Among My Heroes, Part 1

October 18, 2012

This is Part 1 because I have many heroes today, despite the fact that only a few years ago I would have scoffed at the term. It would have been highly unfair for me to do so.  A number of individuals throughout the Diva’s life have behaved towards her and others in very heroic, and compassionate and giving ways, personally, and professionally. What can I say except that I prevailed through a period of very high cynicism.

Part 1 is dedicated to a couple of fellows. They are both extremely courageous advocates, brilliant researchers, and writers.  These men have put their lives on the line for survivors of extreme abuse, of whom many, if not most, have DID.

Nick Bryant

First I want to mention, especially since I may not yet have done so in these pages, is one Nick Bryant. Mr. Bryant is the author of  The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal, the seminal volume on the affair, published in 2009. The Franklin case began with the investigation of a failed savings and loan in the 1980’s. Inquiries initiated by the Nebraska State Senate eventually led to the exposure of a criminal network involved in child pornography, prostitution, and human experimentation with ties to some of the highest ranking members of the Republican Party and the White House. Nick Bryant, an extremely ethical and dedicated journalist, invested 7 years of his life gathering evidence and testimony from a number of sources and witnesses. His book is an unassailable work of journalism that puts together the proofs of the very worst about Franklin, which is probably why you haven’t heard about it, if you haven’t.

If you are a survivor of child trafficking, or organized or extreme abuse, read this book. It is validation from page 1, not only for the survivors of the Franklin associated rings, but for any of us who have gone through what most of the general public views as incredible. You can also see Nick on video and listen to many of his recent interviews linked on his website. Mr. Bryant is currently working on a documentary based on his book. Just as he describes it while he was initially researching and trying to get his book published, he is hitting some roadblocks placed in front of him by some powerful folks who have opposing vested interests, and others who are just fearful. You can contribute to the documentary project here.

Michael Salter

I should say rather, Dr . Michael Salter, as he has completed his PhD, and if I am not mistaken, did so with a thesis on organized child abuse. For several years, I had the pleasure of interacting with Michael while he was matriculating, as well as facing a number of serious challenges in his personal life that led him to his current focus on, and advocacy for survivors of organized abuse. We were acquainted in a very special online forum that is generally hospitable to survivors and people with DID. I have saved some of his writings on that forum, as they are marked not only by his brilliant insights into the plight of survivors, but his passion for justice.

Mr. Salter has published his very first book, today, entitled, Organised Sexual Abuse. Congratulations Michael! He tells me a more affordable paper version may be forthcoming. I can’t wait to read it, and I will post a review here when I do. Michael has also published a number of articles, including a recent one on the same topic that is a short, general review of what current peer review material tells us about organized abuse, and how survivors are under served. Its title is Organized Abuse: A Neglected Category of Sexual Abuse with Significant Lifetime Mental Healthcare Sequelae, Michael Salter & Juliet Richters. Here is the abstract.

Background: Organised abuse (where multiple adults conspire to sexually abuse multiple children) has been one of the most controversial issues in debates over mental health practice with survivors of child sexual abuse. Aims: The aim of this paper is to summarise and analyse the available prevalence data pertinent to organised abuse and to identify the challenges that organised abuse poses for mental health policy and practice. Methods: Prevalence studies of sexual abuse based on community and clinical samples were reviewed for findings pertinent to organised abuse. Key indicators of organised abuse were selected and summarised on the basis of their association with the known characteristics of organised abuse. The literature regarding the health impacts of these indicators was also reviewed. Results: A minority of people reporting contact sexual abuse in the community report experiences indicative of organised abuse. These indicators are elevated in particular settings and they are associated with poor mental and physical health. Conclusions: Organised abuse is rare but it is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes. There is currently no source of integrated care for adults with histories of organised abuse. Many survivors end up in prison or homeless, chronically disabled by illness, or dead.

I hope I’ve provided some positive feelings by highlighting the work of these two fine men. If you can, send them some encouragement, in whatever form you deem appropriate.