Cruelties need context. Needless assertions of civilizational standards should be treated with caution – there is much to suggest that civilizations, at least historically, abound in incest, be it symbolically or in actuality. That child protection is fundamental is unquestionable. But morally nervous displays, such as those of the Daily Mail, are themselves cultural indicators – rather than being seen as victims, the family in question is deemed a circus act in the forum of morality, an abnormality to be punished. They clamour for the flood, vengeful punishment and final resolution. That an incest ridden family in rural Australia has seemingly become the great focal point of indignation and psychological pondering suggests more about its interpreters than it might about a family.
London psychiatrist Joyce Martin, at the time one of a handful of doctors licensed to
use small doses of LSD to rediscover repressed memories, played a crucial role. During the course of treatment in 1967, Leslie experienced searing pain. Two sessions later, she recalled the first rape. It would be years before all the memories gradually resurfaced, including the weird role of Stella, Stanley’s mother, in two shady drugged rituals. Leslie also recalled Stella incarcerating her, aged 13, in a sanatorium for brutal ECT treatment to further ‘fry’ her memories. She has been able to verify some details by speaking to others, including the family friends who cared for her in her fragile state afterwards. Leslie confronted Stanley in 1972 when he visited London to record a show for the BBC.