Letter: Memories of sexual abuse can be recovered without hypnosis

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The Independent Online
I SUGGEST that the False Memory Syndrome is the solution to the following dilemma: for years, accusations of child abuse, ritual abuse and satanic abuse have all depended on the evidence/witness of small children and so could easily be dismissed as unreliable. Now, adult survivors of these forms of abuse are overcoming their fear and repugnance and speaking out. How can these witnesses also be rendered 'unreliable'? That's a tougher problem that just cries out for 'a syndrome'.

It is true that some distressed people can be persuaded by dedicated fanatics to look in the wrong places for the source of their distress. (Tory politicians, for example, still attribute our present ills to Labour rule.) Most people with terrible memories tend to run away from them, rather than cultivate them - until they reach the point in their lives when they can't run any more. From this point, they find themselves involved in what we could call the Painful Truth Syndrome.

Pat O'Rourke

Crawley, West Sussex

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