Arias Trial-3/26-summary

Dr. LaViolette/Jennifer Wilmott (defense)

Still establishing work history:

  1. She has worked with: Police, on a board, Military, and Corporations.
  2. She uses humor to deal with a serious topic.
  3. She faced some discrimination early on partly due to enacting new laws.
  4. She does (and has) always worked with men and women.
  5. In Court: On the Defense side 16 times, prosecution 9. She has turned down cases due to time restrictions- she won’t do a case unless she has the time to do a good job. She has testified 18 times. She has represented men and women. She started on this case in Sept./Oct. 2011 and is paid $250 for research and $300 to testify per hour.
  6. Exhibit- Continuum about DV (Domestic Violence).  About varying degrees of abuse, including verbal and physical. Strong point: There can be an isolated act of aggression even with someone with no history of abuse.
  7. Name calling (she asks if she can swear) ‘Bitch’, ‘Bastard’, swearing.
  8. Character assassination (considered worse) ‘whore’, ‘slut’, ‘ugly’, ‘worthless.
  9. Abusers often were abused themselves when young.

10. Another type of threat (besides killing) is threat of abandonment.

11. Abusers can have fear of being found out, losing their job.

12. Jealousy…abuser doesn’t want you to spend time with other sex, family…

13. Verbal and emotional abuse is much more frequent (weekly) than physical (over months). No magical number as to when it happens.

14. Aggression (like kicking a car), Controlling (calling during the day to see where you are), submitting to sexual acts, checking e-m’s, facebook, gps.

15. Jealousy is a controlling behavior. They control, interrogate, put down friends or family. More extreme: destruction of property- first general (like punching a hole in the wall) then personal (the victim’s property). Sexual abuse, changing the victim’s personality. Occurs over time.  At the end more violent – road rage, bar fight. Lastly Terrorism: extreme stalking, violating protective orders hostage situations monopolization of perception (you see through the perpetrator’s eyes- like subtle mind control (like you get a new job and hey say ‘well I guess they’ll hire anyone. Money, wealth and sex can all effect the balance of power.

16. Threats- to kill self or a well thought out murder (of the victim), torturing pets.

17. Extreme isolation from families, etc. and not talking to anyone about what’s going on. They don’t want people to think they have a bad partner, not being able to write bad things, dismantling the car. Believe what the abuser tells you (like you’re fat…). Your choices and your world are narrowed. The abused does not want to make the abuser lose their job or mar their reputation.

18. Balance of power shifts.

19. You can have a terrorist who never lays a hand on you.

20. Sexual humiliation and degradation. Abused sometimes blame themselves for the abuse.

21. Exacerbating factors (the perpetrator)-your family history (neglect, abuse), previous abusive relationships, substance abuse, psychological issues.

Done with the Continuum!

Afternoon Session:

  1. Has she used the Continuum in court before? Yes…
  2. There is a range of behaviors.
  3. The Continuum was peer reviewed and published.
  4. Batterers instill fear in families and others who care about them.
  5. Most rage aimed at intimate partner, sometimes children. The intimate partner probably won’t tell, and if married may stay. This is why they don’t act out at the workplace. No witnesses.
  6. Intimate violence is the new term.
  7. Asks the Dr. to do a walk through of an abusive relationship. Starts with being in love. First relationship. (Most could live with an abuser for a year…). Dates—meeting family…gets mad…silent treatment…then ok…then gets mad and they call you names…you don’t leave…now you’re more serious with each other… they break something of yours…still don’t leave…now together 1-2 years…another argument, one where you are slapped…are you going to stop loving because they hit you?  Clash of values- I shouldn’t be mistreated but should be compassionate and forgiving…I have made promises in this relationship. This clash can make you stay- there is a possibility of change. Learned helplessness- they feel helpless. Two main reasons they stay- hope and fear. Hope backfires in an abusive relationship. Fear takes longer to develop.  Back to the slap- most still would not leave.  Plus shame attached to those who don’t leave even if they have the financial ability to. Often women in shelters have few resources. Couples without kids still have the emotional bond. Belief systems- women still feel if the relationship fails they fail…men are less likely to stay. Religious beliefs, green card dependent, gay, poor, all could have issues. Difficult to leave. A lot of women have no proof of the abuse or may lie about it. Become more isolated as you feel you can’t talk to people. Self esteem suffers – things they said they would never stand for they now do.  Feel terrible about themselves. Often say they’re not afraid…until abuse escalates. You become another person- even the abuser loses more respect for you. The longer together the more invested you are- buying things together, traveling. Victim blame- why victims tend to be flaky- don’t show up for court, etc…blame selves for being victimized. In sexual assault and DV often the victim is blamed. Batterer will externalize the blame. Abusers self esteem isn’t vey good either though it may not appear that way. Behavioral self blame- you change what you do- don’t smart mouth back. Blame self for car robbery because they left their door unlocked. Character logical self blame- what did I do to provoke it…if I’m a good person why do I get treated this way- what’s wrong with me? Difficult to leave as you’re not worthy, you’re ashamed.
  8. The Hostage syndrome- Stockholm Sweden.  The tellers were held hostage and 2/3 testified for the robbers. First you perceive a threat, the believe it can happen, then it stabilizes- you’re allowed to go to the restroom, so perception of kindness, then monopolization of perception…isolated- then perceive you cannot escape. How it applies to DV situation: Perception of emotional and physical violence. If you have been harmed they are capable of hurting you.  Then there are periods of kindness and good times. Eventually you can stop the hope.
  9. Chronic Apprehension- ‘substance abusers get a break, but those who live with them never get a break’…same with DV. You begin to develop the apprehension because you know it will happen again.

10. The relationship usually starts out good (in DV).

11. Cycle of violence. At tension building phase, then an incident, then the honeymoon phase. Some people never get a honeymoon or it diminishes over time. There is no magic number as to how long these phases last. The incidents escalate in intensity and frequency and the honeymoon can diminish. Normal relationships can also be cyclical but not violent.

12. There’s a difference in the way men and women fear. Women know they’re more likely targets…so more cautious the men who are not that way. TV shows where women are being stalked, DV, etc. It’s more difficult to abuse a man. Unless a woman has a weapon. Women are scared more rapidly and will tend to retain fear and become more cautious.

13. There’s a difference in anger too.  Women are not praised for their anger, unless defending their kids.  What do people call angry women? Men are less harshly judged.

14. Difference in brains too. <Sidebar>

15. Women she has treated tend to over empathize. (Battered men too). Women after a little time will sympathize with their men. It can keep them in a relationship longer.

16. Empathy and brain scans. Women’s brains <Sidebar>

17. Men groups. Goal to change belief systems about using aggression and developing empathy. Empathize for self (when they were children), other men in the group, their children then their partner.

18. Hypothetical- Man who as a boy had extreme neglect, homeless, dirty, parents were drug addicts. He would see/hear violence between Mom and Dad. He would have a number of issues in a relationship. <Sidebar> Though child not hit, still abusive childhood. Child could blame self.  They learn negative coping skills. Sometimes you do what your parents did. When you grow up fearful you grow up fearful. You can still have a successful job, but not relationship. When feeling powerless they will become more powerful, bigger. Don’t have the skills to deal with a personal relationship. Things happening to older kids can be tolerated better.

19. Chronic combat readiness- kids from abuse…you grow up in a basic war zone so you’re hyper vigilant. Operating from their reptilian brain. A lot of bullies come from abusive families. The degree of abuse in the environment will directly effect the degree of severity of abuse later.

Afternoon Break

  1. Regarding victims when they come to testify <Sidebar>
  2. Abused women and whether they seek the police, medical, testify.  Many don’t make police reports. Some change their minds, some follow through. When called to testify many recant. Sometimes it takes a long time to get to court, so some reconcile. They don’t want partner to lose job, have a record, or pay fees/fines, be put on probation, etc. It effects the entire family. About 80% recant. Victim can feel blamed.
  3. Men’s group. She invites the victim (female) for an interview to get a bigger picture. If there’s DV the truth is usually worse than either side will admit. Women tend to be protective.
  4. She won’t counsel couples in DV situations together. That is a conflict. Also safety of the survivor is important.
  5. She looks for the balance of power. While separated she will question them. (I can’t list all of these…she is very wordy! Trust me it doesn’t apply to this case.)
  6. Cycle of violence -1979. The descriptions in the book were extreme. It’s not used as much today because controversy over the honeymoon phase (it doesn’t always happen).
  7. She lists some more current books on DV.
  8. She works with childhood trauma.
  9. Battered women have the full range of family history.  Men abusers tend tom have a violent history or are exposed to DV. Women who come from chronic abuse do tend to repeat abusive relationships. Women generally say emotional/verbal abuse is worse than physical, maybe because it happens more frequently. Hurts worse from someone you love.

10. History of the abuser—mostly it’s exposure. <Sidebar> Children who grow up in an abusive family don’t always grow up abusers…we don’t have all the information…<Objection>

FYI: I left out some case studies and examples because it was just too much!

Tomorrow Court resumes at 10:45.

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