Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Fringe of Darkness

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  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well there's a lot in that so forgive my long answer. I have no doubt she has credibility as an expert witness for the defence, which at it's simplest is a reason for her to not be involved with treatment of sexual abuse survivors. I also have no doubt that Ellis is likely innocent, the Gwaze case I'm not very familiar with but Ellis seems a miscarriage of justice. I do have a problem with the whole concept of "False Memory Syndrome" though in that it reifies something in a very unhelpful way. It is true that interview techniques of children used to be problematic and that children are inherently more suggestible that adults (although adults are too).

    It's also true that false testimony happens, but the whole "movement" behind FMS was the extension of that to the point of undermining the existence of child sexual abuse, and over representing the false accusations of sexual violence.
    If you read through some of the troubling stuff on John Potters website you'll see how this ends up being pulled to it's extreme, including accusing therapists and counsellors of being involved in the "Sexual abuse industry" and drumming up business.

    And this is the guts of my problem with FGS: She actively represents anti-abuse as a position.

    She was the Community GP on CP when the sexual abuse of children was happening, she would've known about it and would've come across medical evidence of it, and as such had a ethical and professional duty to report it as it's illegal. In not doing so she breached her code of ethics and should've been sanctioned, and had her licence revoked. Instead she marries Bert Potter's son, maintains a close relationship with Bert, and sets about writing academic papers about, for instance, how it is "possible" to contract STI's as a child without sexual contact. (seriously) and teaches at the University of Auckland.

    So yes she has credibility and is an expert in getting men accused of sexual abuse off, some of whom are innocent. But she has a very questionable moral and professional background.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    Thanks Sacha!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Yes, that was a great piece of journalism by Tim Hume, and pretty much put a stop to any further influence with ACC. It was beyond shocking that she had been let anywhere near the treatment of sexual abuse survivors.

    Colour me surprised, her husband is active in ‘MRA’ circles, who still downplay Bert Potter’s wrongdoings. I read that link so you don’t have to.

    Most of those who speak for ‘men’s rights’ aren’t really speaking up for actual men’s rights, but something more akin to ‘divine rights’.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • lynne walker, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Really outrageous that she gets to do what she does. I don't understand how that can happen and how she wasn "t struck off her professional list.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2011 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to lynne walker,

    My thoughts when reading this post, and Anke's article, and following all the obvious links (may take some time to get over some of it)...?

    Regarding FGS....

    Who appointed this woman to this post?

    Why?

    Kinda brings the entire faculty into disrepute.

    PS...I am an inveterate googler...I did NOT for a second even consider doing any kind of search on the un named actress...she said "no".

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    But she has a very questionable moral and professional background.

    And I found this quote from the SST article interesting:

    (Goodyear-Smith was charged with perjury in 1992; she writes that she was acquitted.)

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/features/4069062/Conflicting-interests

    Use of parentheses theirs.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Ellis seems a miscarriage of justice. I do have a problem with the whole concept of “False Memory Syndrome” though in that it reifies something in a very unhelpful way. It is true that interview techniques of children used to be problematic and that children are inherently more suggestible that adults (although adults are too).

    My understanding of the Ellis case is that there’s no doubt the children were abused – but by the bizarre ‘counselling’ methods, not by Ellis. A disaster for all concerned.

    I'm looking forward to reading Beck Eleven's cover article in the new North & South on Peter Ellis. I think the case won't go away until there's a proper inquiry into how the 'counselling' and police investigation could go so far off the rails.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3890 posts Report Reply

  • Anke Richter,

    Kyle, thanks for adding your well informed comments and insights about FGS. I was of course aware of the controversy around her but had to leave that whole aspect out of my story.And she wasn't available for an interview. After the SST story came out, she let North&South interview her for a long feature which put her in a much better light - a good PR move on her part. Since then she has not been available for any media, as far as I know, especially not in regards to Centrepoint (she downplays that connection).

    Lyttelton • Since May 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Anke Richter,

    Yes, that was a very orchestrated piece in North and South. I was surprised Donna Chisholm gave her such free reign to essentially put forth an unbalanced "PR" piece as you suggest. Good work on the article, sorry to hear of your arduous experience, and happy to fill in some further gaps.

    Interestingly Chisolm went on to write a very "anti" counselling piece in N&S a year or so later, which seemed too much of a coincidence. I heard a rumour they were friends, but have no idea if that was true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    I do have a problem with the whole concept of “False Memory Syndrome” though in that it reifies something in a very unhelpful way. It is true that interview techniques of children used to be problematic and that children are inherently more suggestible that adults (although adults are too).

    I've never looked at it the same way since I saw a presentation by Dr Maryanne Garry of VUW at a Skeptics conference, which was literally about how false memories can be quite easily created, particularly through repeated interviewing. Although the key message from that is, of course, using proper interview techniques.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    I heard a rumour they were friends, but have no idea if that was true.

    New Zealand is a very tiny country.

    How many degrees of separation?

    How many stories get into the media because the protagonist 'knows' someone in the industry?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald,

    Yes exactly. It is much less damaging and misleading to describe these cases as a failure of interviewing children appropriately, as opposed to being evidence of a syndrome whereby children falsely recall sexual abuse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Most of those who speak for ‘men’s rights’ aren’t really speaking up for actual men’s rights, but something more akin to ‘divine rights

    I realized a wee while ago, that I have a hundred year project, To chip away at – thats futile.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Just as a matter of interest, do you know the reasoning ACC had for removing the surcharge that some sensitive claim providers had to charge?

    And I am greatful to you for taking on Dr Goodyear – smith, and showing her where the battle line is drawn. Which is probably all you can do with bullies like her.

    Edit: I didn't mean any disrespect. I know you can do more for bullies, if they are willing to look at there behavior:-)

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Francis, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Absolutely, Felicity Goodyear-Smith has credibility.

    She and others have made the point that there can be a reluctance by some to appear as expert witnesses in cases of alleged child sexual abuse. That is unfortunate.

    FGS says:

    "I have acted for both the Crown and the defence as an expert witness or medical advisor in cases involving allegations of sexual assault. I have always acknowledged that sexual assault occurs and have never condoned it. I have no desire for guilty people to escape punishment. However the basic premise under which I have always operated is that both true and false allegations occur. I believe in the overriding tenet of innocent until proven guilty and that people are entitled to a fair trial."

    Wairarapa • Since Apr 2012 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Francis,

    The above came from Felicity Goodyear-Smith's website.

    http://goodyearsmith.com/

    Wairarapa • Since Apr 2012 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Francis,

    writing academic papers about, for instance, how it is “possible” to contract STI’s as a child without sexual contact. (seriously)

    Not STIs in general but gonorrhoea specifically. And it seems she is correct.

    "It is important that all cases of N gonorrhoeae in children be fully investigated for sexual abuse, and reported to the relevant child protection authorities. There is no doubt that almost all gonococcal vaginal infections in prepubertal children are sexually transmitted, and this may include those previously reported as non-sexual. However it is also accepted that cases of non-sexual transmission of N gonorrhoeae in children do occur, but proof beyond all doubt can be very difficult to document scientifically."

    http://sti.bmj.com/content/80/4/327.1.full

    Wairarapa • Since Apr 2012 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Ross Francis,

    I have no desire for guilty people to escape punishment.

    I'm sure this is quite true. But I'm not convinced that Dr GS's view of what counts as guilty would accord with what most people in society, and indeed the justice system, would count as guilty.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 581 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Ross Francis,

    The above came from Felicity Goodyear-Smith's website.

    http://goodyearsmith.com/

    With regards to her credibility, this also comes from her website:

    "It was believed that children should be given positive messages about sex. Adult contacts were not hidden from children. Children and adolescents were not discouraged when they demonstrated an interest in sexual activities including sexual contact with adults... ...I was the doctor for the community from 1989 until 1992."

    Three things:
    1. Sexual contact with minors was indisputably illegal at the time (regardless of what people may have "believed" was good or bad)

    2. There was ample evidence at the time of the detrimental effects of sexual contact with children on their ongoing psychological development.

    3. Medical professionals have a duty of care, and ethical requirement to report, suspected sexual abuse of minors.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to steven crawford,

    The new Sensitive Claims system, (which was an outcome of the 2009 fallout, and subsequent ministerial review, of which all professional bodies including psychotherapists helped design) is now fully funded, hence no surcharge payable by the client.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    But I’m not convinced that Dr GS’s view of what counts as guilty would accord with what most people in society, and indeed the justice system, would count as guilty.

    The Fringe is being fanned....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ross Francis,

    There are different standards of evidence for determining
    “do we have enough evidence of abuse that this child needs protection?” and
    “do we have enough evidence to conclude this person is guilty of abuse?”
    It’s a distinction that FGS deliberately blurs – which may give her “credibility” among (accused) offenders, but definitely not with victims.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1899 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    The new Sensitive Claims system, (which was an outcome of the 2009 fallout, and subsequent ministerial review, of which all professional bodies including psychotherapists helped design) is now fully funded, hence no surcharge payable by the client.

    Good work! I thought that exchanging cash for sexual abuse therapy was symbolically, a bit icky.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Francis, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    Kyle

    You've omitted a fairly important comment from FSG's description of her time at Centrepoint.

    "Subsequent trials for sexual abuse leading to convictions of Bert, my husband John and five other members of the community related to events in the late 1970s and early 1980s. John left the community in 1985 and I met him a year later."

    Wairarapa • Since Apr 2012 • 26 posts Report Reply

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