Swiss vote on making firms liable for rights abuse

Source: Swiss Foreign Affairs Department

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WWF vows to ‘do more’ after human rights abuse reports

A 160-page report released on Tuesday said the charity “should have been more transparent” and needed to “more firmly engage governments to uphold human rights”.

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Acid burns victim may have developed ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ after repeated abuse, inquest told

A Sydney woman who died after sustaining acid burns may have developed “Stockholm Syndrome”, a forensic psychiatrist has told a coronial inquest.

Monika Chetty, 39, was found by police in bushland in West Hoxton on January 3, 2014 with acid burns to 80 per cent of her body.

She was taken to Concord Hospital but died four weeks later.

A burns expert believed the mother-of-three was attacked with acid at least three weeks before she was found.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Kerri Eagle told a coronial inquest examining the mysterious circumstances surrounding Ms Chetty’s death that she may have sustained “repeated abuse”.

“Ms Chetty’s increasing reluctance to seek treatment for serious burn injuries appears very pathological which suggests it’s not in keeping with a typical reaction to somebody who has sustained serious injuries,” Dr Eagle told the inquest.

“That to me suggests it’s possible she was someone who was the victim of repeated abuse.

“It is possible due to the fear of reprisal from others or it’s to do with cognitive distortion that has arisen from the unhealthy relationship that the person was deserving of being hurt or that the punishment was justified.”

Counsel assisting Christine Melis asked Dr Eagle about how the term “Stockholm Syndrome” related to being a victim of repeated abuse.

“It’s being referred to as Stockholm Syndrome in popular media and this tends to describe the dynamic between a captor and a captive that results in counterintuitive behaviours and reactions to what the public or people would expect,” she said.

In the final weeks before her death, police conducted bedside interviews with Ms Chetty who sustained “non-survivable” injuries.

She told police an unknown man had thrown acid on her in a Liverpool park because she had refused to give him money and cigarettes.

But police do not believe she was telling the truth.

Dr Eagle said it was not uncommon for victims in relationships of abuse to not disclose information.

“It often comes out of the person feeling helpless or powerless in that situation due to psychological relationship,” she said.

The court also heard Ms Chetty refused to see her family when she was in hospital but was happy to receive visits from Sadma Begum, the co-owner of Smart Cash Loans where Ms Chetty regularly pawned jewellery.

Dr Eagle concluded Ms Chetty may have been afraid for her family and “felt that she couldn’t see them without fear that something might happen to them”.

“The other possible explanation is even if she didn’t feel that they would be hurt or harmed, it could be she felt an overwhelming sense of shame and helplessness and didn’t want her family to be exposed to her as a burden,” he told the inquest.

Ms Chetty had become homeless and estranged from her family after a gambling addiction led to a marriage breakdown.

The inquest continues.

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Mom Who Says Masks Are Child Abuse Throws Kid 250-Person Homecoming Party


In any other year, a glittering homecoming dance in McDonough, Georgia, wouldn’t be controversial.

But during the raging coronavirus pandemic, from which at least 257,072 Americans have died, Ola High School had no plans to host a mass gathering of singing and sweating teenagers. So parents in the town about 35 miles south of Atlanta did it themselves, with few precautions, on Nov. 14.

Photos on social media show students wearing bronzer and hoop earrings. Boys wore rented tuxedos and boutonnières to match their dates’ blue satin. Bright green homecoming court sashes sat draped across sequin dresses and giant crowns rested atop loose curls.

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“It’s my daughter’s senior year, so I hosted a dance,” one parent, Beth Knight, told The Daily Beast over Facebook messenger. “It was terrific.”

“We sold over 300 tickets, but only about 250 kids actually showed up because they were warned by teachers and coaches that they should not attend because of the virus,” Knight added. “The kids who came had fun.”

New York Tries to Shut Down Potential Superspreader Wedding

A trawl of social media accounts linked to the event—with not a mask in sight—appeared to confirm that. It was just the latest in a laundry list of weddings, dances, religious gatherings, and concerts that appeared to flout public health guidance as pandemic fatigue set in across the country. Couples, parents, and church leaders have gathered in crowds together despite months of repeated messages from authorities about masks and hand-washing and distancing—and warnings about an impending, deadly holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.

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“Dancing it off,” one apparent attendee posted on Instagram, squatting in front of a wall, with students in black and red dresses behind him. “This do be our last hoco,” wrote another student. (“Hoco” appears to be the vogue term for “homecoming.”)

Do you know something we should about the coronavirus, or how your local or federal government, school, or business is responding to it? Email or securely at from a non-work device.

Last week, The Daily Beast reported that parents at a school in Rolla, Missouri, threw a homecoming dance for up to 200 students in that community. As infections spread in the aftermath of the event, the school was forced to return to fully remote learning, and the public health department fell significantly behind in its contact-tracing efforts.

When asked on Monday if she feared that her own event could turn into a “superspreader,” creating a pre-Thanksgiving surge of cases in McDonough, Knight seemed to take issue with the question.

“It seems the liberals and the Democrats want to keep the virus agenda front and center,” she told The Daily Beast. “The conservatives, on the other hand, are ready to embrace freedom again. This whole virus plandemic scamdemic has totally ruined 2020. The media [is] paralyzing people with fear so they will do mail-in ballots to rig an election. They succeeded in election fraud. The election is over. People need to stop bowing down to the virus. Forcing people to wear masks is a crime.”

Famously, no significant evidence of voter fraud has emerged in the 2020 election.

“The dance was nine days ago,” Knight continued. “I have not heard of anyone testing positive who attended the dance. Kids need to have some normalcy to help with anxiety and depression. Don’t you agree?”

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Knight was unwilling to list any COVID precautions taken by organizers of the dance. This appeared to be consistent with posts on her Facebook page in the days surrounding the event, which featured a #burnthemask hashtag, along with allegations that “making kids wear masks is child abuse.” She also shared a post arguing that the top infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, “should be in prison.”

Two students who said they were in student leadership at Ola High School spoke to The Daily Beast on Monday under the condition of anonymity. The pair said they helped plan the dance but were afraid that press coverage would “ruin” their football team’s efforts to compete in one last game of the season on Friday.

“I’m going to cry,” one of the students said in a phone interview.

“For senior year, any event that’s been cancelled, I’ve been doing everything I can to have that event, even if it’s outside of school,” added the student. “None of the football players went, so that, just in case, they could play in the playoffs.” (Of course, any number of dance attendees could have infected members of the football team or others in the community in the days afterward.)

With help from parents and classmates, the students found a venue, hired a DJ, and planned a list of precautions. Those precautions, the students said, included a COVID waiver with safety information, contactless temperature readings on-site, optional masks, hand sanitizers, and pre-packaged food.

Phone messages and emails left for the high school’s administrators were not returned on Monday, but a statement from JD Hardin, executive director of communications at Henry County School District, confirmed on Monday that “school leaders did hear of the private, non-school affiliated party.” Hardin, however, would not clarify whether school administrators were aware of it before it took place, as one student told The Daily Beast on Monday.

“This was a private party and in no way sanctioned/sponsored by the school or the school district,” said Hardin. “Henry County Schools continues to adhere to the guidelines and protocols set forth by the CDC, Department of Public Health, and local medical professionals. All guidelines and protocols have been incorporated into our board of education-approved, district-adopted guidelines and response plans. We continue to remind everyone in our community the important role they play in mitigating any spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching the distance between individuals.”

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As for how many students at the high school have COVID-19, Hardin said one student was reported as being infected the week of Nov. 9-13 and another was reported for the week of Nov. 16-20.

The largest hospital in the area, Piedmont Henry, stopped responding to The Daily Beast’s emails seeking an interview with hospital administrators after a spokesperson learned what the story was about. The mayor of McDonough, Georgia, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Monday.

“I didn’t want to see a tradition that we’ve had for over 20 years taken away,” one of the students told The Daily Beast. “I wanted to see kids that have been doing nothing for eight months experience some joy.”

The other student, also a senior, said: “There were a lot of people against us, but we had a lot more support than critics. Our tradition at our school runs very deeply.”

That much appeared to be true. There were at least 10 parent chaperones, the students said, and others proudly posted about their children or grandchildren attending the event on Facebook.

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Tony Sargent, a 48-year-old native of the McDonough area, said his son, a senior, “had a great night” at the dance and that he wasn’t worried about it. Sargent said he believed COVID transmission wasn’t something his son needed to be worried about because it has more severe effects on older people than it does on teenagers.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that most children infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, “some children can get severely ill from COVID-19,” including requiring hospitalization. In rare cases, teens have died from the virus.

“There was massive interest in an event like this,” said Sargent. “Obviously not everybody went, so I guess if somebody had a problem they just didn’t go.”

A viral pandemic makes things a bit more complicated than that. And as for the idea that the dance had seemingly gone off without epidemiological incident, the health department wasn’t so sure.

“We are seeing an increase pretty much everywhere,” Hayla Folden, spokesperson for Georgia’s District 4 Public Health, which covers Henry County, told The Daily Beast.

“If you give it to the end of the week, we may be able to link some cases to this event,” added Folden, noting that it would have been difficult to trace before, considering the department wasn’t even aware of the mass gathering until asked about it. “We’re continuing to see higher numbers of cases in Henry County, but they also have the highest population in our district.”

As of Monday, the county had 8,262 cases and 133 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. About 609 of those cases were diagnosed in just the last two weeks, Folden explained.

Parents Tried to Cover Up a ‘Superspreader’ Dance. Disaster Ensued.

To be clear, the COVID-19 data out of Georgia has come under intense scrutiny since the pandemic began, with experts in July claiming that Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration presented the state’s coronavirus dashboard data in a way that made it appear healthier than it was. One local magazine called the ensuing distrust in the state’s numbers “a disaster,” with others calling the numbers “a lie” designed to make a reopening look safer than it actually was.

Folden acknowledged that folks in many areas of her district have been reluctant to wear masks, and have been vocal about COVID fatigue. But she said it’s another thing entirely to throw a large, non-distanced event.

“It is frustrating when our staff are working around the clock to contact-trace and test. We know it doesn’t just affect older people. It can affect everyone. It’s a pretty personal illness. Having had it myself, it attacks everyone just a little bit different,” said Folden.

Now, according to the students interviewed by The Daily Beast on Monday, others at neighboring schools have reached out to see how they can throw similar parties in the coming weeks, which they called “winter balls.”

“We all deserved a dance,” said one of the seniors interviewed by The Daily Beast. “We’ve been trying to help them.”

Unsurprisingly, Folden had one single piece of advice for parents thinking about throwing parties like this: “Please don’t. Please. Don’t.”

“There’s no way to know if one healthy teenager is going to be OK and one healthy teenager is going to end up in the hospital,” said Folden, who is based out of LaGrange, Georgia. “That is just too much of a risk.”

What’s more, while teens are less likely than older adults to die from the virus, they can still deal with long-term, debilitating health complications. And studies show they are just as likely to transmit it to others. Worse still, large events can kill those who aren’t present, like the notorious wedding in Maine over the summer that led to 170 infections, killing at least seven people who did not even attend the event.

“We have encouraged people not to do this,” Folden said of the homecoming dance. “Policing is a bit more difficult. The only thing we would be able to do, if we were aware, is ask state patrol to make a drop-in visit, and—if the governor’s executive order is not being enforced, then they could assist us in asking people to close that down.”

“But again,” said Folden, “we can’t even do that if we don’t know it’s happening.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Pope Francis prevails in Vatican abuse row – POLITICO

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ROME — In the civil war that is raging inside the Catholic church, Pope Francis has won an important battle.

In 2018, Monsignor Carlo Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., accused Francis of covering up clerical sex abuse at the highest level, alleging that he had ignored sexual misconduct allegations against former Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick. Viganò then called for the Pope to resign.

But two years on, following the publication of a forensic and ground-breaking report into the case last week, the conservative assault seems to have backfired, with Francis emerging stronger than ever. 

The Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was also attacked by Viganò for having “a pro-gay ideology,” called Francis “fearless” in admitting church leaders’ failings. The report represented a “watershed moment” that demonstrated Francis’ “commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency to all victim-survivors,” he said. 

The attack by Viganò was widely seen as the latest skirmish in the conflict between progressives and mainly U.S.-based conservatives who oppose Francis for his more liberal stances on issues including homosexuality and migrants. 

But the inquiry into the Vatican decision-making that permitted McCarrick’s rise to power largely exonerated Francis, pointing the finger instead at his predecessors John Paul II, who promoted McCarrick despite multiple warnings, and Benedict XVI, who failed to enforce the limited measures against him. 

Given that the report was not independent, but authored by lawyers representing the Holy See, it is perhaps unsurprising that Francis should be let off the hook. But the report did not spare the whip in blaming a saint in John Paul II, nor in its depiction of a culture of secrecy and clericalism that enabled an abuser to reach the second-highest rank in the church.

By addressing these institutional failures, Francis has positioned himself as the pope of transparency and accountability, says papal biographer Marco Politi, author of “Francis, the Covid plague and the rebirth.”

“Francis emerges as the only pope with the courage to address the issue,” he told POLITICO.

Catholic in White House

Conservatives ended up damaging their own interests “as the blame fell on the two popes they favor and use as a weapon against Francis on theological issues,” said Politi. “The evidence shows that John Paul and Benedict decided to shelve the issue. They didn’t want to explore the truth.” The report found that Viganò himself had ignored orders to investigate allegations into McCarrick while a nuncio to the U.S., a position equivalent to ambassador.

With Joe Biden’s victory heralding a new era in U.S. politics, the publication of the report could set the tone for Francis’ future relations with the American administration. 

Trump clashed with Francis on issues including the environment, migrants and the wall on the Mexican border. In the run-up to the election, the Trump campaign attempted to translate anti-Francis sentiment among conservative U.S. Catholics into votes, but Trump ended up losing support from Catholics compared to 2016.  

By putting the concerns of U.S. Catholics first and confronting the McCarrick case head on, despite the risk of creating a scandal in the Vatican, Francis has pushed the right buttons. 

The timing of the report, published after the U.S. elections, was helpful to Biden as the historic collaboration between the Obama administration and McCarrick on diplomatic peace missions such as the Cuba peace deal could have been used against him. 

The Biden-Francis axis may now start working together on shared issues such as the environment and poverty. While Biden, who is a Catholic, has a pro-life stance on abortion which could be problematic, Francis is less hung up on abortion than previous popes.

Morality play

While Francis may have won over moderates, the report is unlikely to convert all Catholic conservatives into fans.

George Weigel for instance, a conservative Catholic, author and theologian at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington D.C., doubts that it will have much effect. “Opinions are already rather fixed, across the spectrum.” 

“But if it helps demonstrate that the Vatican is serious about addressing sexual abuse issues, it will reassure people.” 

Abuse survivors, too, are skeptical. Italian clerical abuse campaigner Francesco Zanardi called the report “a piece of theater,” pointing out that the church still hasn’t ordered mandatory reporting of abuse to civil authorities. “It was a very orchestrated report.” 

In future, survivors of abuse could demand the same level of transparency in their cases. But Zanardi is pessimistic that the McCarrick case has set a meaningful precedent. Despite requesting the documents on his own case months ago, after strict papal secrecy laws were relaxed, he says he has received no answer. 

Despite the pope’s undaunted fillip from the McCarrick report, it will require all his navigational skills to coax the Vatican supertanker to continue to move in the direction he wants.

The report itself “shows what a great burden Francis has to bear to reshape the church, how long and difficult a process it is,” said Politi, “But he is going in the right direction.”

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Podcast: Understanding Emotional Abuse

Join us for a nuanced discussion on the many forms of emotional abuse and how to detect it.


Guest information for ‘Beverly Engel- Emotional Abuse’ Podcast Episode

Beverly Engel is an internationally recognized psychotherapist and an acclaimed advocate for victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. The author of 22 self-help books, her latest book is entitled, It Wasn’t Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion. Engel is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and has been practicing psychotherapy for 35 years.

Beverly’s books have often been honored for various awards, including being a finalist in the Books for a Better Life award. Many of her books have been chosen for various book clubs, including One Spirit Book Club, Psychology Today Book Club and Behavioral Sciences Book Club. Her books have been translated into many languages, including Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Turkish and Lithuanian. 

In addition to her professional work, Beverly frequently lends her expertise to national television talk shows. She has appeared on Oprah, CNN, and Starting Over, and many other TV programs. She has a blog on the Psychology Today website as well as regularly contributing to the Psychology Today magazine, and has been featured in a number of newspapers and magazines, including: Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Marie Claire, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and The Denver Post. 

She regularly conducts training workshops throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, for both professional and lay audiences.    

 About The Psych Central Podcast Host

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations, available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author. To learn more about Gabe, please visit his website,

Computer Generated Transcript for ‘Beverly Engel- Emotional Abuse’ Episode

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Psych Central Podcast, where guest experts in the field of psychology and mental health share thought-provoking information using plain, everyday language. Here’s your host, Gabe Howard.

Gabe Howard: Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of The Psych Central Podcast, I’m your host Gabe Howard and calling into the show today we have Beverly Engel. Beverly is an internationally recognized psychotherapist and an acclaimed advocate for victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Beverly is a marriage and family therapist and the author of 22 self-help books and frequently lends her expertise to national TV shows including Oprah, CNN and Starting Over. But today she’s here with us. Beverly, welcome to the show.

Beverly Engel: Thank you, I’m glad to be here.

Gabe Howard: Today, we are going to be discussing emotional abuse. Now, this is one of those phrases that everyone has heard, yet most people don’t really understand. It’s often mocked when abuse victims seek help. And this, of course, provides cover for the abuser. Beverly, from an expert point of view, would you please define emotional abuse and maybe give us some examples?

Beverly Engel: Sure, technically, it’s any non-physical behavior that is designed to control or intimidate or punish or isolate another person, and it can be through the form of degradation and humiliation and fear. Good examples are verbal assaults, dominance, isolating, ridicule. One interesting one is the use of intimate knowledge for degradation. It’s like getting to know someone intimately. When we first get involved, we tell each other our stories and an emotional abuser will often throw our past in our face. They’ll use intimate knowledge that we’ve shared with them for the purpose of degrading us and the overall purpose of emotional abuse is to control their victims.

Gabe Howard: It sounds a little bit like emotional blackmail or well, frankly, it kind of sounds like actual blackmail, like they take what you have and threaten to maybe expose it or use it against you in some way to get you to do what they want. Is that a reasonable analogy?

Beverly Engel: Not really, that’s another form of emotional abuse, the intimate knowledge thing is just daily to put you down, not necessarily threatening that they’re going to tell somebody else. It’s just a way of reminding you of your past or a way of using something against you on a daily basis.

Gabe Howard: Gotcha. So a good example would be, can I drive the car today? No, because you got in a car accident five years ago and you almost killed everybody in the car. Is that. I

Beverly Engel: Yeah,

Gabe Howard: Know that’s.

Beverly Engel: And that would even, and that would be a very direct way of saying it,

Gabe Howard: Gotcha.

Beverly Engel: An emotional abuser will say something like, are you sure you really want to drive with your history? With your driving history? It’s more subtle. It’s a little less blatant.

Gabe Howard: Ok, I’m starting to understand now, and that actually makes a little more sense to something that you explained to me while we were preparing for this show, which is that often people who are emotionally abused don’t realize they’re being emotionally abused.

Beverly Engel: In fact, I would say almost always they don’t realize it. That’s what’s one of the major obstacles in the way of a person being able to actually end an emotionally abusive relationship is that they don’t know what’s going on with them. One of the most damaging aspects of emotional abuse is that it confuses the victim. The person ends up feeling confused. They end up feeling off balance. They’re not quite sure what’s going on. They tend to blame themselves because the emotional abuser, of course, is either subtly or overtly blaming them all the time. And yet the confusion is a major obstacle for people who are being emotionally abused.

Gabe Howard: Now, this sort of sounds a little bit like another concept that we hear a lot about, and that’s gaslighting. Is emotional abuse a form of gaslighting? Is gaslighting a form of emotional abuse?

Beverly Engel: Yes, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. Gaslighting is purposely trying to confuse the victim, purposely trying to make the victim doubt themselves. And it’s based on the movie Gaslight. It’s an old 1938 movie. And in the movie, the husband is intentionally trying to make his wife feel like she’s going crazy. And in those days, the houses were lit by gaslights and he would lower the lights. He would lower the amount of gas coming in and she would say, what just happened? The lights are dimming? And he would deny it. And so gaslighting is doing something purposely to make the victim feel crazy, denying that something happened, denying that he said something, saying that she did something when she didn’t do it. That’s what gaslighting is.

Gabe Howard: And all of this is designed to control your victim, really. That’s the motivation of the abuser. So emotional abuse is about control. Is that a fair statement?

Beverly Engel: Absolutely, yes.

Gabe Howard: I understand that emotional abuse is one of those concepts that’s a little bit nebulous or difficult to understand, but isn’t being controlled something that people innately understand? And the reason that I’m asking this question is because I know a lot of people who are being emotionally abused stay in the relationship. Don’t they realize that they’re in a very controlling relationship?

Beverly Engel: No, no, it can be very subtle, it can be as subtle as always, having your opinions dismissed. So you’re in a conversation with friends and your husband or wife and everybody’s talking freely. And so you say your opinion and your husband says, oh, no, that’s ridiculous. That’s that. What a stupid idea. So constantly being dismissed, perhaps your partner rolls his eyes every time you say something or makes fun of you, makes fun of your clothing, makes fun of how you talk, makes fun of what you cooked. It’s very subtle. It’s not obvious at all. And the more it happens, the less the victim trusts her perceptions and trusts her feelings. That’s again, another intention is if I can get you to second guess yourself and really not have a sense of security and even what you say and do, then I’m going to have control over you. It’s much more subtle. It’s very difficult for a lot of people to figure it out, actually, that they’re being emotionally abused.

Gabe Howard: When they figure it out, how do they feel? It sounds like it’s something that happens slowly. So you’re unaware of it, but it also seems like something that reaches this critical mass. And then suddenly you reflect back and realize that this has been happening to you for months or even years. What’s that like for the victim of the abuse?

Beverly Engel: Some get angry and realize it and get angry and want to do something. But what happens with emotional abuse that happens so subtly over such a long period of time and the victim has grown to distrust her feelings and perceptions, is she can get it one minute and the next minute talk herself out of it and the next minute feel like, well, maybe I’m exaggerating. Maybe this isn’t really happening. That’s that confusion again. So the confusion and being disoriented and not trusting your feelings and your perceptions that can last for a long time where the person goes into it saying, OK, yes, I got it. And then they will distrust themselves and they’re constantly blaming themselves. They’re being blamed all the time by their partner. And so they say that this is happening. It must be my fault. I must have done something.

Gabe Howard: If I understand correctly, it seems like shame is the primary motivation of the abuser.

Beverly Engel: Absolutely, absolutely. I’m generalizing here, but most abusers are very insecure people and they feel very inadequate. But what they’ve done with it is they’ve covered all that up with this air of authority or this air of entitlement. They’ve kind of pushed themselves up to look better than they are. And so they’re actually very fragile themselves. So what they do is they go about trying to shame and to control their partner so they can gain control because they don’t have any other way of feeling confident in themselves. The only way they can feel confident is to put another person down. And the thinking also goes like this, although it’s not conscious. If I can put you down before you put me down, then I’m ahead of the game. So a lot of abusers have been deeply shamed themselves and they’re desperately afraid of being shamed again. So if they’re constantly shaming somebody else, then they feel more secure.

Gabe Howard: Originally, I felt that emotional abusers did this intentionally, but based on what you explained, is it possible that some people are not aware that they’re emotionally abusing their loved ones and they’re unaware of the harm that it causes?

Beverly Engel: I work with a lot of, and I’m saying man as the abuser, but women can be abusers, too. But I work with a lot of women and men who did not realize they were being emotionally abusive toward their partner. And very often they don’t realize it until their partner has gotten to the place where she says, OK, I’m being emotionally abused. I’m going to get out of this relationship. And then suddenly the abuser will say, whoa, what’s going on? And the reason for that is that some abusers are doing it unconsciously. 

Gabe Howard: You raised a really good point there, when we think of victims of emotional abuse, we think of women. But you mentioned that men can be victims, too. Now, can men be victims from other men? Can, I guess what I’m really asking is I really think of emotional abuse being something that a husband does to a wife, I imagine that’s very archaic thinking.

Beverly Engel: Yes, I have a lot of male clients who are being emotionally abused by their partner, whether it’s their wife or in a gay relationship. It’s actually quite common and we don’t talk about it very much. But it’s actually a serious problem. And I’m generalizing here again. But males in general really want to help. They want to protect their partner. They want to help their partner. And if they discover that their partner has a serious problem, which often female emotional abusers do. They, usually starting in childhood, they were deeply abused or deeply neglected. And so, they act out their problems from their childhood, in their marriage. And the husband or the male partner will often feel compassionate toward her and know that she was very damaged in childhood and he will be extra patient and he will put up with a lot more than he really should. And he can get really trapped then in a situation where he’s being constantly emotionally abused. But he is excusing it based on her childhood.

Gabe Howard: It almost sounds like they’re accepting the abuse as a way to make up for something bad that happened to somebody that they love, is that sort of the ecosystem of emotional abuse? I feel bad for you, so I’ll tolerate it.

Beverly Engel: Yeah, absolutely, especially in the case of men being abused, in fact, a lot of us go into marriages and relationships with the idea that I didn’t get this or that in my childhood. And now it’s your job to give it to me. OK, we often do that unconsciously, but in relationships with men who are being emotionally abused, that’s very often the idea. He feels badly about what she didn’t receive. He tries to make up for it. But what he finds is he can never please her no matter what he does. He’s not ever going to please her. And he keeps trying because he thinks that’s his job. Like you said, it’s his obligation to make up for what she didn’t get. And he feels badly for her. He sees how much she suffers because she is suffering, but she’s taking her suffering out on her partner, which is not OK.

Gabe Howard: We’ll be back in less than a minute after we hear from our sponosrs.

Sponsor Message: Gabe here and I wanted to tell you about Psych Central’s other podcast that I host, Not Crazy. It’s straight talk about the world of mental illness and it is hosted by me and my ex-wife. You should check it out at or your favorite podcast player.

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Gabe Howard: We’re back with author Beverly Engel, discussing emotional abuse. Now, in your research, you’ve identified three major strategies abusers use to confuse and control their partners. They’re lying, projecting and gaslighting. Can you give an example of each one, please?

Beverly Engel: Yeah, the lying is self-evident, but there’s some ideas behind the lying, there’s some concepts behind the lying, some concepts like I’m smarter than you, so I need to advise or teach you. That’s a huge lie that emotional abusers use. They don’t necessarily say those words, but it’s a constant. It’s again, this idea that I’m smarter than you, I’m having to put up with you as I roll my eyes and dismiss what you say and you don’t know what you’re doing. And so I have to advise or teach you. And that’s one of the reasons why people who are being abused don’t even know it because their partner seems like he’s being helpful, is constantly advising them. You know, honey, you don’t look that good in that outfit. Why don’t you wear this outfit? I like your hair a lot better with that. Or when we went to that party the other night, I noticed that you were flirting with people. I know you probably didn’t mean to, but you were flirting and you really have to stop that. So this is kind of a constant advice and teaching that goes on. And that’s based on the lie that I’m smarter than you, that I should have a right to teach you or advise you because I’m better than you. That’s a huge lie. OK, another lie like I was just referring to. I had a horrible childhood. So you need to make up for what I didn’t get. And women and men will come into the relationship with that idea that poor me, I had this horrible childhood.

Beverly Engel: So you now need to be the good mother, a good father I didn’t get. And that’s a lie. Your partner is not supposed to have to feel obligated to make up for what you didn’t get. Another lie is you can’t be trusted. I’ve discovered that you can’t be trusted. So I have a right to watch you. I have a right to follow you if I want to. I have a right to check your phone. I have a right to go into your personal belongings. I have a right to do anything I want to because you can’t be trusted. And how did the partner determine that? Probably out of their own head, probably. They have an issue with feeling insecure. They have an issue with jealousy. And so they determined that they can’t trust you. And it may not be true at all. It probably isn’t true. You probably are trustworthy. So that’s a huge lie. Another lie is you need to satisfy my every sexual need. This is a really huge problem in some relationships. If the partner insists that you’re my partner and you have to do what I want sexually, whether you want to or not. And by the way, if you don’t, I’m going to go elsewhere. And again, whether they say that or not, that’s the threat. So those are some common lies that are permeating the relationship.

Gabe Howard: I want to take a moment to say that if you have any of these issues in your relationship, let’s say you and your partner are quibbling, we’ll use quibble, about sex. It doesn’t mean that you’re being emotionally abused or gaslighting, right? You could just be having an intense discussion where you’re both working together to resolve something. I think that sometimes people hear emotional abuse and they think that any argument is an example of emotional abuse. Can you clarify that for us?

Beverly Engel: When you say argument, why would you be arguing around sexuality. If you are willing to listen to me when I tell you that I’m not interested in doing that sexual act with you, that should be the end of it. There shouldn’t be any argument. I should be able to say what I want and you should be able to listen. Now, if I’m saying I don’t want to have sex at all or sex has got to be super limited, that could be a problem. But our partners need to listen to us when we say we don’t want to do something; we should not feel pressured to get involved with any kind of sexual act that we are not comfortable with. And too often, partners pressure each other or make each other feel like there’s something wrong with them if they don’t want to engage in those sexual acts. So there really shouldn’t be an argument. Unfortunately, there often is an argument around that, and often there’s one partner demanding it or threatening to go elsewhere, and that’s where it crosses the line into emotional abuse.

Gabe Howard: Thank you so much for explaining that, and I do agree, if you are pressuring somebody or getting angry that they’re saying no, I realized about halfway through that was probably a bad example. Let’s say that we swap the example out just ever so slightly and say that it’s an intense discussion about where to go on vacation. My wife wants to go to Disney World and I want to go to Las Vegas and we can only afford one vacation this year. So, there’s a lot of back and forth. When would that scenario turn into a difference of vacation opinion versus one partner emotionally abusing the other?

Beverly Engel: Ok, if we, I want to go to Disneyland, and I don’t really care if you want to go somewhere else because I want to go to Disneyland, and if you don’t go to Disneyland, I’ll go ahead and go where you want to go. And I’m going to pout the whole time and I’m going to be critical and I’m going to make your life miserable or I want to go to Disneyland. And if you don’t want to, we’re going to go anyway, because I’m the head of the household and I’m the one who makes the money. And by God, we’re going to go where I want to go. Those are examples of emotional abuse.

Gabe Howard: Gotcha. That makes a lot more sense.

Beverly Engel: A more subtle one might be, you know, honey, I know you want to go to Disneyland, but don’t you remember last time we went, you know, you got a stomach ache on the rides and you didn’t feel good and you’re not as strong as you used to be, and I just can’t see you on those rides. And it’s hot there. And you have a problem with sun. It’s probably better if we go somewhere cooler, but saying it all for the purpose of manipulating the partner. OK, not really saying it out of concern for the partner.

Gabe Howard: That makes excellent sense. Thank you so much for clarifying that. Now, once you realize that you have been a victim of emotional abuse, you have that shame. And if I understand correctly, you have a five-step shame reduction program. Can you go through those steps for us?

Beverly Engel: Yeah, what I talk about in the book is that people who are emotionally abused are actually brainwashed, like somebody in a cult, and so they have to be deprogrammed. And a lot of the first part of the book is really defining emotional abuse and defining how people feel, but also going through how they’re being lied to, the types of lies and really advising people to stop giving their partner so much power. Don’t always believe everything your partner says. Number one, maybe you need to check out with friends and family whether or not you actually are doing the kinds of things your partner accuses you of. As we know, with physical abuse, people who are emotionally abused tend to become very isolated. Their partner can be jealous and doesn’t like them to be around their friends. Their partner maybe decides they don’t like their family. And so slowly they become more and more isolated and don’t have as many people around. But if they do have some people around, I encourage them to ask their friends and family, is this who I am? Is this how I act to get some outside feedback that can become the beginning of the deprogramming process is to get some outside feedback. So I go through different ways of deprogramming yourself.

Gabe Howard: Beverly, thank you so much. Now the name of your book is Escaping Emotional Abuse. Can you tell our listeners where to find it?

Beverly Engel: You’re going to be able to find it on or any, if there are any bookstores open, or online bookstores, any bookstore, you can get it.

Gabe Howard: Wonderful and, Beverly, do you have a website?

Beverly Engel:

Gabe Howard: Wonderful. We hope all of our listeners check it out and listen up, listeners, if you loved the show, wherever you downloaded it, please subscribe. And if you can do me a really big favor, I would appreciate it. Please take a moment to rate it. Just use your words, tell people why you like it, and that will help us gain following. We really appreciate your help. My name is Gabe Howard and I’m the author of Mental Illness Is an Asshole, which is also available on Amazon. Or you can get signed copies for less money and I’ll throw in podcast swag. Just head over to and remember, you can get one week of free, convenient, affordable, private online counseling, anytime, anywhere simply by visiting We will see everybody next week.

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Australian man jailed for six and a half years for persistent sexual abuse of young Filipino girl

An Australian man who flew to the Philippines and sexually abused a teenage girl has been sentenced to six and a half years in jail.

Rex George Harrison, 66, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to charges including persistent sexual abuse of a child outside Australia, using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material and possessing child exploitation material.

Crown prosecutor Jessica Goldie told the court Harrison flew to the Philippines in November 2016 and met the teenager, who was 14 or 15 years old at the time.

He digitally penetrated her in a motel room, despite her protests, then paid her the equivalent of $14, the court heard.

After returning to Australia, the former chef continued to send sexualised messages to the child via social media.

The court heard Harrison, a grandfather of four, flew back to the Philippines in July 2017 where he committed further sexual offences against the same girl, including penile penetration, before returning to Australia.

Harrison was arrested after being stopped by Australian Federal Police at Brisbane Airport in October 2017 while he was trying to board another flight to the Philippines.

Offending ‘persistent’ and ‘predatory’

Ms Goldie said Harrison had asked the complainant to try to get one of her friends to meet up with him in exchange for money.

“It is quite serious in that he talks about wanting her to find a girl who was quite young — being 13 or 14 and someone who is not very developed,” Ms Goldie said.

“He also makes comments such as, ‘You have plenty of friends who need that money’ which shows the predatory nature in terms of that communication.”

Harrison also messaged another girl in the Philippines, asking her to send him what were described as “quite depraved” naked photos of herself, the court heard.

Defence barrister Mark McCarthy said his client had a minor criminal history, had problems with alcohol and had made some admissions to police.

Justice John Bond said Harrison’s victims were particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation because of their age and disadvantaged economic circumstances.

Addressing Harrison, Justice Bond said: “You behaved in a way which demonstrates you have a pattern of sexual interest in female children including, it is apparent, a sexual interest in taking the virginity of girls as young as 13 or 14.

“You were persistent in your offending, you were repeated in your offending, you were predatory in your offending, taking advantage of … the power and economic imbalance between you and your victims.”

Harrison will be eligible for parole after serving two years and six months.

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Former NSW Liberal Party staffer arrested on child sexual abuse charges

A former NSW Liberal Party staffer has been arrested and charged with historical child sexual abuse charges.

After a four-year investigation by police, the man was arrested in Sydney on Tuesday morning.

He cannot be named as he was a juvenile at the time of the alleged offending in the mid-1990s.

In 2016, police launched their investigation after receiving reports a boy and girl were sexually abused by a man who was known to them while in his care.

Police will allege in court that he sexually and indecently assaulted the boy and a girl — aged between eight and 10 — while they were in his care between July 1994 and December 1996.

The charges against the man include three counts of aggravated indecency, two counts of sexual intercourse and attempted sexual intercourse.

He was granted conditional bail to appear in court in December.

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Over 90% Of All Child Sex Abuse Images Found On Facebook

Over 90% Of All Child Sex Abuse Images Found On Facebook

Facebook is making people come back into the office to work.

Out of more than 69 million child sex abuse images discovered on line last year, 94% were found on Facebook, Sky News reports. This is especially scary for law enforcement officials as the social media company is working on ways to improve privacy and encryptions for its users which would make it next to impossible to find the sex traffickers.

UK authorities say that as many as 6,000 children were saved from traffickers in the one year period from June 2019 to June 2020. But once Facebook implements new encryptions for its Messenger and Instagram aps, it might not be possible for authorities to track the victims any longer.

Robert Jones of England’s National Crime Agency told Sky, “What we risk losing with these changes is the content, which gives us the intelligence leads to pursue those offenders and rescue those children.”

“The end-to-end encryption model that’s being proposed takes out of the game one of the most successful ways for us to identify leads, and that layers on more complexity to our investigations, our digital media, our digital forensics, our profiling of individuals and our live intelligence leads, which allow us to identify victims and safeguard them.”

So here we have the classic example of what happens when the general public’s right to privacy conflicts with fighting crime. It’s like when on every cop show ever the police detectives complain that they can’t gather the evidence needed for a conviction because their hands are tied by court decisions limiting their ability to conduct searches without a warrant.

Civil libertarians would say that this is the price of freedom and privacy in a democracy. But other would say that if the technology keeps advancing then the providers of said tech have a moral obligation to do whatever they can to help catch the worst offenders such as child abusers and sex traffickers.

And Facebook Moderators have now been told to return to work at their offices. These are the outsourced people employed by Accenture contractors working for Facebook on community operations and product data operations, BuzzFeed reports. The move comes as regular Facebook employees have been told not to return to their offices before July, 2021.

So once again the people who are forced to work as independent contractors get the shaft.

“No written documentation, HR is hit-or-miss when it comes to addressing the numerous and varied concerns of the employees, and people are scared. Truly and understandably scared,” wrote one Accenture contractor on Thursday on an internal Facebook message board. “How can we possibly be ready to return to the office when this entire process has been so utterly and completely mishandled?”

“Since March, we’ve increased our use of technology and enabled an overwhelming majority of our reviewers to work from home,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois told BuzzFeed News. “But considering some of the most sensitive content can’t be reviewed from home, we’ve begun allowing reviewers back into some of our sites as government guidance has permitted.”

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