Recovered memories can occur for survivors of all ages who have experienced a variety of traumas. However, certain aspects of this case made Wehner and Lancaster especially likely to experience memory lapses.
When incidents of abuse occur repeatedly, it’s easy to assume that would mean a person is more likely to retain the memories. However, Pratt has found the opposite is often true. “In my experience, recovered memories do seem to be more common when the abuse is ongoing. My theory on this is that if a person comes to the realization that long-term abuse is going to be part of their daily life, they must find a way to cope with such a staggeringly difficult reality. This often creates a block in truly processing it. Survivors of long-term abuse must put up a wall in order to survive, and that wall often extends to themselves, as well,” she explains. Pratt also says that, because there’s such a stigma surrounding sexual abuse, “a survivor may not understand how to comprehend their trauma and feel deeply ashamed of it.”