Ambient Abuse: Gaslight Effect and the Diabolical Personality

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*This week has been a marathon of activity in which I have accomplished much but produced little in terms of writing. Continuing ed., a precarious work schedule, and Spring Break for two of my kids have made the challenges of deadlines even more difficult to meet. My intention was to post a piece regarding Borderline Personality Disorder by week’s end. Unfortunately, that post must wait until Monday for completion. (Don’t ask… it’s complicated.) However, as a precursor to my up-coming post on BDP, I have decided to re-post a short and to-the-point piece that I wrote over a year ago regarding a manipulative tactic used by emotional abusers referred to as “The Gaslight Effect.” My hope is that the reader will gain not only knowledge of this diabolical technique but also gain effective tools of response to combat pervasive psychological warfare perpetrated by those who wish to control them and do them significant  harm.

original publication date October 17, 2011 @ 1:00pm EST

Gaslighting” is clinically defined as “intimidation or psychological abuse in which false information is deliberately presented to the victim, making them doubt their own memory and/or perception of an event or events.” The most diabolical and deceitful personalities use this tactic in their daily lives to get their way and avoid responsibility at the expense and to the detriment of their victims. Power relationships are hot-beds, if you will, for this out-right evil tool of hidden manipulation which thrives on the aggressor dominating and asserting power, coupled with the victim acquiescing to their demands and giving them power. Although, traditionally seen in male/female romantic relationships, Gaslighting can, and often does occur in parent-to-child relationships with mothers the common perpetrators.  Additionally, this dynamic can be found in female-to-female relationships often described as “frenemy” (of frienemy, if you prefer) relationships in which the self-professed Alpha female dominates all others for personal gain. Something akin to the movie Mean Girls likely just sprung to mind which is a somewhat accurate example of the dynamic that exists in such power relationships.

Where did we acquire the term Gaslighting Effect? From the 1944 movie, Gaslight, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman in which Boyer’s character tries to drive “insane” his wife played by Bergman. Relative to nothing, it should be noted that this version of the film was a remake of the 1940 film of the same name starring Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard. The original film was an adaptation of the play “Gas Light” written in 1938 by Patrick Hamilton. Personally, I believe the later version of the film with Boyer and Bergman tells a better story and better defines the hidden manipulative behavior in question than the original film. I strongly recommend to the reader that if you have not seen the film, then go now – after you finish reading this, of course – and rent it from Netflix for a better understanding of the behavior in action.

Enough background!” you say? “What exactly is Gaslighting? What does the tactic entail?” My hope for the reader in this next section is that it elicits at least one, if not many, “Eureka!” moments as perhaps each of you recognize that you are in one or more of these power relationships and that, no, you aren’t crazy! The gaslighter’s over all goal is to modify evidence then falsify information for the purpose of making their intended target(s) question their own recollection, memory, analysis, and perception of events and/or behaviors. In other words, they reject reality and substitute it with their own for personal gain and entertainment. In short, they enjoy inflicting psychological pain onto others and will stop at nothing to psychologically abuse their targets in order to get their own way. So what is it that they do?  The primary behaviors are listed as follows:

  • Deny existence of an event even when presented with evidence (Denial);
  • Deliberately block their victims from source data (Compartmentalizing);
  • Deny behaviors by immediately putting their targets on the defensive (Deflection);
  • Insist that their targets are imagining things (Chronic Invalidation);
  • Shame their targets for expressing very real hurts (Minimization);
  • Insist that others are the source of their poor choices (Blaming);
  • Mentally abuse their targets with criticism veiled as “advice” (Depreciation);
  • (Usually) must have the last word (again, Chronic Invalidation);
  • Force agreement by their targets to accept their false reality (Domination);
  • Engage in gossip in order to hurt and control their targets (Humiliation);
  • Has the ability to “sell ice to an Eskimo” meaning that they are persistent and manipulative enough to convince someone to invest in something that they could receive for free (Insincerity).

The above described behaviors are perpetrated in concert and incessantly by ambient abusers, always. At their very core, those who Gaslight others are accomplished con artists who know how to select, isolate, and then stealthily psychologically abuse their targets into submission for their own personal gain. Gaslighters are bullies who often hide behind a good-guy (or girl) persona and have no hesitation about portraying themselves as a “victim” to be pitied for the purpose of maintaining control over others. They are utterly anti-social as evidenced by their persistent choices in violating the rights of others. They are never to be trusted. Let me be perfectly clear before I go any further that within a parent-to-child gaslighting dynamic the child has little choice but to comply with their ambient abuser so the term “enabling” does not apply in that context.  However, within peer-to-peer relationships, enabling drives the behavior forward and does nothing to stop the relentless abuse.

Dr. Robin Stern, author of the book The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life describes the dynamic between the abuser and abused as “The Gaslight Tango” which I think is a brilliant description of how the manipulative tool works collectively with those who enable them. She offers a fresh perspective on the enabling behavior of the gaslighting victim which shines a much brighter light on how abusers often get away with their diabolical behaviors. The abuser understands clearly that there is an energy cost associated with their targets disengaging from their abusiveness and they exploit that cost to their advantage whenever possible.

Ambient abusers are classic nit-pickers who redirect attention away from their own abusive behavior by engaging in insidious forms of abuse that are not clearly recognizable by the general public as abusive behavior. For example, ambient abusers often publicly shame their targets for insignificant errors as a deflective tactic to keep others from looking at the abuser’s behavior.  When questioned about their own behavior they use the following phrases to gain the silence and compliance from their targets:

“I can’t talk you to you when you get like this…” (Makes their target sound unreasonable and puts the responsibility entirely on the target.)

“After everything that I’ve done for you…” (Routinely tries to buy the targets willingness to comply through gifts and favors only to turn around and, when convenient, demand “repayment.”)

“How can you be so selfish…” (Usually said when they meet resistance at getting their own way.)

“If you loved me you would [xyz]…” (Classic coercive tactic.)

“Can’t you see how you’re hurting me…” (Which is usually said when confronted about their own abusive behavior.)

Psychopathic personalities very often hide in plain sight and seek refuge behind those persons whom they know can be easily controlled. The psychological, emotional, and physical abuser knows how to exploit others for their own deceitful gain. These abusive persons – who very often are women – will “gaslight” their victims relentlessly and will also flat-out deny all abusive behaviors even in the face of physical evidence. All that is needed for the abuser to continue without consequence is the buy-in and silence of those who know the truth and yet say nothing. Plainly stated, family members, friends, pastors, counselors, teachers, and any other persons that know of and/or witness abuse then do nothing to stop it are complicit in its perpetration. Make no mistake in understanding that psychological aggression is, in fact, a form of violence which leaves no physical scars making ambient abuse both insidious and pervasive.

I hope that the reader has found this information enlightening and helpful. I further hope that it challenges those who allow themselves to be dominated by emotional abusers to rethink their choices and then stop the cycle of abuse by disengaging from the madness. There is an energy cost associated with disengaging the ambient abuser; however, it is far less than the cost of allowing them to continue to perpetrate abuse. For further reading on the subject (that I promise is not too technical) yet addresses the topic effectively, I recommend the resource material listed below.

~Amy

Resources:

Forward, S. (1997). Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You. New York, NY, Harper-Collins Publishing.

Jacobson, N. S., & Gottman, J. M. (1998). When men batter women, new insights into ending abusive relationships. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.”

Simon, G. K. (1996). In sheep’s clothing: Understanding and dealing with manipulative people. Parkhurst Brother’s, Inc. Little Rock, Arkansas.

Stern, R. (2007). The gaslight effect: How to spot and survive the hidden manipulation others use to control your life. (1st ed.). New York, NY: Random House.

© Amy Lynn Burch 2008 – 2015
All Rights Reserved

No part of this work or webpage or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated by the author for stand-alone materials. 

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Human Trafficking: The Mindset of the Buyer

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Published on March 15, 2013 @ 7pm (PST)

*Following is the elusive and much requested “Part Five” of my four-part series on Human Trafficking as relates to sexual crimes. Yes, you read that correctly and, no, I’m not high. *grin*  I was asked by many readers to include what was considered the overlooked driving force behind the crime of sexual trafficking. First presented on BehindTheYellowTape with Joey Ortega on March 15, 2013, I finally present to you Part Five~ Human Trafficking: The Mindset of the Buyer. As a note to the reader, empirical citations are included for the benefit of the reader wishing to learn more regarding the crime of sex trafficking from verified sources.

The participants in human trafficking are known in detail with the exception of perhaps the most important participant: the buyer. The typical yet erroneous belief as respects sex trafficking and prostitution is generally that the behavior of the women involved is the sole cause of the selling of sex. What is portrayed in the media often enhances this belief with prostitutes portrayed as sexual enticers and not as enslaved victims. Prostitutes are well defined and fleshed out as caricatures within media in contrast of the harsh reality to the exclusion of the buyer who remains faceless, nameless, and poorly defined. To effectively stop the practice of human slavery in the form of sex trafficking we must clearly define, insofar as that is possible, the buyer and what motivates their behavior as relates to sex trafficking. The fact remains that without the buyer, there is no market, and there is no demand.

Examining the mindset of the buyer is critical in addressing the growing problem of sex trafficking. For the consenting adult sex need not be purchased in order to be enjoyed. Let’s face it, sex is free in many respects so why the created market for what could be negotiated outside of monetary coercion? Is it really necessary for anyone to have to pay for sex? The answer is, maybe. Without making anyone entirely uncomfortable, there might be certain sexual preferences to otherwise enjoyed without the benefit of money and I won’t go into those details. But, again, if it were solely an issue of sexual gratification would it be necessary to buy such enjoyment? Probably not, which begs the question: if it’s not about sex, then what is the true issue?

It might be surprising for many to learn that the purchase of sex usually has less to do with the sex act itself and more to do with buying the “right” to temporarily degrade and abuse another human being for ones personal entertainment. When researching the attitudes and behaviors of the typical sex purchaser one trait was uniformly clear; all subjects from which data was collected had the desire to physically abuse and degrade their victims. In short, purchasing sex was less about engaging in sex and more about inflicting harm and the “right” to do so because money had changed hands. Ironically, the issue of violence is the one area all but ignored by traditional research that seeks to explore patterns in prostitution and how to combat the trends in sex trafficking.

As clearly stated in last week’s overview of human trafficking, the majority of data compiled in relation to sex trafficking relies on self report not just in terms of identified  victims who, heretofore, have been referred to as “prostitutes” or ”sex workers” but also as respects purchasers commonly referred to as “johns” making it difficult to pinpoint accurate statistics. Even so, current available research data indicates the violence factor as a primary motivator in the purchase of sex across socioeconomic categories (Hughs, 2004, p. 9). Specifically, current research indicates that the typical purchaser of sex acts engages routinely in beating, slapping, and intimidating with a deadly weapon those persons from whom they purchase sex (Erbe, 1984, p. 623; Hughs, 2004, pp. 9-11). The only potential exception to this trend appears to be teenaged boys taken to a strip club and/or prostitute as a “first time” experience (Hughs, 2004, p. 10).

Because of the otherwise ignored violence factor as a motivator for purchased sex, the typical view of the “john” is one of being a lonely, single, or otherwise sexually dissatisfied male unable to maintain a relationship with opposite sex who must, therefore, purchase sexual gratification. Current research does not support this portrait. In two major studies conducted in Canada and the United States, the portrait of the typical “john” has emerged as much more disturbing (Sawyer, et al., 2002). As respects the Candian study, 70% of sex purchasers were married or in long-term relationships. 43% of the Canadian study participants either had children or planned to have children in the future. As respects the participants of the United States study, 80% of the “johns” reported that they were either married or in a steady relationship that was sexually satisfying. These same study participants shared the view with other males in studies conducted around the globe that sex is commodity associate with the right to perpetrate violence against women  (Sawyer, et al., 2002).

References:

Hughs, D. (2004).  Best Practices to Address the Demand Side of Sex Trafficking. University of Rhode Island, Women’s Studies Program.

Erbe, N. (1984). “Prostitutes: Victims of Men’s Exploitation and Abuse,” Law and Inequality, Vol. 2(2). p. 623.

Sawyer, S., Metz, M., Hinds, J., & Brucker, R.(Winter 2001 – 2002). Attitudes towards Prostitution among Males: A ‘Consumers’ Report,” Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social, Vol. 20(4), pp 363-376.

© Amy Lynn Burch 2008 – 2013
All Rights Reserved

No part of this work or webpage or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated by the author for stand-alone materials. 

It has been my concern all along – or, rather, since Prinnie abruptly left BehindTheYellowTape without so much as a courtesy call – that the probable intentional manipulation of the facts of the case in regard to what is now known as the Steubenville Rape Case would likely lead to a mistrial if not an outright Motion to Dismiss. And then there’s this…

Steubenville : The Real Story

As I think more about the Motion To Dismiss, it could a real issue. Here’s why.

I was at the last hearing in the case about six weeks agos and one of the issues raised by Ma’lik Richmond’s attorney Walker Madison was a continuence to postpone the trial from its original date of February 13th. That motion was granted and trial was moved to March 13th.

One of Madison’s reasons, stated in open court, was ‘three witnesses’ that the defense said they had just been made aware of.

Are these the same ‘three witnesses’ whose testimony the judge won’t be hearing because of the Kentucky’s judges ruling.

If so, this could be issue because the judge was already aware of the defense feeling they were important to their case and already ruled in favor of pushing back the trial date. So while I consider a total dismissal unlikely, the…

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Internet Bullies: Anonymity, Insecurity, and Insatiable Escapism

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Anybody got a good Internet troll story to share??? You know what an “Internet troll” is, right? Someone with nothing better to do than to spend their time posting inflammatory, extraneous, and/or off-topic messages in an online community, (forums, chat rooms, Twitter, Facebook, and/or blogs) with the intended purpose of provoking readers into an emotional response and/or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion in order to feel powerful. Yeah… THOSE guys (and gals)!

If you’ve ever experienced the wrath of an Internet troll then email me at amy.burch.theyellowtape@gmail.com and be willing to be contacted via phone to discuss your experience for possible feature on a future episode of Behind The Yellow Tape. =)

Life Is Fragile… So Make Yours Meaningful

Today’s post has nothing to do with child abuse, or the mentally disturbed, or sexual behavior, or anything related to my daily work as a private investigator. Today’s post is simply this: life is fragile so don’t waste yours on meaningless pursuits. Why am I waxing philosophic? Because today I have to pick up my daughter from college to take her to a friends funeral.

This young man’s death was not the result of careless partying or driving fast while texting or the result of some ill-fated parkour trick. No. He was merely talking on the phone with his girlfriend and simply dropped dead. At this time, there is no explanation for this abrupt end to an otherwise healthy life. He was so full of potential and it makes no sense that he is no longer with us.

So, I urge you today to remember that we all see an end to this life and none of us knows exactly when, why, or how we will cease to be. You have a choice for today: live so that you are a blessing to those around you; or live so that you will be remembered as a curse upon humanity. It’s entirely up to you the legacy that you leave. For Albert, he was a blessing. RIP~

~Amy

The Myth of Asexual Innocence: Childhood Sexual Curiosity and Failed Opportunity

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For a culture grossly over-saturated in inappropriate sexual images and themes, we as Americans have a remarkably difficult time having an honest conversation about human sexuality. Allow me to address that proverbial elephant which stands squarely in the figurative living room of American society which most others choose to ignore. I’ll state it straight up and straight out: every human being on this planet is a sexual creature, even children. As a result, we need to understand the consequences of over-sexualizing our children and saturating them with sexual imagery before they are ready to handle such a wonderfully complex aspect of humanity. There, I stated it plainly. For those of you who are already offended, I suggest you either buckle up or leave now because I’m about to off-road into some decidedly bumpy terrain.

For my readers who know little to nothing about child development it may come as a shock to learn that human sexuality is not something which is relegated in terms of development to the onset of puberty. No, in fact, sexuality in human beings begins in the very first years of life rather than in the teen and young adult years. Yes, sexuality begins to develop in very early childhood. Nobody panic! I’m not going to go “all Freudian” on you as my oldest daughter would say. Well, not too much, anyway and don’t panic, that is, unless you are oversensitive, immature, prone to hysteria and/or other neurotic behaviors, reactionary, and cannot look honestly at the truth about being human from a sexual perspective. I may touch a bit on Freudian concepts but I’m not going to tell you that penis envy is valid because it isn’t. This myth has been exploded at least in my mind in part because in this day and age of plastic surgery any penis-desiring feminist would have had one surgically attached by now spurring on a trend among fellow feminists to do the same. No, we don’t see this behavior but we do see women lashing the equivalent of large Honey Dew melons to their chests and calling them breasts. But I digress. What I am going to do is move into some highly uncomfortable territory which Freud himself might appreciate were he sane and alive, and that Piaget would continue to ignore.

This blog post is about sex. Sex, sex, sex! Sex is a basic human need – that’s right need – and we are all born with that need. It’s how we choose to express that need that is the point of difference between healthy expression and deviant criminal acts. Why am I writing about sex, particularly in relation to children, on this blog?  I’m taking the time to address the issue here and now because we cannot even begin to understand the nature of criminally sexual behavior without confronting the hard truths about human sexuality and that truth is: sex in and of itself is good and no one should be vilified for having this need; and unless something is neurologically wrong, all humans including children experience sexual feelings.  In other words, sexuality is universal.

What does this topic have to do with children? I’m getting to that but before I do let me state clearly and emphatically that I am well aware of the childishly manipulative tactics exercised by certain of those who occupy their time taking my words and twisting them around for the sole purpose of redirecting the conversation and putting me on the defensive. I understand what these poor misguided souls are attempting to do and it won’t work. If they choose to behave as I predict that they will in relation to this post then they can expect at least two things to occur: first, I will allow them to make fools of themselves in the comments section of this blog which will only prove my point in terms of knowing their behavior; and second, I will not move into defensive mode because I’m familiar with that tactic and know very well how to deal the personality type(s) who implement such predictably childish behavior.

Additionally, if they lack the courage to address me with their real faces and real names on this blog, they can each rest assured that I will find their true identities and address each as such in my responses. Lastly, anyone is welcome to comment on this post whether they agree or disagree with me provided they are not rude, have a point, and disagree without resorting to name calling or other hysterical behavior. I have no problem with debate and I can agree to disagree. Furthermore, I can admit when I am wrong so if I misstate something or there is evidence to the contrary of my point then, by all means, present it. What I cannot and will not do is suffer fools gladly. With that stated, on with the topic at hand: sex and child development.

It’s Not Just the Birds & Bees

Even in its earliest stages, childhood is not the asexual innocence that most parents envision it to be and this can be an uncomfortable discovery for many unseasoned parents and/or childcare givers. All that is necessary to shatter this sanitized version of early childhood development is to witness a toddler “discover” themselves through exploratory touch. Children are tiny investigators and tactile ones at that. In the pre-language stage children understand concepts through feeling and experience which is why pre-language abuses (and not just sexual in nature) often present in the form of maladaptive behaviors.  One cannot articulate what one does not have language skills to describe. However, one can feel and re-experience outside of language barriers.  It is for this reason that the general public appears to have the erroneous mindset that all behavior is learned therefore, if a child acts out sexually then they must have learned it from some external force or observation. If a child exhibits sexual behavior or curiosity pre-language then that must mean that he or she has been abused in some way, right? Not so and this is why.

The Dreaded “M” Word

Masturbation.  Yep… that’s the one! The topic, the word, the activity that we like to ignore specifically when it is seen exhibited in children.  It’s difficult for many to say and even more difficult to put into writing. For many, just thinking about “that word” invokes feelings of guilt and shame which likely can be traced back to a negatively associated early childhood experience. The “M” word represents an activity and topic that is simply too sensitive to touch for most, pun very much intended. However, that word describing that activity which you may find difficult to acknowledge is foundational to human sexuality and is very much present in most children before the age of five. Contrary to popular belief it very rarely has anything to do with having experienced sexual abuse.

Children masturbate. Shocking! In reading that statement I’m certain that some of you have just experienced a major anxiety attack, even more have likely experienced a mild heart attack, and yet even more are convinced that I am perverted for even bringing up the subject. Some may even twist my words into appearing as though I support child pornography because I used the words “children” and “masturbate” in the same sentence. I can just see all the Twitter feeds now exploding with phony outrage from the irrationally embittered that have about as much depth as a thimble, “Did you read her blog today? …she’s a pervert… a pornographer… she hates children,” blah, blah, blah. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I love children and go out of my way to advocate for sexual abuse victims, particularly victims who are children because they have no voice or power of their own to combat exploitation. It is for this reason that I am addressing this issue. Children experience sexual feelings in early childhood but do not have the ability to negotiate nor can they consent to the complex issues involving sexual activity until much later in life, and cannot legally in most states engage in sexual activity with another person before the age of eighteen.

Why do we need to look at the dreaded “M” word as it relates to children? Because it is how we react as adults to the very natural acts of sexual exploration that sets the tone for how the child will perceive themselves later in life and as they begin to mature. Plainly stated, it is how we react and the messages that we send culturally to our children and young adults early in life about individual sexuality that sets the stage for either healthy sexual expression (hopefully in a mutually loving relationship) or sexual devaluation and victimization.

Mixed Messages

We do more harm than good and potentially very real damage, when we demonize children for natural curiosity and then fail to direct that curiosity appropriately. We over punish for normal and innocent sexual curiosity in childhood or ignore the issue entirely leaving Hollywood and public schools to fill-in the information later in life because as parents we just don’t want to deal with such an uncomfortable subject. Or, we rush to false judgments and assume that any sexual curiosity is the result of abuse or learned behavior, and later in life it is learned behavior which becomes a detrimental issue for many. Parents need to understand that early childhood sexual exploration is developmentally normal and how you react has the potential to damage a child well into adulthood and this is especially true for girls.

Even in the current age with males immediately demonized for sexual expression and women congratulated for being “sexually free” human beings, males receive far more positive messages early in life as respects auto-erotic behaviors than do females. For girls, the issues of sexual identity can be even more confusing because boys tend to be congratulated for their sexuality from an early age while girls are made to feel like several derogatory words that I don’t like to use but will likely have to before this paragraph has ended. As boys mature they are openly encouraged by society to direct their attention toward pornography in relation to masturbation as an acceptable means of sexual outlet in lieu of actually sexual contact. I could write an entire series on the effects of classical conditioning as it relates to sexuality and I just might because it relates to pornography as being a socially acceptable and viable alternative to real relationships. That is a problem! Anyway, males are told that it’s normal for men to have near constant sexual feelings. Females are not. In truth, we as females are told expressly the opposite which is very confusing because as girls we know that this is not true! As women we know that we are far more sexually similar to men than the masses believe and we are just as visual. We enjoy sexual touch and this is true for young female children but girls are discouraged and boys are encouraged. Females are told deliberate lies about our own sexuality, i.e. girls like to cuddle and don’t like sex, any girl who likes sex is a whore, boys are more entitled to sex than girls and deserve multiple partners, etc. All of those things are myths, by the way, in case you were not aware. When a girl expresses an interest in sex then she is called a whore or a slut or a… it begins with “c” and I won’t state it here because it is truly vile but you get the idea. Over time, as females mature we begin to resent these messages, the proof of which can be found in the Women’s Liberation Movement in the not-so-distant past.

The Great Sexual Divide is Now A Bottomless Pit of Depravity

Back in the early to mid late 1960’s when I was allegedly born this trend began to change but fast forward some forty-plus years later and I cannot say that it is for the better. Instead of addressing the issues of sexual imbalance appropriately the proverbial pendulum has swung hard in the other direction. Not only that but we have also managed to turn the metaphoric clock upside down as well. In response to the unfair demonization of female sexuality boys are now vilified for sexual expression while girls are congratulated for piggish behaviors once reserved for their male counterparts. Men in America have progressively become the objects of public ire and somehow fundamentally “wrong” for having any amount of sexual feelings toward a woman or even women in general and are then summarily labeled as rapists while women are told that they can behave and dress however they wish then bear no responsibility for inappropriate advances. In terms of sexual behavior women are now told that they can do no wrong while men can do no right. I haven’t taught my daughters that nonsense and I certainly haven’t taught my son that either.

And right about now the reactionary who monitor me from afar – or so they think – have very likely made the leap to Steubenville and have probably interpreted my comments on this warped cultural sexuality shift as being about that specific issue. As the rational reader contemplates this post and digest its contents the irrational have likely read up to the previous paragraph and labeled me a rape supporter and a victim blamer. If that is the message which they have chosen to take away from this post then God help them because they clearly lack the maturity and clarity of mind to digest such a mature topic and to see the real issues within our sexually confused and blurred society. The ones who will predictably go off half-cocked on Twitter or Tumbler or Facebook or “thisbook” or “thatbook” about my so-called support of rape culture are the very ones who actively perpetuate, perpetrate, and punctuate the current twisted sexual stereotypes which I find so destructive to our youth today. Even adults have bought into this nonsense. No wonder our children are confused and prolific targets for sexual abuse.

I know that some of you are confused as to why I started this discussion from a place of early childhood. The reason why is actually quite simple. The attitudes that we project onto our children beginning in early childhood regarding sex have a lasting effect on them well into adulthood. Add to that a society that does not merely value bad behavior but openly celebrates it with shows like Girls Gone Wild, Buckwild, and Jersey Shore, and it is a wonder why our young people have any personal values and sense of self-worth at all. With a pattern of avoiding sexuality issues in early childhood and then throwing young people into a society that has limited, if any, sexual boundaries coupled with a hoard of mixed messages it’s no wonder our youth act out contrary to acceptable societal norms and cross the line into potential sexual criminality. Sexual responsibility does not equate in terms of creating an anything goes anti-establishment type of society, nor does it equate in terms of avoidance of addressing early childhood sexuality. Healthy sexual identity for both males and females begins at the cradle and not in the teen years when attitudes are already well established. By then, it is far too late and more difficult to change deeply ingrained maladaptive behaviors and negative sexual identities.

~Amy

© Amy Lynn Burch 2008 – 2013
All Rights Reserved

No part of this work or webpage or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated by the author for stand-alone materials. This blog post may be re-blogged in its entirety and unaltered with credit given to its original author.

When “Motivation” Becomes a Four-Letter Ten Letter Word

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There is a repeated question in my mind regarding this whole Steubenville Rape case debacle and Alexandria “Prinnie” Goddard’s involvement therein which is: why is she interested in this case and how did she initially learn about it to begin with?  On the surface I can understand why she might be outraged at the allegations of gang rape by certain Steubenville High School football players. Considering the alleged circumstances, who wouldn’t be?  However, something about Alexandria “Prinnie” Goddard’s tone in blogging about the Steubenville Rape case and the allegations of wrongdoing from the very beginning have bothered me. It wasn’t until this morning while I sat quietly drinking my coffee that it suddenly occurred to me that this so-called Prinne-the-investigative-blogger might have a personal interest in this case, other than claims of wanting justice for the alleged victim.  Furthermore, perhaps seeking notoriety at the expense of the victim and the accused is not her only goal?  No, I think not.  There’s an underlying current in her pursuit of this case that so far has lacked definition and I believe that it just might be personal in nature.

As a private investigator and as a student of human behavior, I have learned through experience to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. Conversely, and more importantly I have also learned to not lead the evidence wherever I may wish it to end.  As a result, it is my job to uncover facts and to present those facts as they appear and not as the client perhaps wants them to appear.  Truthfully, this is one of the more difficult aspects of my job. Without becoming too technical or diverting from the original focus of this commentary I’ll simply state that it can often be the case that the information I find in the course and scope of my job very often is not what the client expects or wants to hear. As human beings we are all subject to personal bias but as an investigator, I have to set that aside which can be difficult for clients who insist that “xyz” is true and demand that I corroborate their assumptions by tailoring the facts to fit their personal bias. I don’t do that. Why? Because professionally I have a legal and ethical mandate to report the truth.  When I testify in court regarding a particular case I testify to the facts and not my personal opinion. Simply stated, my personal opinion regarding a case or cases, as well as the case participants, does not matter.  What matters are the facts, the truth, and what information can be corroborated. End of story. So, what does this have to do with Alexandria “Prinnie” Goddard and the Steubenville Rape case?  I’m so glad that you asked.

Let’s go back to the beginning when Alexandria “Prinnie” Goddard, or whatever she’s calling herself this week, enlisted the help of Joey Ortega in pursuing the investigation of the Steubenville Rape case.  Prinnie has insisted all along that had it not been for her “reporting” about the Steubneville Rape case then “nothing would have been done and no one would know about the case!”  But is that true?  No, it isn’t.  Prinnie herself can be heard on the August 31, 2012 Behind The Yellow Tape episode in which it is clearly stated that the person who initially reported on this case was David Bloomquist, better known as sportscaster and radio personality Bloomdaddy in Ohio.  For the record, it was Bloomquist that insisted that local media in Ohio cover the case, not Prinnie. Why is this important? It’s important because Prinnie’s focus throughout this entire investigation has been on promoting herself for bringing this case to media attention. I can almost hear the collective Internet sign from my readership, ”What difference does it make who was first with the story? Whine, whine, whine. But it does matter and this why: if Prinnie cannot be honest and accurate with minor details that some may consider insignificant e.g. who was first to report, then how can she be trusted to report accurately the larger and more significant facts that are pertinent to this case?  Ahhhh… yes. The devil is, indeed, in the details. Prinnie has taken credit for a lot in terms of popularizing and sensationalizing this case but very little, if any, responsibility in distorting the facts and potentially damaging the chances for justice to prevail in this case. Motivation is the point.

Why isn’t anyone questioning Prinnie’s lack of objectivity in her so-called reporting regarding the Steubenville Rape case.  Furthermore, what of her flagrant and unsupported accusations against the “football culture” in Steubenville, and specifically against Cody Saltsman? I understand that Cody made some spectacularly grotesque comments on his Twitter regarding who we assume to be the Steubenville Rape victim; however, why did Prinnie feel justified in stating on her blog:

“students by day … gang rape participants by night,” Goddard wrote, “Cody Saltsman [is] playing tonight. Reno, SHAME ON YOU.”

and encouraging other football players to “roll” on particular teammates

“roll on their pal Cody Manson”

and

“[p]erhaps when scumbag is finally arrested I will post a picture of him for his mother that says ‘How do you like your scumbag son now?’ … Tell Cody not to feel too bad, he is not the lone asshole in all this.”

The above comments were the subject of the lawsuit against Prinnie that she likes to claim was dismissed with prejudice which is correct but that isn’t a unilateral legal statement of Prinnie’s innocence.  From what I understand, the dismissal with prejudice was more a stroke of luck for Prinnie and unrelated to her specific comments toward Cody Saltsman.  Of course, I may have that wrong but research seems to indicate that this is true. Anyone with documentation to the contrary is encouraged to share it. Regardless, and again I ask, why isn’t anyone questioning Prinnie’s lack of objectivity in relation to this case and her – in this writer’s opinion – gross negligence in investigating the facts before seeking tabloid notoriety in the name of justice for the victim? Me thinks that something is rotten in Denmark (thank you, Shakespeare).

According to David Bloomquist, everyone knows everyone in the Ohio valley.  Understanding that Prinnie is from Ohio and reportedly still lives there, I would assume that this applies to her, as well.  If this is true then I wonder, who does she know in relation to this case and why is she so insistent on demonizing and entire football team at the expense of the victim?  Reading her blog posts on this case particularly of late would make any thinking person wonder why she feels so personally involved.  Why does it matter to Prinnie and why taunt Cody Saltsman’s mother in such a hateful manner?  If my information is correct, Prinnie is from Ohio so it would seem from the outside looking in that she has an axe to grind with the community of Steubenville, or particular persons therein. I wonder what that might be.

Let me state emphatically that I’m not suggesting that this case does not deserve national attention. However, more than national attention, the victim in this case deserves justice and what has all of Prinnie’s blustering accomplished to that end?  Nothing.  Not only nothing but also potentially the opposite. It seems to me that this is a point chronically lost on Prinnie as she continues to call attention to herself and not the facts of the case. As I pondered this point this morning it occurred to me, is she using this case to get even with someone in her own personal life for some perceived wrong? Hmmmm… one wonders. How did she hear about the case in the first place?  If the media wasn’t covering the story then how did she find out about it and why the immediate leap to blame football culture for a cover up? Those are merely questions of course and not specific accusations but still I wonder why others are not openly questioning her underlying motivations. It would appear that not one bit of Prinnie’s attention seeking behavior has been about ensuring justice for the victim; quite the opposite, in fact.  Her behavior has been pointed directly at herself.

I should take this opportunity to remind everyone that Prinnie is a blogger, not a journalist. She has a glaring gap in skills and credibility to be considered an actual investigative journalist.  Did she interview anyone without personal bias to acquire facts in this case? Maybe in the beginning but as of late, it does not appear so. Was she objective in her blogging? No. Did she report the known facts from both sides? No. What she did do was attach herself to an actual investigator with a long history of critical thinking skills and objective assessment of case facts, Joey Ortega. She stood behind his skill and reputation as an investigator then ran and hid like a child when the proverbial excrement hit the fan.  This is not the behavior of a skilled investigator but, rather, it is that of an attention seeking weak personality.

With all of her vindictive behavior one might think that Prinnie has a personal interest in seeing Steubenville and its residents suffer harm.  I contend that it just might be the case that Prinnie has a score to settle and is using an alleged rape victim to accomplish that goal. There’s a difference between working toward legal justice for a crime committed and publicly humiliating alleged perpetrators AND the victim.  It would appear by her own actions that Prinnie’s focus is the latter rather than the former. Maybe that wasn’t her intention but that has certainly been the result.

It has yet to be proven as fact what exactly occured on the night of August 11, 2012 and the accusations of rape at this point are precisely that; accusations. True, two individuals have been charged with rape of the victim but nothing has been proven in a court of law, yet.  Therefore, the term alleged is used for both protection of the victim and the accused. What is more is that because of Prinnie’s machinations in what this writer believes was deliberate manipulation by her an her cohorts of an Anonymous-wannbe to further her personal agenda, the accused in the Steubenville Rape case will be rushed to trial within the next thirty days. Evidence has potentially been tainted, the victims identity compromised, and insofar as I understand it, a change of venue has been requested because this case cannot receive unadulterated and unbiased attention.

What I would like to know is who on earth does Alexandria “Prinnie” Goddard think she is to be parading around the details of this case at the expense of the victim? This is real life and not some poorly scripted made for TV movie! Unfortunately, it would appear that Prinnie and her audience cannot tell the difference between the two which only drives her further into the spotlight at the expense of the truth.  Using a photo of a young girl’s sexual violation online to promote herself, then to openly claim that she wants to help the victim is beyond the pale. What gives her the right to violate this girl’s privacy?  Did she even to bother to consult the victim’s family before going off half-cocked  as it were, in her quest to make a name for herself?  Not likely! Also, why does she throw stones and then hide when things become complicated? Again, I point to lack of skill and professionalism.

Finally, there is something that bothers me about this Alexandria “Prinnie” Goddard even further. Why has she used so many different names in her quest to build a believable reputation as an investigator over the years?  For someone who claims to have ten years of experience in crime investigative blogging she certainly changes identities abruptly and haphazardly.  She’s known by Alexandria Goddard, Alex Goddard, Stacy Goddard, Princess, Prinnie, and who knows what else.  Why so many identities in her pursuit for what I believe to be fame?  What is she hiding or is she running from something? Perhaps both? It’s one thing to hone ones image over time for professional reasons but to completely (and repeatedly) shun one identity for another is what we professional investigators refer to as a “giant red flag” potentially pointing toward deliberate deception.

It occurs to me that it must be a full-time job keeping up with all of her pretentious online identities and this is something to which I cannot relate.  It’s a full-time job for me to simply be myself. I wouldn’t be able to earn a living if I had to hide behind a plethora of fake identities. When does she have time to lead a real life or conduct a thorough investigation?  Who is she really and what in the grand scheme of things is her true internal motivation, particularly in the Steubenville Rape case?  To her followers who keep up with my blog, and I know you’re out there, perhaps you should be asking precisely the same questions rather than blindly following her lead.

As a side note, I would like to point out that the town of Steubenville and its authorities have been forthcoming insofar as professionally and legally permitted in dealing with Joey Ortega as respects this investigation which casts significant doubt on the claims by Prinnie of widespread corruption. For whatever reason the town of Steubenville appears to be the unfair target of Prinnie’s misguided desire to expose corruption. It would seem clear that the only villain in this story who is clearly working under the veil of corruption is Alexandria “Prinnie” Goddard and her allies. Pot, kettle, black.

~Amy

© Amy Lynn Burch 2008 – 2013
All Rights Reserved

No part of this work or webpage or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated by the author for stand-alone materials. 

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Why So Desperate?

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Why So Desperate?

KYanonymous threat against Joey Ortega~

The above is a blatant and brazen attack set in motion this morning against Joey Ortega for calling out the Anonymous wannabe KYanonymous for his arrogant self-insertion into the Steubenville Rape case.  The IP address has been redacted for Joey’s protection. I find this absolutely unacceptable and will not be silent while an innocent man is unjustly attacked by a ruthless coward who hides behind an entity that he clearly does not understand as well as behind a Guy Fawkes mask. The damage done by this wannabe-Anonymous and his cohorts in regard to receiving potential justice for the Steubenville Rape case victim is bad enough. However, resorting to calling for an all out assault on the very person who tried to bring justice to this case in the first place is not only pathetically desperate but also potentially felonious in nature. This is inexcusable! One must wonder why on earth the very person that Joey protected at the beginning of the backlash – Alex “Prinnie” Goddard – is sitting silently by and allowing this to happen. Not willing to stand by him in the hailstorm? Curious, indeed…

Stalking Is An Intimate Crime

Did you know that most stalking victims know their stalker?

• 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. More than half of female victims and more than 1/3 of male victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25.

• About 1 in 5 female victims and 1 in 14 male victims
experienced stalking between the ages of 11 and 17.

• 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.

• 11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more.

References:

Michele C. Black et al., “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” (Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).

Katrina Baum et al., “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009).

Common Sense and Professional Analysis of the Steubenville Rape case

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Listen to the new BTYT episode with special guests former FBI Profiler Mark Safarik and Ohio Police Detective Stacy Dittrich as we discuss the Steubenville Rape case.  Legal and Investigative Issues Discussed at http://t.co/SvAWdall. #BlogTalkRadio