News Stories

Abused Women Who Don't Convict Feel Sorry for Jailed Husbands and Boyfriends

Remember the infamous O.J. Simpson case? WHY don't more women report being abused? A new study used recorded jailhouse telephone conversations between men charged with felony domestic violence and their victims to help reveal why some victims decide not to follow through on the charges. What did they discover? Through subtle psychological manipulation, the perpetrators make their victims FEEL SORRY FOR THEM.

Researchers listened to telephone conversations between 17 accused male abusers in a Washington state detention facility and their female victims, all of whom decided to withdraw their accusations of abuse. For each of the couples, the researchers analyzed up to about three hours of phone conversations. The analysis of these conversations may fundamentally change how victim advocates and prosecutors work with domestic violence victims to prosecute abusers, according to the researchers.

Researcher Amy Bonomi says, "The existing belief is that victims recant because the perpetrator threatens her with more violence. But our results suggest something very different. Perpetrators are not threatening the victim, but are using more sophisticated emotional appeals designed to minimize their actions and gain the sympathy of the victim. That should change how we work with victims."

Typically, in the first and second conversations there was a heated argument between the couple, revolving around the event leading to the abuse charge. In these early conversations, the victim is strong, and resists the accused perpetrator's account of what happens.

Bonomi says, "The victim starts out with a sense of determination and is eager to advocate for herself, but gradually that erodes as the phone calls continue." In the second stage, the perpetrator minimizes the abuse and tries to convince the victim that what happened wasn’t that serious. In one couple, where the victim suffered strangulation and a severe bite to the face, the accused perpetrator repeatedly reminded the victim that he was being charged with "felony assault," while asking whether she thought he deserved the felony charge. "Finally, he wore her down and she agreed with him that he didn't deserve a felony charge,"

Bonomi says. "The perpetrator casts himself as the victim, and quite often the real victim responds by trying to soothe and comfort the abuser."

Hey, Whitley and Anne have fended off lots of attacks over the years too! In a diary about attending the screening of a movie about global warming, Anne Strieber once compared this website to a roach, because we're stamped on and dismissed but we just won't go away. (And you can get a copy of "Superstorm" that comes with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley, from the Whitley Strieber Collection). Have we stayed the course only to die from neglect today? Only YOU can change that in the future, and the only way to do it is to subscribe today! (NOTE: You can get $3 off our beautiful new crop circle calendar if you use coupon 2012 by Friday, September 23).



"The perpetrator casts himself as the victim..."
It's universal, Hitler did it, Hells Angels do it, the Serbs did it, I do it, maybe abductees did it. Maybe we are all victims or maybe we are week. It's easy to see in others, but hard to see in oneself. One of christianity's great achivements is for people to break the vicious circle by using foregiveness. I'm sure Charles Manson and Anders Breivik felt like victims when they killed people. The victim doesn't want to be a victim. Just my theory offcause.

I was physically and mentally abused for 8 years, think being controlled by the abuser has alot to do with forgiving them, its only when your away from that situation that you can see just how clever an abuser is at manipulating your thoughts and actions.

I was thinking of the perpetrator as the one who has to forgive to break the circle, not his victims offcause. If Hitler had forgiven the allies from winning WW1 he wouldn't have started WW2 causing so many victims.

maybe forgiveness is the answer period.

Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now