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Ritual abuse is highly organised and, obviously, secretive. It is often linked with other major crimes such as child pornography, child prostitution, the drugs industry, trafficking, and many other illegal and heinous activities. Ritual abuse is organised sexual, physical and psychological abuse, which can be systematic and sustained over a long period of time. It involves the use of rituals – things which the abusers ‘need’ to do, or ‘need’ to have in place – but it doesn’t have to have a belief system. There doesn’t have to be God or the Devil, or any other deity for it to be considered ‘ritual’. It involves using patterns of learning and development to keep the abuse going and to make sure the child stays quiet.There has been, and still is a great deal of debate about whether or not such abuse exists anywhere in the world. There are many people who constantly deny that there is even such a thing as ritual abuse. All I can say is that I know there is. Not only have I been a victim of it myself, but I have been dealing with survivors of this type of abuse for almost 30 years.If there are survivors, there must be something that they have survived.The things is, most sexual abuse of children is ritualised in some way. Abusers use repetition, routine and ritual to forced children into the patterns of behaviour they require. Some abusers want their victims to wear certain clothing, to say certain things. They might bathe them or cut them, they might burn them or abuse them only on certain days of the week. They might do a hundred other things which are ritualistic, but aren’t always called that – partly, I think because we have a terror of the word and of accepting just how premeditated abuse actually is.Abusers instill fear in their victims and ensure silence; they do all they can to avoid being caught. Sexual abuse of a child is rarely a random act. It involves thorough planning and preparation beforehand. They threaten the children with death, with being taken into care, with no one believing them, which physical violence or their favourite teddy being taken away. They are told that their mum will die, or their dad will hate them, the abusers say everyone will think it’s their fault, that everyone already knows they are bad. Nothing is too big or small for an abuser to use as leverage.There is unmistakable proof that abusers do get together in order to share children, abuse more children, and even learn from each other. As more cases have come into the public eye in recent years, this has become increasingly obvious. More and more of this type of abuse is coming to light.I definitely think it is the word ritual which causes people to question, to feel uncomfortable, or even just disbelieve. It seems almost incredible that such things would happen, but too many of us know exactly how bad the lives of many children are. A great deal of child pornography shows children being abused in a ritualised setting, and many have now come forward to share their experiences, but there is a still tendency to say it just couldn’t happen.p204-205

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