Ritual abuse

Cults and rituals

What lies behind the term organised ritual abuse? Which perpetrator structures are involved? Reports from those who have escaped show that numerous cults and networks of varying sizes exist with different focusses but which are interlinked.

++ Warning, this text contains triggers ++

Overview of contents

Various cults

On the one hand, certain cults have an ideological superstructure that justifies their violence. These include Satanic groups, occult groups and secret societies, sects and cults as well as fascist and Nazi groups.

On the other, they involve criminal networks engaged in paedophilia, child trafficking, child pornography and criminal, violent exploitation with children and adults. All of these groups act on a smaller regional or larger international scale.

A third group is described by escapees who experienced mind control as part of state-financed secret service projects or who were used for medical experimentation. It’s possible that some groups fall into multiple “categories” or “ideologies”.

Group networks

Susanne’s example:

Susanne grew up in a family that had been involved in Satanism for generations. They regularly met up in secret with members of the group to celebrate rituals and worship Satan. Typical aspects of such rituals include sexual orgies in which women and children are raped. Susanne wasn’t just abused there but was also passed around to other groups that “required” young children for their own rituals. Since a dissociative identity was programmed into her from birth and she was characterised by the violence inflicted upon her, her group could earn lots of money through her. She was regularly sold to paedophiles who abused her. The violence perpetrated against her was filmed by her own group. This produced material that could be sold online as child pornography and used to blackmail clients. Susanne was sometimes taken to large private parties where children would have to obey the guests’ demands. Some of the other children didn’t survive the parties.


It’s important to understand that ritual abuse and organised abuse are closely interrelated. Many children found in violent child pornography material or abused in paedophile circles come from families that have been part of ideological groups for generations. Children who grow up in this environment are not just victims of abuse but are also often turned into “perpetrators” to reinforce their connection to the group. Adult victims remain part of the ritual and network structures, are involved in the group’s activities and work in a concealed area of forced prostitution.

Two perpetrator groups usually exist for victims: Groups in which they are raised and client groups. There are customer groups worldwide with a sadist interest in abusing, torturing and killing children. These customers are prepared to pay lots of money for this.

For me, taking a holiday with my parents meant leaving me alone on a yacht with lots of men.

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The perpetrators built a framework of serious fear of punishment and the outside world. I was often confined to a small coffin for several nights and was buried alive in the coffin for several hours. Close contact with the outside world was forbidden and enforced with threats of punishment. My family presented itself as a model upper-class family.

Satanist ritual abuse doesn’t involve teenagers dressing up in black, lighting candles in their basements and listening to songs about the devil.
Satanist cults have members in influential areas of society – highly organised and networked. This is how they get away with torture, human sacrifice and human trafficking.

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Groups around the world

These perpetrator structures are found both in Germany and around the world. A 2007 study surveyed 1,400 people who had been affected by extreme violence. Those surveyed came from all continents of the world. Their responses overlapped greatly in terms of belonging to groups and the nature of violence experienced.

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