Letters to the Editors; January 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
Thank you for publishing Elizabeth Loftus's article "Creating False Memories" [September 1997]. People need to be educated about the pain that can be caused by overzealous therapists. In June 1991 our then 30-year old daughter began seeing a therapist for depression following her divorce. After seeing her for less than a month, this man analyzed her dreams and told her that the depression was from repressed memories of sexual abuse. Since then, she has broken all contact with us. Her siblings, however, do not believe the accusations. We have not only been falsely accused of a horrible crime, we have also lost a child.
Loftus's interesting article may leave readers with the impression that most allegations of abuse are inculcated by manipulative therapists. My daughter, who has Down syndrome, was molested for four years by her father, my ex-husband. Although I had begun to suspect him from her sexualized behavior and from the fact that there were no other opportunities in her protected life for sexual abuse to occur, it was impossible for me to believe that her father would do such a thing until I heard my daughter explicitly describing one of his acts and crying softly to herself that she loved him, that it couldn't be "that bad." We are all capable of embellishing the truth and, in some cases, inventing it under the power of repeated suggestion. But to make any generalizations about the incidence of child abuse based on a few spectacular cases of unscrupulous therapists is unfair to the many children who have been molested.