Motivations for the Satanic Panic

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“There are no cults that practice satanic ritual abuse (SRA).  Despite accusations of SRA that number in the tens of thousands, not one case has been substantiated.  The phenomenon of ‘recovered memory’ – in which a person experiences horrible abuse over several years, then completely forgets about it but suddenly remembers it with the help of a therapist – is the result of fevered imaginations running amuck.  The existence of satanic cults that practice ritual abuse is an urban myth fueled by societal fears of and fascination with sexuality.

… As a nation, we are obsessed with sex.  Unfortunately we also fear it, and repress our own interest in it, so it must be disguised and made unpleasant or violent to quiet our fears that watching it might arouse us, and to make information about it something a respectable person needs to know.  I feel that this ‘erotophobia,’ fear of erotic pleasure, is beneath as least some of the impulse behind both writing and reading the ‘satanic abuse’ stories …

… When something is labeled as forbidden and dangerous, it is easy to wonder if it could possibly be all that bad.  After all, the people telling us how bad the stuff is must have looked at it, and they seem more or less ok.  Furthermore, the urge to take at least a peek is very strong, particularly if one is raised in a belief system that labels any sexual impulse as very dangerous.  So not only does the reading of satanic child pornography, along with other types of sexual media, become permissible, it becomes almost an obligation to gain information to protect children and society.  I believe that a similar shocked, yet titillated, voyeurism fuels the current pop fascination with sadomasochistic imagery.

… The strongest force behind the satanic ritual and child abuse panic is people who fear, distrust, and want to get rid of any religion other than their own version of conservative Christianity.  Added to this is a major industry that ‘educates’ far right Christians, and any of the general public who get sucked in, regarding the dangers of Satanism, feminism, pornography, the homosexual menace, paganism, the New Age, meditation, sex education in schools, yoga, other world religions and the New World Order.  The Christian far right and their allies are horrified that so many women are leaving the home to go to work, and that divorce is an option.  What better way to convince them to stay home and stay married than to create a panic about daycare and other dangers to children?”

– Sharma Oliver, Claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse Are Unsubstantiated

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One response to “Motivations for the Satanic Panic

  1. And yet, where are children and women most likely to be harmed or consistently (one might suggest almost ritually) abused? In the very homes of these fine upstanding members of the community who are attempting to instil fear and panic of stereotyped horror stories in the general public…