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Press Release

One in Four responds to statements made by the British False Memory Society

Wednesday 18th February 2004.


“…ill informed statements are deeply offensive to women and men who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence and those professionals working to support them”. Thérèse Gaynor, Clinical Director, One in Four.


It is essential that the statements made today by the British False Memory Society and the organisation LOVE be fully addressed. Their highly offensive statements can only cause enormous distress to Irish women and men who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence. It is important for us to attempt to bring clarity in the wake of a series of wholly inaccurate, misinformed and inappropriate statements made by Margaret Jervis on RTE Radio 1’s “Today with Pat Kenny”.

Ms. Jervis has suggested that there is an epidemic of allegations which has been brought about by “the rise of a new priesthood of therapists…telling people…what has caused the problems in their life…” She went to say that “…therapy is supposed to be a healing process but its not, it’s a very damaging process…” Following a meeting with LOVE Ms. Jervis is reported to have said that therapy is “a machine for manufacturing false allegations”.

These ill informed statements are deeply offensive to women and men who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence and those professionals working to support them. We would point out that in the Irish context the emergence of professional therapeutic support bodies post-dates the uncovering of the scandal of institutional child abuse. It is simply untrue that therapists in Ireland have worked to uncover forgotten memories in this context. Ms. Jervis suggests that therapy is an environment where individuals “build up a narrative through various different techniques of trying to relate your feelings to what you think are memories which are probably some form of illusion”. This is grossly insulting to the individual client and all professionals involved in therapy in any context and displays a total ignorance of the therapeutic process.

In our experience of providing support to many women and men abused whilst in institutional care we have never encountered ‘recovered memory’. These women and men have never forgotten their experiences of abuse, their memories of abuse have remained intact. One in Four will continue to support our clients and we offer our total support to them and to all those Irish women and men who have shown such incredible courage in coming forward and speaking their truth and all of those yet to feel able to do so.
 
 

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