The 2009 Crimes Against Women Conference in Dallas Texas has been quite interesting. I’ve picked out some “make you think” quotes from the conference to share with you all:
- Over four million women are victims of a violent crime each year in the United States.
- Female homicide victims are more than twice as likely to have been killed by husbands or boyfriends than male victims are to have been killed by wives or girlfriends.
- Three women and one man are killed everyday in the USA from domestic violence.
- One out of three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
From Casey Gwinn:
The most dangerous men in the world do not leave marks. The most experienced batterers are the ones that don’t leave marks, even with sexual abuse.
From Jim Tanner:
Sex Offenses are generally the SAME
- Secretive – they are done privately
- Abusive – there is denigration of the victim
- Manipulative – the offender exercises control
- Emotionless – the offender has no empathy
90% of the time, the victims know the offender.
From Jim Savage and Kristen Howell:
Women are more likely to be injured from domestic violence than by car wrecks, muggings, and rapes combined.
Help women stay safe from the most likely attacker: her partner.
The very skills that allowed a woman to survive the relationship are different than the skills needed to leave the relationship. …Help her develop a different skill set. She’s got the fortitude, we simply must equip her with a different skill set to move her through the stages of change.
Help her to understand the game – passive capitulation is key to survival, but it is a killer to her soul.
Women can protect themselves by not looking like an easy target. In a letter written shortly before his escape from the Glenwood Springs jail, Ted Bundy said, “I have known people who… radiate vulnerability. Their facial expressions say, “I am afraid of you.” These people invite abuse… By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?”
Gosh. That’s a scary comment.
Copyright © 2008-2017 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Sorry to jump back a little… But the basic concept of Ted Bundy being able to use his ability to read body language to select his victims is an interesting one. On the surface of it, this ability to read body language is a key one for every animal.
We’ve found the ability to read body language invaluable. It’s one way to scan a room for those who send up flags as being “dangerous”. These flags can be subtle – the way a person leans into someone, how their tone of voice and stance don’t match etc. All little hints that things are not right with the person and you’re best not to go near them. This skill can also mean that we can scan the room and spot those who are, what Ted Bundy would’ve seen as being a potential victim – those whose shoulders are a little hunched, circling around the fringes of the groups etc.
In our case, this information helps us to determine who we should talk to and who we should avoid. Ted Bundy was intelligent and a socio/psychopath, so it would be easy to see why he would use this skill to commit horrors and then blame the victim.
I know that depending on who the fronting personality is, that our body language goes from total submission (Ted Bundy’s perfect victim), through to confident and sometimes to confrontational.
During most of the “Dealing with difficult customers” and self-defence classes we’ve been to, the instructors always say to watch the body language of both the potential attacker and our own. It makes total sense… I’m repulsed by Bundy and what he did, but lets learn from him – use him for a change.
Agreed victims who have been required to abuse as part of their abuse are a whole other thing. (We know that personally.) It’s about choice, adults can make a choice (barring being a hostage/currently being abused and then they’re still victims), children can’t ever really choose tho most believe they could/can.
Once upon a time we were selectively mute as a little girl in school all the way up through college. We had to learn to sink into woodwork and no be noticed. Coz of the shame that always might show if we talked , even if we was right and knowed lots of answers. And so there were always parts inside that wanted to talk so bad so so bad come to think of it now. Now memorying it, we can ‘member times we wanted to talk so so bad but no could or would open our mouth. It is wierd to look back and find parts in our past so clear clear clear when we no had no clue back then. Anyways, what we are saying is coz of the stuff that was done to us we was just like the kinda person Ted Bundy was talking ’bout and we had a horrble ‘sperience in a CPR first aid class where the perp teacher knew just how to pick the victim. It was horrble horrble horrble horrble and we were long out of school and in therapy then with our very first therpist so when we telled her the story she was like no no no no no no no and none of that stuff should have happened to you and we have taughted that class and He was wrong wrong wrong with all all all those things he did to you. And He did them right in front of a whole class or in the small groups!!!! Touching me wrong and sliding his hands right up to my you know wheres and unbuckling my belt to do a heimlich and all these more things of terrble stuff right in front of a whole class and in small groups and always me me me me me. And looking back now I can feel the parts back then and the mute me no doing nothing and perfect victim and the other parts or at least one part who was starting to know things coz of all the classes we had taked on ‘dult children of alcoholics/dysfunctional families and coz of we was starting to talk ’bout just the mean stuff at home and some part was knwoing this was all wrong. But still we was froze and mute and just survived that whole terrble day with by the end the most raging of headaches and flashback stuff going on and on and on and on probly til we seed our therpist. So then we writed letter, long letter, long letter ’bout perpetrator picking a victim and so then they very nice had a way of letting me know in the next class ’bout how they recently didn’t renew someones stuff even though they been a teacher for a long long time and it had only happened twice in the chapter and so they did lots of teaching in that class ’bout how to teach and no violate people boundaries. So yay. But I just wanted to say perpetrators can be so so smart and powerful and confident seeming that they can get ‘way with bad stuff in a whole room full of people right in front of people and make it seem okay when it isn’t!!!! And thank God that day he was happening to be training ‘nother ‘structor and so I can ‘member the other ‘learning to be ‘structor once saying careful careful careful coz of one of the wrong things that guy did to me that day. So I know that once they gotted the letter they could check it all out with that poor nice guy who was being trained but at ‘least seed one wrong thing. So see coz he was training someone maybe it was like he was even more powerful. So . . . I just ask anyone who ahve ever been ‘bused sexually or other ways and is any at all healed enough to speak up, to speak up when you see wrong things coz someone is so powerful seeming. Just please speak up. When mad parents at kids have someone be nice to them and help and at same time make a comment of some kind like oh nooooo, you have such a beautiful child . . .he have such spirit. You want him to have that spirit, really, with a smile on your face and then just say something to the kid like your feelings are sooo big, too big for this store and for your mommy right now, but we are sooo glad you have big feelings and spirit so your mommy or daddy knows you are soooo unhappy, then I think you can make a difference. Even a tiny difference to stop what might almost or already is being abuse and give parents and kids a healthy message. Obviously you no do it if it already a nightmare scene . . you do it afore it gets to be a nightmare scene . . but that just one ‘zample. Just please speak up if you can at all all all and help someone no be a victim. Please. I think we can all make a difference if we try real hard. I wish just one person in that class had sayed to me this guy is wierd . . I wish just one person in that class woulda had a head on their shoulders and seen bad touching and bad boundary violations and known what to do. But no one did or else they all keeped silent. So somehow, lots of times with other parts help, we no keep silent no no no more if we can figure a way to make a change. I have goed on ‘gain. but I no like being a victim and I no like seeing people be victims and so I and we try to do something ’bout it now all all all the time we can. Please try. me
Conferences, always full of info!
I have to say we’ve the same experience as Gobbies, very few scars externally from our abuse. They were careful to keep everything out of sight. The object was not to get caught.
Our X-hubby had a nasty way of using his words, but he was escalating in violence, till the last was his hands around our neck and our first front was froze, nothing. She would have let him kill us. I wasn’t so passive, I kicked the bastard. Truth is tho, when we were younger giving into abuse was the way to survive, it’s hard for the folk in our system who lived thru that to realize they could fight back. Now tho, they’ve been coached on how to call for help, leave or fight.
Violence against women & children is on the rise everywhere. I believe it’s the rise of fundamentalism and the step back into a more patriarchal mind set which marginalizes females.
I’ve worked with sex offenders, they are the SAME, they cross over the line and it’s never finished. They will have to escalate their violence, it’s additional behavior. Rare is the Offender who can really empathize with the victim, but they are great with blame and they know the victim will take all they’re handing out. Getting victims to see their loss of self is sometimes the hardest of the jobs. As to offenders, I don’t really believe in rehab, once the line is crossed it’s usually over. I’ve seem money wasted on treatment that did nothing to rehab the offenders, what most got out of the treatment was Better ways to abuse.
Kathy Broady says
I really agree with so much of what you have said here. Thank you for your comment.
I understand the importance of teaching survivors to fight back and to defend themselves, especially once they become old enough / strong enough / resourceful enough to do so effectively. It IS a big change in approach when survival during the earliest years of abuse meant passively going along, and not fighting back. But, that was then, and now, as survivors become more adult, it is really important to learn how to fight back. Thank you for so eloquently explaining that.
I prefer to not work with the “professional” predatorial sex offenders. In a heartbeat, I’ll work with the survivors who were forced to hurt others as part of their victimization — that’s a different kettle of fish than someone who flat out chooses to abuse for their own sadistic gain. But many survivors, especially those who were abused by organized groups, are required to hurt others as part of their abuse and training. I’ll work with them, especially when it is obvious that in the deeper parts of themselves, they clearly did not want to abuse or hurt anyone.
Thanks for your comment –
I think I understand the concept of a confident person/woman is less likely to be hurt and to project that even if you don’t feel it so those who would take advantage don’t know they can take advantage.
However, another part of me screamed, “How dare he say i am to blame!” Still another part took it to heart and has been hiding in shame knowing she is responsible for the hurt caused by the bad mans.
Here is an idea, instead of getting rid of niaeve, sweet, innocent or unsure girls/women or teaching them pretending is the only way to be safe, how about we get rid of the OFFENDERS and those that take advantage and hurt. It seems we are working to change the wrong people.
Kathy Broady says
Wouldn’t it be nice just to truly get rid of the predators!! I just spent the past few days with a big ol’ pile of police officers and FBI guys who would be thrilled with that idea too. It’s nice to see there are actually people out there working really hard to put the predators away.
I’m glad to see you listening inside, and getting a glimpse of all the different responses from within. 🙂 Good work!
i take great exception to this comment: “These people invite abuse… By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?”
someone being vulnerable is *NO* excuse to imply blame on the victim – the blame lays squarely on the shoulders of the one who takes advantage of the vulnerable, *never* on the victim. it only does harm to the already harmed victim to imply they had a role in it.
Kathy Broady says
I agree with what you are saying. Did you see who actually said that quote??? None other that the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy, is the person that said that, so yes, it is an example of a perpetrator blaming the victim.
I suppose Ted Bundy would have known a lot about how to pick out a potential victim from a crowd of women….
And that circles around to what Gobbies was saying.
Sexual predators look for anyone with that look of fear and vulnerability in the facial expressions or body movements. They can tell who is an “easy target” vs a hard target (someone who will fight back and possibly get away), and frankly, the predators are most likely going to go after the easy target, especially when it comes to picking out someone from a public setting. These psychopaths are looking to dominate without getting caught, so… yes, if they see someone that looks like a quick and easy take down, they’ll pick her.
SO… the goal is to learn more about how to NOT look fearful, vulnerable, or passive. With dissociative survivors, that also includes teaching the compliant parts about self-protection, or… teaching the more assertive protector parts how to step forward in front of the more vulnerable passive parts.
Dissociative survivors nearly always have at least one (typically several) parts whose job involved NOT fighting back, NOT running away, but to stay put and tolerate the abuse without fleeing. Genuine safety means finding ways to prevent those passive parts from being the target for anyone.
More about this at another time –
lis et. al. says
Kathy, you said “Dissociative survivors nearly always have at least one (typically several) parts whose job involved NOT fighting back, NOT running away, but to stay put and tolerate the abuse without fleeing. Genuine safety means finding ways to prevent those passive parts from being the target for anyone.”
Wow. Just wow. This is something we would pay a mint to learn how to do!
The two that stood out for me were the ones about looking like an easy target and the one about abusers who leave no marks.
I think these are both true for me. I have almost no physical scars, despite everything that was done to me. And I often felt like I must have a neon sign over my head saying “abuse me” because just about everyone did.