What’s the motive?

Why is the media trying to discredit Heal For Life?

What’s the first thing you ask someone who you want to accuse of being an alcoholic? You ask them if they’re an alcoholic, so when they say no, you can say that denial is the first symptom. But what if they’re NOT an alcoholic? It doesn’t matter, because no matter what they say, you’ve already discredited them.

So if you want to attack an institution, why not find people who will claim there’s talk of conspiracy theories and satanic abuse, so that when you ask people why they’re being discredited, if they then say that they think it’s part of a smear campaign, you can then attack them as being paranoid. You can discredit someone even further, while they try to defend themselves. Their only option is NOT to defend themselves. Then people will also claim if they’re not defending themselves, it must be true. It’s quite brilliant manipulation really.

Last night, the 7:30 Report did a piece about Heal For Life. While admitting that they have an excellent track record of healing visitors, (which is 90%) they then went on to show a bunch of past volunteers and facilitators who were unhappy about their experiences while working at Heal For Life. Several newspapers have also grabbed on to the story this morning.

I attended a healing week at Heal For Life. It was an amazing experience. I learnt more about myself in one week at Heal For Life, and came home happier, and more at peace with myself than any other experience I’ve had on my long road to healing. While I was there, there was no discussion of satanic abuse. It was never suggested to me that I was a victim of satanic abuse. I never heard anyone else discuss it either. The first day I was there, we signed a statement saying we would not engage in self harm, and could be sent home if we did. There was a strict rule about no alcohol or drugs on the premises. There was also a strict rule about no touching, (although you could ask someone if they wanted to share a hug, and they could say no) and definitely no sex at the facility, even if it was consensual. We were told if anyone was found being intimate, they would be sent home. If one of the carers was having “consensual sex” with the attendees, as stated in the report, I can fully understand him being terminated. People are vulnerable, and open. It’s not the time to be having sex, while you’re dealing with sex abuse.

No matter where you go, if you find any place of employment, volunteer organization, even a church, you’re going to be able to find people who are disgruntled and who will talk bad about it. I’ve had several jobs that if you asked me, I could state reasons the place sucked. It doesn’t mean it’s true, but that’s my opinion. While volunteering with the Boy Scouts, we went on a trip to Mexico. It was right as the shit was hitting the fan down there. I’m surprised we were allowed to go. I didn’t think a lot of the things we did on the trip were safe. It was a caving trip, and we were inside a mammoth cave far from medical help. We had a bunch of youth with us. If anything had gone wrong, people could have died. But here’s the thing about being a volunteer. If you don’t like it, you can stop doing it. Which is what I did. After that trip, I stopped volunteering with the scouts. I hated the caving trips, it meant it wasn’t fun anymore because that’s all we did, so I just stopped doing it. I’ve also had jobs I hated, so I left.

If volunteers at Heal For Life felt burnt out, they could have stopped. They could have said, “Hey, I need a break for a while.” It’s OK to take a time out. In fact, one of the biggest lessons I learnt at Heal For Life was that it’s OK to say NO. It’s OK to make yourself number one. I have no doubt that being a carer or facilitator at Heal For Life is stressful. We were told not to go into detail of our own abuse with other attendees, because of transference. I can understand this because after I publicly told my story, I had hundreds of people email me, call me, or tell me their stories in person. Most days I was glad people felt like they could share with me, but other days it can be highly depressing. Some of the things I heard at Heal For Life were very sad, and I’m sure that hearing those things frequently can be very disheartening. But I also heard from the carers that they switched out frequently, to avoid being burnt out.

At the end of the week, we were given information on people who attended several healing weeks who went on to become carers. I wouldn’t say they were “recruiting” people. We knew that all carers were past attendees, and that there was an opportunity to become a carer if we desired it. Part of what makes Heal For Life unique is that it is staffed by past attendees. People who understand what you’re going through. Too many people have been to see a counselor or psychiatrist and had no success because they feel like the shrink is just sitting there doodling and not even listening. They just look up occasionally, say “and how does that make you feel?” and then tell you they’ll see you again next week. When you go to Heal For Life, you’re surrounded by people who understand what you’re going through. Nobody would dare pat you on the back and say “There, There, it’s all better now. Get over it and move along with your life.” But if a carer feels like it’s too much for them, it’s up to them to take a time out, and say that they can’t deal with it, and have somebody else step in. If you don’t think you’re trained enough to help others, then don’t.

I question the motives of the report on Heal For Life. If they can admit they have a great success rate with attendees, why are they doing a report on the staff, and the management. It looks very much like a smear campaign against Liz Mullinar. She can’t come out and defend herself at this stage, because if she does, the media will claim she’s paranoid. They’ve got some unhappy formers staff to say she’s paranoid, and if she now says people are trying to discredit her, it’s like fulfilling the prophecy. The whole report came off as people pointing a finger at Liz.

We’re in the middle of a Royal Commission. There’s a lot of unhappy people in high places that are looking to discredit anyone and everyone who might say something against them. There’s also the fact that Liz Mullinar was actually the casting director on Hey Dad..! She’s widely known in the entertainment industry, and there are many more actors like me who have experienced abuse in the industry. Several actors have been through the program at Heal For Life. If anyone was ready to speak out the way I have, I wouldn’t put it past some of the perpetrators to try to discredit Liz, in an attempt to discredit the victims. There has always been rumours of groups of people in the industry, who were cult like, or involved in satanic rituals*. If any of those victims were getting ready to speak out, their defense would be that Liz planted those ideas in their heads. That she helped make it up. Their cases would be thrown out, because they’ve already discredited Liz. For the record, I don’t know if any of the rumours are true, I just know they exist.

We’ve already seen how many cases have been swept under the rug in Australia. How many cases have been ignored. How many cases had nothing done till somebody went public. (Not just me). We’re also seeing lots of high profile people, including judges and magistrates, who are themselves being arrested for sexual assault against children. Victims are starting to talk. These people who thought that they were protected are starting to feel the heat. They’re worried their little worlds are going to crumble. I have no doubt that the people in power, who are very high up in society, who have been getting away with it for years, would stoop to levels of discrediting someone who is helping victims, if they thought it meant they could save their own asses.

So I just have to wonder why the ABC chose to go hunting to find past carers of Heal For Life. Why did they do the story? Whose idea was it? How much coercing was involved in getting these people on air? Did the carers approach the ABC, or did the ABC go looking for the story? Does Media Watch ever investigate stories on the ABC, or just from the commercial networks? What’s the point of this investigation? Are there genuine concerns about Heal For Life, or is this just a witch hunt against Liz personally?

Liz may not be able to ask these question herself, because they’ve already set the grounds for her to be paranoid about organizations trying to discredit her, but I can. Liz wasn’t at my healing week, and I haven’t seen her in person since about 1995. I had just returned from Honduras, and was at an audition, and she asked me straight up if I had ever been touched on set. I was terrified of answering her honestly, so I just told her my mum said if I couldn’t say anything nice, not to say anything at all. I didn’t know that she knew the truth, and had helped in finding replacements on the show because of it. I always wish I had been strong enough back then to tell her the truth. Things may have turned out much differently for all of us.

Alas, the past is the past, and all I can do is focus on the upcoming trial. I know that Liz will be there for me if I need her to be. I just hope that Heal For Life will also be there if I need it.

*I’m not linking to it, because of defamation idiots in Australia, but Google “the paedophile and satanic network in Australia” I have no idea if this is true or not, but there are rumours and innuendos out there that it does exist, and it involves some very interesting people.

12 Replies to “What’s the motive?”

  1. Well said Sarah …the ABC didn’t go looking for dirt a handful of disgruntled employees contacted them when the newspaper article didn’t work. These ppl came off as contradictory with no real message in their complaints. What I want to understand, is these ppl know how well the program works, it worked for them, it works for 90% of guests, sometimes ppl need to revisit their week again ..to say cutting is encouraged is ludicrous, to say carers don’t get trained is too ..if you feel yourself getting burnt out, get out before you do simple really, self care is big on the agenda at HFL . The ex Carer Harry admitted to being involved in sex w guests, that tells me his character is marred, so why would I listen to his complaints …HFL will weather this cos it’s based on lies …

  2. Well said Sarah I wonder why the 7.30 Report did not bother to interview any of the thousands who have attended HFL and now lead more positive lifestyles thanks to Liz and HFL if the ABC is unbiased reporting…

  3. “She can’t come out and defend herself at this stage, because if she does, the media will claim she’s paranoid.”

    Why? She’s just been attacked. Defending oneself is not paranoia. I would argue that she MUST defend herself and her organisation. Because it is her organisation, regardless of any delusion of a ‘flat leadership structure.’

  4. Thank you for saying pretty much what I wanted to say. My experiences at HFL set me on the most positive path of my life to date, but a LOT of what helped was the element of self-care – to look after myself, take time out if needed, and to be aware of my unhealthy coping strategies. Only through these did I learn why I use the unhealthy strategies and how to look after myself at the earliest urge to indulge in those strategies. This was a crucial part of my healing journey and it was my time at HFL that prompted it. I would not be the person I am today without HFL. It is awful that these people feel they have been hurt more by their HFL experiences, but it is not a one-size-fits-all program. There are people I’ve met in psychiatric wards and therapy groups who feel further traumatised by their hospitalisation – it happens in a lot of places where people allow their vulnerabilities to be seen and worked with, not just at HFL, unfortunately. I wish the program had sought out other opinions. I would have been happy to participate!

  5. Thank you Sarah very well said , i have been involved with heal for life for ten years now , i help behind the scenes a lot and dont see Liz a lot these days , i came to heal for life to heal from satanic abuse , liz wasnt working at that healing week , i know my story it was not forgotten , my family is still very much into the beliefs now in 2014 and no one ever implanted any ideas into my mind .
    Liz kept me alive for years emailing every day with words of love and kindness , she recommended a therapist for me to see which i did see for a long time , so that blows the accusation that LIZ thinks therapists are baddies ,
    Liz and i had some conflicts over the years as we are both human and survivors and we trigger each other at times , some days i get infuriated with her and other times i was very annoying to her but we always took some time out and then came together as adults and resolved with Love and forgiveness and hence i am still helping HFL ten years later , liz always kept my issues private and when i asked liz where harry was she told me there had been some complaints against him but couldnt discuss the circumstances as it was confidential .
    The carers involved seeked out the ABC , i think they were hoping for me to join forces thinking because Liz and i sometimes had difference of opinions , that i would jump over the fence to their side , it actually made me feel unsafe and it has meant me having to cut ties with some very close friends in my life because i wasnt going to be put in a place of feeling unsafe after feeling so safe for so many years now , and finally enjoying my life .
    Never have i heard self harming encouraged at HFL liz has actually roused on me when i sent emails threatening to hurt myself for being selfish and scaring others and for not caring for myself and not seeking help when i got self harm thoughts , yes self harm may be discussed as it is in the mental health sector , when you are admitted into mental health you go to classes or sessions and yes one of the topics is self harm but never is it encouraged , if a carer thinks someone is going to self harm an ambulance would come and the guest would be assessed and if need be taken to hospital .
    I could comment on the people on the report last night one of them made healing for me very difficult breached my privacy and treated me like a freak and told terrible scandalous lies about me and my healing came to a halt at one stage and the person was given time out for a few months to heal and think about their behaviour , but whats the point of being malice this person too was a survivor and needed to heal and heal for life is about love and forgiveness and being tolerant . And liz helped us to tolerate each other and be civil even with our differences .
    My main concern is all the people that are feeling unsettled and unsafe now due to this report and all the people who are genuinely survivors of Satanic ritual abuse like me who may be feeling unvalidated now . No one implanted thoughts into my head i didnt need to recover memories i never forgot and my story is true as horrific as it seems .
    I ask the ABC to publicly invite others to speak in a positive manner for heal for life and give a two sided story , not just a story from a small handful of disgruntled ex carers and workers .

  6. Thank you Sarah , cut a long story short i didnt have to recover memories at heal for life ten years ago i remembered my SRA and Liz wasnt even on most my healing weeks .no one implanted satanic ritual memories in me , its my truth . Its exists but i dont go around advertising it .
    Some of the people making the report last night have been in appropriate at healing weeks i attended and were giving leave , time out for their behaviour .
    I have never been encouraged to self harm , liz taught me not to self harm , my life was worth living . Liz and i have had disputes over the ten years i have affiliated with HFL but we resolved through the appropiate channels as adults and our conflict strengthened our healing , after all Liz and I are both humans and survivors so sometimes we disagree , never have i been made feel unworthy by Liz but i have been made to feel unsafe by one of the disgruntled people appearing last night , the persons tried to create scandals and spread lies about me and i still have the written complaint in regard to it ,
    Most of the smear was the fact that they couldnt time manage themselves and burn out but you can say NO at heal for life any time you want . In my opinion it was just nasty attack and smear and i am disappointed ABC didnt allow others to counter react .
    Liz has stood by me for ten years emailled me daily when i seriously ill . Taught me self love , acceptance , Not to self harm and not to blame others for my poor choices .
    Harry has been fishing for recruits to smear Liz for months , gathering information over lunches and yet no telling us he is guilty of breaking important rules that are set down for safety of vulnerable people .
    I have seen many guests sent in an ambulance to be assessed when they threaten to self harm ,
    I found the whole story utter nonsense and very disappointed in ABC for airing it .

  7. Well said Sarah I’m an ex guest and volunteer at heal for life.
    Heal for life saved my life.

  8. Thank you, Sarah, for this wonderful blog. I’ve done several healing weeks with Mayumarri/HFL and never heard anybody talking about SRA nor have I seen anybody self-harming during the retreats. All volunteer carers were doing a GREAT job, they listened and came from the heart; how much training do you need for that?? I’m so grateful for Liz’ initiative to organise those retreats, they have been so very helpful to me. I feel very sad about this ‘smear campain’ and how it will affect survivors who have been supporting HFL. I cann’t believe ABC is giving credit to those disgruntled ex-employees and, in my opinion, haven’t investigated the matter properly.

  9. The ABC was incredibly unbalanced and I would have liked to hear from people whose experience at HFL was positive, because it seems there are plenty of those. I am an ex ASCA member whose dealings with Liz and Rod were favourable.

  10. I found healing with my experience at HFL. I found the carers loving and kind. I found Harry appropriate and kind too.
    I found Liz nice but stand offish with some people. Its like there was some she would include and others
    she would exclude. I found this difficult to watch happen. I was lucky enough to be included….
    I did 2 healing weeks and found them helpful for me and I think it should be okay to say like us all,
    Liz is a normal human being with positives and negatives… (and lets not make her like an untouchable saint )….

    but I don’t think making up complaints and going to the media is the way to approach what could have been
    a workable solution focus situation.

    I like Liz and I wont forget she is just like us all…. human … and I don’t require to hang on every word she speaks just
    because is the ” founder” of HFL a place I found healing and support…

    I respect Liz for herself and not because she is the founder etc.
    It is lovely and kind if Liz emails other regularly..

    I believe Liz’s heart is loving and kind. I believe her life is good and well lived. I believe she is doing all she can to bring change.

    but also , keep her human , keep her real , keep her transparent and approachable in our minds…

  11. Namaste Sarah,

    I was reading the Newcastle Herald yesterday and stumbled across the allegations against Liz and Heal for Life. As I continued to google the story, I came across your excellent blog. Like yourself I am a huge fan of Liz and have total respect for all the work she has done for survivors in Australia and worldwide. She is truly remarkable.

    But alas, I am one of the 10% where the healing week for me, turned into an unmitigated disaster. The fall out has been huge and as a result I haven’t worked for the last 5 years. Of course I am not blaming ‘Heal for Life’ for all of that fall out – but that healing week significantly caused a massive tailspin in my life that I am yet to recover fully from.

    I am one of those people who left the healing week with false memories of SRA and found that staff to be lovely but totally unqualified for the trauma they were dealing with in my group. But the irony is – nobody was planting memories, there was nothing sinister or cultish going on. It is just something that happened.

    I applaud an investigation, but I definitely don’t believe in a witch hunt against Liz or ‘Heal for Life’. You raise excellent points in how the media could turn this investigation into such a witch hunt and sabotage the discourse on abuse. I don’t want to see that either. However I would like to see some sort of accountability from Heal for Life – that there is a % us who leave with false memories. Until now it appears that the unofficial ‘Heal for Life’ party line on this has been to put the blame back on the survivor for having a psychiatric disorder or just paranoid themselves.

    As I stand back from it all now, years later. I think there is an energy dynamic that arises from healing trauma in a communal setting that can lead to a cross contamination of memories. Given my experience and that of others, I believe it is imperative that ‘Heal for Life’ accepts this happens and seeks to understand the phenomena better so that people don’t have to go through what I did. For me, this does not discredit the excellent work Liz and ‘Heal for Life’ does.

    I wish you continued strength, peace and laughter on your journey.

  12. This place saved our life! I was still being abused when I first went to Mayumarri 17 years ago. Holy crap, literally 17 years ago, October 2000. It was so different back then but the programs and the healing weeks have just gotten better as things have progressed. I wish people would stop writing rubbish.

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