Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

The Reality of Ritual Abuse in the UK; or, why David Aaronovitch is wrong

Open Democracy has published a very important two-part article from journalist Bea Campbell in response to the deeply problematic David Aaronovitch radio program on ritual abuse. Ritual abuse of children does exist. There have been a number of successful prosecutions of adults for committing satanic ritual abuse, as there have been with other forms of ritual abuse. We believe it was irresponsible of BBC Radio 4 to air the two part documentary by Aaronovitch as it implied that children lied about their experiences of sexual abuse. This is clearly false and prevents children from accessing appropriate support.

We highly recommend reading both articles written by Campbell. This is the first section of the first article:

Suddenly the calumny about VIP historic sexual abuse has attracted new suspects: satanism, repressed memory, recovered memory, false memories, false accusations, dissociated  identity disorder and children’s suggestibility. Society, we are warned, has swung from denial to credulity, to belief in the unbelievable.

The Times columnist David Aaronovitch calls up, as a caution, another era:  ‘unbelievable’ ideas actually ‘bewitched professionals’ and rendered them ‘spellbound’, he warns, in two broadcasts launching a summer season of Analysis on BBC Radio 4: Ritual Sexual Abuse: The Anatomy of A Panic.

David Aaronovitch is the scourge of conspiracy theories, a common sense man, a guardian of reason against nutters, credulous media and irrational women. His critique of conspiracism, Voodoo Histories valorises an ‘intuitive sense of  likelihood and unlikelihood’; he adopts Lewis Namier’s notion of  ‘historical sense’, that is: ‘an intuitive understanding of how things do not happen.’

Read more of part one here.

Part two.

We also suggest reading the following articles by Dr Sarah Nelson (researcher, writer and media commentator on child sexual abuse at Edinburgh University) and journalist Tim Tate.

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