A Letter from Professor Frederick Crews
These letters are part of a set of letters issued to New York Magazine in response to their reporting on false memory and repressed memory. For greater context, and to see all letters, please start here.
A letter from Professor Frederick Crews, author of The Memory Wars, and Freud: The Making of an Illusion:
January 18, 2021
By suggesting that Pamela Freyd, in the 1990s, assembled the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in order to protect child molesters, Katie Heaney smears a woman whom many of us know as a model of compassion, devotion, and rational discernment. Pam Freyd brought our courts and some journalists to understand that therapeutically induced “memories” of horrific misdeeds, surfacing many years after the alleged fact, deserve credence only if they can be independently corroborated. In several insinuating ways, Heaney’s malicious article attempts to undermine that principle.
Jennifer Freyd had some good reasons to be disappointed in her father. But the question to ask is whether she or anyone else can suffer a decade of repeated molestation, from age three to age thirteen, without retaining any recollection of the events until being coaxed in adulthood by an advocate of “recovered memory.” That isn’t a psychologically plausible occurrence, as Heaney would have us believe. It is Freudian repression on steroids — an alleged phenomenon that has never been shown to exist.
Professor Crews reports that he received no reply.