During the Glasgow leg of its travelling “road show” last week, the Fresh Start Foundation spent some time bashing Hoaxtead Research. FSF board member Janine Rennie claimed, “If there’s a child abuse case for example, they’ll go out to prove that child abuse case to be a (hoax)”.
Others referred to us as “dangerous” and trotted out the usual tropes: “they’re GCHQ, there’s four or five of them that come on under alias names…they’ve got all the time in the world to sit there and keep battling and battling and battling and distracting from what you are doing”.
Gratifying as it is to be labelled “dangerous” to those who peddle the fiction of Satanic ritual abuse, we’d like to set a few things straight.
We don’t believe all child sex abuse cases are hoaxes
In fact, we believe very strongly that child sexual abuse is a serious and widespread problem which must be dealt with at a societal and personal level. We have said this from the start: one of the most important reasons to stop false stories like the Hampstead SRA hoax is that they drain time and resources from the very real problem of child sexual abuse.
Even though true cases of sexual abuse outnumber false ones by a wide margin, over time hoaxes like this one, or the claims of “Nick” in the Operation Midland case, can weaken the public reaction to real sexual abuse, as people become cynical and begin to question the stories of real survivors.
While we do not question Janine Rennie’s earnestness in believing that she is doing good work for abuse survivors, we do question whether that belief is accurate.
Cat Scot’s ‘evidence-based research’?
For example, in one breath Janine talks about the fact that the FSF’s “professionalism continues to be questioned”, and she emphasises the need for “evidence-based information”. The next sentence out of her mouth is, “Cat’s amazing at that, she always checks out her sources”.
Seriously, Janine? Seriously?
We’re talking about Catriona Selvester, paid-up member of the HollieHoax Fan Club, admirer of Malcolm Konrad Ogilvy, and author of blog posts such as “SCOTTISH CHILDREN MURDERED IN PAEDOPHILE SNUFF FILMS“, right?
That would be the discredited story of “paedophile snuff films” generated in 2014 by two charities, Kilmarnock-based Break the Silence and Dundee-based Izzy’s Promise, which believed satanic abuse to be rife in Scotland…much as the Fresh Start Foundation does. Oddly, despite having made these extraordinary claims, neither organisation reported any such films to police…because they hadn’t actually seen them.
Yes, Cat does excellent research, all right. Amazing.
We can completely see why Janine would think it unfair for anyone to question her organisation’s professionalism or credibility. [Shouldn’t you add a sarcasm alert or something?—Ed.]
While we’re on the topic of professionalism…
There was that time when Janine extended an invitation to readers (and presumably the authors) of this blog to come to see for ourselves whether clients at the charity she runs, “Wellbeing Scotland”, really are SRA survivors or not.
Setting aside the issue of confidentiality—and ignoring the fact that Janine had a major hissy fit when the Scottish government demanded that she provide client records for her charity which would be used to assess their funding needs, and yet she still felt it appropriate to ask a bunch of strangers to come and inspect her clientele—this raised the issue of why a group of people who claim to have been victims of SRA would want to meet people who were sceptical of their narratives.
As HR commenter OMGnotthisshiteagain said so eloquently back then,
It is extremely important for survivors to understand that, even if they “go public” about their experiences, that they are entitled to privacy and are allowed to decline requests for further information if they feel uncertain or uncomfortable.
Professionals supporting survivors are aware of the salacious interests of the media and the public at large and thus typically do a lot of work with survivors exploring the implications of public disclosure and inviting survivors to explore their feelings around boundaries. Sensitive persons are aware that there is a real danger that people who have been abused as children can have their boundaries violated yet again by the press or by curious members of the public who have a prurient interest in CSA/CSE.
I have encountered a lot of people, all female, who claim to be the survivors of satanic ritual abuse. One of the unusual features I have noticed about these people that differentiates them from survivors of ordinary, mundane, disgusting child sexual abuse is that SRA survivors seem extremely motivated to provide the most graphic and gruesome details of their alleged abuse to anyone who will listen to them.
It is not unusual for people who claim to be SRA survivors to create websites, publish “memoirs” and generally make a lot of noise about being an SRA survivor, very often disclosing their real name and even making videos and uploading them onto youtube so they can trumpet their experiences of SRA, quite openly, to a massive audience around the world.
In other words, it’s not possible for Janine to claim the moral high ground of professionalism, while failing to look after the confidentiality needs of her clients.
Nor is it possible to claim to operate with any sort of rigour or integrity while working with a group which includes various conspiracy theorists and SRA-pushers such as Wilfred Wong, David Scott, Cat Selvester, and Robert Green.
It’s not okay to contact survivors of child sexual abuse and attempt to “groom” them to become part of the FSF travelling circus rather than the official child abuse inquiry. It’s not okay to bash real child sexual abuse survivors like Sheva Burton or Danny of Shatterboys, just because they happen to see through the FSF’s charade.
And until we hear that all of these issues have been addressed and corrected, we’ll continue to be critical of this particular group and its spokespeople.