What is a satanist
About life in a satanic sect
Melanie Adler is happy: Germany is world champion! The final was only a few days ago, today she wears a football jersey with four stars: “The fourth one is only stuck on, it keeps coming off,” she says and grins: “But the main thing is world champion!” She sits slim and tanned at the table, tells in a friendly and open manner, a little excited. You can't see: under her soccer jersey she wears a fifth star: the scars of a pentagram carved into the skin with razor blades run across her stomach and breasts in frayed light pink lines - a badly healed memory of her last night in the circle of a satanist sect.
In truth, Melanie Adler has a different name, but she wants to protect her identity because she is afraid: Fear of the sect from which she tries to break away and which she finds and brings back again and again. Because those who want to leave are persecuted, put under pressure, punished and sometimes driven to their death.
Melanie is one of countless women who were born into a satanist sect - in a completely normal place, somewhere in northern Germany, because they were not statistically recorded. Her parents are active members and have included her and her siblings in their practices from early childhood. On the outside, she grew up sheltered in a middle-class family, because outside of the circle nobody knows what is going on behind the beautiful facade: occult rituals, physical, sexual and psychological attacks, for years and decades, day after day.
In this context, experts speak of "ritual violence" - a planned and systematic physical and psychological violence in the context of certain ideologies or worldviews. "Through the pseudo-religious and misanthropic rituals of the Satanists, the members of the sect are bound even more - children and adults," says Alfons Strodt. He is cathedral capitular in the Diocese of Osnabrück and has been looking after sect members who want to quit for over 35 years. "Basically, it is of secondary importance whether the group really believes in Satan or whether the cult is only staged for the purpose of deceiving and intimidating the members," he explains. The aim of the rituals is in any case to confuse and frighten those involved in order to make them compliant for the sect. The consequences of ritual violence are often extreme disorders of perception and personality.
Melanie Adler speaks of herself today in the we-form, because through countless traumatic events in her childhood and youth her personality has split - a survival instinct, because only then could she endure the suffering inflicted on her and the things that she was forced to do. to do to others. “This process is called dissociation,” explains Brigitte Hahn. The retired head of the specialist office for sects and ideological issues in the Episcopal Vicariate General in Münster has been working with victims of ritual violence for years. "Put simply, a person splits up into several people if they can no longer bear the current situation. The bad thing that one person experiences no longer happens to her, but to someone else. Dissociations are triggered by severe trauma, such as fear of death. It is known from reports from victims that these personality splits are deliberately brought about in satanic sects in order to condition people to certain behaviors. "
The fact that many do not know about it does not mean that it will not happen
Little more is known about the practices of the sects, little about their backgrounds. Absolute silence is one of the most important rules in the group. Whoever breaks it will be severely punished. "As a child, we would never have thought of telling anyone about it," reports Melanie. “But we didn't even know what to tell,” she adds. Because for her her life was normal for a long time. Since contacts with the outside world were kept to a minimum, she knew nothing else. “Besides, it was our parents who did that to us,” she recalls. "You don't say anything as a child, you think: that's right and must be like that."
Usually children and women are victims of ritual violence in sects, but men are also affected. Members are often introduced to the sect by relatives as children and have to endure the worst physical and mental abuse. But not all are born into the cult. Some are also drawn in from outside: children are tortured without their parents' knowledge, turned into satanists and silenced by threats. Some victims also come from broken circumstances where no one misses them; sometimes they can be forced into the sect because they were previously lured into a trap and exposed to blackmail. Basically: the Satanists described here exist in all social classes. They are not to be equated with the black or Gothic scene - on the contrary: mostly these Satanists are not recognizable at first glance and live rather inconspicuously from the outside.
For decades Melanie led a completely normal life outwardly, grew up and worked for around 20 years as a bank clerk - a profession that her parents had chosen for her, because the sect is always interested in key positions, in knowledge and power over others. Melanie was already trained in top performance in her school days - she's still not able to shed that: "We now work in several mini-jobs, we can do everything, because when we start something, we always give 120 percent." Not until the age of 40 when she was admitted to a clinic for anorexia, she came into contact with a different world than hers. Like many of those affected, she spent a long time in psychiatric and psychological treatment. Misdiagnoses and setbacks mark this path. It took years for her dissociative disorder to be recognized, and only then did a process of questioning begin for her: “We noticed that what happens to us and what we do is not normal. Others live a completely different life. "
Getting out of the sect is almost impossible
Alfons Strodt knows such processes from his encounters with victims. He knows: before leaving the sect, affected women and men must first become aware that they are suffering: “People who are caught up in Satanism have lost the feeling of their own dignity. They no longer know who they are. They feel like dirt and are treated like that. They no longer have a clue that they are precious and that they have a right to life and love. ”This is precisely why he sees himself as a pastor:“ The gospel is the option for the poor! We have to be there for them! My aim is for these terribly tortured and abused people to trust them again to become greater than their fear - a process that can drag on over a long period of time. "
Melanie has been trying to break away from the group for a good three years now. But there are always setbacks: “There are people in us who still want to go back,” she says. "Sometimes they prevail." On certain dates, for example, when ritual holidays take place or when a cult member manages to influence them. Due to the rituals that are imprinted from childhood on, a word, a symbol or a certain tone is sometimes sufficient and Melanie is programmed - no longer herself, but one of her many inner characters who are loyal to the sect. In addition, for Melanie there is the difficulty of having to build a life of her own - without the clear rules of the sect and the compulsion to absolute obedience: “Often our new freedom is difficult to endure, because that also means: having to make decisions yourself and consciously having to do unpleasant things that were previously ignored. "
"Terrifying, unimaginable, monstrous"
But even if it's difficult - Melanie Adler wants to get out and she wants to talk. “The public should be made aware and sensitized to the fact that there is ritual violence - everywhere, maybe even next door. So that other children don't have to suffer what we have experienced. "
Today she wishes that some people would have looked, asked and listened better in their childhood and youth. For example, if she was absent from school for a long time or had inexplicable pain. “A lot of people can't even imagine that there is such a thing - because it's so bad that you just can't believe it,” says Melanie about her experience.
"Something like that" - these are the worst physical and mental abuse, pedophile and necrophilic sexual practices and sodomy, violent and demonic rituals, black masses, animal and even human sacrifices. "The reported acts are terrifying, unimaginable, monstrous and undermine our Christian-democratic value system," says Brigitte Hahn. “Our principle 'The dignity of man is inviolable” is mocked by the satanist sects. That is organized crime at its worst! "
For further reading
The (un) secret among us
Working group on ritual violence of the dioceses Osnabrück, Münster and Essen
Price: 19.90 euros
For this reason, the dioceses of Osnabrück, Münster and Essen founded the “Working Group on Ritual Violence” in 2011 and set themselves the task of offering support to those dropping out and making the public aware of this issue. A book by the working group has just been published in which victims and their relatives have their say, but also psychologists and pastors who report on their work with traumatized sect members. "Such incidents can only be cleared up if people notice abnormalities in the behavior of others, if they question and believe, and if the police and therapists are called in in good time," says Alfons Strodt. “From my decades of experience with Satanists, I am convinced that there are real networks that operate regionally, nationwide and even internationally - with intersections with rocker bands, prostitution, drug and human trafficking. The book should help to find out more about this topic in order to recognize signs of victims and to be able to act accordingly. "
In the name of the devil
In this film, victims of ritual violence and experts who have been dealing with this topic for years have their say. It is intended to encourage those affected to quit and empower others to recognize victims and help them.
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