What is Ritual Abuse?
Ritual Abuse (RA) is when a group of people (often organized) abuse someone over a long period of time. RA refers to patterns of severe, prolonged, and systematic abuse. These groups use special ceremonies or rituals to control and scare the victim. These ceremonies can include many types of abuse including but not limited to: torture, sexual, physical, emotional, and psychological abuse.
Generally RA is associated with organized groups or cults, but it can also happen within families or other groups of people. The abuse is usually hidden, and the victim might feel afraid to speak up.
RA can cause extremely long-term harm to the victim’s body, mind, and emotions.
Ritual Abuse (RA) and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) are not the Same Thing
Ritual Abuse (RA) is a very real, damaging, and horrifying thing that happens to victims across the world. People do get abused in ritualistic manners repeatedly. That does happen.
Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) is a controversial subject as it is tied to the 1980s mass hysteria and “Satanic Panic”. There were many massive and terrifying, far-reaching claims about SRA that were later debunked or found to be based in unreliable testimony or flimsy evidence.
Additionally we are not going to claim here that SRA is or is not real. If someone has been through severe trauma and that’s what they believe it to have been, we will not invalidate that, and we only know so much. We can only tell you the fact that SRA and RA are two different things and there is controversy around SRA and that should not extend to RA.
Too many people conflate the two and dismiss peoples’ real experiences and histories of RA. It’s important to understand the difference and recognize that they are not the same thing.