously been entered.

Yours sincerely, Gordon Waugh

Counsellors and the Sex Abuse Industry

Access radio interview by Robert Mann:

RM I’d like to welcome Gordon Waugh back to our programme. Last month, Gordon gave us an insight into his experience of being falsely accused of sexual abuse, and how ACC has dealt with these cases in recent years.

GW Good evening Robert and good evening listeners.

RM Tonight Gordon, we’d like to hear your views on the Sex Abuse Industry.

GW As I told you last month, Robert, our organisation Casualties Of Sexual Allegations – COSA – has a full-time job trying to repair the damage done to individuals and families by Sex Abuse Counsellors. At their end of the spectrum, they use belief-systems, but we work from a scientific base. For example, the arguments about recovered memories, multiple personality disorder, satanic ritual abuse, the so-called Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, and the like, are essentially ones between science and belief.

The public has a right to expect that anyone dealing with the complex and emotionally-charged topic of sexual abuse has been trained with scientific, ethical and testable material. There is no place for belief-systems in this matter.

To set the scene tonight, when I talk about "counsellors", I’m not talking about just a handful of people. ACC alone has about 1,000 "approved counsellors", but there are hundreds of others as well.

The Sex Abuse Industry has had a huge and totally negative effect on our community. It has destroyed countless individuals, and shattered thousands of families, for no good reason. And it has cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars.

What the Industry does is very much an issue of public health and safety, yet there is no compulsory training, no national examination, no registration requirement, and no regulation. Anyone can hang out a shingle and practice as a counsellor or a psychotherapist, regardless of their training or experience. And they accept no accountability for the results of their work. That’s a recipe for disaster.

RM You have described a very serious problem. What do you think is the driving force behind the Sex Abuse Industry ?

GW My personal view is that several feminist organisations are involved, and the Industry is being supported by ACC, using taxpayers funds. The main offender is a group of mainly women doctors called Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care (DSAC).

DSAC set itself up as a self-appointed expert body on sexual abuse. You would expect doctors to be very conservative and stay with mainstream medical practice, but DSAC has long since departed from that. In recent years, they have imported quite a few so-called experts here to run workshops and seminars on sexual abuse. Their visiting overseas speakers have all been avid proponents of the belief-system theories I mentioned, in one form or another.

Because DSAC members are doctors, they have a strong influence on the weaker and less educated feminist groups, such as Rape Crisis, the Auckland Help foundation, Women’s Refuge, and others. DSAC also influences politicians, the judiciary, ACC, and the police. In my opinion DSAC has badly misused its position for political purposes.

It’s common knowledge that many of the world’s most prestigious medical, psychiatric and psychological bodies, as well as the Courts, have firmly denounced all these theories as being unreliable and unscientific. That has rather left DSAC out on a limb, so now they’ve imported yet another bag of tricks in order to get men convicted of sexual abuse crimes.

Most people will know of the horror stories told by judges, coroners and the police about the shocking damage done to young girls, say 4 to 8 year olds, if they are raped. Some have needed surgery, and some have died from their injuries.

DSAC members now give evidence under Oath in sexual abuse trials that very young girls can be raped without any obvious signs. They also give evidence that hymenal tissue can repair itself without scarring. If that’s true, the Vestal Virgins will have an inexhaustible supply of new recruits !

DSAC members colour and bias their evidence, by saying that while an examination of a girl produced normal findings, those findings do not preclude the possibility that abuse occurred. They deliberately give only half the story. It is equally true that normal findings can indicate no abuse. A competent, unbiassed doctor would say that normal findings neither confirm nor deny that abuse occurred.

RM And because they are doctors, that must carry a lot of weight with juries ?

GW Exactly. The crime is that men can be convicted on that sort of evidence.

Let me give you another example, such as Rape Crisis.

One of the many exaggerations they make is that only one in ten rapes gets reported to the police, and of those, one in ten gets to court, and only one in ten are convicted. Applying those ratios to factual data tells us that NZ men commit about 150,000 rapes a year. In one report, they expanded their claims beyond rape, to include the broad category of sexual abuse. Their figures translate to about a million sexual abuse crimes every year. Good grief ! Our total population is only 3.7 million !

RM They certainly seem to make some extraordinary claims. Shouldn’t they be able to give proof of their figures and their theories ?

GW Of course they should, but they can’t. Look at it through the eyes of an accused person who has to defend himself against allegations which might be 10, 20 or even 50 years old. If those allegations arose because of the theories and methods used by counsellors, they ought to be able to clearly demonstrate the validity and accuracy of their methods.

Because we are dealing with public health and safety, and with allegations of serious crime, some sort of standard has to be applied.

RM That seems fair enough. What sort of standards do you mean ?

GW Firstly, there’s a standard for evidence. Let me put it this way. People go to counsellors because they are disturbed, and they often have distorted perceptions of reality. Historical truth and narrative truth are very different things, but because part of the belief-system is that women and children don’t lie about abuse, counsellors accept whatever the client says as being the gospel truth.

Because serious crimes are being alleged, it’s not enough to uncritically accept a narrative given by a disturbed client. There has to be a standard for the quality of that sort of evidence. That can only be derived from valid, external corroboration, to the level of "beyond reasonable doubt".

Secondly, there are standards for testing theories. A good example is the way the US Supreme Court set out its four basic tests to measure the legal standards of scientific evidence. They are similar to the ones used by other disciplines. To be admissible as evidence, a scientific theory must be :

1. Testable 2. Falsifiable 3. Capable of meeting peer review, and, 4.

If it involves a methodology or process, it must have a known Error Rate.

If a theory withstands that scrutiny, it can be considered reliable. The real problem is that the theories and methods used by sex abuse counsellors completely fail those tests, because they are beliefs, not science. The problem is that people believe things, without necessarily having evidence to support their views. The entire Sex Abuse Industry in built on belief, emotion and feminist ideology, and some of the wackiest theories ever to hit the Western World.

RM Gordon, can you give us an insight into some of the beliefs and theories which counsellors use ?

GW There’s heaps of them, Robert. Like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociation, the so-called Battered Woman’s Syndrome, Past-Life Regression, Re-Birthing, and the idea that the hippocampus in abused people is smaller than in normal populations. It’s amazing ! These people believe almost everything is caused by sexual abuse.

The one most people know about is "repressed memories". Counsellors claim that children can completely banish from their conscious memory all knowledge of having been sexually abused, and with appropriate therapy years or decades later – which only counsellors can give, of course – they can recall it in pristine condition.

Belief in this sort of nonsense has been spread by self-help books, and it’s firmly entrenched in the training of counsellors. An example is a book called The Courage to Heal, by Bass and Davis. These authors acknowledge they have no academic, psychological or clinical background.

They claim that forgotten sexual abuse lies at the root of almost all adult problems, and the abuse must be remembered and re-lived for therapy to be effective. An inability to remember having been abused is taken as proof of abuse, which is being denied through a process called "repression". There’s no room in this theory for having nothing to remember.

RM That idea sounds like it has a few shortcomings.

GW Yes. It has quite a few problems. Does it mean that a child "represses" the knowledge during the event, or immediately after ? Does repression occur after one event, or a series of events ? If it happens after each event, then it means a child could be raped today, totally repress that knowledge, and be raped again tomorrow, as if it was the first time. If it happens after a batch of events, how many events are required, and what is it that triggers the repression process ?

Of course, counsellors claim that memory works like a video camera, which stores every detail. The idea is that repression causes the video tape to be archived, and it can be replayed years later in therapy, as though it’s a current event. But we know that memory only encodes a few of the details of any experience. It is a re-constructive process, which can be modified by recent information, and can be re-interpreted – a child’s memory seen through the eyes of an adult. We also know that memory retention depends heavily on rehearsal of the memorised information.

They claim that sexually abused people have "flash backs", which implies that the video-tape memory is suddenly turned on and off, indicating some sort of leakage mechanism.

The question is how it leaks out into the everyday personality to produce the "symptoms" or "indicators" of sexual abuse, which the counsellors commonly use to detect abuse.

What the theory of repression really says is that abused children have an ability to encode every aspect of an experience, and later develop total recall. If that was true, none of us would ever have an excuse for not being able to totally recall the mathematics, physics or Esperanto we learned at school ! Just go to a counsellor !

Even though the counsellors claim to have the support of a huge body of academic research, none of them has ever been able to give satisfactory answers to any of those sorts of questions. To the best of my knowledge, every study in the world literature that comes even remotely close to the essential standards of science, has failed to show any evidence that people can repress memories.

RM You mentioned "indicators" of abuse – what are they ?

GW Counsellors have developed an extensive list of behaviours which, they say, either proves that abuse occurred, or was likely to have occurred. It’s a basic type of profile-matching exercise. The list is so long and broad that it can be applied to almost the entire population of the planet.

RM Can you give us some examples ?

GW The list is pretty extensive, but a few examples are :

– promiscuity, celibacy, impotence, frigidity, unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, prostitution

– sleeping too much, sleeping too little

– nightmares, anxiety, relationship difficulties, depression, guilt, shame, sadness, grief

– numbness, hypervigilence, frozen emotions, low self-esteem, self hate, and so on.

RM So if you have any of those "indicators", you must have been abused ?

GW That’s the way it works.

RM What about Multiple Personality Disorder and Satanic Ritual Abuse ?

GW These are derivatives of the repression theory. One of their favourite ideas is called Multiple Personality Disorder, or MPD. We have our own home-grown expert on this topic. She teaches this rubbish on psychotherapy courses at the Auckland Institute of Technology. According to this peculiar fantasy, sexually abused people can split themselves into separate personalities. In psycho-jargon, they’re called "Alters".

As far as I know, medical records up to about the mid-1980’s, identified only about 200 or so cases of "split personalities", usually with two personalities, and very occasionally, three. Nowadays, there are hundreds of thousands of such claims. One so-called researcher estimated that about 5% of the American population has MPD. That’s about 13 million cases. The record claim for the highest number of personalities in one client is over 4,000.

MPD has even been used as a defence in criminal trials here and overseas, for theft and embezzlement, where the defendant claimed that one of her other personalities stole the money! But that defence failed. At the end of the day, MPD is no more than a social construct created by counsellors. It’s an absolute sham.

Another favourite is Satanic Ritual Abuse. It’s been taught on a number of training courses in New Zealand, and is often diagnosed by counsellors. A Registered Psychologist taught students on counselling courses at the Manukau Technical Institute, and at the Mental Health Training Service, that children are ritually impregnated by members of satanic cults, and that the babies born this way are murdered and cannibalised by cult members. She told students that the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes are usually respected members of the community, such as businessmen, church members, members of clubs, and so on.

A 1995 study, done for the National Centre on Child Abuse & Neglect in the United States, investigated about 12,000 allegations of Ritual Cult Abuse. No evidence was found to substantiate any of those claims. A similar study was done in the UK, which drew the same conclusions. In other words, claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse are in the same class as horse feathers.

It doesn’t take much effort to compare all those ideas to the standard tests used by the scientific and legal communities. None of the theories used by counsellors come within a bull’s roar of meeting those. In my opinion, counsellors who continue to apply that nonsense are no better than quacks and charlatans.

Much of the problem stems from how ACC handles the issue. Jenny Shipley, the Minister for ACC, told me in a letter a week or so ago that sexual abuse claims are treated in the same way as motor vehicle accidents. She wrote : "Just as ACC does not require a case of dangerous driving to be proven in court before accepting a claim arising from a motor vehicle accident, it does not require a court prosecution to provide assistance to an individual who has been sexually abused".

She misses the point. Vehicle accidents result in physical injuries which are readily observed, measured and treated. They may, or may not, be a result of criminal action by someone else.

With historical claims of sexual abuse, all the evidence is mental. There is no physical evidence, but every such claim is an allegation of criminal offence. These claims are based on assumed mental shock and the assumed psychological effects of sexual abuse. Mrs Shipley says that ACC only accepts claims for sexual abuse once it receives satisfactory information confirming the claimant has suffered sexual abuse.

Physical injuries can be assessed in real terms. But ACC pretends to be able to measure or assess degrees of mental shock. Unless there was a conviction or an admission of guilt, they have to rely on hearsay from the client and the counsellor. By any measure, that is hardly sufficient information confirming the claimant did suffer sexual abuse.

Counsellors are trained to uncritically accept the narratives given by their clients, but in the absence of valid, external corroboration, no counsellor can ever know whether a client was in fact sxually abused. Therefore ACC cannot know whether abuse occurred, nor can it realistically assess the degree of mental shock. At best, that’s no better than guesswork.

RM It seems that their training is one of the main problems. Have you done anything about correcting the faults you spoke about ?

GW The real problem is that the training courses were set up by the counsellors themselves. They perpetuate their own belief-systems, and up until very recently, there’s been no public or professional scrutiny of what they teach. They teach rubbish, so the end product is rubbish. Because it’s all driven by feminist ideology, the students dare not question the material being taught, or they’ll fail the course as being "unsuitable" to be a counsellor.

A lot of this training is done with taxpayers money, in publicly-funded institutions, such as Polytechnics. The quality and content of the training is supposedly controlled by the NZ Qualifications Authority, and ultimately, that’s a responsibility of the Minister of Education. But NZQA doesn’t have people who are skilled enough to know whether the material being taught is valid. That’s where COSA comes in.

The Mental Health Training Service, based here at Greenlane Hospital, used to run a Sex Abuse Counselling Course. When we found out what they were teaching, quite a few people made complaints to the Minister of Health and to the Manager of the Unit. They had graduated about 200 or so people from their course. Those people had been trained on the most appalling rubbish about sexual abuse. MHTS has now been shut down.

I lodged a formal complaint with the Qualifications Authority about the training course material used on the MHTS course, and also the material used at the Manukau Tech Institute, the Auckland Institute of Technology, and other training venues. Copies of the complaint were given to the Ministers of Health and Education. NZQA is undertaking an investigation right now. It really is a very serious matter when counsellors are taught this sort of claptrap.

There’s a much greater awareness of these matters amongst professionals, the public and the politicians. So the training, examination, regulation and accountability of the counselling occupations is coming under much closer scrutiny. Things will change, and for the better.

RM Thanks for sharing your views, Gordon. Before we close, do you have a message for these counsellors ?

GW Thanks for the opportunity, Robert. I certainly do have a message for them, and its pretty blunt.

DSAC and Sex Abuse Counsellors need to wake up to the reality that they have brought an otherwise useful social service, and their personal reputations, into profound disrepute by indulging in hypocrisy and fantasy.

They need to find the courage, the honesty and the integrity to put aside their belief-systems, and begin to use the standards demanded by science, ethics and justice. They need to move quickly to regulate their training, and qualification. If they believe themselves to be professionals, they should voluntarily accept accountability for their work. If they don’t, it will be done for them, and they won’t like that.

ACC has to get real. It has to demand real evidence of abuse from the counsellors and claimants, and stop pussy-footing around with hearsay and guesswork. It has to stop pretending it knows how to measure degrees of mental shock. And it has to tell the alleged perpetrator of his involvement, and give him an opportunity to challenge the claim.

In my opinion, DSAC has forsaken medical and scientific ethics for its own political purposes. The Medical Council and the NZ Medical Association should stop it in its tracks, and demand DSAC’s return to mainstream medical practice. And defence lawyers have to challenge evidence given by DSAC in court.

And finally, the public has a right to expect that anyone dealing with the complex and emotionally-charged topic of sexual abuse will be accountable for using only those methods which can be shown to scientific, ethical, safe and effective. There is no place for shonky belief-systems in this matter.

False Allegations Of Sexual Abuse: A Mother’s View

Colleen Waugh, interviewed by Robert Mann

RM: Tonight we are speaking with Colleen Waugh, another founder of COSA which stands for Casualties Of Sexual Abuse. Last month we heard from her husband Gordon.

CW: Thank you for this opportunity to speak on your programme, Robert. I realise that this is a Men’s Hour programme, but what I have to say goes hand in hand with the problems and issues that concern men today. I acknowledge that sexual abuse happens and happens far too often. But false allegations of sexual abuse also happen. Both these actions harm the accuser, the accused, their families and friends. They are despicable crimes and everything must be done to halt them. There are always two sides to every story and I want to give you some idea of what it is like to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, who has chosen to stand beside her husband who was falsely accused of sexual abuse by two of our adult daughters. Since I found myself in this situation, I have spoken with many wives, mothers, and grandmothers who have had their husbands, partners or sons accused of sexually abusing a member of their family. Apart from names and places, most of their stories are almost identical. I have seen their devastation, their anger, their utter astonishment that their adult children had suddenly turned what once seemed a normal, everyday family into something out of a horror magazine.

RM: Since you were thrown in the deep end of this dreadful pool, you have heard many almost identical stories. Where do you think they come from ?

CW: From the people who create monsters out of nothing, and turn family members against each other, and who have strong and radical feminist motives. I was recently re-reading a 10-year old article in an Australian magazine … ‘Family – AD2000’ – by Mary Helen Woods. She puts the issue very clearly when she wrote :

"…The family unit is undoubtedly the most natural and resilient form of social organisation imaginable. Because of this, the family unit threatens the radical agenda of fringe groups seeking a new society in which traditional, social and emotional ties are dismissed as dangerous anachronisms. The harbingers of this so-called progressive world have assumed a level of influence out of all proportion to both their numbers and to the substance of their argument."

Even though that quotation is ten years old, it is a perfect description of many of today’s extremist feminist counsellors.

The adult daughters who make these allegations sought help and advice from counsellors to resolve difficulties in their lives, for example marriage break downs, career failures, or social inabilities and personal misadventures. In the hands of these so-called professionals, their problems explode into unbelievable stories of childhood sexual abuse. Where did they find this happening? In the family of course. Where else would you find an easier target?

But in reality, all this has absolutely nothing to do with sexual abuse. It has to do with a belief system and a political agenda which the radical feminists want to impose on the community. They have a desire for power, control and manipulation. They want to gain monetary and political advantage for their cause.

There is nothing quite so powerful, and at the same time subjugating, as a Belief System. You only have to look back in history to understand. They want to change the world by destroying the family unit, the cornerstone of all societies. False allegations of sexual abuse fit in nicely for this purpose.

I am horrified that the influence of these people has been allowed to cut right through our community, so much so, that when the words "Sexual Abuse" are used, suddenly even the law changes. There is no longer an alleged crime, instead we immediately have a victim and an perpetrator.

A centuries-old principle of British justice is a presumption of innocence. Innocent until proven guilty. This has been reflected in the 1966 International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, Article 14, Item 2.

In murder and other criminal trials, the accused is deemed innocent until proven guilty. If our husbands are alleged to have committed all these dreadful sexual crimes against our daughters, then they are entitled, as are all other alleged criminals, to be innocent until proven guilty.

Not so if you are accused of sexual abuse. The community has come dangerously close to accepting mere accusation as proof of guilt, and has let the standards of justice be degraded, and allowed innocent men to go to prison.

RM: What are some of the common threads in these allegations ?

CW: The past six years have been an intense learning period. I have learned about things I never imagined I would need to know. My vision of growing old surrounded by my children and grandchildren was shattered when I came face to face with the realisation that truth, honesty, and integrity had been given different meanings.

When this happened to us, I was furious. Six years down the track I am not as angry as I was, because I now better understand that what we are really up against, has nothing whatsoever to do with sexual abuse.

We often hear trite phrases like …….. "where there is smoke there must be fire"…… "women and children don’t lie about abuse" …."you are in denial"……"why would anyone make up these tales if they were not true"….. What they are really saying, without any evidence whatsoever is …"of course this man is guilty…"

A question I’ve often been asked is "How do you know your husband didn’t do these things ?" Those who ask that question expect me to give concrete proof, positive and credible evidence of facts and figures. Nothing less will satisfy them. Yet nobody has demanded the same type of corroborated, concrete evidence from my daughters or from their counsellor.

Counsellors draw conclusions as to whether a client was sexually abused. If they actually have authority to do that, then they carry a very heavy burden of proof and accountability. They prefer to believe that if a client says she was abused, it must be true, even without corroboration. That is a clear presumption of guilt. And they want men to prove their innocence, but it is impossible to prove a negative.

If the allegations are false, the counsellor has given both the accused and the accuser an undeserved life-time sentence. It is absolutely important for counsellors to get it right. Without thorough investigation and corroborating evidence, they cannot distinguish between genuine or false allegations. Every time they get it wrong, and that is far too often, they steal resources from the genuine cases. Until they are held accountable, the damage will continue.

There is no walking away from this once the allegations have been made. Even the President of the United States has found this out. Neither the accused nor the accuser will ever be the same as they were before these allegations were made.

Another frequent question is "How could you abandon your children in their time of need?" My answer is that mothers don’t normally abandon their children. But once our children come under the influence of counsellors, they choose to abandon their parents and their entire past. From another point of view, when an adult daughter makes these allegations, there comes a time when we, the parents, have to ask ourselves why we should tolerate this sort of nonsense from our own children. A parent’s tolerance is not a bottomless well of sympathy and understanding. The fact is that daughters who say these things are attacking the integrity of their parents. That goes well beyond the limits of what we as parents, or as human beings, should be expected to endure.

RM: What do you see as the main effects on the daughters who make these allegations?

CW: They make their choices based upon advice given by counsellors. They re-write their past to suit their new beliefs, and to create a new future for themselves. They are led to believe that their Family of Origin – as the counsellors call it – were monsters, so they opt for a Family of Choice, usually comprised of other women who have also been through the counselling process.

I will have no part in that. I refuse to re-write my past to conform with their new beliefs. Re-writing my past could not in any way assist my daughters to become better adjusted people, or solve their perceived problems. My daughters, and all those other women in similar circumstances, have made their choices. Whether they understand it or not, by exercising their right to choose, they also have to accept the price that goes with that choice. It is called responsibility.

When our daughters choose to walk away, they leave behind all the records of the truth of what their past was really all about. They close the book on their youth, their growing up years, their joys and sorrows, their school and achievement records and their extended families. Because they have created a false past, they carry an enormous burden into the future. That is a corrosive burden.

What will these daughters tell their own children when they are asked who their ancestors were, or the names of their uncles, aunts and cousins ? Will they describe us as the ones they really knew, or as the artificial monsters they manufactured with their counsellors ?How will they explain to their children why they don’t have grandparents like most families ? How will they explain why they don’t have parents or brothers or sisters ? Will they be able to tell them all the family jokes — Or the old family thing of "Remember when……….?" How will they respond when asked by one of their own children what they looked like when they were young ? Most mothers would be able to pull out a photograph to show their kids, but these ones can’t.

Are these daughters telling us that their true family history began on the day they walked into that counsellor’s office ? These are aspects of their new lives which they won’t realise until it is too late. It is so sad, and quite unnecessary.

RM: Is there some comfort or hope you can give to all those wives, mothers and grandmothers, and indeed the accusing children ?

CW: This is not an easy path to tread. We are mothers, these are our children. We know them much better than any counsellor ever will. Although we were not charged with a crime like our husbands/partners are, we are nonetheless penalised because we dare to stand fast to the truth. There is no simple answer as to how we should cope with this dilemma. Each one will have her own way to deal with the problems. But there are some practical things we can do.

For example, we have found that many people want to keep the allegations a secret. Talking openly, and showing and sharing our love and trust with our spouse or partner, reflects our knowledge of their innocence and relieves considerable internal stress. Telling supportive family and friends can also help to ease the burden.

Perhaps the most important thing to hold on to is our knowledge of our own history, and the knowledge that the terrible things we and our husbands were accused of, simply did not happen.

It is quite possible that once an accusing daughter gets out of the clutches of the counselling predators, she might begin to realise the enormity of the terrible mistake she made.

RM: Thank-you very much for being so open with our listeners Colleen.

Whores of the Court

– The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice

book by Margaret A. Hagen PhD

Harper-Collins Publishers 1997

Dr Hagen has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Minnesota and currently teaches at Boston University.

The extent to which judges, attorneys, and juries rely on junk science in the testimony of so-called ‘expert witnesses’ is the greatest scandal in today’s justice system as well as psychiatry. The tragedies that result are beyond belief. – Martin Gardner, author of Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus.

A few Selected Quotes:

Influence of feminism

Page 66

In both law and clinical psychology, the growth of the number of women in the ranks has been exponential over the last few decades in this country.[ the USA ]

Fem law students 1950-67; 3% – 5%, 1980; 30%, 1995 over 50%.

Fem psyc students 1st year doctoral 1980; 50%, 1990; 66%,

masters – only programs 70%

Fem faculty 1992-93 masters over 40%

1992-93 doctoral over third

Fem clinical psyc Ph.Ds 1976; 31%, 1990 over 58%.

Fem research faculty currently 30%.

Today the majority of American lawyers, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists are women……..

‘That the vast increase of the number of women in the mental health profession coincided with the boom years of the women’s liberation movement has had significant consequences for the interface between psychology and law.’

Judith Herman and radical feminist theory

Page 67

Consider how Judith Herman, a Harvard psychiatrist well known in the fields of incest and recovered memory, explains the personal and professional history of writing her 1992 book Trauma and Recovery.

"This book owes its existence to the women’s liberation movement. Its intellectual mainspring is a collective feminist project of reinventing the basic concepts of moral development and abnormal psychology, in both men and women…….The day-to-day practice that gave rise to this book began twenty years ago with the formation of the Women’s Mental Health Collective……..The collective is still my intellectual home, a protected space within which women’s ideas can be named and validated." (Pg ix)

The underlying logic of women’s liberation went like this: Sex is political and politics is about power. Power relationships are either equal or unequal. Power inequity is bad. In our society, men have more power than women, so all sexual relationships between men and women are unequal power relationships, with women on the weaker end. This is bad.

Page 68

The Dysfunctional Family Model of Life and Society.

According to modern (radical feminist) theory, psychological life begins with pathogenic interactions between the Father Rapist and his sexually – and otherwise – abused children. In the natural course of development, these abused children grow up to become Abuse Survivors and Battered Women who will be wives to the next generation of Father Rapists. Mother in this scenario is a long-suffering, saintly soul who is helpless to protect herself, shelter her children, or change her life in any way. Thus has clinical theory transformed the roles of husband and wife and father, mother, and child into a truly hideous domestic scene held to be ubiquitous, if not universal, in America today.

Expert psychological witnesses in courts

Page 234

Our common desperation seems to have produced the common delusion that experts actually exist who really can determine with the unerring instincts of a homing pigeon exactly where the best interests of the child lie, where the child should live, whether and how a child has been hurt, and who is unfit to be a parent at all, who should have the right and the duty to care for a child, who should see the child only under restricted conditions, and who should be kept away from the child altogether.

Acceptance of their expertise has led us to trust professionals to make these decisions for the family court system. That means ultimately that we also grant them the power to make these decisions for our own families. The abstract need for society to protect its children becomes inevitably the rape of the rights of the real parents of individual children. Once again, the institutionalisation of society’s desire to "do good" results in terrible harm for those in the path of the "do gooders".

The marriage of law and psychology has reached the heights of disproportionate power for the psychologists not just in the family courts but in all legal disputes in which a psychological matter is at issue. Judges buy the validity of the expertise of the confident psychological practitioner and no doubt welcome the opportunity to make their own decisions on some foundation other than personal opinion and bias.

It is this understandable desire that has led to the recent explosion in our courts of cases alleging mental and emotional – psychic – injury, all requiring the expert testimony of the psychological witness.

Skip to toolbar