Ritual Abuse Torture

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“Ritual abuse-torture” (sometimes called “RAT”) is defined as “is one form of non-state actor torture and is about pedophilic parents, families, guardians, and like-minded adults who abuse, torture, and traffic children using organizing ritualisms.” [1][2].



In 1991 the Minister for the Status of Women appointed panel members of The Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women. They went to all parts of Canada, met with 4,000 people in over 100 places. Seven hundred reports were submitted to the panel. Several major themes identified by panel reports included the fact that “ritual abuse cults/groups were both intergenerational and extra-familial,” child victims were forced to take vows of secrecy, “programming triggers were put in victims when they were children, children were given “mind-control programming using hypnosis, mind-altering drugging, and the implantation of trigger messages to prevent them from disclosing their ritual abuse ordeals,” children were tortured repeatedly with “pain, deprivation, death threats, harassment, and intimidation,” victims discussed the money earned by ritual abuse torturers from videoing or filming the violence, forced prostitution and drug trafficking of victims, that active cult members were continuing to harm and threaten adult victims in many ways to stay quiet, mostly with death threats if they disclose ritual abuse occurrences and that perpetrators worked in organized ways to discount victim accounts of ritual abuse-torture[3].


The research on ritual abuse-torture was started by two women from Nova Scotia, Canada, Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald. They began their work with ritual abuse-torture victims in 1993[4]. In 1998, they began working on what they call “kitchen table” research with female survivors of ritual abuse-torture[4].

Sarson and McDonald have also published other works more recently in the field. [5] They have made several presentations at the United Nations, including the “Torture of Canadian Women by Non-State Actors in the Private Sphere: A Shadow Report” made in March 2008. The report included women’s testimonies of different forms of torture as well as reproductive tortures.[6] Additional research by Sarson and MacDonald included the publication of case studies that identified ten issues of violence that were part of a pattern of group RAT victimization, finding that this victimization happened in infancy or slightly later. [7]

Name Change

In 2011, Sarson and MacDonald officially increased the scope of their work by changing the name of their organization to "Persons Against NST Non-State Torture Including Ritual Abuse-Torture (RAT)." "Non-state torture is torture committed, for instance, by parents, spouses, other kin, guardians, neighbours, trusted adults, or strangers in the private sphere, for example, in homes, warehouses, cabins, rented buildings, in fields, or in various public and private places. [2]


  1. ^ Persons against ritual abuse
  2. ^ a b Ritual abuse torture definitions
  3. ^ Ritual abuse torture research
  4. ^ a b Ritual abuse torture biography
  5. ^ Sarson, J.; McDonald L. (2007). Ritual Abuse-Torture in Families. in Jackson, N. (ed) (2007). Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence, p. 704, Routledge.
  6. ^ Torture of Canadian Women by Non-State Actors in the Private Sphere: A Shadow Report
  7. ^ Sarson, J. (2008). "Ritual Abuse-Torture Within Families/Groups," Child Maltreatment, 16, 419-438.

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