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The Abused and the Abuser: Victim – Perpetrator Dynamics Introduction

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... We, however, have to recognise the critical importance of examining perpetrator trauma, especially in cases of mass atrocities, as a way of recognising the commonplace nature of such violence and therefore to begin to work on unearthing it within larger society [51]. Middleton and colleagues [57] also note how institutional abuse is among the most difficult to unearth in society. It is found where the hidden complicities of abusers and the abused may lead to locked-in silences, embedded in a matrix of systemic behaviour, deeply buried in histories and social structures. ...
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This intervention critiques the rationale which underpins the authority of the food system as a context for sustainability, resilience and self-organisation. We apply learning from embodied practice, in particular The Food Journey©, to demonstrate the existence of harm and trauma arising from the overrepresentation of the liberal model of Man as constituting the only reality of humanity. This model has, in reality been a colonial, capitalising force of violent dispossession. It is this context that has produced global circulations of agricultural produce, systematised by a colonialism which violates the integrity of all that it encounters as different. Colonialities of being, power and knowledge extract and exploit globally both people and places as legacies of colonialism and perpetuate an abyssal divide between worlds. We unsettle and reconfigure both geopolitical contemporary and historic accounts of food-related narratives. We do this to help reveal how the ‘food system’ is actually a mainly Euro-American-centred narrative of dispossession, presented as universal. We propose the use of decolonial tools that are pluriversal, ecological and embodied as a means of interrogating the present system design, including its academic and field practice. The embrace of decolonial tools have the potential to take us beyond mere emancipation, cutting through old definitions and understandings of how food sovereignty, farm production, land justice and food itself are understood and applied as concepts. The outcome—as a continuous process of engagement, learning and redefinition—can then lead us towards a relational pluriverse as an expression of freedom and full nourishment for all humans and form the Earth, which is, in itself, a necessary healing.
... Journal of Trauma & Dissociation articles continues to have a global reach. The most downloaded articles over the past year were, "The abused and the abuser: Victim-perpetrator dynamics" (Middleton et al., 2017) followed by "Sexuality and trauma: Intersections between sexual orientation, sexual functioning, and sexual health and traumatic events" (Smidt & Platt, 2018) and "What Mindfulness can learn about Dissociation and what Dissociation can learn from Mindfulness" (Forner, 2019). The top Altmetric scoring (social media reach) articles were "Government-mandated institutional betrayal" (Smidt & Freyd, 2018) followed by "Still the last great open secret: Sexual harassment as systemic trauma" (Fitzgerald, 2017) and "As the world becomes trauma-informed, work to do" (Becker-Blease, 2017). ...
... Because abuse requires private access to a child, it is likely to be carried out by someone they or their family trust, respect and may love. This creates a situation where the child attempts to accommodate the abuse whilst maintaining relationships that may be important to them (Middleton, Sachs and Dorahy, 2017). Such an accommodation may well result in further feelings of shame and thus silence. ...
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There is a great deal of research into multiple aspects of childhood sexual abuse, including prevalence, effects, treatment and recovery. However, very little research focusses on the knowledge held by people who have experienced CSA, and far fewer studies are designed by people who have experienced it. This thesis outlines insider designed and delivered research. It employs a salutogenic approach to examine what helps and hinders recovering. These issues are explored through thematic analysis of a qualitative survey (n=140) and 21 interviews. Participants described three types of harm caused by the abuse they had experienced, including physical and mental health consequences but also an underlying, enduring sense of danger. The results demonstrate that adults who have experienced CSA are active in their recovering, which they conceptualise as a movement towards health and well-being, rather than a binary of either being ill or well. Health services were very useful, particularly counselling and therapy. Respondents also valued personal relationships and interactions in supporting recovering. Finally, they described a sense of flow, a pleasurable absorption in a task, as being highly beneficial. However, they also described the ways in which society, at every level from micro to macro, inhibited recovering. Thus, they called for fundamental societal change, challenging destructive discourses around CSA and inhibiting structural issues. Further research is required to establish if these beneficial actions and challenges apply equally to individuals who identify as being in earlier stages of recovering.
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A series of major global events during 2020, particularly in the United States, have forced us to confront the ugly truth that racism in all its forms is ever present. Regardless of our identity, we all must deal with elements of this in our daily lives, as it is deeply embedded throughout society and in our bodies. The essence of racism-related trauma is in the strong emotional responses elicited, the gross violence we experience, and the ensuing profound impact on our collective mental health. While they come as no surprise, the various posttraumatic reactions secondary to the ongoing intergenerational complex trauma of racism, oppression, and colonialism have gone unrecognized as such. The authors will explore these topics with emphasis on the benefits and challenges of talking with youth about race and identity, strategies for coping, and ways that we can help promote racial healing in ourselves and our communities.
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The abuse of individuals by religious authority figures has generated considerable political, civic and media attention. To date, much of this focus has been on Catholic and Anglican priests, although instances in the Buddhist community have also emerged. This paper presents an analysis of the experiences of individuals (n = 6) who were victims of abuse by Imams (Muslim leaders) and/or Muslim faith teachers. Participants were interviewed and their accounts analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This paper presents two superordinate themes that emerged from the rich data set: (i) Toxicity of silence and (ii) Barriers to the acknowledgement of abuse. Findings and implications of the research are discussed in relation to facilitating the reporting of abuse perpetrated by religious authority figures in the Muslim community. The authors argue that the difficulties for victims in reporting abuse have exacerbated the impact of the abuse, affecting their wellbeing and their relationships with their families and their faith.
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Until recently the widespread reality of ongoing incestuous abuse during adulthood had attracted no systematic research. The scientific literature was limited to the occasional case study and brief anecdotal references. This minimal literature was supplemented by biographical works written by or about victims of this form of abuse, and by press reports. With the advent of the Josef Fritzl case there was a very marked increase in the press reporting of such abuse, which in turn provided a reference point for more fine-grained data collection and scientific reporting. This paper introduces the subject of prolonged incest via the lens of organised abuse, summarises research on incestuous abuse and draws on multiple clinical examples to elucidate the mechanisms by which such abuse merges with, or develops into, variations of organised abuse, including that centred on the family, on prostitution, or on that involving abuse networks. The abuse practices, the net-working, and the ploys used to avoid prosecution practiced by the father perpetrating ongoing incestuous abuse during adulthood have much in common with other variants of organised sexual abuse.
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Using a framework that distinguishes autobiographical belief, recollective experience, and confidence in memory, we review three major paradigms used to suggest false childhood events to adults: imagination inflation, false feedback and memory implantation. Imagination inflation and false feedback studies increase the belief that a suggested event occurred by a small amount such that events are still thought unlikely to have happened. In memory implantation studies, some recollective experience for the suggested events is induced on average in 47% of participants, but only in 15% are these experiences likely to be rated as full memories. We conclude that susceptibility to false memories of childhood events appears more limited than has been suggested. The data emphasise the complex judgements involved in distinguishing real from imaginary recollections and caution against accepting investigator-based ratings as necessarily corresponding to participants' self-reports. Recommendations are made for presenting the results of these studies in courtroom settings.
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In the past two decades, as the result of feminist consciousness-raising, sexual abuse of children has been recognized in North America and Western Europe as a serious social problem. The testimony of victims, first in consciousness-raising groups, then in public speakouts, and finally in formal survey research, has documented the high prevalence of sexual exploitation of children. The best available data, drawn from large-scale surveys of nonclinical populations, indicate that the risk of victimization may be as high as 1 in 10 for boys (Finkelhor, 1979), and greater than 1 in 3 for girls (Russell, 1984). Whether the child victim is male or female, the perpetrator is usually male. Most perpetrators are not strangers but are well known to their child victims; often they are in a position of trust or authority that affords them access and power.
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In Schizophrenia: Innovations in Diagnosis and Treatment, Dr. Colin A. Ross—founder of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma—presents a new theory of the existence of a dissociative subtype of schizophrenia. Dr. Ross determines that some patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have symptoms closely related to dissociative identity disorder—or multiple personality disorder—and have a history of psychological trauma. In these cases, this unprecedented book proposes that the disorder is treatable—perhaps even curable—using psychotherapy rather than drugs.