by P.F., Australia
After reading your article “New age ‘medicine’ of Serge Benhayon leaves trail of broken families”, I am left with a number of questions.
Firstly: Why weren’t some of the doctors and specialists mentioned asked why they might refer people to Universal Medicine? There could possibly be a story in that. Not a sensational ‘brainwashed devotees’ type story but a story that might actually provide people with some useful information that could make a difference in their lives.
After all, we have a crisis in our healthcare system. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, breast cancer is occurring in women in their 20’s and cancer rates in general are one person in three. Serge Benhayon does not claim that he can cure anything, what he does do is present a way of living responsibly that could definitely impact positively on people’s lives including their health.
Secondly: What is the relevance of the comment that Serge has “mainly female followers”? Branding people who attend Universal Medicine practitioners and courses as ‘followers’ is demeaning in itself; however, the reporter goes further and implies that women are easily led and manipulated. Sadly, he assumes that the public at large accepts this view, otherwise why not also mention the hundreds of men who also attend Universal Medicine courses and the hundreds more who attend practitioners? When I was studying law at university I studied with many more women than men. More women than men are also studying medicine and psychology. The point being, there is no relevance to your reporter’s comments. As a woman with two degrees, working as a lawyer in an busy law practice, I am offended by the implication that I follow someone else rather than discern for myself how to live my life and that I am gullible and easily led based on my gender.
Thirdly: Why weren’t the stories of some of the women/men who have apparently left their partners told? A serious claim is made by a group of people that their relationships have failed because of the influence of one man. A responsible journalist would have sought out and presented the other side of the story. As a lawyer I see people who are settling their affairs after relationship breakdowns. In my experience, relationships break down for a variety of reasons and that it is rarely the fault of one party. I do find it to be quite common however for people to find it difficult to see their part in the relationship breakdown, and in their hurt they look elsewhere to lay blame. One marriage in three ends in divorce, and the rates for the break-down of de-facto relationships is likely to be higher. Around 2,000 people attend Universal Medicine events and many hundreds more attend Universal Medicine practitioners. Many of these people are in relationships. The figure of ‘42’ relationships breaking down over the 13 years that Serge has been a practitioner would therefore appear to be well below the national average. Quoting someone as saying the figures are ‘devastating’ and ‘catastrophic’ does not make it true.
Fourthly: What century are we living in? In the last sentence of the article the reporter makes the comment that women who attend a Universal Medicine practitioner for esoteric breast massage are told “to not allow their partners to touch them (their breasts) without permission”. I have not needed Serge Benhayon to tell me that a man should not touch me without my permission. Fortunately ,I have a mother who gave me this valuable piece of information at a young age. Does the reporter consider that it is acceptable for a man to touch a woman without her permission? Under the Crimes Acts in the various states such sexual touch without consent is called ‘sexual assault’. It is concerning that the (male) reporter and (male) editor considered that this statement was acceptable to go to print.