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Burn them! Burn the witches!

For evil to prevail
Patrick Guntensperger
In 1487, Malleus Maleficarum  (The Witch’s Hammer) was published. Written by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, It was a treatise on the church-approved justifications for the persecution of those believed to be witches and a detailed manual on the manner of 
investigation and extraction of confessions of those so accused. It was, among other things, including a misogynistic piece of illogic, a handbook for use by the torturers of the Holy Inquisition. Under its direction and auspices, literally hundreds of thousands of innocent people were accused, tortured, and put to death. To be accused was a virtual guarantee of conviction.
In 1925, Volume I of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was published. While imprisoned in relative luxury, for having organised a failed coup, with a prison governor who respected, almost worshipped him, Adolph Hitler wrote a book that was part biographical and part an explication of his “political ideology”. In it he fleshed out his idea oMein Kampff the “Jewish peril”, a paranoid claim of a conspiracy by international Jewry to take over the world. Within 20 years millions of innocent people had been killed, in combat, as collateral damage, and targeted civilians in a war he started with the book as his blueprint and justification, and as part of a deliberate policy of genocide by Hitler’s followers.
In 1988, The courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Suffers of Child Sexual Abuse was published, written by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. This most recent of the three books cited is imbued with as much bigotry, narrow-mindedness, illogic, unfounded assertions, and hatred as the first two. Like the others, The Courage to Heal (TCH) is deliberately written to manipulate, to justify evil, and to cause widespread pain. The tomes are all written with lies stated as truth, fabrication and fantasy presented as established fact, non-existent science expressed falsely, and each has caused countless innocent people untold agony. Not surprisingly, the authors of TCH have cashed in on their vicious, hate-filled screed with subsequent editions and speaking tours in which they repeat the vile lies upon which their original book was based, but which have been theCouragetoHealdemonstrated to be patently false and utterly rejected by every single legitimate practitioner of psychology or psychiatry.
Neither of the authors had any training, or any formal education, credentials, much less a degree, advanced or otherwise, in any subject related to their “guide”. Ellen Bass is a third rate poet and teacher of the same and a self-described feminist activist, while Ms. Davis claims to be an incest survivor. Beyond that, they bring absolutely nothing to the table except their personal vitriolic hatred and their apparent desire to destroy lives.
The main thrust of their theory seems to be that if anyone has ever entertained the idea that they may have been abused in their childhood – they have been. (I guess that includes everyone who reads this article, since you’ve no doubt just considered the idea. Don’t think of a purple elephant! Gotcha! You just did, so it must be real.)
No, if you’ve ever considered even for a moment that possibility, and if you display any of the symptoms that everyone displays at some time (shyness, occasional blues, mood swings, anxiety, etc.) you have almost certainly (if you’re a woman, ignore the “almost”) been sexually abused and have simply repressed the memory as a defense mechanism to shield yourself from reliving the trauma.
The “guide”s” recommended therapy involves exploring those events with a “therapist’s” mentoring and encouragement. Eventually those memories will come to the surface and can be relived in a “catharsis”.  Then the book’s title kicks in. The “courage” required is to confront the imagined assailants – usually by telephone or in writing – with the accusations. Remember that if they deny those fantasies, that is proof that they are real! Denial is confirmation of the accusations, since accusation itself is proof of guilt. Moreover, the newly minted victims are encouraged to pursue their claims through legal remedies; lawsuits and criminal charges have been filed against perfectly decent and utterly innocent people. Although the majority of these cases don’t even pass the laugh test, lives are destroyed. One victim of a baseless accusation said, “I’d rather be convicted of murder, than merely accused, even if exonerated, of child abuse!”
The syndrome (False Memory Syndrome or FMS) in which false memories are created and described as “recovered” memories is now a well-established psychiatric disorder. Reputable psychotherapists have pointed out that common sense and a slight inclination to do any genuine research is sufficient to identify the prevalence and majority of so-called “recovered memories” as spurious. One need only talk to those with genuinely traumatic experiences in their childhoods; hostages of criminals or terrorists,  Holocaust survivors, kidnap victims, tsunami or other natural disaster survivors, tortured child prisoners of insurrection or war – and you’ll see that repressing horrible memories is far from the routine way of dealing with childhood trauma.
Talk to any Holocaust survivors you can find, and none of them, not one, will have buried the past, forgotten it completely, and had it “recovered” through therapy sought because of other symptoms. On the contrary…they will have etched the details of the trauma in their memories and will think about it consciously all the time. Should they require therapy for symptoms of anxiety and sleep disorders, reliving the trauma again and again would be the last thing a competent therapist would subject them to. What then of a “therapist” who would instil, encourage and guide the confabulation of false memories and then cause their patients to dwell on them in (false) detail?
While most, although not all, legitimate mental health experts will acknowledge the existence of traumatic amnesia, outside of drug or alcohol abuse or physical trauma to the brain, selective repression of memories is exceedingly rare. The suggestion that most, or even many, of us manage to forget unpleasant times of our lives simply has no empirical basis. In fact, genuine research suggests that the more unpleasant or traumatic an occurrence, the more likely one is to remember it.
According to at least one study, at the height of the book’s popularity, between 30 and 50 percent of childhood abuse reports have been made by women who have read TCH. That is not 30 to 50 percent of those who claim recovered memories (that number is much closer to  100%); that is 30 to 40 percent of reported cases of reported abuse by the purported victim. This is not to say that child abuse by parents and guardians has never occurred; to the contrary. It most certainly has, and it is quite simply one of the most offensive behaviours of which a human being is capable. And that it one of the reasons this book and its authors are so vile.
Beyond the heartrending damage that is done to a family and to the reputations, friendships, and lives (some have even been falsely imprisoned as child molesters) of those falsely accused under the auspices of the quacks who flog this book, there is an even more pernicious danger to children and genuine victims of abuse. Child abuse, abhorred and reviled by every civilized person must be investigated with great care. However, if TCH is anywhere in the picture, the accusation my well be dismissed as confabulation. Genuine cases of child abuse may not be prosecuted because of the backlash against the irresponsible witch hunt instigated and inspired by this piece of garbage.
THC, like the other hateful books cited at the top of this article is written by hate mongering, disturbed, and malicious individuals writing about that of which they know nothing, but nevertheless pose as experts.
In that I am passionately opposed to the banning or burning of books on principle, I have to support those women’s right to publish their tripe, despite the damage they cause. But I encourage anyone who runs into someone who has read the book or, worse yet, has experience with one who claims “recovered memory”, to look up the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF)’s website or publications. The case studies are stomach turning. Unlike TCH, the damage recounted by the real victims is real, and there is no way to heal, while the authors continue to spread their poison.

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