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Jennifer Freyd is the daughter of Pamela and Peter Freyd, infamous founders of the so-called false memory syndrome foundation. in this book, she completely refutes the claims of the FMSF and provides cogent and detailed explanations for the phenomena of repressed memories of child abuse. The writting of this book may have been fueled by personal factors – in 1991 the author herself recovered memories of abuse, only to have them vehemently and publicly denied by her own mother; on the basis of recovered memories being fabrications. Given her personal involvement, one could have excused her for taking a polemical approach. To her great credit, she does not. ”Betrayal Trauma” is a thoughtful, judicious and thorough scholarly analysis of a subject.

The recovered-memory controversy is fueled in part by the high stakes. If genuine memories are rejected, perpetrators get off scot-free and victims are doubly victimized. If fabricated memories are accepted, the lives and reputations of the innocent are blighted. Ms. Freyd accepts that some claims of recovered memory may be fabricated, and insists that each claim be examined on a case by case basis

This book explains and shows how psychogenic amnesia not only happens but, if the abuse occurs at the hands of a parent or caregiver, is often necessary for survival: abuse of a child by a beloved parent or caregiver constitutes a breach of trust, and no betrayal is more emotionally painful. But the child, wholly dependent on the abuser’s care and protection, cannot escape. One way of coping is simply to suppress the fact, a way made all the easier by the conspiracy of silence that surrounds incest — even children who complain to the non-abusing parent all too often meet with denial.

Overall this is a fantastic book, my only critisism is that it could have looked into the mechanisms that could potentially lead to false memories a little more closly. However, I would strongly recommend it to anyone.