We’ve argued for some time that groups which claim to be “child abuse activists” but are actually conspiracy-obsessed SRA pushers (Knight Foundation, Association of McKenzie Friends, and Fresh Start Foundation, we’re looking at you) can have a very negative effect on child sexual abuse survivors who are looking for support.
This was brought home to us yesterday by a post on Cat Scot’s “Spidercatweb” blog.
It consisted of a speech by FSF director and UK Column contributor David Scott, titled “Scotland’s Secret Shame”, delivered at the Fresh Start Foundation Roadshow in Kirkaldy on 26 May.
Not surprisingly, the speech consisted mostly of conspiracy-friendly ideas such as
- Children are used as currency amongst the rich and powerful;
- Some people are ‘protected’ because of their role in procuring children for the aforementioned R&P;
- Mental health services will betray survivors horribly;
- Social services will steal survivors’ children;
- The official child abuse inquiry is useless and should be ignored; and possibly most pernicious of all,
- Child sexual abuse survivors should not report their cases to the police, but should come to the FSF instead.
To illustrate this last point, Scott talked about something he called “Scotland’s Shadow Police”:
So, how did we get there?
Now, we know from Jon Wedger’s talk at the Stirling roadshow that there are many policemen who will stand up and try to do the right thing, but even when you get good policemen on the case, it’s not working, because what happens — and this is another story from Izzy’s Promise — is this.
The policemen start taking information — and you’re talking about the most horrendous abuse; you’re talking about sexual abuse, torture, horrible things. So there’s a process first of the victim developing a rapport with the police officer doing the interview. It’s a personal relationship; you can’t just tell this to anybody. Who here would like to come up in front of the microphone and talk about their sex life, let alone the sort of things these girls and young men have had to endure? So there’s a process of developing confidence, trust.
What Izzy’s Promise found was that in one particular case, they got two officers from Tayside Police who were excellent. They were patient; they built that trust; the victim was speaking; they were getting a lot of good usable evidence; they were building a case. It was going great.
They got moved on. Some hectoring Sergeant came in and said to the victim, “Right, I’m not believing any of this! We’ll have to start again,” and conducted the interviews in a way that made it quite clear he didn’t believe a word she was saying.
So, what would the victim do in that case? What would anybody do? She had to pull out, because all it becomes is more abuse. It’s not a matter of courage, because you’ve had courage to tell the story in the first place. Eventually, it’s a matter of self-preservation, because you can’t keep torturing yourself through the system.
And people get the message. The message is: “You’ve got some information about some horrendous abuse that you’ve suffered. We don’t want to know. Keep it to yourself.”
That’s been the message.
Our message is, obviously, the complete reverse. We want to know. Come and talk to us!
This is masterful, really.
Scott is instilling fear in survivors—the fear of not being believed, the fear that they will have to expose their deeply personal and traumatic experiences, only to have some “hectoring Sergeant” throw it all back in their faces, re-victimising them and creating trauma upon existing trauma.
What Scott does not disclose in this speech is that one potential reason that the “hectoring Sergeant” failed to believe the complainant’s story is that she had been referred to the police by a charity called Izzy’s Promise, which is specifically devoted to “working to end ritual and organised abuse in the world”, as their blog states.
Scott doesn’t say so directly, but given the origin of the case, and the fact that Izzy’s Promise has claimed that “Satanic ritual abuse runs rife in Scotland”, and has been identified as an organisation which uses various dubious techniques to create “recovered memories” in its clients, there is more than a small likelihood that the person who complained to police was relating a tale of Satanic ritual abuse which the “hectoring Sergeant” was well aware could never be proved in court.
‘Come and talk to us!’
Scott ends this horror story with a welcoming “Come and talk to us!”—encouraging child sexual abuse victims to open up to a group of lay persons (with the exception of Janine Rennie, who operates Wellbeing Scotland), rather than taking their concerns to the police.
In what deranged universe is this a good idea? These people are not only completely untrained, but they harbour ignorant, dangerous, and delusional beliefs about child sexual abuse. The thought of sending a CSA survivor to the likes of Catriona Selvester or David Scott is chilling, to say the least.
And what will FSF do with the information they’ve wrung out of any CSA survivors unfortunate or desperate enough to accept their invitation? Do they have protocols in place to protect people’s confidentiality? Will they be able to assist anyone in coming to terms with their abuse? Will they be able to help bring abusers to justice?
Will they fuck.
No, they plan to bypass any known standards of mental health care, and veer around the legal system which could, you know, actually arrest people and bring them to court. Instead, Scott says, they will be setting up “Common Law grand juries” to try these cases. And we all know what that means:
More freeman on the land woo
Rather than bothering with cumbersome things like laws and evidence and such, Scott says that the ultimate goal of the FSF is to hold “Common Law grand juries” which will dispense “justice” in their own special way:
If we have evidence against people, we’ll go to a grand jury, and we’ll say to the grand jury, “Here’s the evidence.” The people accused will be invited along, and at this point, it will be entirely confidential. And if the grand jury decides there’s a case to answer and to indict, we’ll report that. We will not be saying anything in public about any individuals until it has been lawfully established that there is an issue, because that’s how the law should work. It’s meant to be driven by a jury of our peers.
Because, you see, the legal system is all part of the grand cover-up. Uh-huh. Of course it is.
Our position, then, was: We’ve looked at this — the Law Society, the Crown Office, the lawyers themselves, the courts, the police, the councils, Social Services, and everything else that the councils are doing, including education and housing — and all of this factors in to the abuse and the trouble that comes people’s way.
The view that we have taken is that going back to that system and saying, “Well, would you please admit how much wrong you’ve done, and not do it again? Please?” is not credible.
So, we’ve decided that what we’ll go back to is, “No, the following people are now indicted. This is how the system works, and it will stop. And if it doesn’t stop, the list of indictments is going to grow. You’re caught.”
That’s what we say to the system.
That’s why we’re different.
So basically, the Fresh Start Foundation is trying to terrify CSA survivors into coming to them rather than to the police, so that they can listen to their stories, decide who is guilty, and run what amount to vigilante trials outside the justice system.
Scott doesn’t specify what the punishment will be for those found guilty.
We shudder to think.