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Sharon Wallace - Caveat Emptor / Unqualified advice

May 14, 2015
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Delaware City
Sharon Wallace - Caveat Emptor

Imagine, if you will, that you have been the subject of abuse and that you turn up one night with high expectations to hear Sharon Wallace, only to leave an hour later feeling utterly dejected and forlorn. Instead of her offering "hope, insight and some inspiration on a wide range of emotive and challenging topics" as stated on her website, I came away feeling cheated.

I once had the misfortune to attend one of her wretched "events". The whole experience left me disgusted and appalled. It was a mass of irritating homilies, self-pity, mawkish claptrap, old wives tales and cod psychology, all wrapped in a glutinous mass of self-affirmation and a sense of personal entitlement.

The whole purpose of her approach is to elevate herself to the detriment of her audience and others around her. On the latest research, or indeed any research, she has nothing to say. In fact, when I attempted to discuss this utter absence of any professional element to her delivery, she became evasive, hostile and indignant. At one point I thought she was going to erupt, so puce did her face become.

To truly appreciate the potency of Sharon's narcissism, one only has to read the inane platitudes on her website which she often rolls out in various forms at her events: "Try to imagine life as an abused child. Yet in even your darkest imagined thoughts you cannot comprehend what it's really like to be abused and abused by the people you thought you could trust. Your family." And, "You wouldn't wish the pain and suffering on your worst enemy. Abuse is a word – with haunting images."

Is this self-absorbed morbidness what should be emphasised with survivors of sexual abuse? This is followed by, "My life hasn't been one of luck or charm, nor do I believe I've led the life I was meant to." Besides the fact that no one can really knows what life they were meant to lead, what message does this send to people? Because you had been abused as a child you are doomed to lead some kind of inferior life? Is that what should be transmitted to abuse survivors?

What about this gem, "My belief is tough challenges in life happen to those who can cope with them." And, "Determination and courage are the only things you need in order to take the next steps towards Victory (sic) in your life and away from being, or feeling, a Victim (sic)." Well, bully for Sharon; she has the determination and courage to cope with tough challenges in life. So, what about people who do not have such steel? Indeed, many abuse survivors have had precisely their determination and courage ripped away from them.

All of this merely betrays Sharon's utter ignorance of the whole field of working with people who have been physically or mentally traumatised and indeed her own ignorance of her sense of entitlement, her lust for revenge, and that patently, she has by no means confronted her own "tough challenges".

Then we have the dismal nonsense about a polygraph test, the results of which she says designates her as "non-deceptive", which means a truthful person. Well actually, as anybody with merely a passing interest in legal matters will know, passing a polygraph test does not make you a truthful person; it simply means that some people, obviously Sharon is one of them, are capable of preparing themselves to pass a polygraph test. This is why polygraph evidence is not admissible in a court of law; especially a test taken 36 years after the events scrutinised.

Who knows what Sharon is capable of convincing herself of, given her immensely persuasive powers over such a span of time? And how on earth could she know that she is, "...one of a few people in the world who has elected to take the lie detector test as a victim?" I can lay bare the speciousness of Sharon's claim of moving from "Victim to Victor" by scanning the list of themes she expounds on (for a hefty fee of course). To quote the grande dame herself: "I speak on a wide range of subjects from 45 minutes to 2 hours, " including, to name but a few: Child abuse – from the child's perspective, Taking on the medical profession – and winning – when they gave me a hysterectomy without my consent, Life after bowel cancer and how to enjoy life despite a permanent ileostomy, My perspective on eating disorders – my life as both an anorexic and bulimic and My son is addicted to Class A drugs – a mother's candid story.

These talks are all about herself - as a victim, past, present, and future. And running through it like a black serpent of hate and resentment is Sharon's own monstrous ego, conceit, arrogance and vanity. I do not know what qualifications Sharon Wallace has. Strangely, she does not boast about these as she boasts of her more abstract achievements, such as "international motivational speaker", "author", "entrepreneur", "a woman of substance" and "integrity".

There has been recent research by Terri L. Messman-Moore, Patricia J. Long and Nicole J. Siegfried, all experienced doctors and practitioners in clinical psychology and working at national centres in the fields of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma, with specialisms oriented to child sexual abuse and associated factors including revictimisation, mental health issues in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, possible mediators of the relationship between abuse and adjustment, predictors of resiliency following victimisation and the role of the family in the occurrence and aftermath of abuse.

These women are, or have been, postdoctoral fellows in various eminent universities occupying professorial chairs on themes covering precisely the areas Sharon Wallace holds forth on. In the "The Revictimization of Child Sexual Abuse Survivors: An Examination of the Adjustment of College Women With Child Sexual Abuse, Adult Sexual Assault, and Adult Physical Abuse", they found that: "Child sexual abuse (CSA) is associated with greater vulnerability to victimization in adulthood. Such experiences may have a cumulative effect."

Well, exactly. But Sharon revictimises her customers twice over: first she offers snake-oil "therapy", false hope and spurious claims of respite, and second, she fleeces them for the privilege. No, Sharon's whole act and her little emotional string-pulling "events" are all about herself and no one else. She is only concerned with her own self-aggrandisement, peddling her books and other risible paraphernalia, all via the medium of a fake persona, deception and maudlin shmaltz. International speaker? I would not book her speak to an empty room, let alone damaged and vulnerable people. I consider her to be more than a charlatan. She is positively dangerous.

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