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Recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: a concise social history of the phenomenon, and the key psychological concepts relevant to understanding the disputes concerning such claims

Authors
Journal
Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine
1353-1131
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
3
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s1353-1131(96)90010-3
Disciplines
  • Law
  • Logic
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract The alleged and disputed repression of serious, traumatic and repeated childhood sexual abuse memories, and their recovery, usually with psychotherapy and ‘memory recovery techniques’, have become a major social phenomenon in the last 15 years. This review picks out the key historical, theoretical, research and legal milestones during that period. Key concepts and a review of the inconsistent usage of language and definitions are highlighted to assist the reader to understand the nature of the dispute. A comparison is drawn between this phenomenon and the parallel social history of claims of alien abductions in the US for the purpose of hybrid breeding. A comparison is also made between the boundaries of natural memory functioning as currently understood, and that imputed to questionable recovered memories of childhood sexual assault.

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