My friend Jane (a pseudonym) was beside herself with stress. Her divorce settlement allowed her and her three children stay in their small house until the children graduated from the elementary school at the corner. That was one month away. She was a wreck, and had moments of almost physical terror about where and how she would be able to live. She needed help and her company will pay for employees to see a therapist so she decided to go.
She called me after her first session: "She told me to dump Charlie! I thought these therapists were supposed to withhold judgement!" That is what I thought too, at least until they know what is what. "How much did you tell her about him?" I laughed. "One incident!" Apparently the woman thinks of herself as an advisor instead of as a therapist. I suppose there could be a role for that, if she is good at it.
Jane's report after the next therapy session was much more disturbing: "She also thinks I've been molested." That immediately put me on alert. There is a whole industry that has sprung up around hysterical false charges of molestation based on bogus "recovered memories." If this therapist was one of those charlatans, she was dangerous.
"Why does she say that?" I asked.
"Well, you know how I've said there was a period, before we moved to this country, when we lived in an apartment building, that I can't remember anything about?"
I did remember her telling me this. I had figured that the rush of new experiences probably just overwhelmed her old memories. She had to acquire a new language and fit into a new world. Maybe she just left the past behind. "She says the reason I can't remember is probably because something happened to me." That is not a thought to just plant in someone's head.
"And she hypnotized me...."
"I know! And without asking me first! She just started saying: 'now watch my fingers,' and she did these little things off to the side and moving around."
"She shouldn't just do that," I said, "if you are susceptible, hypnotic techniques put you in a state of suggestibility, where she can mess with your head."
"That's what I was afraid of, but she was just doing it!"
"What did she say?"
"She told me to think back to the apartment building where we lived and to try to remember. I had told her how one thing I did remember was riding bikes in the hall with my brother, so she told me to remember riding bikes and see if anything else came to me."
At first nothing came to her, she said, so she got a little less nervous -- nothing would come of this hypnosis. They did the finger thing some more and she kept thinking about riding in the hallway, which made her think of the stairs, where she thought she might remember the backs of some heads going down the stairs.
"She asked if I could see the faces, but I couldn't."
She told the therapist she might have felt a vague memory of a dark man, Indian or something, who lived at the end of the hall and who she and her brother were scared of, but no sense of really remembering anything. They took a break and then the therapist tried a third time.
"This time, something happened!" Jane said. "All of a sudden there was this incredibly real sensation of one of the doors opening, and then I was inside this person's apartment, and it was darkened. I could see the blinds."
"It was so real," Jane exclaimed. "It was like I was there, and I had this fear..., yet... I couldn't tell if I was making it up!"
It felt real to her, but the way a dream feels real. She was there, in that apartment, but obviously it was inside her own head that she was "there," and what worried her was that she had no way to distinguish whether this experience was a memory or fresh imagination.
"Before you did this hypnosis," I asked her, "had she already suggested to you that she suspected you had been molested?"
"That is absolutely unprofessional," I said. "That taints everything. The hypnotic state is a state of suggestibility."
"That's what I'm afraid of," she answered, "like I might have made it up myself."
Now Jane, who really had been anxious for some help, was at a loss. "If something did happen, why would I want to dig it up?" she asked.
"And you would never know if it was real or imagination," I added. Given the unscrupulousness of this charlatan, there was no doubt that Jane shouldn't go back.
"This woman is dangerous" I told her. "You wouldn't believe the cases where these hypnotists have been able to create false memories. There is not a single case where so called 'recovered memories' have been documented to be true, but many cases where the memories have been documented to be false."
I thought of that Franklin-Lister woman in San Mateo who, twenty years after a childhood friend was murdered, 'remembered' that it was her father who did it. She also remembered him committing two other murders that never occurred, and after years in jail, his conviction was finally thrown out. Unfortunately, the truth usually can't be verified. The typical thing these hypnotists do is prod women patients into "remembering" that they were molested by their fathers. Bitter lawsuits often result, and all the while the Rasputins are collecting a hundred dollars an hour from their victims' medical insurance.
"All she wants is for you to keep paying," I advised Jane. "It's a racket. Destroying people's lives is just a side benefit to her."
Jane didn't need my advice to know that she did not want any part of a "therapist" who would suggest that she had been molested, hypnotize her without her permission, and start digging for "memories". Two days later she ran into her would-be Rasputin in a restaurant.
"Creepy," she told me, "It's like she has this power. I think she's a witch-doctor!" That is the perfect description for a skilled hypnotist who shows contempt for the truth. It also perfectly fits the perverse connection between academia and this vile practice of psychological rape. Academic feminism -- the true witch's coven -- has a long history of complicity with the corrupt psychologists who have perpetrated the epidemic of implanted false memories.
The victim-feminist movement was eager to embrace any new evidence that women are widely victimized. When these hypnotists started reporting that a majority of the women they hypnotized experienced memories of molestation that they had not previously been aware of, the feminists embraced this as proof that most girls are molested, rather than as evidence that the hypnotists were hypnotizing women into falsely believing that they were molested. There would have been no epidemic of false memory cases if it were not for the existence of a feminist advocacy statistics industry that was eager to embrace these new claims and give them cover (denouncing all skeptics as misogynists and sexists, according to the standard routine).
The desire to have ammunition for their claim to victim status kept the feminists from letting themselves think about the harm that was being done if these memories were false. The victims of that harm, after all, were just men: fathers whose lives were destroyed by charges of molestation. It is a paradigmatic example of the evil of equalitarianism. The feminists believe that because women can make these claims to have less -- to be part of a victim group, and be owed -- their concerns should be inflated in value, while consequences for those who have more, the men, should be discounted. But that's not what moral reason says. Moral reason says that the only thing that matters is the truth. You can't discount the possibility that these men are innocent because, if that is the truth, then it is what matters.
Jane decided to wrap things up with her witch-doctor by saying that she did not want any more hypnosis but that she was interested in other recommendations. The witch-doctor told her that the only things she could recommend were participation in a disassociative memory group or medication! I wonder if Jane's company knows it is subsidizing its employees to visit a woman who will try to hypnotize them into believing they were molested? How many other witch doctors are out there and how many other institutions are also directing their people into the web of these spiders? One thing we know for certain: the feminist embrace of politics over truth, along with deference to feminist claims by the rest of society, are what allows this kind of evil to thrive.
Jane's witch-doctor needs to be decertified, publicly shamed, pilloried, and ostracized for the rest of her life. I withhold her name for the time being only because I am running for Sheriff of Santa Clara County in the June '98 elections and if I win I want to send her to jail. Several of the hypnotists who have been inducing false memories have now lost counter-suits from people who were falsely accused of molestation. As yet, none has been hit with criminal charges, but Jane's Rasputin is bold enough in her contempt for truth and right that it might be possible to catch her on tape suborning false witness.
If only we were one of those enlightened societies where the punishment for bearing false witness is the punishment for the crimes that are falsely accused. Rape is exactly what these predators should go to jail for.
Alec Rawls is pursuing a Ph.D. in economics.
Sidebar: Arrest Janet Reno!
Next article in the "Stories that Need to be Told" series: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
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