by Victoria Carter, Pottsville Beach, NSW Australia
To editor-in-chief of News Qld, David Fagan & the editor of the Courier Mail, Michael Crutcher
Re: “New age ‘medicine’ of Serge Benhayon leaves trail of broken families”
I’m sure you have by now received countless responses regarding the scale of irresponsible journalism inherent in this article, let alone the sheer fabrications. Your writers, Josh Robertson & Liam Walsh, should they have set out to do any true research in the first place, would have found that allegations such as “cult” couldn’t be further from the actual truth. Clearly this ‘piece’ has one agenda only – to fill a ‘sensationalist’ quota in your publication, and intentionally or not, to continue a smear campaign initiated against Universal Medicine (UniMed) in recent times.
In late July certain publications sought to ‘brand’ Serge Benhayon as a ‘cult leader’, and the organisation he founded, Universal Medicine, as a ‘cult’. This was nothing short of irresponsible journalism, lacking any true ethics and integrity, for surely to brandish about such a word carries with it a great responsibility? Some publications – many having also adopted the convenience of ‘copy & paste’ journalism – did publish apologies &/or removed their articles from online editions when they started getting the true story. And yet, after all of this has occurred, not only is the word “cult” in the opening line of this article (deliberately seeking to bias anyone who reads further…), but your paper has actually “branded” the pictures that accompany this story – in bold, red ink no less – “The Leader”, “The Follower” and “The Headquarters”! What your journalists have clearly not done in their seeking of such an ‘angle’, is investigate the true story. And this is by no means difficult to find. Universal Medicine has always had an ‘open door policy’ (hardly cult-like…), and since July, in this openness, has released many press statements on its website: www.universalmedicine.com.au. In addition, several student/attendee-initiated blog sites have been set up – such was the response, shock and utter disbelief among many who have found nothing but absolute integrity, inspiration and support from their freely chosen involvement with UniMed, or indeed with any associated practitioners. A good start here would be the following site, dedicated in particular to addressing the absolute misrepresentations in the media: www.wordsonsergebenhayon.com
(Look at the scale and quality of the responses here, and you’ll surely start asking questions about the possibility of a smear campaign…)
Surely also there is a true story as to why such respected medical practitioners as your article refers to, do refer patients to Universal Medicine trained practitioners for additional support? Surely the intelligent, highly qualified and dedicated dentist Dr Rachel Hall deserves to have her true care for her patients and humanity deeply understood and written about, rather than this inspiring and awesome woman being ‘conveniently’ dismissed via branding her a “follower” (to suit your sensationalism). How absolutely demeaning. Rachel, in her absolute dedication, her service to her patients, and the love in her family – should be your ‘double spread’ headline.
And so it is not only Rachel, but myself and hundreds of the most intelligent, truly caring and amazing women I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting through my own involvement with UniMed, that are insulted. And I must say, these are women who continue to astound and inspire me with the love and care they are bringing to their own lives, and to all those around them – be they family, colleagues, friends, clients… I’d like to ask your writers, in the hour that you spent with Rachel Hall, did you feel she was under a “Svengali-type hold” of Serge Benhayon?? (I can’t imagine Rachel, or indeed any of these women, ever appearing under anyone’s such hold!) I’d like to ask your writers how they can PRINT something that can say Esoteric Breast Massage cream is used to ‘deter bad energy’ (what a joke!) – when it’s a beautifully nurturing cream women can use themselves to support a tender, loving connection with their own body.
And I’d like to ask your writers, HOW ON EARTH they can print something SO DEEPLY INSULTING TO WOMEN in the statement regarding women ‘not allowing their partners to touch them without permission’ – as if this is a bad thing! You are responsible for allowing this to be printed in your publication – in this current day! Wow! Exactly whose ‘property’ is my body, I wonder? How can your publication so blatantly print something that so dishonours a woman’s right to consensual intimacy – in these current times? Surely the media can offer a ‘better service’ than this, and seek to expose such misogyny, rather than perpetuate it. Clearly the Finkelstein inquiry’s findings that the media is by and large accountable to no one, and that the Australian Press Council code is only adhered to ‘when it suits’, are demonstrated here. A governing body for the media, with true integrity and authority, is clearly needed.
To bring some personal perspective here, I’d like to share with you some of my own experience with Esoteric Breast Massage. It is a therapy practised with the highest level of ethics, respect and integrity by women, for women. Through this therapy, and indeed through much deepening of awareness overall I have gained from my involvement with Universal Medicine, I have come to know just how precious my own body is, and of the compromises I willingly allowed in the past, in regards to my body. My husband and I – together – have learnt to respect each other so much more deeply, and indeed deepen our level of true intimacy, such that there are no demands, no compromises, and surely NEVER any such expectation that my body, nor his, is there to be ‘touched without permission’. This ‘permission’ needn’t necessarily be spoken, for it is in the main now felt, though verbal communication has been an integral part of bringing us to this point. Surely this is beautiful and ‘healthy’, and surely we are one ‘relationship story’ that has only benefitted from the inspiration we have gained from UniMed. And I note here that no one ever ‘told’ us what to do – we simply found that we were able to give voice to, and honour, what had never truly felt right. Hence, the irresponsible statements in your article about women also insult men such as my husband who would never touch me without such a permission – men who indeed are very much ‘their own men’ and who do attend Universal Medicine presentations (and in significant numbers, and of their own free choice!).
What I share here only touches the surface of why we attend Uni Med’s presentations, courses and sessions. For we have found that Serge Benhayon speaks words we feel we already know, but that are so little confirmed in our society – words about loving ourselves, and knowing we are indeed ‘worth it’, words about ‘why’ indeed we may not truly love and look after ourselves, and which consider where ‘all this lack of love’ has led us to in the bigger picture as humanity (just refer to Jane Keep’s letter for the stats).
Is it just possible that these words, these modalities, this man and organisation, and indeed many people now such as the highly dedicated practitioners at UniMed Brisbane, and such as Dr Rachel Hall – are actually making a true difference in people’s lives? Is it possible that the medical professionals referring patients to such modalities do so because they know there is another level of care and support here, that in their busy practices they may not have the time to provide? Is it possible that herein exists not a ‘cult’, but a group of people who are not ‘blind followers’ and self-focussed in an exclusive way, but realise the true differences that can be made to all those around us when we start to love and care for ourselves once again? And that there is indeed a great responsibility in everything that we express, and in every choice we make?
There are so many more true, investigative questions to be asked here, and so many amazing stories that can be told. If publications such as yours held any true care and concern for humanity, i.e. they held ‘people’ in as valued a way as I know Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine do, as indeed I and so many others are ever-inspired to do also, then an article such as this could not be printed.
And so I call for a level of ethics and integrity in the media that I’m sure you all do know, and yet may have given up on acting upon. You are indeed capable of stepping up the game. You are indeed in powerful positions to make a true difference in the world yourselves. Perhaps a commensurate apology, i.e. at least a ‘double spread’ on at least pp.6-7 of your publication is a start? Perhaps someone out there can surprise the findings of the Finkelstein inquiry, and actually respect the Australian Press Council’s code on such matters of blatant mistruths being told. And perhaps someone in your industry will look at some of the amazing and true stories that are waiting to be told – and speak to the people so ready to share them. You could fill ‘lifestyle’, ‘health & wellbeing’, and ‘women & men’s sections’ in your publication for years to come, and also, just perhaps, find some true journalistic stories of great merit, such as exactly where Serge Benhayon invests the money Universal Medicine earns from its very reasonably priced courses and services.