Ritual Abuse and the Moral Crusade Against Satanism

Volume 20
Fall 1992
Ritual Abuse and the Moral Crusade Against Satanism

This article addresses the research question: What accounts for widespread belief in allegations of "€œritual"€ child abuse by satanic cults in the absence of any verifiable law enforcement or scientific evidence? The hypothesis is that allegations of ritual abuse are manifestations of the social construction of an imaginary form of deviance which is being promoted by a moral crusade against satanism. Events of a satanic cult ritual abuse scare in England are used to illustrate the collective behavior dynamics. The interpretation suggests that the activism of moral crusaders is a response to belief in frames for attributing meaning to an ambiguous problem, linked to shared concerns for fighting "€œevil"€ in society. The conclusion is that controversies surrounding claims about ritual child abuse can be best understood if they are investigated in the social context of the moral crusade against satanism.

Dr. J.S. Victor
248 - 253
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