The Rape of Eve:
The True Story Behind the Three Faces of Eve
by Colin A. Ross, M.D. Manitou Communications

"The exploitation of Chris Sizemore was made possible by a set of ethical violations. Corbett Thigpen took numerous roles in Chris' life in order to increase his influence on her, including psychiatrist, 'friend,' film agent, literary agent, book editor, publicist, godfather to her son, uninvited guest at her husband's funeral, abortion consultant, biographer, and divorce consultant. As well, he molested her sexually."

This is a scathing summary regarding the treatment of Chris Sizemore, more commonly known as Eve from the book, The Three Faces of Eve. For many people who read this book and/or the similar book, Sybil, there was a fascination with the story of someone who had different personalities living within one body as well as a sense of being horrified by the abuse and trauma that these women suffered. This trauma led to severe dissociation, formerly called multiple personality disorder (MPD) and currently called dissociative identity disorder (DID). But the story of healing and integration of the alters also helped sell these books and give hope to people about the treatment of severe mental illness; unfortunately, these stories were falsified.

The Rape of Eve tells of the betrayal and exploitation of a woman by her psychiatrist. Victims of childhood abuse/trauma often again become unwitting victims as adults. Unfortunately, such re-traumatization is sometimes perpetrated by those in the helping professions. In this case, Dr. Ross stipulates that Chris'/Eve's perpetrator was her psychiatrist, Dr. Corbett Thigpen, along with his associate, Dr. Hervey Cleckley. While Dr. Thigpen claimed there were only three alters and that Chris had been integrated, the reality is that Chris had over 20 alters and wasn't integrated until she was appropriately treated by another psychiatrist in the 1970s. And along the way, she also encountered another unethical psychiatrist who exposed himself to her and later committed suicide. The author alleges, with significant documentation and interviews, that Chris' psychiatrist exploited her for 48 years until his death in 1999. She was paid a total of $3, a dollar for each personality. Dr. Ross estimates that with all of the royalties for this book and other books, articles, and movies, she should have been paid two million dollars. Along with the sexual abuse of Chris and the selling of her writings to a memorabilia collector, there are other significant boundary violations told in this horrifying story. This is a travesty of medical practice.

Ross begins by exploring Chris' reaction to Dr. Thigpen's death as well as documenting the history of this psychiatrist as well as that of Dr. Cleckley. The continuation of the story includes the history of Chris and her so-called therapy, the chronology of the alter personalities, her other books and movies and her story rights, her abortion and sterilization (which was facilitated by Dr. Thigpen), legal problems, her coming out as the real "Eve," bankruptcy, and healing. Dr. Ross' expert medical opinion and concerns regarding psychiatry and those who practice, as well as further documentation, the explanation of MPD/DID, and questions for further research (including an unusual aside regarding the CIA and military mind control) conclude the text.

One tragic/comedic story concerns the world premiere of The Three Faces of Eve, which was held in Augusta, Georgia. Dr. Thigpen was a showman, trained in magical acts and stage hypnosis, who took this show on the road. He later used his magical deception in working with Chris. How he must have appreciated the reviews that were written in the newspapers regarding the gala grand opening of the movie. For these were stories not of Eve's history, but about the stars who attended the opening including how people were dressed, (i.e., the hostess was "wearing a Dior blue, cocktail-length chiffon gown.") The ads in the city were also condescending; for example, a paint store stated: "CONGRATULATIONS AUGUSTA! On The World Premiere Showing of 'The Three Faces of Eve.' EVE CHANGED HER PERSONALITY - REFLECT YOURS WITH NEW COLORS FROM VESPAR." Just another example of how this story was made into a three-ring circus, conducted by the ringmaster, her psychiatrist.

Unfortunately, there are other similar stories of exploitation which carry on today. We only have to turn on the TV to see so-called doctors and therapists exploiting their patients' traumas and dysfunctional behavior to know that such malpractice continues. The Rape of Eve is one way to understand how to grow beyond such ethical violations. A fascinating read regarding not only DID, but how patients can continue to be traumatized, this book is a must-read for anyone who has an open heart towards the mentally ill. It should also be read by anyone working in the mental health field as well as by those lay persons who were deceived by "The Three Faces of Eve." While this account is tragic, Chris Sizemore's incredible perseverance is a true story of healing in the face of horror. She is a survivor, and in her work towards integration of the alters, she is someone who has thrived besides all odds—becoming a spokesperson and an artist. Dr. Ross, who is a well-known figure in the field of psychiatry, especially with his expertise in trauma therapy, adds to the credence of this topic.

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