Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) can be defined as the psychological, sexual, and/or physical assault forced on an unwilling human victim and committed by one or more Satanists according to a prescribed ritual, the primary aim of which is to fulfill the need to worship the Christian devil, Satan.
Whether or not SRA actually exists has been a controversial topic since 1980. Although most people in some US states and Canadian provinces believed during the late 1980s and early 1990s that SRA was widespread, there is a near consensus among investigators at this time that SRA is either nonexistent or occurs at an extremely low and undetectable level.
It is important to realize that the above definition is relatively restrictive. It excludes a number of behaviors which are known to exist:
Abuse by non-Satanic, abusive pedophiles 2 who pretend to be Satanists in order to gain better control of their victims through fear.
Mass murderers by a person who claims to be a Satanist and who tries to use the "Devil made me do it" defense when captured. They are generally found to have little or no knowledge of Satanism.
Abuse and murder by psychotic individuals and psychopaths who are primarily motivated by their mental illness, not by any religious belief system.
Abuse by non-Satanists who engage in behaviors like SRA but are motivated by Christian or other beliefs.
Many cases of False Memory Syndrome involve bizarre and often impossible events, such as in cases of Satanic Ritual Abuse.
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