The Recovery Of Recovered Memories?
Much to my dismay, a few days ago, I stumbled upon an article on an
MRA website written by a man who was claiming that he had been raped by a
woman 20 years ago and that, as a result, he had suffered significant
As I scanned it briefly, I began to groan inwardly.
Not because I have any objection to men writing about any woes that
have arisen as a result of their various mishaps with women - indeed, I've
spent many years wailing about such incidents myself - but because, in the
case of this particular article, I recognised certain characteristics
which troubled me.
And the term 'recovered memory' almost immediately sprang to my mind.
In brief, the term 'recovered memories' commonly refers to those cases
wherein people supposedly recall material - often to do with sexual abuse - that they had previously forgotten about.
Twenty, thirty or forty years later - particularly with the aid of
certain therapists - these memories can come into consciousness, and the
claim has often been that these memories are accurate representations of
what took place.
these memories are often completely and utterly
The truth, however, is that these memories are often completely and
utterly fabricated and, further, that they are often almost impossible to
believe, so fantastical are the events that they describe.
Sexual abuse in spaceships by aliens, beaten up by ghosts during the
night, the ritual devouring of babies in orgiastic
circumstances - on and on it goes.
But, of course, we can all 'recover' memories in some way or other ...
"Ah yes. I remember now. You, me and Ted went off to the cinema for
his 18th birthday, and he got completely plastered. LOL! That was so funny
... and we can often even recall specific events from 20 years ago
with a reasonable degree of accuracy, if those events have particular emotional
significance for us.
But when the memories involve highly emotional content followed by
years of forgetfulness - accompanied by claims of 'trauma' - one is
very wise to suspect that the memories might be false.
And, in this particular case, my own experience with such matters -
basically, having read a lot about them - told
me almost immediately that this was probably one of those cases.
Furthermore, even if these particular memories were 100% correct, it
seemed very unlikely to me that a 'normal' man would be so traumatised -
and remain traumatised even 20 years later - by the incidents described in
So, as I said, I groaned inwardly, being somewhat depressed at the thought
that false memories and/or 'particularly sensitive' victims were invading
my comfort zones in cyberspace.
And so I was preparing to move on, but then made the mistake of looking at
the comments that were appearing below the article.
One of them was from a poster who seemed to be equating his own
misfortune - many years of having to live in fear of his partner - with that of
the rape victim who wrote the article.
But the two situations were completely different.
Having to live in fear of one's partner for many years is a completely different
experience from having a one-night stand with a woman who is
sexually forceful - particularly if you happen to have mostly slept
throughout the ordeal, as was stated in this particular case.
In the former case, any normal man would likely suffer very badly
indeed, perhaps for many years after the event. In the latter case, he would not.
That was my view.
And this is when I decided to post my own comment in order to point
The reaction was hostile.
one must never question the suffering of victims.
I forgot that one must never question the suffering of victims. And
whatever they say must be true.
Before long, therefore, I felt the need to defend my claims by seeking
out further evidence - which I did.
And so, this time, I read through the article very carefully indeed.
1. There were signs that the author was recovering his memories.
2. There were also signs that he was of a particularly
sensitive nature - and/or that he had some relevant psychological issues -
prior to his alleged rape.
So, off I trooped to research more closely the facts behind this
It took quite a long time.
Intermittently, I also popped back to the forum to glance quickly at
the incoming comments and, occasionally, I threw out various comments of
my own in reply - very often getting totally disoriented by the fact that,
unlike nearly all other forums that I have ever visited, many comments were
actually appearing higher UP the screen - out of my sight - and not DOWN
Anyway, the result of my investigations proved to my satisfaction that
I was correct on both counts - 1. and 2. above - and with unedifying glee at my own
magnificence I began to point this out.
The reaction was hostile.
I forgot that one must never question the suffering of victims. And
whatever they say must be true.
And I have now even received emails asking me whether or not I was
drunk when I was making my comments.
Well, actually, I was a bit - but not enough to cloud my mind.
Disoriented perhaps - mostly by old age and by my complete and utter confusion
comment flow - and also thoroughly exasperated at seeing some old abuse myths coming
But the driving force behind my somewhat confused energy was not
alcohol at all.
If anything, it was mid-level panic from thinking about all the
horrors that generally arise from the typical activities of those who
believe in the veracity of "recovered memories". And it was also mid-level
dread from thinking about all the extra hysteria that would be generated
by associated parts of the trauma industry should their empires be
encouraged to grow by men's activism.
And the thought that both might be gaining traction in the Men's
Movement - something that would be absolutely
catastrophic, both for men, in general, and for the MM itself
- was fairly unbearable.
the alleged victim of rape - has recently
changed his view
Well, in summary, the most significant discovery from my 'research' is that the author
- i.e. the alleged victim of rape -
has recently changed his view about how much he had to drink that night.
He has also brought into the equation the notion that he was drugged - by
having his drink spiked.
Basically, his earlier accounts contain no mention of being drugged.
His earlier accounts talk about his total
debilitation that night as being caused by a "night" of dancing and drinking
for "several hours".
He was, to use his own words, "destroyed by the alcohol", "very
inebriated", and in a "drunken stupor".
He was "plastered".
But in a later account, he suggests that he had imbibed only two
drinks, and that the second one must have been spiked.
He was now "drugged".
It is also crucially important to understand, however, that the author
has, over the past few years, very often used the
very same article to spread the message about his plight. But,
on occasion, he has carefully changed a few phrases here and there as time
has moved onwards.
In other words, this was not someone who was just casually - and
unthinkingly - posting slightly different accounts of the same episode on
different blogs here and there - in which case, one might expect the
accounts to change from time to time.
the basic article is, quite clearly, a
meticulously written piece
On the contrary, the basic article is, quite clearly, a meticulously
written piece that is designed to persuade readers that he was, in fact,
And he has been actively re-using this piece for a number of years -
with various cut-and-paste portions of it sometimes appearing hither and
And the change from dancing and drinking all night, from being in a
"drunken stupor", and from being 'destroyed by the alcohol' - to having
had only two drinks - one of which was spiked with a drug - is a
purposeful and deliberate switch.
Now, it is not my intention to demonise this man, but simply to point
out to you that people who recover memories of traumatic events many years
after their alleged occurrences, often make up the details as time marches
onward - particularly if they are being influenced by certain types of
And, in this case, he is, indeed, being so influenced.
He states quite clearly (in another post of his) that his therapist
has recently helped him to learn "and remember" more about that night.
In essence, the therapist is leading him on a pathway that enables him
more easily to justify his hurt and his behaviour.
And so, in this case, my guess is that she is implanting into his mind
the notion that he was drugged.
This would justify more strongly why he did not try to escape from his
attacker. And it would also justify more strongly his hurt.
Indeed, providing justifications for their clients' hurts and
behaviours is a great way for therapists to keep their clients happy and, hence, a great
way to keep the money coming in.
Now, I must tell you that dealing with this particular case is, and
has been, a decidedly unpleasant experience for me.
And I have no desire to continue dealing with it.
But the endless horrors that so many people are going to experience if
we allow this type of nonsense to continue gaining traction - as it did
some three decades ago - will pretty much force me into action.
another part of me wants to scream at him
And so, for example, while part of me feels very sorry for this man,
another part of me wants to scream at him.
"How dare you try to inflict this hysterical, life-destroying rubbish
on to us all.
"You might well be a victim of rape, but this does not justify you
engaging in activities that will - without a shadow of doubt - damage the
lives of so many other people, and this includes
victims of rape."
And I would feel the same way if, say, a cancer charity was to engage
in activities that would inflict huge harm on cancer sufferers - and
everyone else - by promoting the view that cancer patients are likely to
suffer from trauma for decades should they get cancer.
It would be an outrageous thing to do.
And in the case of those who have recovered memories, such outrageous
activities would actually be based very often on their own falsehoods - in
other words, on lies.
Finally, men are very often seriously abused and seriously hurt by
women, and they have every right to fight back.
But fighting back with the recovered memories of particularly
sensitive men is not the way to do it.
Besides which, as should be obvious by now to most intelligent MRAs,
such a strategy would backfire - because 100 times more men than women
would likely have to bear the major consequences of the spread of such
Just as it was three decades ago.
It was quite clear from my 'research' that, in many ways, the author
of the article is a very remarkable man.
Worse, from my own point of view, is that he seems to be an amazingly
Worse still - if such a thing is possible - is that he comes across as
an extremely nice man. (I saw him on video.)
And, in all honesty, I feel quite sick at having to write this
But it is precisely because he has all these qualities that he is such
a danger, in my view.
With any luck, he will some day recognise that he cannot rely on his
current memories about traumatic events that happened twenty years ago,
and that he should, therefore, stop promoting the view that people can do
Because they can't.
They really and truly cannot rely on such memories.
They might be accurate. They might not be.
But no-one can rely on them.
And the fact that so many people - including in our justice system -
did rely on them so heavily some three decades ago, caused monumental
damage to millions of people.
And, in my view, this damage was so great and so long-lasting that,
even now, our people - particularly our men - have still not recovered
from it; e.g. see Does The NSPCC
Need To Be Stopped?
Indeed, when I saw such a memory unfolding in front of my very own
eyes, and being used for activist purposes, I must confess that I
wanted to scream.
male TV celebrities are being witch-hunted by the
Even at this very moment in time, in the UK, male TV celebrities are
being witch-hunted by the police on the basis of accusations being made by
women who are suddenly proclaiming that they have memories of being abused
by them 40 years ago;
e.g. see Who said Jim Davidson couldn't get arrested? by Richard
And many of these women can actually profit themselves
financially if they can make their
As a man, therefore, you need to think about this issue very, very,
very, very, very carefully indeed.
And when you do, you will, like me, surely conclude that any MRAs who
promote the view that such memories are reliable, either need to have
their heads examined, or they need to have a very good kick up the
Also see, ...
Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis - Many people describe feeling a
pressure or contact, often sensed as if something or someone is
holding them down -
Recovered Memory Syndrome - in a nutshell
Are your 9/11 memories really your own? - by Melanie
Tannenbaum - showing just how unreliable (and, in many cases,
completely and utterly wrong) are recovered memories and flashbulb