chapter  One
37 Pages

What has changed in twenty years?

WithValerie Sinason

Ritual and ceremony are powerful processes and events that can enrich our lives and aid us at moments of greatest vulnerability or happiness: for example, births, deaths, and marriages. They are an intrinsic part of human existence and attachment. When children and adults made their brave way to speaking of abuse within religious or cult systems in the 1980s, they showed, through their verbal and non-verbal responses, that certain dates held enormous terror for them. Some, living with a supportive friend or partner, were able to disclose something about these dates. Survivors of ritual abuse of any kind come from all social classes, all religious backgrounds, all racial groups, all ages, and all levels of education. While dissociative defences can allow some to continue with an apparently normal life with their pain invisible except to those who know them, others are profoundly visible, with the toll of flashbacks and problems with regulation of mood.