Friday, June 24, 2016

Freudian Slip: The secrets that rocked a dynasty

One hundred and thirty years ago Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, presented his "seduction theory" at a major forum in Vienna. His idea was that most neuroses - female neuroses particularly - could be traced back to repressed memories of sexual interference on the part of fathers. The proposition was met with widespread outrage - the idea that fathers would sexually molest their daughters was shocking at the time - and Freud later shifted away from it, instead claiming that most of the memories of abuse, which he heard from patients, were false, with their subconscious unable to discern between fantasy and reality. Freud believed that Victorian men should be allowed indulge in forbidden sex (indeed he thought that incest was important to civilisation) with one caveat: that it must be "discreet".

It was a word, with all of its dark undertones, that seemed to echo down the ages this week with the revelation that Clement Freud, grandson of Sigmund, had sexually abused girls, including one whom he brought up as a daughter. Sylvia Woosley said Freud befriended her family in 1948, when he was working at a hotel in the South of France, and started abusing her when she was 10. Another woman told ITV that Freud started abusing her in the 1970s, when she was 11, and eventually raped her when she was 18, by which time he was a Liberal MP.

The rape was so violent and brutal she said, that she bled for a week afterward. It has been suggested that there may be more revelations and more victims still to tell their stories. The allegations are being investigated by British police and in the meantime have caused enormous embarrassment to one of the most storied families in Britain. Whether art, media, politics, fashion or high finance, the Freuds have their fingers in every pie.  (more...)

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