To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt Date: Sun, 4 Dec 94 21:34 EST (c) The Sunday Telegraph Limited, Nov.
From: romulus.ehs.uiuc.edu!m-net.arbornet.org!aaron (Aaron Larson)
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 94 21:34 EST
(c) The Sunday Telegraph Limited, Nov. 27, 1994, Pg. 1
Abuse theory is dismissed
By Victoria Macdonald Health Correspondent
The most serious doubts yet have been cast on so-called "recovered
memory syndrome", in which adults undergoing therapy suddenly recall
being sexually abused as children. A new study, funded by the
Medical Research Council, has found that while people may not talk
about their sexual abuse, they can usually remember it -- and
without the aid of a therapist. The findings, to be released in
the next few weeks, will re-open the controversy surrounding
recovered memory syndrome -- known to its opponents as "false memory
syndrome" -- and will renew calls for more control over therapists.
Hundreds of allegations of abuse against parents in Britain and
abroad have been made following sessions with psychotherapists,
hypnotherapists and psychiatrists. But few cases have been proved
in court. Concern has been growing over the part therapists have
played in "producing" the memories.
In order to study the effects of childhood abuse on adult depression
in women, psychologists from the Royal Holloway College in north
London looked at 300 working-class women in the area. It was not
known whether they had been abused or suffered from depression.
Results showed that nine per cent had been sexually abused and 20
per cent physically abused in their childhood. And significantly,
not only were the women able to remember the abuse but two-thirds
of the abusers were from outside the family.
Supporters of recovered memory syndrome maintain that the abuser
is generally the father. Roger Scotford, founder of the British
False Memory Syndrome Society, said last night: "The evidence of
the therapy victims does not fit the patterns of those poor people
who really have been abused."
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank