The letter below was written by a survivor of satanic ritual abuse (not Esther) known to me. For her safety, the letter has been slightly rewritten, so that her language and style are less recognisable.
Dear fellow survivors,
By means of this open letter, I would like to warn you and urge you not to heed the call of various victim organisations to talk to the Hendriks Committee.
The perpetrator network has a vested interest in knowing which victims/survivors are talking and therefore pose a possible risk to them. This committee in no way guarantees our safety or the safety of our interview data. By allowing yourself to be interviewed by this committee, you are playing into the hands of the perpetrator network.
The Decree of 2-9-2021 states, under the working method, that the Committee shall determine in a protocol 'how, in the context of hearing both sides of the argument, it shall present findings to persons or bodies affected by these findings or who might have reservations about them'. In the research protocol of 26-1-2022, there is a little more about this. In point three of article five it states: 'Before adopting the final report, the committee shall share its findings with the persons and bodies concerned. The findings are shared with persons or bodies with the obligation of confidentiality.' And the next point (point 4 of Article 5) states that persons, bodies and parties concerned have the opportunity to 'respond to factual inaccuracies in the report'.
This all sounds very real, but the consequences are immense. First of all, it is clear that the committee's findings will be shared with the people and bodies affected or who might have reservations about them. This means that these findings will also be shared with the people we are accusing. They can then respond to factual inaccuracies. But the only way to be able to respond to factual inaccuracies is if you know exactly what is being claimed. Moreover, this report is not the same as the final report, so point 1 of Article 5, about not recording personal and identifiable data without consent, does not apply here.
Even if we choose to assume that the perpetrator network will not see our statements in this way, the committee still cannot guarantee our safety and that of our interview data.
I will be very honest, if our statements somehow fall into the hands of the perpetrator network, it is almost impossible that our statements will not be recognised by her, as she knows her victims very well. The chance that our way of talking (choice of words, etc.) and seemingly meaningless details will betray our identity is very high. Moreover, many of us are split and have DIS. If you have DIS and have been abused in an organised sadistic perpetrator network, you are also likely to have 'reporting parts' who have been trained through torture to report back to the perpetrator network on everything you do. This makes the risk of them finding out that you have talked to the commission even greater.
The perpetrator network has always exploited the desperation of its victims. Let us not now, through this committee, tell them that we dare to talk, so that they can damage us even more, by torturing and/or killing us - or, for example, people we know who are still in the cult.
The commission also asks that therapists (and any other supporters) report to the commission. It would supposedly be safer for victims if they spoke on their behalf. But you also know that the perpetrator network can very easily connect therapists to its victims, if only because the residence of therapists is known. And if that is not enough, there is a big chance that the perpetrator network can connect therapists to their clients through all kinds of 'meaningless details'.
I understand that we want to be heard. That we want recognition and access to help. But we will not achieve that in this way. Talking to the Hendriks Committee is talking to a very reluctant committee, which does not have our interests and safety in mind. Do we really want to risk our lives by talking to people who have not shown in any way that they have our best interests at heart?
There is another way to make a statement. If all the advocacy groups withdraw their confidence from the committee and if victims refuse to talk to the committee, the final report will be a report without victim statements. As a result, it will have no weight whatsoever. It will then be clear to anyone of good will that something is wrong and that the investigation is flawed. And anyone who is prepared to think a little further will wonder why the two hundred victims who spoke to Argos refused to speak to the Hendriks Committee. It is precisely by remaining silent en masse that we let our voices be truly heard.
I expect that there will be people who will not want the latter, who will keep calling on you to go and talk to the committee anyway. People who will claim by all means that it is really safe or worth the risk. That your statements and names would obviously never be given to the accused and that, should statements otherwise fall into the hands of the perpetrator network, the chance is very small that she will recognise you in your statements. Maybe it is time to ask ourselves the same question with these people as we had to do with the Lower House after the rejection of the motion asking for an independent commission... namely whether this is a lack of insight or whether these people are consciously or unconsciously influenced by the perpetrator network.
I would like to appeal to you: please do not put your lives at risk by talking to the Hendriks Committee. Just by remaining silent now, let us repeat again and again: "We will only talk to an independent commission that has our safety and our interests at heart."