What is NST?

Ritual Abuse-Torture


What is Ritual-Abuse Torture?

Ritual abuse-torture (RAT) is the abuse and torture of children and captive adults within violent organizing family/group systems and gatherings and is a form of non-State torture (NST).

The Purpose of Ritualisms

Ritualisms generally function to organize many aspects of people’s everyday lives and the culture and societies they live in. Ritualisms influence people’s beliefs, values, thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, and motivations, shaping their behaviors. Ritualisms impact on a person’s way of fitting into families or groups—work, play, church, and friendship networks. Ritualisms shape positional power in relationships i.e., leaders over followers, men over women, parents over children.

Ritualisms serve the same functions within violent organized family/group systems. They commonly involve a leader, an audience of like-minded others, and their victim(s)—infants to adults. The use of ritualism serves to normalize all forms of sadistic family/group torture influencing and reinforcing groupthink, cohesiveness, and belongingness. Ritualisms helps shape perpetrator-victim relationships. Perpetrators assert domination over victims, overwhelming them with drugs and reality distortions using costumes, chants, darkness, terror, torture, and horrification pain; using omnipotent themes and roles, programming victims to fit into their victim role.

Perpetrators of Ritual Abuse-Torture  

Perpetrators include fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other like-minded family members, and friends or neighbors. They are men and women from all walks of life; they are men and women who use positional power as a cover; they are the rich and the poor, they are professionals, lay-persons, and clergy. They are organized and function as a liked-minded group who engage in non-State torture. They can have local, national, and transnational family/group interconnections.

Victims of Ritual-Abuse Torture

Ritual abuse-torture is perpetrated against children of all ages, some as young as infants. If victimized children are not identified they can become captive, enslaved adult victims. Ritual abuse-torture can happen in the home, in like-minded neighbors ’ homes, in buildings belonging to ritual abuse-torturers such as warehouses, cottages, cabins, on farms, out-of-doors, or any place that is safe for the perpetrators.


Victims have reported incidents in 20 countries, including: Canada, USA, Barbados, New Zealand, Australia, Antarctica, Madagascar, South Africa, Chad, England, Scotland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Hawaii, Hungary, Sumatra, Germany, Costa Rica, and Russia.

Acts of Torture reported by Victims

Physical Torture

Sexualized Torture

Mind-Spirit Torture

Burnt with cigarettes, lit candles and hot light bulbs.

Beaten on the soles of the feet.

Tied down hung by limbs.


Guns used as in Russian roulette. 

Made unconscious by choking, suffocating with a plastic bag, or face submerged under water. 

Forced to lie naked in the snow. 

Electric shocked.

A gun placed in one’s mouth, vagina, or anus and hearing the clicking sound when the trigger is pulled.

Violent family/group rapes. 

Raped with objects – weapons, knife, broom handle, tree branches, and kitchen items.

Forced to consume or be smeared with animal/human waste - vaginal fluid, sperm, blood, urine, and feces; forced into pornography, trafficked/snuff movies. 


Forced pregnancy/abortions.




Treated like an animal. 

Trained to commit suicide so they never tell.


Forced to participate in cruelty/killing of pets and witness the torture of others.


The commonly used term “ritual abuse” did not adequately describe the violent acts endured. The women said they had endured more than abuse; they had been tortured and had witnessed other children or adults being tortured. It was essential for their empowerment to have their ordeals named appropriately.