Recovered Memories

“Sudden recall: adult memories of child abuse spark a heated debate,” is an article that first debuted in an issue of Science News of September 18, 1993. The article starts off by providing two examples of people who experienced recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. The first example curtailed how Mel Gavigan recalls a memory of sexual abuse after a she was a patient at a psychiatric hospital suffering from depression. Her therapists insisted that she showed signs of having been sexually abused during childhood and terrible memories of this trauma soon resurfaced from deep within her unconscious mind. It is thought that Gavigan wanted to please her therapist, and after a few sessions she reported that her father had raped her when she was 4 years old. Soon after confronting her parents about these recovered memories, she left the hospital and started seeing a new therapists and she came to realize that the memories were false and untrue.
For the second example, Claudia had the sudden recall of childhood sexual abuse but this case took an entirely different turn. She had recently loss more than 100 pounds and started experiencing flashbacks of her older brother sexually abusing her. She joined a therapy group and even more memories were recovered. She was able to date the abuse back to when she was 4 years old.   When her memories resurfaced her brother was already deceased but she was able to validate her memories through items found in his closet. Inside the closet she found a large pornography collection, handcuffs, and a diary in which her brother had extensively planned and recorded all that he had done to her.
The article goes on to discuss how the two cases had two different extreme outcomes and raises the question as to whether recovered memories are reliable, as it appears that one’s mind can be so easily manipulated. It gave insight as to how memory works and can thoughts that have been repressed for so long be trusted. There were some...