Betrayal Trauma (Part 1)

Part I

“I propose that the core issue is betrayal—a betrayal of trust that produces conflict between external reality and a necessary system of social dependence.” — Jennifer J. Freyd

Betrayal Trauma is a theory that tries to predict the degree to which a negative event, perpetrated by a trusted and needed other, will influence the way events (past, present and future) are both processed and remembered. Dr. Jennifer Freyd, Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon, introduced the terms “Betrayal Trauma” and “Betrayal Trauma Theory” in 1991 at a presentation at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. According to Freyd, Betrayal Trauma occurs when the people or institutions we depend on for survival violate us in some way.1

This is part one (1) of a seven (7) part series examining why black leadership rejects the pro-life movement, is helping to perpetrate the genocide of their own people, and what can be done to reverse this horrific reality.

Betrayal Trauma by Abortion

“To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.” — Malcolm X (May 19, 1925-February 21, 1965)

According to the 2008 Guttmacher Policy Review, Volume 11, Number 3: “This much is true: In the United States, the abortion rate for black women is almost five (5) times that for white women.”2 The disproportionate impact of abortion in black America is devastating. Today a black baby is three (3) times more likely to be murdered in the womb of his or her own mother than a white baby. According to researcher Dennis Howard, founder and president of The Movement for a Better America, the abortion toll reached over 54.5 million at the end of August this year. “Let’s be honest,” he says. “Even slavery—as awful as it was—pales in comparison to the evil of abortion. At its peak, slavery affected the lives of perhaps three (3) million blacks. We have already ended the lives of six (6) times that many blacks in [less than] four decades of abortion; and eighteen (18) times that many unborn children of all races and colors.”3 According to the Tuskegee Institute it took the Ku Klux Klan eighty-six (86) years, from 1882 to 1968, to lynch 3,446 negroes. At the current rate black Americans are aborting their children, in less than four (4) days more black Americans will be killed by abortion than have been killed by the Ku Klux Klan in its entire history.4 According to Dr. La Verne Tolbert, a former board member of Planned Parenthood in New York City, over twenty (20) million black babies have been aborted since 1973.5 I won’t even mention the numbers surrounding black abortions in New York City or in our country’s capital.6 Apparently, Margaret Sanger’s racist and eugenic “Birth Control” philosophy is not working. Or is it?7

Betrayal Trauma by Our Own

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968)

If Betrayal Trauma does indeed occur when the people or institutions trusted or needed others we depend on for survival violate us in some way, then Betrayal Trauma is not a theory or a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to further examination in black America. It is a horrific and terrifying reality with unimaginable consequences for all of us. In light of the fact that 1.2 million innocent lives are lost each year to abortion, with thirty percent (30%) or 360,000 of those lives black American lives,8 I am constantly asked: Why is black leadership so silent on abortion and so slow to support the pro-life movement? Well, for the next six (6) weeks I will expose and explain the four (4) reasons why black leadership struggles with the pro-life movement, what must be done to strengthen black leadership’s stand against abortion and why personhood, the only pro-life strategy that does not embrace exceptions, is a winning strategy in communities of color.

Brothers, we really need to talk.

1. Freyd, J.J. Memory repression, dissociative states, and other cognitive control processes involved in adult sequelae of childhood trauma. Invited paper given at the Second Annual Conference on A Psychodynamics – Cognitive Science Interface, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco, August 21-22, 1991.
2. Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture (AGI Policy Review: Summer 2008 | Volume 11 | Number 3) (
3. “Does this number shock you? Wait ’til you see the bill!” Dennis M. Howard (
4. According to a study by the Tuskegee Institute, a total of 4,743 lynchings occurred between 1882 and 1968. Of these, 73% (3446) of the victims were blacks and 1,297 (27%) were whites. (
5. Over 20 Million Aborted: Why Planned Parenthood Targets The Inner-City, La Verne Tolbert, Ph.D. (
6. 2011 February 28: National Day Of Mourning Column, Walter B. Hoye II ( and “DC Mayor Vincent Gray Wants No Black Child Left Unaborted,” LifeNews.Com (
7. 1964 Planned Parenthood Pamphlet: “Abortion Kills A Life Of A Baby … ” (
8. “Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States.” (AGI: January 2011,

Walter B. Hoye II is both president and founder of the Issues4life Foundation and the California Civil Rights Foundation. God used the premature birth (six months, 2.1 pounds) of his son to teach him that the fetus is a person—a living, breathing human being. In 2008, Walter and his wife, Lori, were the recipients of the 4th Annual Walk for Life West Coast's St. Gianna Molla Award for "courage under fire" in the pro-life movement. He serves as an incredible leader for the cause of the preborn despite the personal costs, and has even been unjustly jailed for his peaceful defense of the preborn on a sidewalk outside an abortion clinic. His "Letter from the Santa Rita Jail" and California Human Rights Amendment appeal for personhood entitled "Why I Can't Wait" are now classics. Hoye has also written a book entitled, Leadership from the Inside Out. 

This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at