Thursday, April 14, 2011

Critics of Sarah Abrahamson #1

This is the first in a series of responses to Sarah Abrahamson's claim in the letters column of the May 2011 issue of North & South, that she has encountered nothing but widespread agreement with her theory that Frame had high-functioning autism.

Except for my opposition of course. It is in her interests to portray me as alone and unsupported in questioning the veracity of the biographical descriptions on which she made her controversial and publicity-grabbing speculation that Frame had "strong autistic features".

I will also be responding in due course to Abrahamson's defamatory comments about me in the same forum. Abrahamson and one of her protegees have increasingly been making slanderous claims concerning relationships in the Frame family and Abrahamson's personal attack on me published by the editor of North & South is for me the last straw. Abrahamson says "Pamela Gordon has sent me extensive material with the aim of convincing me to retract this opinion"; "after extensive discussions"; and "despite significant pressure from Gordon to change my mind".

These falsehoods conflict somewhat with Abrahamson's equally defamatory statement that "Gordon in particular refuses to communicate with any relative who disagrees with her over this issue".

To my knowledge there is only one "relative" who disagrees with me over this issue. I don't communicate with that person it's true, but that's more because she's quite simply an obsessively envious and malicious gossip who tells lies about me (on National Radio, to Kim Hill, most notably!) rather than for anything she says about our aunt. It is her who burnt that bridge. The truth is that this cousin who was not raised in the family, received much compassion and sympathy and friendship from me and my family when she appeared out of nowhere, but increasingly the chip on her shoulder and her strong hostility towards Janet Frame and the Gordon family have meant that she has alienated herself.

 Abrahamsom's portrait of me as continually hounding her with attempts to bully her into a change of mind, is completely false and is yet another of her public and private attempts to assassinate my character and to discredit my honestly held and declared opinion.

Quite simply the fact is that I exchanged a short series of emails with Dr Abrahamson in October 2007, when her article first came out, and I have never corresponded with her since. I quickly realised her belief in Frame's autism was an article of religious faith and not subject to rational discussion. She clearly didn't comprehend the material that I did send her at the time (which included the letter from Professor Cawley, which I sent her to counter her own claim that Frame had never received an adequate psychiatric diagnosis).

I wouldn't waste my time arguing with any kind of fundamentalist, and I have not pressured or hounded Abrahamson, nor have I answered any of the abusive emails she has occasionally sent me, although I showed one to my GP and he recommended that I should complain about it to the Australian Medical Council.

Abrahamson has had no "considerable pressure" from me, no "extensive material" from me, no "extensive discussions" with me; I have not made any attempts to make her or anyone else "retract" anything.

Since October 2007 I have spoken up only rarely against this travesty, largely for my own protection, because of the vicious bullying I have received, and the character assassination I have been subject to, emanating from the fringes of the "the autism community".

So certainly count me as "Critic of Sarah Abrahamson #1". But I wouldn't waste my time addressing her directly.

I am addressing those who may not have had time to look deeply into this issue and may not have realised that her 'Research' is based on such a flimsy foundation, and, that I am not by any means the only opponent of her theory.

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