Global News’ 16×9 investigative series looks into Levin’s crimes

About a week back, Global TV’s 16 x 9 investigative journalism documentary series made a feature on Aubrey Levin’s present and past crimes. Carolyn Jarvis makes an excellent presentation, asking hard questions. Shawn, who often posted on this message board is also featured in the documentary. Thank you once again, for those who took the time and effort to investigate, speak up, and have the guts. Those who documented for years, those who suffered silently, those who could not hold back from investigating and those who broke the news legitimately, truthfully and well, FINALLY on Canadian TV!

Interesting, eh? that when Levin is exposed in the last scene, he is more concerned about his public image getting shattered, rather than any empathy for his victims. The hallmark of pathological narcissism.

p.s. It gives me a sense of quiet satisfaction to see that certain facts that should have been outed decades ago are finally seeing the light of day. So much for the person (the South Africa-born Toronto-based Canadian psychiatrist who graduated from the University of Calgary in Forensic Psychiatry) who made threats to shut this site down, as some of his own skeletons were getting exposed by some comments: let it be known that people who lack a sense of remorse and empathy and only focus on their public image and power-pulls with money and connections, somewhere – even though they try to silence the voices of those who speak up – there are other bigger lights that expose the dark carnage that predators like Levin, and those who defend/support/comply with/learn from  him create.

Thank you Global News and 16×9 team. Thank you Carolyn Jarvis. Thank you Claude Adams. Thank you Shawn Driman. Thank you Mikki van Zyl ,  Jeanelle de Gruchy, Sheila Lapinsky, Simon Lewin, Graeme Reid.

And thank you Michael Smith. R.I.P

And thank you to that entity who has helped tremendously, has been protective of this blog throughout, but prefers to remain, well, Anonymous.


More facts on Levin in Canadian news

Yet another excellent article by Claude Adams, other than the timeline posted in the earlier post.

Another excerpt:

For the men and women of the Greefswald Facebook page, it seemed like justice would never come. . . They’d been waiting 40 years and more—exchanging their stories, nursing their grievances, consoling one another, wondering if they would ever find resolution. Most of them were still teenagers when they say they were traumatized in South Africa. The focus of their anger was Aubrey Levin, and the effect he had on their younger years. But the world had moved on, now they had children and grandchildren. Still, they say they bore the psychic scars.

When I reached Benjamin James in Australia, we’d barely begun to talk when he started to sob into the phone. In Denmark, Gerald Proctor, a political refugee, used the word “torture” to describe what had happened to him. In Johannesburg, Shawn Driman wrote on Facebook: “When I see the face we dealt with at the time, a great wave of nausea hits me.” Another Facebook contributor said: “There is no excuse for inhumanity in the name of science.”

The “face” Driman is talking about is that of a man who was sitting in a Calgary courtroom, fighting charges of sexual assault: Dr. Aubrey Levin, 74 years ago, a respected forensic psychiatrist who had been secretly videotaped touching one of his patients. Levin told police he was testing the patient for erectile dysfunction. Last January, a jury found Levin guilty on three charges, not guilty on two counts, and a judge sentenced him to five years in prison—a sentence Levin is appealing.


The full article is here: “The verdict heard around the world”

As well, here is a link to more articles by journalist, author and producer Claude Adams.

Claude had been one of the early posters on this blog’s message boards asking for more information and encouraging people who knew of Levin’s dark side to speak up. I am very happy that some of the people who wrote here had the courage and ethics to reach out to him.


“Dr. Shock” was so sinister, he “inspired” even fictional villains

Some more details from a website link, lest we forget, what exactly the man who is getting off so easy with only 5 years which he is appealing, was responsible for: 

The man was so sinister that it inspired the Dutch author de Nooy to base a character on him in his book. Is it any coincidence that Hannibal Lecter was also a psychiatrist? When they go evil, darn – they go evil. (Note: Of course not all psychiatrists are this way – like Levin and the predatory ones. This is an exception. Good and bad apples exist in every country, every profession. And there are many good and genuinely helpful therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists out there, never mind that – true – some of them do have more issues, than say those in other professions, but hopefully they are able to not transfer their own problems to their professional life. But a psychiatrist is in a position of trust and power, and therefore the abuse is a greater violation of trust and professional ethics. Hmmm – somewhat like the breach of trust when violations are made by religious priests? Interesting how both institutions spend more time and energy to keep their reputation intact, rather than think of the plight of the victims.)

Oh Canada! What does it say about you to give a safe haven and such prestige to a monster, and have him teach at a University?? Besides, easily work as a court-appointed forensic psychiatrist??

I prefer you read the story by clicking directly on the link above. If not, part of it is as follows:

The Real and More Sinister Dr. Shock – Richard de Nooy (written June 15, 2011)

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”

As a novelist, it is tempting to embrace the above quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson with a resounding “Yes!” Partly because fiction reduces complicated issues, developments and events to more human proportions, allowing the reader to more fully identify with the impact ‘reality’ has on individuals. And partly because ‘reality’ has begun to shift increasingly towards second-hand experience in the form of invalidated information that bursts from our screen whenever we type a term into our browsers. But let me tell you something you don’t know.

Dr Shock – I was recently prompted to reassess this interplay of fact and fiction when I was alerted to an article on charges of sexual assault brought against Dr Aubrey Levin in Calgary, Canada. Dr Levin, now 71, moved to Canada shortly before the apartheid regime was dismantled. In the preceding decades, he headed the psychiatric ward at the main military hospital in South Africa, at Voortrekkerhoogte near Pretoria. He later became the apartheid government’s head of mental health. In those years, he earned himself the nickname Dr Shock by initiating various forms of ‘therapy’ that were intended to ‘cure’ homosexuals and other ‘deviants’, such as drug users and conscientious objectors, of their ‘afflictions’. The array of therapies included electroshock aversion therapy, hormone treatment, truth serum, and various other questionable methods. (For further details, please check the links at the end of this piece.) [ed: links by clicking on the main link above]

Charged in Calgary – After South Africa gained democracy in 1994, Dr Levin refused to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was formed to hear the testimony of the victims and henchmen of apartheid. Dr Levin never faced trial for his work as ‘aversion therapist’, although a number of his victims did give testimony before the TRC. On arrival in Canada, Dr Levin soon resumed his practice as a psychiatrist in Calgary. He even lectured at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. In fact, Dr Levin regularly served as a court-appointed forensic psychiatrist in Canada, assessing the status of convicted criminals before sentencing. Dr Levin is alleged to have sexually abused some of the men in his care during these sessions. (Again, please check the links at the end of this piece for further details.)

The Big Stick – I have a special interest in Dr Levin because one of his henchmen features in my latest novel, which was published as Zacht als Staal by Nijgh & Van Ditmar in the Netherlands in 2010 and will be published in English as The Big Stick by Jacana Media in South Africa later this year. The novel tells the story of Staal Nel, a young gay man raised in a conservative Afrikaans family on the edge of the Kalahari desert. Staal’s family goes to great lengths to ‘bend Staal straight’ and, at wit’s end, they eventually decide to have Staal undergo aversion therapy with Dr Wynand Greefswald, a specialist working for the South African defence force.

Dr Greefswald does not exist. He was moulded on the basis of statements by South African men who suffered at the hands of Dr Levin and his henchmen. Many of Dr Levin’s victims were interned and ‘treated’ at the Greefswald military detention barracks, which was located in what is now Limpopo province, on the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe. And so the place became the man.

Facts, Fiction, Truth – As I was ploughing through news articles and reviewing testimony on Dr Levin, I constantly had to remind myself that, while the information seems to speak for itself, it only becomes evidence or truth when it has been rigorously tested. Fortunately, there are still institutions – legal, scientific or otherwise – that do their utmost to gather, validate and present conclusive evidence. Unfortunately, the manner and language in which these facts are presented by fact-finding institutions is often far too dense and expansive for the average reader to consume and comprehend. And to make matters worse, the outcome of such fact-finding missions is not always conclusive or, in the case of the social sciences, often ends with the phrase: “…further research is required to confirm…”

So perhaps Emerson is right. Perhaps fiction does reveal truth that reality obscures. But I also believe that every reader should decide this for her/himself. I have therefore posted Dr. Greefswald’s full, fictional statement from The Big Stick below, followed by a series of links to news articles on Dr. Aubrey Levin and testimony from those who suffered at the hands of Dr. Shock and his henchmen.

That said, I feel I should warn more sensitive readers that the ‘facts’ are a lot more sinister than the fiction you are about to read.


Chapter 19 – The Big Stick

“Obedient men have the blood of millions on their hands.”

(Unknown prisoner, Berlin)


Statement by Wynand Greefswald, former SADF aversion therapist

I’d only just graduated when I arrived at Voortrekkerhoogte. I did three months’ basics like everyone else and then they posted me straight through. I went down on my bare knees and thanked God that I hadn’t been sent to some infantry camp with idiots who can’t even tie their own laces, let alone shoot in the right direction. All I wanted was to finish my two years in the army without burning my fingers. That’s why I did my work with great precision and carried out orders to the letter. I didn’t want any trouble and I definitely didn’t want to get transferred to Kimberley or Phalaborwa or some other hell-hole.

When I arrived at the detention barracks of the army hospital they were using masturbation therapy on homosexuals. But they were also experimenting with hormones and aversion therapy. It was all a load of rubbish, in my humble opinion. And that masturbation therapy was quite messy, if you catch my drift. What it boiled down to was the guys had to jack off while they viewed gay porn. They were encouraged to swap the gay porn for hetero porn just before they ejaculated, giving them a more appropriate stimulus to come to. Well, you can imagine that no one was really keen to keep an eye on masturbating men playing porno shuffle. So that was given to them as homework, in addition to other forms of therapy. They were all keen to toe the line, because they wanted to get out of detention barracks as quickly as possible. And some of them really wanted to be cured of their deviance.

As I said, the army was also experimenting with hormone therapy. Which was quite dangerous, because there wasn’t really any solid empirical evidence that it was effective. Anyway, the commanding officer told us to form a small experimental group, who actually didn’t know they were getting hormones. We were ordered to tell them that they were vitamin shots. At the time, I informed the CO that hormones were quite risky and that the group was actually too small to draw any real scientific conclusions from the results. But the CO had gotten the order to try every means at his disposal, and we carried out his orders. What it boiled down to was that the guys were given male hormones so that they would develop a more manly, heterosexual balance. But within a month, one of the guys began developing abnormal physical symptoms. So we stopped the hormone treatment and eventually closed the programme down.

Actually, we had the most success with aversion therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a sadist, but pain can get down really deep into the brain and can have all sorts of effects. The problem is that pain and fear are partners. Pain teaches people to be afraid of certain kinds of behaviour, which they then try to avoid. But it was my belief that homosexuality wasn’t so much the problem. It was fear. That was the problem. The fact that two men want to satisfy each other isn’t necessarily a problem, as long as they keep functioning properly. Within the military context, of course. We even had a whole platoon of elite commandos who were almost all homosexuals. That wasn’t a problem. In fact, a platoon like that can be quite impressive and pretty scary, because no enemy will rest easy knowing that they’re going to be raped first before they are shot, you understand?

So fear is the problem. And the sensitivity, the shyness, the lack of aggression that often goes with homosexuality. I repeatedly brought this up in meetings, but we kept getting orders to continue with the aversion therapy, the electroshock treatment. Look, I didn’t want any trouble, as I said before, so I just kept using it on our gays. But I didn’t get any enjoyment out of it, you understand?

I clearly remember the kid. Mainly because he hadn’t come in via the normal procedure, which meant we had to treat him differently than the other troopies. Our CO was friends with the kid’s brother, or something. They’d fought in Angola together, helped each other through thick and think, life and death, blah, blah, blah. So we had to work overtime in the weekend in exchange for a long weekend pass. That made it easier to bend the rules a little. And I knew the kid would probably end up with us anyway, when he was called up for the army.

He was like a lamb going to slaughter. He was standing vomiting next to the car, so I went up to him and tried to put his mind at ease. It told him we were going to help him so that he could live a normal life. All rubbish, of course, but the wheels were in motion. I had heard that he liked music, so I arranged a cassette recorder and some tapes. I also borrowed some comic strips here and there, and I told the orderlies to give him sweets and cool drinks. I even toyed with idea of not treating him at all, but I knew what would happen if anyone found out. We weren’t too popular with the orderlies, because they thought we had too many privileges, so I couldn’t take the risk that they would inform the CO.

So I checked things out first and then decided to adjust the treatment because I thought it was sad to give this poor kid the full voltage. He was so jittery and sensitive that he started screaming even at the lowest voltage.

The treatment was quite simple, really. You stuck electrodes on the patient’s forearms. Those electrodes were connected to a little generator with a power dial that ran from one to ten. The patient was given black-and-white photos of a naked man and asked to fantasize about him. Meanwhile, we gradually turned up the power. As soon as the patient started screaming or otherwise indicated that it was all too much, the power was turned down and the black-and-white photos were replaced with a full-colour Playboy centrefold of a luscious lady, who I would then describe in the most positive terms.

This process was repeated three times every session, if possible. We did a total of two sessions with the kid, but he couldn’t take the pain, as I said. So I changed the treatment the next day. Instead of gradually turning up the voltage, I let him fantasize for a bit and then hit him with a big shock. But he fainted and messed himself, you know? So that was all pretty useless, because you need them to view the positive stimulus, the centrefold.

Because he lost it, we gave him a shot of sedative. Then I called his brother, who came and picked him up that same day. The kid sat on his bed in a kind of catatonic trance all day, but he broke down completely when his brother walked in. I offered the brother a couple of our straight porn pics to take home, but he didn’t think it was a good idea, because he thought the kid might leave them lying around, you know? Which would have caused all sorts of problems.

I remember I was about to go back inside – we had helped take the kid out to the car – when the brother called me and asked if I could give the kid another shot of sedative. Which I did, because he was sitting there like a frightened rabbit on a highway.

That’s all I remember, really. I was just doing my job. Carrying out orders. Can I go now?


The above article was taken from the following link, which has more details:

Sentence of 4 to 7 years

From the CBC this morning:

My own thoughts:

The Crown is looking at 4 to 7 years. Sadly, Levin’s crimes in South Africa will go unpunished.

Why does Canada allow people like these to get into such positions of power? How can they climb up the ladder  using superficial charm, intimidation and “qualifications”?

I encourage other people who come on this site to speak up more not just on Levin, but also on psychiatrists and therapists who have abused them sexually, physically, emotionally or psychologically in both a professional or private setting. It is very important that the truth be outed. Not just for your own sake, but for others too, to be aware and not seek the services of predators.

While certainly not all therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists are this way – it is still known as a field where several personality-disordered people enter to “cure” themselves, trying to “cure” others. And sometimes, for those who are predatory, instead of helping, they abuse those who trust them.

There are sites out there which specifically document the violations by mental-health professionals. These are extremely useful to get a grip on facts.

But healing in a shared setting is equally important and that is why message boards with private identities help. Do know, that if you have been violated mentally, emotionally and/or physically you may not be alone. And together, victims can make a difference, when they challenge the predator – no matter how well the predator tries to present a public mask of charm and intellect. The disparity between the public and private sides are hallmarks of pathological narcissists, and all predators, sociopaths, and psychopaths have narcissistic personality disorder, among other ailments, which make it impossible for them to view anything from a victim’s view and also have that chilling lack of empathy and remorse.

Speak up. At most, it brings one peace to have been heard.