by Jane, United Kingdom
I write with utter amazement at the tone, and also the irresponsibility of the article “New age ‘medicine’ of Serge Benhayon leaves trail of broken families”. I am a woman aged 50 who has been married and divorced twice – once in the 1980′s and once in the 1990′s, and I work as a highly respected manager, and a university academic.
Point 1: Irresponsible journalism (1) – the cause of marriage breakdowns
The Courier Mail is a local media publication that will likely be read by many women, including young women, and possibly girls (as well as the men who read it). One irresponsible angle you take is that firstly you suggest marriage breakdowns are because of Universal Medicine, but you do not get to the truth of this by saying that actually marriages break down because of something that goes wrong between two people. Yes, there can be many outside pressures e.g. over work, finances, pressures from raising children, illness etc, but in the end, marriages founder because of two people whose relationship either breaks down – or who never actually had a relationship to build upon, and they then ‘call it a day’, as it is not working. Of course it is much more complicated than that, but, overall it is about two people.
My first marriage broke up because I married very young with many ideals – and in reality the two of us had very different expectations of the future and it became unsustainable, so we divorced amicably. My second marriage broke up because on the rebound I married a man who had an alcohol problem, who was deeply threatening, psychologically abusive, and on a couple of occasions physically abusive. I filed for divorce as I refused to be treated in such a denigrating way by my partner.
What you do not question is: what was the quality of the marriages/relationships in question prior to them breaking up, and what was truly going on in those relationships? It is all too easy to blame something outside of the marriage, whatever that may be. In the end, it will be because of something that was not right within the relationship. Your irresponsibility is that you do not mention that a marriage is about two people, and it is that which breaks down (for whatever reason), so anyone reading your piece, particularly young women/girls, do not get a real account of why marriages do break up. Instead they get an account that blames Universal Medicine, which just doesn’t make sense and is misleading.
Point 2: Irresponsible journalism (2) – creams and domestic violence
You mention a bullet point in your ‘beliefs’ section that states that after a breast massage clients were told to ‘use a cream to deter bad energy’ and to ‘not allow their partners to touch them without permission’. First of all, the ‘using a cream to deter bad energy’ sounds like complete mumbo jumbo… in my eight years of experience and treatments with Universal Medicine I have never ever heard anyone who was told to ‘use a cream to deter bad energy’. How on earth could a cream deter bad energy? However, the creams are specific preparations, and in particular the esoteric breast massage cream acts as a support for a woman to connect to and nurture this area of the body.
More irresponsible is your statement about women not allowing their partners to touch them without permission. Are you living in another time? Why on earth would women (or men) not ask their partners (or anyone else for that matter) not to touch them without their permission? You make it sound so formal. If someone touches me inappropriately, with disregard or abusively, of course I would ask them not to touch me – why would I or any woman want to be touched disrespectfully? Would you like your own wife, sister, mother or daughter to be touched disrespectfully by their partner or anyone else? I initiated my second divorce for exactly that – I would not live with someone who would abuse me (and that was many years before I ever encountered Universal Medicine). The statistics for domestic abuse are startling. For example:
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime .
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year .
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women .
- Historically, females have been most often victimised by someone they knew .
- Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence [5[.
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police .
Your level of irresponsibility here is tragic. It is tragic because the way you write this piece could mean that a young girl, or young woman, may feel after reading your piece that she has to give her permission to any man or husband regardless of the way she was treated. Wake up, this is the 21st century, we need media and articles to highlight the rise in domestic violence statistics so that they come down, not used to denigrate women by saying they cannot speak up to their partners when they feel they are being mistreated.
Point 3: Irresponsible journalism (3) – illness and disease are soaring
You write in a totally denigrating way about supposed beliefs with avoiding dairy, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, as well as sleeping from 9 pm til 3 am. Have you any idea of the global ill-health statistics? Let me remind you:
“Worldwide there were estimated to be around 12.7 million new cases of cancer in 2008 and over half of these were in developing countries. Add to this the fact that 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Depression is common, affecting about 121 million people worldwide, and is among the leading causes of disability worldwide.”
Is it not a media responsibility to support the world/local communities in eradicating such enormous levels of illness and disease? Why mock a serious issue we have in society with lifestyle choices? We know that alcohol, drugs, and certainly some foods have a huge impact on the population’s health. We also know much of society is exhausted and sleep deprived, or doesn’t have a supportive sleep rhythm. Where is your responsibility in this? Are you advocating that everyone simply continues to eat all the foods that likely lead to diabetes and obesity, and continue to drink or take drugs so as to fall into decay and ill-health?
What Universal Medicine presents is purely common sense: that certain foods, and substances such as alcohol and drugs affect our health and wellbeing. Universal Medicine never ever tells anyone what to do (I have never ever heard anyone being told what to do, how to live, how to eat etc); it merely presents facts, and truths about these issues. In fact, if you ask Serge Benhayon whether you should drink alcohol or eat cheese he would say – it’s up to you, your choice. But what you say in your article could mislead some members of the population into thinking that drugs, alcohol and certain foods are okay, when maybe these things need to at least be raised as questions, and where appropriate, connected to the statistics on illness and disease.
Can I suggest that before you write articles like this you check how responsible or irresponsible you are being? Yes of course investigate… I know Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine are completely open to be interviewed, and explored. But may I suggest you report the facts, and not write a sensationalist article that is based on hearsay, and that denigrates women? For the record, in the eight years I have known Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and indeed Rachel Hall, I have known them to have the utmost integrity. I would far rather be treated by a dentist or a practitioner who didn’t have a drink or drug-fuelled social life than one who did. I would far rather be treated by a dentist or practitioner who took care of their own health and wellbeing – and offered me an inspirational role model – than one who didn’t.
- Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” (2000).
- Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.
- Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003.
- U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Criminal Victimization, 2005,” September 2006.
- U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States,” December 2006.
- Frieze, I.H., Browne, A. (1989) Violence in Marriage. In L.E. Ohlin & M. H. Tonry (eds.) Family Violence. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.