FMS began its inception in the late 1980’s and by 1992 there was a foundation called FMSF. Founded by the parents of Jennifer Freyd, whose father, Peter, was accused by Jennifer’s husband, of sexually abusing Jennifer as a child.  Peter and his wife, Pamela, went on the all out attack against their daughter taking her to court more than once and by co-creating this foundation that was supposed to investigate the allegations of abuse and support the perpetrators denial of guilt by implying that there were ‘false memories’ implanted into the outspoken victims by the therapists. Decades later [December 2019] this foundation has now gone belly up. Mostly likely due to the #MeToo movement which began in 2017.  There has not really been any concrete scientific evidence that there is such a thing as FMS when it comes to sexual abuse. FMS has inflicted even more trauma unto a sexual abuse survivor.


Fortunately, today, MRI’s are revealing how devastating childhood sexual trauma is on the developing brain of a victim. In no way do these suggest that the memory of the abuse is false or fabricated in any way.  What science now proves is that because abuse traumatizes the child, this causes the body to secrete stress hormones, which subsequently deeply entrench the memory of the abuse into the brain.  The before and after of the abuse may not be remembered, but the traumatic event has been deeply implanted. Science now proves that abuse memories do not change as other memories do nor can they be manipulated. For the child to carry on with life, the traumatic events often must be shelved for life to carry on.  This can result in Trauma Amnesia or Abuse Amnesia. It does NOT result in FMS nor is it proof thereof.


Interestingly, often, the vocal proponents of FMS are the ones who are in complete denial of the impact of abuse – either as the perpetrator or as the victim.   So what does that alone tell us?  If the guilty parties – the sexual offenders – are the ones who, by grabbing at straws, attempt to deflect or blow smoke by claiming FMS onto their accuser[s], isn’t that actually proof of their guilt? For these guilty ones to use FMS as their defence is unconscionable. It is DARVO behaviour.


Interestingly it is Jennifer Freyd who, due to her own persecution for telling her truth, coined this behaviour process, DARVO.  I’ve written a blog on DARVO and I’ve made a video addressing this. It is an acronym that summarizes the behaviour of what the accused will do once they’ve been exposed.  They will Deny the abuse or minimize it. These sexual predators will Attack the reputation of the accuser by implying mental illness or by fabricating stories that make it sound so preposterous that people lean towards believing the perp. Some perps have even attacked their accuser in person. Then there is Reverse Victim Offender role.  This is where the perp will do their utmost to garner sympathy by twisting the truth around so that onlookers feel sorry for this poor individual or this poor family because now their reputation is in ruins.


DARVO is powerful if one is not savvy enough. You may be surprised how often it us played out in sexual abuse accusations, in politics, in families, etc. – anywhere where light is shed upon wrongdoing or criminal behaviour and the like. Once aware of this grooming tactic, I can promise you, you’ll see it everywhere. Often, my experience has shown that this behaviour is a sign of guilt.


Our hearts need to go out to the victims of these types of crimes. Haven’t they suffered enough?

Lisa Hilton, CTRC-A, founder of Hilton Coaching & Consulting. I am a trauma coach; I educate, consult, and am a published author. I work with adult survivors of Childhood Trauma and those suffering from Complex PTSD so they can Transform their Travesty into Triumph, one step at a time.

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