The Realization of Abuse and the Role of Memory Among the Marilyn Manson Accusers


The point of realization of their abuse and the role memory played among the Marilyn Manson accusers is very significant to their cases. This is primarily because they have to account for the fact that it took them a significant amount of years to come forward with their accusations against Marilyn Manson. Furthermore, having taken so many years, legally they are up against the statute of limitations in their sought for justice, which is the reason why they sought to extend the statute of limitations with legislation, and have succeeded in doing so to a certain extent with the passing of the Phoenix Act.

Below I want to briefly go through what the main accusers against Marilyn Manson have said about how they came to a realization of the alleged abuse they suffered and what role memory played in their coming to this realization.


Evan Rachel Wood

- Vulture (July 22, 2017)

Evan has often talked about how her role as Delores in Westworld helped her deal with her trauma of domestic and sexual abuse, and in this context during a panel for the show she said the following:

"And to go on that journey with her and learn things about myself, and to put my own experiences in what she was going through, and using that as a vehicle to walk through my own false reality, or my own repressed memories or trauma and breaking through and coming out on the other side — it was just transformative and fun … I just gave everything."


- Nylon (January 31, 2019)

In this article, Evan describes how after a suicide attempt she checked herself into a mental hospital in 2010, and on the first night was asked certain questions by a staff member as she was checking in:

"After a few more questions, the woman gave a quick look to my mother, then back at me, 'I have to ask you about sexual abuse now,' she said.

My heart sank, my mother politely excused herself so as not to make me uncomfortable, and probably for her own sanity, then I proceeded to share with this new person all the trauma I could remember or had processed enough to identify as abuse. A lot of it was still buried, but I did my best."


- Testimony Before the California State Senate (April 23, 2019)

On April 23, 2019, Evan Rachel Wood testified in front of the California Senate Public Safety Committee, in support of the passing of the Phoenix Act, and during her testimony said the following:

"I have had to go through intense therapy to even fully understand what has happened to me."


- The View (March 14, 2022)

"He made me forget who I was. And it's taken me years to remember, and it's taken me years to get back to myself and to even understand what had happened to me."


- The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (March 14, 2022)

"You’re running, you’re trying to forget it happened, and then, of course, it catches up with you and I couldn’t run from it."

 
Summary:

Evan Rachel Wood has gone through a sort of evolution in how she explains coming to the full realization and memory of her abuse. Before she championed for the passing of the Phoenix Act, she talked about having "repressed memories" of her trauma, and though she could remember things partially they were for the most part "still buried". When she began championing on behalf of the Phoenix Act, and was more involved in the process with Illma Gore, and was more organized in aligning her story with the story of the other alleged survivors of abuse by Marilyn Manson, her story of realization began to emphasize less the memory loss and more on needing years to fully understand what was happening to her. After she named Marilyn Manson and later began promoting her documentary Phoenix Rising in March 2022, there was now more talk about her efforts after escaping the abusive relationship to try to forget what happened to her, suppressing it, but the symptoms of abuse brought her to seek therapy, and through therapy she was diagnosed with PTSD seven years after her abuse, among other things she was diagnosed with, and gradually came to understand the full extent of the abuse she suffered.


 
Esme Bianco

- Testimony Before the California State Senate (April 23, 2019)

On April 23, 2019, Esme Bianco testified in front of the California Senate Public Safety Committee, in support of the passing of the Phoenix Act, and during her testimony said the following:

"In order for a person to survive traumatic events, especially those that continue over a number of years, the brain normalizes the horrific truth. In such situations you are biologically incapable of grasping the true nature of these horrendous acts. This survival mechanism is as old as the human race and is the same for us all. My trauma had normalized the abuse to enable me to survive. It took me 7 years to get to the stage where I could see these acts for what they were — domestic violence.

After a diagnosis of PTSD, the symptoms of which I had been living with for years, I started the incredibly painful process of healing from my trauma. I am incredibly lucky to have good health insurance which covers therapy and the medications I need to take to treat my PTSD; but many survivors are not so fortunate. The process of healing has been so destabilizing, there are days I long to once again live in the ignorance of not understanding what happened to me."

 
- Twitter (May 17, 2019)

"I didn’t even understand my experiences to be domestic violence until I was diagnosed with PTSD 2yrs ago and I started to unpack my brain in therapy. Only then did the pieces start to fit together, and the painful process of healing began."


- Updated Court Complaint (October 7, 2021)

“It took Ms. Bianco years to understand the extent of Mr. Warner’s physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse."


Summary:

When Esme Bianco began talking publicly about her abuse in 2019, it had already been after she had spoken with Evan and other alleged survivors, and there were plans for passing legislation to extend the statute of limitations through the Phoenix Act. Because of this, as we saw with Evan above, there had to be less talk about memory loss and repression, which would have likely hindered the passing of the Phoenix Act, and more talk about needing years to "understand" what happened to her, and these years of understanding came to a realization of abuse for Esme, like Evan, seven years after the abuse when she was diagnosed with PTSD. According to Esme, her symptoms of abuse led her to seek therapy, and hearing the congressional testimony of Evan Rachel Wood in 2018 led her to team up with her and become an advocate on behalf of sexual abuse victims.


Ashley Morgan Smithline

- People Magazine Video Interview (May 5, 2021)

"I left and never looked back. I erased his number, I deleted every email, I deleted every photo. That was the beginning of suppressing everything that had happened with him."


- Court Complaint (June 30, 2021)

"It took Ms. Smithline years to understand the extent of Mr. Warner’s physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse. In fact, the true extent of the injuries suffered by Ms. Smithline were not fully realized until Fall 2020, when she began meeting with other survivors of Mr. Warner’s abuse. Ms. Smithline still fears the reach of Mr. Warner. Given his stature in the entertainment industry, the threat posed by Mr. Warner is not limited to Mr. Warner the individual. Rather, the threat is diffuse and shared among Mr. Warner’s legion of fans, supporters, and colleagues. As a result, Ms. Smithline has been forced to live in a constant state of fear...

When she met with the support group in Fall 2020, Ms. Smithline finally found a semblance of refuge. Ms. Smithline found in this group a network of survivors who helped her fully understand the trauma she endured. The network of supporters revealed something novel: the full extent of the unlawful acts suffered by Ms. Smithline.

Because Ms. Smithline recognized the unlawfulness of Mr. Warner’s actions and the extent of her injuries after these meetings with survivors in Fall 2020, the statute of limitations period for her causes of action were tolled and are timely."

 
Summary:

With Ashley Morgan Smithline, we again have the use of the phrase "years to understand" to explain why it took her so long to realize her alleged abuse. This realization came for her when the Survivors Meeting took place in October 2020, as documented in Phoenix Rising. It appears that before this meeting, she had made an effort to suppress the memory of her abuse, but in the process was diagnosed with PTSD and other things as a result of the abuse she allegedly suffered. However, in what appears to be a contradiction, as early as March 2019 Ashley Smithline was posting on social media about the alleged abuse she suffered.


Jane Doe #2 (Chloe Black)

Summary:

Jane Doe #2, a.k.a. Chloe Black, has clearly stated in all her statements and it has been repeated by her lawyers that she repressed her memories of abuse and rape from 2011 until February 2021, when she started reading the testimonies of other alleged abuse victims of Marilyn Manson. It was at this time that the memories came flooding back to her, and later she anonymously filed her complaint against Marilyn Manson on May 28, 2021. There have been efforts to have her case dismissed due to the statute of limitations.


Ashley Walters

Summary:

In March 2019, Ashley Walters first talked about the abuse she suffered through social media, which was also the day Evan, Esme and Ashley Smithline did the same. On this day, she claimed to not be able to talk about her abuse because she was afraid of getting in trouble by breaking her NDA. On April 23, 2019, when Evan Rachel Wood and Esme Bianco testified in front of the California Senate Public Safety Committee in support of the passing of the Phoenix Act, Ashley Walters was in attendance in the courtroom, as we see in Phoenix Rising. However, in her complaint against Manson filed on May 18, 2021, we read that Ashley had repressed her memory of abuse and did not realize the abuse she suffered until October 2020, when she attended the Survivors Meeting and heard the testimonies of other survivors. This is when her memories of abuse “flooded back”. On May 25, 2022, the Ashley Walters case was dismissed due to the statute of limitations and her lack of being able to supply evidence for her repressed memories.


Gabriella

"It has taken me five years to speak out and say that I was in an abusive relationship. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and still suffer from nightmares. I blocked out a lot of the memories, but the feelings remain and manifest in various ways."

Summary:

Gabriella issued this statement in February 2021 on social media, but has since deleted her statement and has not proceeded with seeking legal justice. Here she claims some sort of repressed memories as well, though it implies a partial memory of the abuse she allegedly suffered was maintained.

 
Conclusion:

Of all the alleged survivors of abuse at the hands of Marilyn Manson, all in one way or another claim some form of repressed memories which prevented them from realizing their abuse and coming forward legally against Marilyn Manson, with the exception somewhat of Esme Bianco. Those who were involved with the passing of the legislation of the Phoenix Act, namely Evan Rachel Wood and Esme Bianco, have come to steer away from talk that implies loss of memory or repression of memory due to the fact that it would likely have prevented or prolonged the passing of the Phoenix Act, since they would have likely been asked to prove their claim or at least it would have lessened their credibility. For this reason, they adopted new terminology based on needing years to come to an "understanding" of the trauma they suffered, which took them each seven years until they were diagnosed in therapy with PTSD. After years of coming to such an understanding of abuse, they realized they were indeed abused. Ashley Morgan Smithline talks about suppressing her memories of abuse, until she came together with other survivors in October of 2020 and realized she was indeed abused. It was during this same meeting in October 2020 that Ashley Walters also came to a realization of the abuse she suffered after previously having a repressed memory of her alleged ordeals. Jane Doe #2 claims to have had her memories of abuse flood back to her in February 2021, after reading the testimonies of other survivors.

Though I will address the issue of repressed memories in a separate article, I will just point out here that experts who have studied the issue in adults have pretty much come to the conclusion that repressed memories is a myth and it cannot happen. There is even high doubt it can happen to children, since with very young children the debate is whether or not the memories of abuse are repressed or simply just not retained, as is the case with many normal early childhood memories. If it can be argued with reasonable doubt that all the alleged victims of Marilyn Manson suffered in similar ways, and we were to assume of the possibility of repressed memories in adults, the fact that all these victims make similar memory claims is so extremely unlikely, that it would verge on the impossible. And this is if we allow for the possibility of repressed memories in adults.

The talk about needing "years to understand" the trauma suffered by abuse victims is a more credible way of talking about the situation, but it still implies an issue with some sort of memory loss, otherwise the explanation has to be that they interpret the abuse they suffered as being normal. In order to escape being trapped into having to answer for any type of memory loss, both Evan and Esme have indeed explained their situation as being "normalized". In other words, they explain the abuse they suffered as taking place for such a long time that the abuse became normal to them. This is why Evan has had to emphasize more and more that she was in a four year relationship with Manson, from 18 to 23 years old, even though this is technically not true, since she had an off and on relationship with Manson during this time, and in total the time they were together in a relationship amounts to a little over two years. Meanwhile, Esme's relationship with Manson was only a couple of months in 2011; before that they met on two other occasions since 2009 which only lasted a few days each. And though the normalization of abuse would take a lot longer in both cases (which is why they both try to make their relationships sound longer than the reality), if "normalization" is even possible (likely not), we must still insist that normalization is a form of memory loss and repression. In other words, you cannot escape the fact that taking years to understand you are abused still takes some form of memory loss or repression, no matter what terminology you use to cover it up.
 
 

 

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Welcome to Marilyn Manson Uncanceled! My name is John, and I am the author of the contents of this website. The contents of this website are written with a certain chronological order, which is why you should begin to read from the beginning, and all past articles can be found in the Archive. At the top of the main page, you will find three vertical parallel lines; by clicking on that you will be able to access the archive, as well as other resources to help you get the facts regarding the Marilyn Manson case. If you have any questions or want to send in some helpful information, do not hesitate to contact me. Please submit your email above to get updates on new posts.