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A victim of violence and her many "personalities" have testified in Australian courts


To survive countless beatings, Jeni Haynes has created 2,500 personalities. Victim of a dissociative identity disorder, she was able to have her alter ego testify and obtain justice.

Now 49, Jeni Haynes has irreparable lesions in her eyes, jaw, intestines, anus and tailbone. Her father raped her, beaten and tortured, physically and psychologically, from the age of four to the age of eleven. To defend herself against this unspeakable horror, Jeni Haynes created a myriad of personalities. Exactly twenty-five hundred according to the BCC, who met her.

This appalling story, described by the Australian police as one of the worst cases of abuse in the country, occurred in Sydney between 1974 and 1981. The violence began when Jeni Haynes' family left London for the first time. 'Australia.

"My father's abuse was calculated and planned. It was wanted and he appreciated every minute , she said at the trial last May. He heard me begging him to stop, he heard me cry, he saw the pain and the terror he was inflicting on me, the blood and the wounds that resulted. And the next day he chose to start again. Her father had also convinced her that he could read his thoughts and that if she came to think of abuse, even alone, he would kill his mother, sister, brother and even his cat, Blackie, also described Jeni Haynes.

A woman who has suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of her father. Richard H ...

- 7NewsSydney (@ 7NEWS Sydney)

Multiple personalities, a "survival strategy"

Jeni ... but also Symphony, Muscles, or Linda. Because faced with the repetition of abuse, the personality of Jeni Haynes has multiplied, and she has developed a dissociative identity disorder. It is an infrequent "survival strategy" in response to " the extreme abuse and trauma the child has suffered," said psychologist Pam Stavropoulos. Unable to handle the violence of abuse, the little girl she was passing over to an alter ego to fragment her pain. The first personality that Jeni created is Symphony. "She endured every minute of Dad's mistreatment and when he abused me, his daughter Jeni, he was actually abusing Symphony," the victim told the BBC.

Over time, Symphony itself has created other personalities to survive, each of whom has to deal with an element of abuse, be it physical abuse or trauma-like odor. As the BBC interviews Jeni, Symphony takes over. His voice becomes more acute, more feminine and fast. "Dad's abuse was extreme, violent, sadistic, inevitable, constant and potentially fatal," she says.

Apart from Symphony, who is four years old, multiple personalities coexist in Jeni's head: Muscles is a great adolescent, calm and protective; Volcano, a rocker dressed in black leather; Ricky, an eight-year-old boy dressed in a suit; Judas, a little red, always on the point of speaking; Linda, an elegant young woman ... Thousands of people against thousands of abuse.

A historical and judicial first

This trial, in which a person with a dissociative identity disorder was able to testify his alter ego, is a first in Australia, and perhaps even in the world. The Sydney court has indeed allowed Jeni to summon thirty of his personalities to testify to the violence that each suffered. "We were not scared. We waited so long to tell the world exactly what he did to us and now he can not shut us down , " Jeni said during the trial.

"The nature of the condition is such that it breeds skepticism, disbelief and unease about its causes - partly because people have a hard time believing that children can be subjected to such extreme abuse" said psychologist Pam Stavropoulos. According to her, "the case of Jeni is important because it allows a broader awareness of this very difficult state of health (...) that is not yet sufficiently known".

Confronted with his daughter, Richard Haynes pleaded guilty after about ten hours of about thirty charges, including rapes, sodomies and touching. On September 6, the Sydney court delivered its verdict. The 74-year-old man was sentenced to 45 years in prison, the heaviest penalty for child abuse in the country's history.

Diane Regny

Source: lemonde

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