Here’s a question that’s nagged us for some time now: Why is it that certain people seem to hang their public identity on claims that they were physically or sexually abused as children? Yes, Angela, we’re looking at you—but APD isn’t the only one.
People like the very odd Fiona Barnett, who makes some very strange and disturbing claims, mostly involving being sexually assaulted by various Very Important Persons, seem compelled to impress their alleged personal sufferings upon the public, so desperate are they for belief and, ultimately, validation.
We spoke to a retired psychotherapist recently, whose caseload had once consisted almost entirely of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. She told us that to a person, none of her clientele was in the least interested in sharing their stories with the public. In fact, they often had great difficulty even disclosing the abuse to their therapist, as they felt ashamed of having been victimised.
Part of the reason they were attending therapy sessions in the first place was to rid themselves of that burden of shame, which rightfully belonged on the shoulders of their abusers.
So why, then, are some people seemingly compelled to share their stories in the most public possible ways—via mass media or the internet, with as much fuss and fanfare as possible?
Latter day martyrs?
One of our regular commenters, Justin Sanity, shed a bit of light on the subject yesterday:
Some day, I’ll discuss the importance of claiming a history of extreme suffering – such as having been subjected to the alleged torments & tortures of “ritualistic abuse-mind control programming” as a small child – for “Survivor” claimants who openly profess to be, or less overtly pose as, true Martyrs and infallible Prophets.
In ancient times…the proof that a holy martyr, infallible prophet or divine being was genuine came in the form of evidence that the person “knows” things that only Gawd & His angels could know.
This makes sense to us: Angela, for example, bills herself as (among other things) an aspiring “walking gospel” and a student of eschatology/end times, who “love(s) Jesus…love(s) people and the JOY of the Lord is (her) strength”. She also claims to have been not only a child abuse survivor, but an MK Ultra survivor, and now a victim of aliens (yes, the kind from outer space) who “hunted” her:
Talk about upping the ante! No mere mortal sexual abusers for our Angie; not even so-called VIP paedophiles are good enough for her. Her suffering must be seen to have been of the most extreme sort, in order to lend credence to her claims of martyrdom. Right, aliens it is then.
In the early days of Christianity, martyrs were those who suffered mightily for their faith: we’re all familiar with the stories of Christians being thrown to the lions, or of martyrs like Saint Sebastian, who actually survived being used for target practice by the Roman emperor’s archers, only to be clubbed to death later for continuing to lecture the emperor about how he needed to accept Jesus into his life.
Whether this story is true or not, it creates a powerful and pervasive mythology: Sebastian’s suffering and perseverance in the face of overwhelming pain grant him the authority to speak on God’s behalf.
We wouldn’t go so far as to say that someone like Angela Power-Disney or Fiona Barnett are consciously seeking the perks of martyrdom when they start spinning their yarns about aliens and Richard Nixon and such, but we find it interesting that to some people at least, the fact that they identify themselves so publicly as survivors of the most depraved and lurid forms of alleged abuse seems to lend credence to their words.
Poor old Prickles Sebastian’s suffering, while spectacular in its own right, was believable in the context of the time: Roman emperors were notoriously tetchy, and one might easily imagine one of them casually ordering his archers to have a go at that pesky Christian bloke who will. not. shut. up.
The problem for Angela and Fiona, though, is the credibility gap.
While most people these days would not discount a story of childhood sexual abuse, far fewer are willing to accept that Richard Nixon flew to Australia on Air Force One for the express purpose of sexually assaulting a young Fiona Barnett; fewer still are willing to buy Angie’s story about being chased round and round the mulberry bush by E.T.
For someone like Angie or Fiona, the problem is that child sexual abuse has become an acknowledged evil: in the 1960s it was considered very rare, but by the 1980s professionals began to recognise that it was more prevalent than they’d originally thought.
These days, it’s acknowledged that child sexual abuse is far from rare…which makes it a bit less useful in the Martyr Sweepstakes. To become a True Martyr, then, one needs something a bit more extreme.
Aliens, for example. Or Nixon on Air Force One. Or MK Ultra experimentation (which bears a strange resemblance to what happened to poor old Prickles Sebastian; we’re sure it’s utterly coincidental).
We’ve seen over the past months that Angela is an attention-seeker of the first order; and over the time that we’ve been exposed to her, her allegations that she was sexually abused have escalated dramatically, culminating in the “I was hunted by aliens” story. At the same time, she’s begun to claim more and more authority as a self-styled evangelist for her own peculiar brand of Christianity.
Whether those two things are linked, we cannot say. But it does make for some interesting speculation.