Her Repressed Memories

by Armando Simón (June 2023)

The Bleeding Roses (Las rosas ensangrentadas)
, Salvador Dalí, 1930


They’re insane, literally insane. —Camille Paglia, Vamps and Tramps


Alan Foster drove down to visit his daughter in Tampa. She was attending college at the University of South Florida. As he walked around the campus, he was, once again, struck by the grotesque ugliness of the campus buildings. Most universities are noted for having a tranquil, idyllic atmosphere with unique, tasteful architecture. The word that came to mind when looking over USF was … Stalinesque. Not for the first time did he wish that Amy had, instead, attended the college in Gainesville, or maybe the ones in Tallahassee, Miami, or Orlando.

He passed a man wearing a skirt and earrings. He was easily remembered. From previous visits, he recognized him as one of the instructors at the college. Near the campus cafeteria, he passed a number of girls sitting on the lawn. One was in earnest discussion with another girl, her legs splayed apart, with her dark pubic hair cascading out of her shorts, apparently for her friend’s discreet inspection. Inside, there were various posters and announcements just outside of the cafeteria proper. There was a very large poster pasted to the wall with very realistically drawn figures; they consisted of a woman’s face buried between the legs of another, naked, woman; underneath, in defiant letters was the message: “Down with the repressive, racist, capitalist system! I have licked the inside of my Lesbian lover’s vagina!”

He found Amy waiting for him at a table with a sullen expression in her face. Alan smiled at seeing his daughter.

“Hi, honey,” he kissed her. She did not return the kiss.

“Hi,” she responded unenthusiastically.

“You don’t look well, honey. Are you all right?”


He turned a couple of her books to read the titles. The Courage to Heal was one. The other was Feminism Unmodified.

“Are these your textbooks?” he asked her, curious.

“Yeah, they are.” She took them out of his hand.

“Amy, you switched majors from History to this … Women’s Studies. How are you going to earn a living with that when you graduate?”

The transformation was instantaneous.

“That’s what you’d like, isn’t it? To keep me oppressed and ignorant all my life! Isn’t it? You’d love for me to just keep on being the way it was, but I’ve had my consciousness raised!”

“Shhh!” Foster said, cringing. Everyone was looking at their table, as surprised by the sudden outburst as he was.

“Well, get it through your head, Dad! I’ll never go back to a life of being suppressed in my aspirations! Never! I refuse to think of my only role in life as a sex object!”

“What? Suppressed? Sex object? And keep your voice down!”

“No! I won’t be silenced!”

“I’m not asking you to be silenced! I’m asking you to knock off the attention-getting hysterics. You’ve got the spotlight on you and everyone’s looking at you. That must be what you were really after, wasn’t it? You’re always trying to get attention.”

Amy started. The outburst subsided as suddenly as it had erupted.

“All I’m saying is,” said her father in as patient a tone as possible, keeping down his anger at her antics, “I don’t care what you choose your major to be, if you can make a living with a degree in it afterwards and are happy in it. I don’t care whether you choose Physics or Basket weaving, if that’s what you want to do for the rest of your life and you can make a living in it. That’s all I’m saying. And that’s why I’m paying for you to go to college.”

“You never told me why you dropped History, anyway.”

“Because it’s his-story. That’s why.”

“What do you mean?”

“His-story,” she repeated. “His … story? As opposed to Her … story.”

Foster stared at her.

“You’re joking. right?” he asked her, though he knew by the look on her face that she was serious.

“No, I’m not joking!” she snarled.

“Just because of a pun? A play on words?”

“Dad, how much blatant can it get? It says so, right up front: His … story. Nothing about women’s contribution to society. History is always about men— ”

“Cleopatra. Catherine the Great. Queen Elizabeth— ”

“ —never about women and their— ”

“ —Marie Curie. Margaret Thatcher. Indira Ghandi. Maria Theresa— ”

“—contributions to civilization.”

“ —Zenobia. Empress Wu. Florence Nightingale. Aspasia. Messalina.”

“Dad! They were only footnotes!”

“History is composed of nothing but footnotes!”

“You just don’t get it!”

Her father had a sudden inspiration.

“Amy … are you aware that in Spanish, this play on words doesn’t exist?”

“Eh?” She was puzzled now, caught off balance. “Historia. The word for ’his” in Spanish is él, but History isn’t Elstoria, its Historia. Besides, it’s considered feminine: la Historia.”

A blank look came over Amy’s face as her mind tried to reconcile this contradiction with her indoctrination.

“You almost had a major in History, you were almost finished, but you dropped it because of a play on words? Amy, what’s happened to you in this place?”

Alan left her a little while later. He was feeling uneasy, more so because he was uncertain of what he began to think of as an invisible presence with his daughter. He went on to take care of some business in the city prior to driving back. Originally, he had planned to check out Ybor City’s Cuban cigar rollers, something that a snowbird had told him about once while visiting him, but now he was not in the mood.


A month later, Amy came up for the Thanksgiving vacation. Her parents noticed that she was acting morose and Alan asked his wife to talk to their daughter, maybe she would open up with her. She did so and learned that Amy had voluntarily gone in for counseling, apparently to a psychologist that one of her new instructors had urged on her and held sessions at the campus. During her stay, she would vacantly stare at different areas of the house, or in her room frown and stare at different spots, as if trying to recollect something.

In the early beginning of the next semester, Amy dropped her bombshell. She publicly accused her father of having repeatedly raped her as a child.

It turned out that her memory of the trauma (she was now termed a “survivor”) had been repressed through the years, and, through the intervention of this particularly progressive psychologist, an expert in the field, having dealt with many similar cases, had the repressed memory been allowed to surface. The psychologist, a progressive liberal who felt that he was way ahead of his time and unappreciated, and was a male feminist to boot, had used hypnosis as a tool.

Amy, at the urging of Da Sisters, and accompanied by glowering supporters, then drove up to confront her father, taking him completely by surprise, shrieking accusations at him, faithfully following the scenario that she had formed in her mind.

Alan Foster was stunned, wordless, the blood drained from his face. His wife, shocked, walked out on him, right there and then. She was kindly brought back to USF by Da Sisters and housed in a Shelter for Abused Women. At Amy’s urging, she attended Consciousness Raising workshops where she, in turn, learned that all these years her husband had repressed her, oppressed her and suppressed her.

Because of the statute of limitations, Amy could not press legal charges against her father, though she tried, and threw marathon temper tantrums at police headquarters, accompanied by her supporting Sisters, accusing the police of maintaining the centuries-old system of male oppression.

A distraught Foster approached a friend, who happened to be a psychologist and told him of his family’s overnight disintegration.

“How could this therapist do such a thing?”

His friend was very hesitant in speaking, as if he was showing a stranger the skeletons in his family’s closet.

“Things … are not what they should be … in the field.”

Alan waited. Nothing more was forthcoming. Finally, he prompted, “Do you think that you can be a little bit more specific?”

The man sighed.

“In the past decade or so … the field of psychology … has been infiltrated … and completely taken over … by Politically Correct fanatics. The APA is firmly in their hands. Totally infested. Totally entrenched. They cannot be dislodged. They … have fostered … well! In regards to your situation … the feminist ideology is to be forcibly promoted—unquestioningly. In all its variations which, in your case, means … that all fathers molest, if not rape, their little daughters.”

“That’s monstrous!”

“Yes. As a result, psychology is rapidly becoming discredited. That and other reasons. And after we had labored for so long to make it a respectable field of study. That’s why there’s been a sudden drop in men majoring in psychology. Male Flight.”

“Are you saying that this shrink brainwashed my daughter into believing that I had raped her when she was a little girl?”

“I’m saying nothing of the sort! I  wasn’t present at the therapy sessions … though I’d be very interested in reviewing his notes. I said what I said to provide a sort of … background. It sounds, though, from what you told me. that the therapy sessions were the capstone. The groundwork was laid out beforehand.”

Foster was silently brooding.

“Not all psychologists have gone along with this trend. Those of us dissidents who haven’t, have ended up in the field’s equivalent of Siberia. The journals American Psychologist and Professional Psychology, for example … they refuse to publish any of our papers that contradict the dogma. In essence, we’ve been blacklisted.”

Foster continued brooding.

“Now, how can I put this? Ah! About, what, ten, twenty years ago, a psychiatrist came up with the idea of primal scream. If I remember right, he thought that most of life’s problems revolved around the trauma of birth and this trauma was given voice through the baby’s first cry. People needed to go back and relive the experience … or something of the sort. Anyway, the point is that the patients in his group therapy sessions invariably began to work themselves up to screams … I wonder what his neighbors had to say?”

Foster just brooded.

“Along the same lines,” he continued, “it’s a well-known fact, and a well-known joke, that patients who undergo Freudian psychoanalysis have Freudian dreams, and those who undergo Jungian psychoanalysis have Jungian dreams.” He smiled but Foster was not smiling back.

Then, his friend’s changed tone caught his attention and he realized that he was being given a message.

“Recently. the APA president wrote a paper in Professional Psychology bewailing the fact that many clinical and counseling psychologists . . . had become the object of retaliation by their victims—both physical and legal retaliation, mind you. It was … very interesting.”

Foster got up and left, after thanking him for his time.


The trial was well publicized and it surprised Foster at how many strangers approached him to verbally support him in his lawsuit against the therapist for malpractice, victims all in similar prior instances.

Yet, what really surprised Foster was the ease with which they won their case. An expert in memory gave testimony as to the malleability of memory; long memories were totally unreliable. Another explained a therapist’s inevitable influence on a client’s outlook. A feminist testified that Foster must have raped his daughter because he was a father. Another equally eloquent feminist testified that Foster must have done so because he was a man. Amy, too, gave testimony. It turned out that in one instance of rape, on her seventh birthday, Foster had been in Topeka on business for several days, while in another occasion, he had been in the hospital for a hernia. She continued to be nonplused, even after she incorrectly described her father’s penis as circumcised. The accused therapist had mysteriously lost his notes on the session. When asked about Amy’s discrepancy in her testimony with the facts, her therapist blithely waved the details away, since memory was unreliable, while the remaining essence of the trauma had to have been real. Her mother confirmed Alan’s lecherous, pedophilic ways; she recalled how he delighted in sitting Amy on his lap while he sang songs to her as a little girl.

When verdict was rendered, Alan’s supporters rejoiced. Predictably, Da Sisters cried and held an impromptu hugging, swaying, melodramatic, mourning session.

Foster’s face, however, showed no elation as his supporters patted his back in congratulations. Wasn’t he happy that he’d won?

“I’ve won nothing! Don’t you understand? Nothing!”

“You’ve been vindicated!”

“That shrink’s gonna have to pay damages!”

“I’ve won nothing! He’ll still have a practice. His insurance will pay for the damages, not him!”

“But you’ve been vindicated!”

“Not in the eyes of my daughter! That’s what counts. She still believes that I molested her. Don’t you see? She still believes that I did it! and that’s just as bad for her state of mind as if I had actually done it.”

“Then, why did you do all this for?”

“Because it had to be done,” he muttered, as he looked at Amy’s tearful visage.


Table of Contents


Armando Simón is a retired forensic psychologist and author of Orlando Stories, from which this story is taken.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


One Response

  1. A rare and valuable fictional presentation of the often real truth that futility and necessity often go together.

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