Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse Today (SMART)
August 19, 2009
This past weekend I attended the 12th SMART Conference on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control (known as ra/mc), held every year since 1998 outside Hartford, Connecticut, organized by ra/mc survivor Neil Brick (see his SMART website http://ritualabuse.us ). Ra/mc survivors, their supporters, therapists and survivor advocates like me attend and participate. Survivors tell me that this is the safest conference they have known.
When the conference began, the focus was on describing the torture that these survivors of childhood torture had endured, of the trauma it had left, and on processes of recovery. Recently and especially this year, the focus has turned to healing and recovery. It is indeed heartening to see people in a setting where basic patterns of torture are known and taken for granted enough that emphasis among speakers is now on sharing various stories of what works and doesn’t in recovering from what the UN Commission on the Status of Women has recognized as a form of human trafficking in women and children especially, the name embodied in the title of a website by those who have gone to the UN have entitled ritualabusetorture.org .
Since 1993, beginning in a seminar on feminist justice focusing on children’s rights and safety I taught until retirement last December, I have become immersed in learning what survivors especially have to teach me and my students about this form of violence, and of how many victims manage to escape cults and government/military experimentation and exploitation and heal remarkably. The torture they have experienced, commonly from infancy to adulthood, is as horrifyingly prolonged and painful as any personal violence I have encountered in four decades as a criminologists. The courage and capacity of survivors I have met to transcend that violence, and to form safe trustworthy subsequent relationships, is truly inspiring.
I have told my own story of discovery and learning many times in many places. Just google Hal Pepinsky and you will find more than enough accounts without my repeating my story here (although I remain happy to talk further with anyone who cares to contact me privately or publicly). Suffice it here for now to say that I have concluded that in my own country for starters, it must be the exceptional community of any size that does not include at least one multi-generational cult, including people otherwise known as pillars of the community who have perfect families, where among other things periodic rituals of human sacrifice and cannibalism are practiced. I believe that this organized murder has magnitudes more victims than all known serial murderers combined. I further believe that the bulk of human trafficking, as in child prostitution and pornography out of these cults, includes far more U.S. than foreign children in my own country. Fortunes are made here; politicians photographed as in bed with cult children are also subject to political manipulation. It is very hard to find therapists, institutions including hospitals and all manner of religious organizations, where people are willing to believe children who try to disclose and escape, or if they believe, don’t turn out to be cult-involved themselves. As a child advocate and believer who first visited my seminar in 1993 put it, “If you believe that this stuff really happens, it will turn your world upside down.” I understand if friends and colleagues don’t want to go there. I had to climb out of clinical depression myself when I discovered two well-established outdoor ritual sites in my own neighborhood in 1996. I also decided that if I were to call myself a criminologist, I could not turn away from what I was seeing, hearing, and reading.
I have met no other criminologist who believes in organized ritual torture intergenerationally, and under cover of government and the military activity particularly, as I do. As far as I know, I am the only educator anywhere in the world who has made a point of bringing more than one survivor to the classroom and to professional conferences. I know of only one survivor, Jeanette Westbrook (you can google her story too), who has succeeded in having her major assailant, her father, prosecuted for his violence. Her father, just back from high-level visits with Eastern European officials, died suddenly at home (of natural causes, no autopsy) when the order came to extradite him back to Kentucky from Ohio on charges of three counts of felony rape. Even in that case, Jeanette and her allies in law enforcement decided it would be hard to get a jury to believe the bizarre ritual violence that had been inflicted on Jeanette and countless other victims.
And so I don’t expect law enforcement or civil litigation to get very far in nailing well-placed perpetrators. But as in SMART conferences, I have discovered that year by year, more and more victims and survivors discover that they are not alone, and that, in each other’s company especially, they can find validation, security, and paths out of the violence and into recovery. I have also concluded that a major reason cults carry on their business is that so many members figure that there is no way out, or indeed die or get institutionalized if they try. I figure that the more that we outsiders accept the reality of the lives they have lived and offer them those trapped in the violence sanctuary and hope, the faster we can decimate the ranks of organized ritual torturers. Strangely enough, my encounters with organized personal violence greater than any violence I had previously even imagined, have strengthened my conviction that peacemaking is a more effective response to violence (beyond immediate self-defense) than counter-violence. I thank my survivor friends and teachers for having taught me immensely about myself and my relations. Love and peace--hal