'My Lie': A True Story of a False Memory

Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the 80's, the infamous McMartin Preschool sexual abuse trial ignited a hysteria about child sexual abuse. The McMartin trials never found anyone guilty, however, and several of the children, now adults, have come forward, saying no molestation ever happened. Across the nation, though, tens of thousands of people became convinced that they had repressed – and recovered – memories of awful abuse.

Meredith Maran, a journalist and author, found herself caught up in it.  She began to believe that her own father had molested her, and at age 37, she accused him.  Ten years later, she realized that he was innocent and recanted.  But it was almost too late.


Maran has written a memoir about the story she came to believe.  The book is called My Lie: A True Story of False Memory.



Meredith Maran

Produced by:

Posey Gruener and Kristen Meinzer

Comments [5]


Maran says that what happened to her happened to “tens of thousands of other people.”
She cites this on p. 206 of her book. It’s from her interview with Pamela Freyd. Freyd says, “It was a runaway movement, and it happened to tens of thousands.” (p. 206)
Freyd’s husband, Peter, was accused by their daughter. Not mentioned here is that Peter was hospitalized for alcoholism in 1981. He was molested as a child by a local artist. He was a pedophile, I was a kept boy,” (p. 151) Peter said in a 1994 interview in “Philadelphia.” The Freyds co-founded the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in 1992. To date, they have presented no survey data supporting “tens of thousands.” .

Oct. 22 2010 01:04 PM
Keith Richard Radford Jr from Burbank CA

it's your addiction not mine
No one has to agree too nor except/condone/support your addiction too unjust/illegal/federally
unsound/unsustainable laws that has no basses in truth or reality. Delusional thinking does not make other people sex addicts & the people that are sexually disturbed, about people with problems with sex like sterility/multi gender/predigests leading to false arrests/charges. We can not support your addiction to inhuman punishments & torture through state sponsored terrorism. The use of Bin Laden
tapes to sway political votes is no different than this story. More too come, yes this entire thing will come around and take a bite of everyone that supports these laws. I was on the street and waiting for a bus when two squad cars pulled up and sergeant CARR drove up too me from the Atascadero Police Department and told me in a sinister voice "register" I said what are you talking about? With no request for ID he says you got to register looking for a violent response. I kept my cool and told him I will be back, and shove this whole thing right up your ass sir. Rick's Cafe, in the mythical saloon from the 1942 film "Casablanca" had people trying to leave the country too get away from bad laws but not cameras on every street corner and police accosting citizens without warrant or provocation's, so wait till these laws built on lies arrest you for missing an oil change. How much must someone endure when an officer that has never been met before can pull up and start a fight, how much money is this guy getting from people to act like this on the street? The other officer was quite and reserved watching the whole thing. He should have been the sergeant and not this immature strange man out for a fight on the street he did not get in Atascadero California Friday October 1, 2010 at a bus stop waiting for a bus. How long will it be before your forced laws will just cause the officers to kill someone without more than a possible description of someone and with your record of record keeping your lies personified by poor data entry will start the biggest run of blood on our streets over touching someone, sorry but your sick and disgusting un~thought~out
proposal lacks worth and is an abomination in any country in the world.

Oct. 02 2010 01:27 PM
Terrible book

I read this book. She presents blurbs about memory from biased sources in her book, but scientific sources clearly prove that people can repressed traumatic events and remember thenm years later.
And she never really had any memories. This book is an attack on those abused and an attempt to discredit many of them.

101 Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory

Oct. 01 2010 12:39 AM
abusesurvivor from Ohio

There was evidence of child abuse in the McMartin case. Most of the jurors in the case believed the children were abused. Only one of hundreds of children in the case recanted.

Maran never had any detailed recovered memories. Recovered memories are fairly high corroboration rates. In the 1980's. children were finally being believed when they told they were being abused. Maran's book, intentional or not, only hurts child abuse survivors and children's rights.

for more information:

Oct. 01 2010 12:25 AM

Maran never remembered any sexual abuse by her father. She never recovered any memories of abuse. Yet she says in her prologue she accused him of molesting her. Adults who were molested as children know what the molester did. For Maran to say she accused her father of molesting her is, at best, an exaggeration.
Maran says on page 6, “In 1982, I edited a book by one of those pioneering feminist researchers.” Another exaggeration? It doesn’t take much to figure out the book was Diana Russell’s “The Secret Trauma.” Russell acknowledges the editors at Basic Books and highly qualified colleagues for their editing and their editorial comments. She acknowledges Maran for making the academic manuscript more accessible to the general reader in a very short space of time (p. xiv). This means Maran’s task was less a matter of editing a book, and more a matter of translating from academic to narrative style.

Sep. 30 2010 07:27 PM

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