‘Marinated in terror’: The effects of trauma in childhood

One long-standing argument put about by those determined to believe in the veracity of the Hampstead Satanic ritual abuse hoax is that RD’s children volunteer so much detail, and are so convincing in their speech, that they cannot possibly be lying. People like Kristie Sue Costa have argued vehemently that the Hampstead children were able to appear calm, rational, and articulate in the videos they were forced to make, because they had been abused for so long that it seemed “normal” to them.

This claim is not only ridiculous, but offensive to children who really have suffered long-term sexual, physical, or psychological abuse in childhood. It goes against all the clinical evidence that has been gathered on childhood victims of severe trauma, and makes a mockery of their experience.

We’ve discussed some aspects of this before.

In May, we looked at a study of children who had been confirmed to have suffered from sexual abuse, titled Why Didn’t They Tell Us? On Sexual Abuse in Child Pornography, which described the reality of interviewing children who’ve survived sexual abuse. One of the most striking differences between the interviews with bona fide child sexual abuse survivors and the children in the Hampstead SRA hoax is that the children who really had been abused were deeply reluctant to discuss their experiences, and would often simply say, “I don’t remember” in response to questions about the actual abuse.

Far from wanting to describe all the details of their memories of what had happened to them, as RD’s children seemed to do, the abused children found various ways to avoid describing the experience. The trauma they’d endured was not something they wished to revisit, and they only provided information which their interviewers already knew to be true: that is, they volunteered no more details than they had to.

This response makes sense, given what we know about the effects of trauma on the brains of children.

The Traumatic Impact of Child Sexual Abuse

In 1985, David Finkelhor and Angela Browne published a paper called “The Traumatic Impact of Child Sexual Abuse”, which set forth a model for how children were affected by the experience of sexual abuse. In this often-cited paper, they said:

The model proposed here postulates that the experience of sexual abuse can be analyzed in terms of four trauma-causing factors, or what we will call traumagenic dynamics – traumatic sexualization, betrayal, powerlessness, and stigmatization. These traumagenic dynamics are generalized dynamics, not necessarily unique to sexual abuse; they occur in other kinds of trauma. But the conjunction of these four dynamics in one set of circumstances is what makes the trauma of sexual abuse unique, different from such childhood traumas as the divorce of a child’s parents or even being the victim of physical child abuse.

These dynamics alter children’s cognitive and emotional orientation to the world, and create trauma by distorting children’s self-concept, world view, and affective capacities.

Finkelhor and Browne go on to describe the effects—such as “traumatic sexualisation” (sexual preoccupations and compulsions), revulsion, fear, anger, powerlessness, stigmatisation, sense of betrayal, hostility, clinginess—which sexually abused children can experience.

‘Malleable, not resilient’

More recent studies of the effects of trauma on children have shown that children who are exposed to long-term violence or threats of violence (such as being violently raped multiple times per week, as the Hampstead children alleged) experience certain effects on their developing brains. In a paper titled “INCUBATED IN TERROR: Neurodevelopmental Factors in the ‘Cycle of Violence‘”, author Bruce D. Perry states, “Children are not resilient; children are malleable”.

He means that contrary to the belief that children can experience long-term trauma and then somehow “bounce back” from it, it has been found that children’s brains are malleable—they are shaped and distorted by trauma, and will develop behaviours which, while adaptive during the time they’re being abused, can create all sorts of problems throughout their lives. For example, children who are exposed to chronic violence are more likely to be violent themselves. Perry writes:

If during development, this stress response apparatus are required to be persistently active, the stress response apparatus in the central nervous system will develop in response to constant threat. These stress-response neural systems (and all functions they mediate) will be overactive and hypersensitive. It is highly adaptive for an child growing up in a violent, chaotic environment to be hypersensitive to external stimuli, to be hyper-vigilant, and to be in a persistent stress response state.

Clinically, this is very easily seen in children who are exposed to chronic neurodevelopmental trauma (Perry, 1994a; Perry, 1995a). These children are frequently diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder (ADD with hyperactivity (Haddad et al., 1992). This is somewhat misleading, however. These children are hyper-viligant, they do not have a core abnormality of their capacity to attend to a given task. These children have behavioral impulsivity, and cognitive distortions all of which result from a use-dependent organization of the brain.

Of course, this is only one example of a behavioural change created by long-term violence; there are many others, but our main point is this: children do not escape from long-term sexual and physical abuse unaffected. And the younger the child is when the abuse starts, the more profound the effects.

Children with histories of long-term violence and/or sexual abuse may be easily “set off”, becoming angry or tearful with seemingly little provocation. They can struggle with knowing how to calm down, and may seem unpredictable, oppositional, volatile, or extreme. Children who have grown up fearing an abusive authority figure may respond to any perceived blame with defensiveness or anger; or they can take the opposite tack, becoming over-controlled, rigid, or unusually compliant with adults.

One would not expect to see children who’ve endured violence, repeated sexual assault, and the constant threat of physical pain since babyhood to appear as composed, articulate, and engaged as the Hampstead children did, both in the videos made en route to London from Morocco, and in the ensuing police interviews. Anyone with experience dealing with traumatised children would be very well aware that this behaviour simply would not be normal, given the alleged experiences these children were supposed to have endured.

In other words, in contrast to what the Hoaxtead mobsters would have us believe, children do not simply “grow accustomed” to the experience of long-term sexualised trauma, so that they are able to appear perfectly normal in all respects. Anyone claiming this is either displaying a stunning lack of intellectual honesty, or is not playing with a full deck.

This article was first published on 21 October 2017.

43 thoughts on “‘Marinated in terror’: The effects of trauma in childhood

  1. Studies of the ever changing nature of childhood are fascinating. It’s only recently that researchers concluded that children, until a certain age do not have periphery vision so that the exhortation when crossing a road to “look left, right & left again” is incredibly important as unlike adults who may perceive an approaching vehicle is not something that happens in kids.

    Likewise teenagers who most defintely have an “invincibility” factor that disappears as we grow older.
    So the studies quoted here are very apt in the Hampstead matter.
    But for The Mob (™) I doubt in-depth studies into the nature of childhood and especially abuse are irrelevent. They desire it to be true & seem to salivate over the details. Why is the question.

    One thing: remember it wasn’t just a claim of these kids being abused weekly it was also that dozens of offenders participated (the swimming pool changing cubicle claim). The sheer absurdity of this – a small child being raped repeatedly by dozens of people would probably mean death for the poor child. Or at least terribly scaring or permanent injuries unlike those described by the doctor.
    Let alone the fact the children could easily talk to strangers about their ordeals as has been so prevelant in recent cases in India where children who have been raped are murdered so they will not talk about it (common everywhere of course).

    For the Hoaxers that meant the entire community had to be included in the Cult- police, social workers, other parents, teachers, priests, McDonald’s workers etc which meant the children had no-one to actually tell.

    And indeed the manner in which these children rattled off, script like, the so-called abuse in a manner that sometimes verged on excitement.
    And the most terrible insult that was so vile: that they participated in the murder of babies etc and wore their skulls as though these two were completly devoid of any compassion which probably goes to demonstrate what a psychopath Abraham Christie really is.
    He is ignorant of human empathy so he would have no understanding that even small children understand the nature of harm and death to a degree when confronted by it and are not feelingless people who would ignore it.
    As for Ella Gareva- perhaps she’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My sentence was a bit convoluted: “But for The Mob (™) I doubt in-depth studies into the nature of childhood and especially abuse are irrelevent.” but I’m sure you get what I mean.
      So well mannered of posters not to question it even though it was a deliberate mistake ro catch readers out (editor: sure GOS-pull the other one)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 🙂 Facebook’s shares tumble as growth disappoints

    Facebook shares tumbled by more than 20% on Wednesday after the social media network’s revenue and user growth fell short of investor expectations.

    The firm, which is facing backlash for its handling of fake news and privacy, said it had…the slowest growth in more than two years…The number of EU users fell amid the rollout of tighter privacy regulations…


    Liked by 3 people

  3. Another one of Angie’s mad mates has been testing the system again. Remember her?


    • Nice!

      And that’s on top of SGT Report and Truth Seeking Music Makers both losing their channels in the last few days. It’s shaping up to be a good week 😀

      Liked by 2 people

        • Don’t quote me on this but I think that’s because all four videos got hit at the same time. You’d only get a second strike if you didn’t heed the warning when you got the first one. Not defending Alex Croakthroat but it I think it would have been unfair for him to get a strike for not heeding a warning when he hadn’t had one.


  4. “Freudian slip at 15 minutes”

    …Says Angela on a video that’s 14 minutes, 57 seconds long 😂

    JournoAngie – worth every penny


  5. Just wanted to share this extremely important video of Dr Kevin Felstead’s TEDX talk
    The Carol Felstead Scandal: a true story of false memory

    This is an excellent talk and frankly Kevin and the Felstead family have fought a magnificent fight to get justice for Carol.

    Please share as widely as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: “‘Marinated in terror’: The effects of trauma in childhood” – The Truth About Institutional Child Abuse

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