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mercredi 1er février 2006
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
From February 27th - March 1st , 2006, in Geneva : Sponsored by the Institut de Médecine Légale and the Parquet de Genève, and with the support of the Société Suisse de Psychologie Légale, the training titled : "Evaluation of the credibility of a child’s testimony in the framework of penal codes on sexual abuse.” This training will be lead by Prof. Hubert Van Gijseghem, a Belgian-Canadian psychologist who, according to many, represents one of the most reactionary viewpoints on violence against children.
On October 21st, 2004, Prof. Van Gijseghem has also held a “training” in Paris about a socio-legal tool that has been widely contested by anti-child crime and violence against women activists - “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS). In order to avoid repeating the existing analyses on this subject, please refer to the French language text “Humanism, pedo-criminality and masculinist resistance", published on-line on : www.sisyphe.org/article.php3?id_article=1364 Sisyphe web site. I would like to quickly remind you that PAS can be considered an extremely effective tool against the testimony of women and children who disclose sexual abuse in the context of parental separation. PAS is often promoted by associations for separated fathers and their new girlfriends/wives as well as by certain trends in the social-education sector, represented in France and Belgium by the Revue d’action juridique et sociale - Journal du droit des jeunes (lit. Review of legal and social action - journal of the right of youth).
According to Pierre Lassus, psychoanalyst and director of the Union française pour le Sauvetage des Enfants (lit. French union for saving children), “The opinions [of Van Gijseghem] seriously undermine recent gains - that are both fragile and precarious - as far as preventing sexual abuse and caring for child victims are concerned.” In the article "The Faurisson of Abuse ?" Pierre Sabourin, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, family therapist and co-fonder of the Centre des Buttes Chaumont, writes, “It is once again negationism at work. Usually this method - the Faurisson method - attempts to prove the reality of a theory (crazy as it may be) by using every possible amalgam and confusion - it’s a place where intellectuals from both the extreme-right and the ultra-left can merrily come together - but with practices comparable to hard-core propagandaism.” Catherine Marneffe, doctor, pedo-psychiatrist, child and family therapist, founder and ex-director of the SOS-Enfants center of the Vrije University of Brussels states, “Professor Van Gijseghem is constantly caught in a state of confusion between confessing and uncovering abuse, confession being the term generally reserved for someone who is guilty, i.e. abusers. By saying ‘that it is necessary to allow the victim, after disclosure, to shut up’ he confuses silence about the sexual act itself with silence brought on by the impossibility to put into words all of the contradictory feelings due to the abuse and the context and that needs to be broken.”
More recently, Philippe D. Jaffé, psychology professor at the University of Geneva and president of the Société Suisse de Psychologie Légale (SSPL) had the following to say about one of the main ideological references of Van Gijseghem, “The first reason [behind the controversy] is the character that is Richard Gardner. Even if, as a hypothesis, PAS were the discovery of the century, the author is so peculiar that it is impossible to consider its pertinence without considering its messenger, some of whose theories are very debatable. The second reason behind the controversy is also linked to the character that is Gardner and to some of his affirmations, as well as to sociological considerations. PAS in its initial conception is a syndrome that mainly affected women as the alienating parent. PAS could be considered the backlash of certain men’s movements. Parental alienation is a concept that is often used by lawyers and/or unscrupulous parents and even has the seal of approval of several associations that are active in promoting fathers’ rights.”
However, today, the very same Philippe D. Jaffé, as president of the SSPL, supports the training hosted by Van Gijseghem and declared on December 5th, 2005 in the daily newspaper Suisse 24 heures Région La Côte, “Yes. During difficult separations, 90% of sexual abuse accusations are unfounded. It is a known syndrome called parental alienation. The parent brainwashes the child - sometimes in good faith - in order to get revenge on his/her ex. And that biases everything.” A rather sudden conversion to the “discovery of the century” for a psychologist who recently wrote, “parental alienation syndrome is not a syndrome and should be handled with much precaution.“ This conversion reveals a lot about the power of attraction that this ideological movement has as well as about the lobbies at work.
In France a pro-PAS association has recently emerged and works in close collaboration with the Ministère de l’Intérieur (Home Office) and separated fathers associations, mainly through work groups on “false allegations of sexual abuse.” A noteworthy fact is that among its founding members is a representative of the pagan extreme/new right ; this is noteworthy as it was also an adept of Celtic movements, who led a violent campaign against the psychotherapist Bernard Lempert, member of the Association pour la Formation à la Protection de l’Enfance - now Droit Et Soin (lit. “Right and Care”) - who has for several years opposed this reactionary movement. Moreover, this latter extreme right militant was a former member of the Front National (French extreme right-wing party), then member of the Troisième Voie movement (lit. “Third Way”) (radical extreme right) and the spokesperson for a small, autonomous Breton movement. In both cases, accusations of violence against children were brought about.
According to some observers, Prof. Van Gijseghem may have had a conversion similar to that of Philippe D. Jaffé after meeting an American pastor and psychologist, Ralph Underwager, inventor of “False Memory Syndrome” (which mainly attacks the testimony of adult women who remember sexual abuse during their childhood). Underwager was accused of sexual abuse by his own daughter and publicly defended pro pedo-criminal theories, calling on “pedophiles” to “proudly and courageously assert their choice.” Van Gijseghem appears to have met this pastor/psychologist in the early 90s during a trail in which both practiced their “other” profession, or perhaps we should say, who provided services as expert psychologists. If Van Gijseghem had initially recommended maintaining a bond with the father, he completely changed his tune when he told the judge that the daughter was in grave danger with her father. This fell in line with the expertise given by Ralph Underwager, who denied any sexual abuse against the daughter, thereby going against the word of the girl who said to have been the victim of sexual abuse on her mother’s side. Van Gijseghem changed his opinion without performing any new expertise on the girl or her father.
This is not the only “methodological” particularity of Van Gijseghem’s psychological expert testimony. In a 1993 trial, a man accused of sexually aggressing a 10 year-old girl (fondling and attempted rape) was analyzed by Van Gijseghem - he gave the man four obviously “scientific and objective tests, therefore non-projective” to fill out... in the comfort of his own home ! During the trial Van Gijseghem stated, “It is not very probable that M.S. committed the crimes that he is accused of [...]. My clinical flair did not make me see any danger.” Neither his clinical “flair” nor his “objective” tests seem to have worked very well as the accused man later turned out to be a repeat offender (in 1979 he was sentenced to 6 months of prison for the rape of a 15 year-old girl and also confessed to another rape in the Netherlands). The man in question, M.S., later confessed not only to the sexual assault of the 10 year-old girl but also to two other rapes. He was sentenced to one year of prison.
In another sexual assault case, Van Gijseghem applied his famous Rosenthal Syndrome analysis - the psychological version of a self-fulfilling prophecy - and said to have observed numerous “contaminations” in children’s testimonies and judged unreliable the accusations of fondling and sexual assault of 17 girls by a teacher. This was a serious professional error as in Canada an expert psychologist is not supposed to make statements on the credibility or reliability of a child’s testimony (as opposed to some European countries). The Canadian courts - up to the Supreme Court - confirmed the professional error committed by Van Gijseghem, stating, “the trial judge did not misunderstand the goal of the expert [testimony] nor did he abuse of his power by disposing of it.” The teacher was found guilty on 17 counts ; the assaulted girls were between 10 and 13 at the time of the crimes.
One last example also demonstrates Van Gijseghem’s attitude vis-à-vis his peers and the contempt expressed toward them - mothers or doctors - who did not share his views. Once again Van Gijseghem participated as a psychological expert “to verify the sexual abuse allegations and determine what access rights that the non-guardian parent [in this case the father] should have.” The father was accused of raping his 3 year-old son during a visit. The verdict stated “The doctor [Van Gijseghem] supports that it is not appropriate to believe the child’s testimony as he is incapable of describing in detail what really happened [sic !] as described in the case report.” He added, “In any case, it is generally impossible to prove or disprove allegations of sexual abuse.” [sic !] He suggested that the mother consult a psychologist as it was feared that her certitude that the child was abused would lead her to make other accusations. [...]. He maintained that she invented it all.” Bear in mind that the boy was sodomized on several occasions by his father and that the doctor who examined him reported “two lesions to the anus [...], an abnormal opening of the anus [...], the child lost his constriction reflex [...] and the anal mucous membrane is flattened”.
Van Gijseghem contested the report on the physical exam saying, “you should not give a lot of weight to this [report] because she [the doctor] sees abuse in most of these kinds of cases” and goes on to affirm that “the child could have stimulated or mutilated himself.” During a conference in Lyon a few years ago Van Gijseghem made an entire auditorium filled with psychologists, social workers and magistrates laugh when he said that one of his British colleagues diagnosed sexual aggression every time he noticed a constipated child. This was also the line of defense of the father accused in the aforementioned case... constipation. In light of the facts [revealed in the trial], the court declared “the total forfeiture of parental authority on child B... of father G...T...” [and even] ordered the state to modify the child’s birth certificate” so that he would no longer have to carry the man’s name. One can easily imagine what the decision would have been had the doctor not in time observed anal lesions and could only rely on the words of the child, “Daddy booboo bum with purple stick”.
Perhaps Van Gijseghem was putting into practice the old adage of his pastor/psychologist/master, Ralph Underwager, “It is better that a thousand children in abusive situations not be discovered than one innocent person wrongly condemned.” But Van Gijseghem seemed to have, along with his “methodologies”, other particular beliefs - according to him, “certain girls put objects in their vagina or vulva and hurt themselves, and this is not rare in girls” ; “nothing distinguishes children who revealed a secret from children who have kept quiet” ; “if [the child] feels the need to admit something, he will do it”. Numerous observations of his writings reveal these types of particularities, along with many others, but few have taken notice of one of his older articles, written when Van Gijseghem was 35, entitled “Father-Daughter Incest”. In reading it, his conversion to the school of Underwager and Gardner begins to make sense. At the time, Van Gijseghem was studying delinquent girls and, within theses studies, he started studying “incestuous girls”. Please find below a few statements ofthis article, in which the words used are particularly revealing of the reactionary ideology that was already adopted at the time.
“According to a representative sample of 186 girls, taken in institutions for young delinquent Franco-Canadian girls, we find 52 girls who have had incestuous contacts with their father (biological or adoptive). This means that 28% of these delinquent girls knew their father as a sexual object.” “Within this population, we have found 52 girls who have been involved in incestuous dealings with their biological or adoptive father.” “Among these 52 girls, there are 22 whose incestuous relations with the biological father began before puberty, these relations lasted continuously or intermittently during a prolonged period of up to several years.”
“The prepubescent girls do not usually resist the father’s advances and this ends up as a long-lasting relationship. Incest can sometimes end at the onset of puberty, at the wish of one or both partners ; sometimes though, incest can go on for an undetermined period.” “The group is made up of 22 girls who began having incestuous relations with the father at an age that one could qualify as ‘prepubescent’, which can vary between two and twelve years-old.” “It is true that to the observer these girls who are ‘victims’ of incest, though very often if, in the beginning, they do not already seduce the father, they end up manipulating him as they want. Incest becomes for them a powerful way to exploit the father, blackmail him, receive money or favors and, sometimes, get him incarcerated.”
“The rate of homosexuality could be explained by the hypothesis that the incestuous [ones] would have had a more primitive psychosexual development and, in turn, would be sexually more undifferentiated.“ “Generally, incest seems to be an event that marks a girl’s life which, in almost all cases, leaves irreversible psychic wounds.”
The training of magistrates, psychologists and other professionals in the Geneva area could be contributing to keeping numerous children in violent situations, criminalizing numerous “alienating” women and exonerating numerous sexually aggressive men. This is maybe one of the actual consequences of th Outreau affair, which demonstrated the rise in popularity among the media and the state of this reactionary movement - converted to the ideology of “false allegations”, “parental alienation syndrome”, “false memory syndrome”, “Rosenthal syndrome“, etc. As the Swiss journalist Pascale Zimmerman announces, “While the Outreau affair ends up in a terrible fiasco and presents the problem of credibility of children’s declarations [sic !] in the courts, a training for psychologists is starting up in Switzerland. The first classes started this past weekend in Sion. This is an interview with one of the main designers of the project, Philippe Jaffé, professor of psychology at the University of Geneva, as well as at the Institute of Criminology and Penal Law at Lausanne.” A certain “flair” tells me that the future is far from reassuring, at least for some.
Let’s conclude with a statement by Gérad Lopez, psychiatrist, medical director of the psychotherapy center at the Institute of Victimology in Paris and teacher at the University of Paris XIII in the department of forensics, “The analysis of perverse strategies and the evaluation of strengths and weaknesses at hand is a difficult and perilous undertaking. Considerable efforts need to be deployed to overcome ones own resistance and that of others when confronted by ‘unthinkable violence’. All victims of emprise [to have a mental hold on] encounter incomprehension in their entourage and in all contacts they have with institutions. This makes them doubly victim. These massacred children do not hope for any help from the outside. They know that adults often keep quiet, even when they show up to school covered in wounds. Thousands of adults’ testimonies confirm : denial has thick skin.”
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On Sisyphe, March, 2006
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Léo Thiers-Vidal, doctorant en sociologie
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