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The issue that’s missing from the Republican debates? Sexual violence.

The US Centers of Disease Prevention and Control reports that 1.3 million women annually are victims of predatory sexual violence. They regard it as a public health crisis. One could reasonably expect that this epidemic of sexual violence would be of vital concern to our leaders, but did you hear it raised in the Republican debates? I didn’t. Planned Parenthood. Immigration. The budget. Building a wall on the Mexican border. Hillary Clinton’s emails. Syria. There was lots of anger and sparring on these issues. Sexual violence? No opinion.It seems the candidates regard the war on women as a lost cause. Either that, or it’s so unimportant to them, they don’t give it a second thought.
There is no reason for our leaders to be so complacent. Nothing has improved.  While other types of violent crime have decreased, the incidence of rapes and sexual homicides have skyrocketed. Even simple measures could make a difference. For example, rapists are known to follow their victims as they walk home along darkened streets. City councils could be providing better street lighting. Getting rid of the backlog of untested rape kits would make an even bigger difference. The Joyful Heart foundation reports there are hundreds of thousands of them. Yet it’s so often the case that after DNA testing leads to an arrest, it turns out the perpetrator was a serial offender. By failing to test rape kits, cities allow serial rapists to roam free, attacking more women.
Sexual violence is not an issue that galvanizes our leaders. They don’t debate it, they don’t campaign on it, they don’t ask women’s organizations, “what can I do to help make a difference?” They regard it as a non issue. Is it cynical to think that if 1.3 million males were raped annually in the USA, crimes of sexual violence would be a recurring topic in the Republican debates?

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I met a man

I met a man at a fund raising event. When I first walked in the door I realized with some dread, that I couldn’t see a single person I knew, so when the stranger introduced himself, it was a welcome relief. We fell into easy conversation. He was in his sixties. He was a pleasant, lively and intelligent conversationalist. I learned that he was a professor at a liberal arts college. I remember he was passionate about the environment, and that he was divorced, with a daughter in her twenties. We were getting along like a house on fire, until the moment he asked me what I was writing about, and I answered that I was writing about sexual assaults on campus.

My fellow guest chose to interrupt me at that point.  He informed me stiffly that his college had been one of those investigated by the New York Times for its inadequate and improper handling of a sexual assault case. I remembered the story. The administration had treated the distressed victim unfairly, and despite compelling evidence, the rapist had gone unpunished.

I gave him a sympathetic smile. I assumed the professor’s sudden tension resulted from his embarrassment at the way his college had mishandled the case. Hell, I would have been embarrassed. But he wasn’t embarrassed, he was angry about the negative publicity. Nor did he appear interested in what I had found in my research into campus rapes. He already had the answer to the problem: he said, college girls just had “to stop drinking and dressing like sluts.”It astonished me that this man who had been in college in the late 1960s, when the Women’s Liberation movement was flourishing on campuses, blamed victims of rape for “bad choices” and didn’t have a word of blame for the rapists. His underlying attitude was that boys will be boys, and they can’t be expected to control their urges. Odd to reflect that I actually have a higher opinion of men than he does. Because I don’t believe most men will automatically take advantage of inebriated girls in sexy dresses. I believe predatory men do that, and in many cases they have spiked the drink that got their victim inebriated.

It surprised me that an intelligent, liberal and educated man of his age was so comfortable trotting out these sexist clichés, but there it was. On the issue of global warming, he was well informed, and he was certainly concerned about the planet, but when it came to violence against women he was neither well informed nor concerned. He may as well have been born a Martian because we didn’t seem to inhabit the same world. Had I time traveled to the 1950s? Or were we now living in Iran? The professor’s attitude that it was the responsibility of women not to dress in a way that inflamed male lust didn’t seem much different to attitudes in patriarchal countries like Saudi Arabia where the morality police have the right to arrest a woman for improper dress, such as not wearing her veil.

The flipside of the attitude that it’s the woman’s responsibility not to get raped is of course that it’s a woman’s fault if she does. In that argument, sexual violence is not the responsibility of the rapist. And that’s the attitude behind every college administration which has absolved young men of rape on the grounds their victim was dressed sexily or had one drink too many.

I am not saying my companion is typical of a 65-year-old white male in this country, but I do think he’s probably representative of the older male politician who historically has shown zero interest in the issue of violence against women. There are many such men in Congress and the Senate who are more interested in protecting corporations from higher taxes than protecting university students from being raped.

However, there is a new generation coming up behind them, and I have high hopes. A couple of months ago, I was heartened to read in the New York Times that Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced at a press conference that he had instructed “the State University of New York to overhaul its approach to investigating and prosecuting sexual assault, including making affirmative consent the rule on all 64 of its campuses.” Declaring campus sexual assault to be a national epidemic, Cuomo said that these changes would lead to a statewide law “regulating sexual assault at all New York colleges and universities.”

My interlocutor from the prestigious New York college must be bristling at the injustice of it all.

A Girl’s Guide to the Criminal Mind

I just wanted to let everyone know that I finished my second book. It’s called “A Girl’s Guide to the Criminal Mind; Fighting Back Against Sexual Assault.” It will be published as an e-book first, and I’ll provide a link to it when it comes out next month.
“A Girl’s Guide to the Criminal Mind”is about how to deal with sexual predators: serial rapists, date rapists, and serial killers etcetera. You will learn from experts in criminal behavior about how a sex predator’s mind works, and how he plans his crimes. You’ll find out his favorite locations, the most popular ruses he employs, the favorite fake identities he assumes, and how, why and when he selects victims. Why? So that you can recognize and avoid him. My purpose in writing the book was to give us all a better chance of escaping sexual predators. Since they usually have surprise on their side, we can make it a lot harder for them if we take away their ‘opportunity.’
I am incredibly grateful to the leading criminal profilers and forensic psychiatrists who have interviewed serial killers and serial rapists in order to understand their mentality. It’s largely from their research that I drew my information. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, but it’s not easy to access it unless you’re in criminal justice or forensic psychology. But now it is. It’s there between the covers of my latest book.

Thought Crimes and Gilberto Valle.

Last night I watched the documentary ‘Thought Crimes’ on HBO. Did you see it? The subject was the Gilberto Valle trial. You’ll remember that he was freed by Judge Gardephe on appeal. The judge’s decision still baffles me. He ruled that Valle’s plans to kidnap, rape and cook women existed only in his own imagination. The judge said he was persuaded by the defense argument that the Cannibal Cop was merely sharing fantasies on the internet to like minded deviants: they were ugly, and misogynistic but essentially harmless.

But Valle had specific women in mind, not fictional ones. And he admitted to using police computers to track down addresses of the individuals he had described to his online buddies as his “prey.” To me, that shows he wasn’t musing; he intended to carry out the detailed plans he described. He was found guilty of “intent” to commit a crime.  Judge Gardephe’s decision that Valle doesn’t pose a risk to society disturbs me. Would the judge have felt the same way in a case where a man had not only been online discussing plans with co-conspirators to bomb City Hall, but had also done illegal searches on police computers, and tried to learn how to make bombs (in Valle’s case, it was chloroform) If the man argued it was merely a “fantasy”, would the Judge have released him back into society. I don’t think so. And what about Jeffrey Dahmer? If he had been chatting to fellow cannibals online about his heinous plans to capture and dismember young men,and he had done surveillance on them too, would the judge dismiss Dahmer as a harmless fantasist? He’d be irresponsible if he did. Anyway, I came away from the documentary believing that Valle was a dangerous individual who poses a danger to women, including his own wife.  I wrote a post a while back, addressing the Judge.  Here’s what I said:

Why was Gilberto Valle released yesterday after being found guilty in 2013 of conspiracy to kidnap? Oh yes, the judge who heard his appeal, decided the former New York City cop was harmless. Just a regular guy —like Jeffrey Dahmer was a regular guy. “This is a conspiracy that existed solely in cyberspace,” said the judge, Paul G. Gardephe. Well, I’m never going to get to meet you in person Judge, so I’ll just have an imaginary conversation with you in cyberspace.

I disagree with your decision, Judge Gardephe. I believe you’re wrong to regard the internet as a forum where psychopaths reveal murder fantasies to each other to great applause, but that’s as far as it ever goes. Recently, Elliot Rodgers went online to PickUpArtists, another website where men express hatred of women. Rodgers outlined his plan to shoot as many women as he could, and he went out and completed the task. He killed six people and wounded 13 others near the University of California before his rampage was ended.

Now, I have a question. If you had been given a transcript of Elliot Rodgers’s chat room conversation where he announced his intention to murder women, would you have dismissed it as insufficient to prove intent to harm? If you had, that decision would have come to haunt you. Well, Judge, like Elliott Rodger, Gilberto Valle was writing of his intent. And you have released Gilberto Valle. I hope that decision doesn’t come back to haunt you.

You ruled that a plan to commit a crime if it is shared on the internet —no matter that the research has suggested extensive planning—should not be taken seriously. I can assure you that if a plan to kill the President was discussed on the internet and the offender had been to scout out the White House, it would be treated as a credible assassination plot. No federal judge would release the prisoner from jail so he could walk free around Washington. DC.

And what if you were the intended victim? If a rage-fueled individual with a hatred of the justice system shared his plan online to break into your home and abduct, torture and kill you, and if he had located your address and followed you there, would you dismiss it as harmless fantasy and sleep peacefully in your bed at night? I doubt it.

So, what is it about the internet in this particular case that makes it a crime free zone for you? I don’t understand why you believe Mr. Gilberto Valle—a man with a manifest rage against women—did not have the intention to carry out his heinous plans. After all, he made plans. What if plans for the kidnapping of the famous Lindbergh baby had been discovered before the event actually occurred in the 1930s? Should a judge dismiss such plans as ‘fantasy’ because the child hadn’t yet been kidnapped? Should the conspirators be given their freedom even if they had tracked down the address of the Lindbergh baby, and had started lurking outside? Of course not. They had intent. And in the case of the Cannibal Cop, he had crossed the boundary from planning into action. He had taken the risk of illegally searching for his proposed victim’s addresses on a law enforcement data base, and he had begun stalking them. Doesn’t that imply intent to kidnap and kill?

“The highly unusual facts of this case reflect the Internet age in which we live,” you ruled. When it comes to sex crimes, the boundary between fantasy and realization isn’t as thick as the Great Wall of China, Judge. It’s thin. Every criminal profiler knows that. In the 1980s FBI profilers interviewed hundreds of homicidal sex predators in jails around the USA. John Douglas recalled: “One of the things we clearly established was that in any sexually related predatory crime, the fantasy always precedes the acting out.”

Roger Depue was head of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico at the time. In his memoir, he wrote that it is inevitable that once a violent fantasy takes root, the homicidal sex predator becomes obsessed with figuring out how to bring it to life. Other interests are pushed aside. I’m guessing Gilberto Valle didn’t have much time for other hobbies while he was researching torture. The guy was a ticking time-bomb.

But let’s give the last word to serial killer Edmund Kemper who brought mayhem, death and suffering to eight women. “I knew long before I started killing that I was going to be killing, that it was going to end up like that. The fantasies were too strong. They were going on for too long and were too elaborate.”

You should have done your homework, Judge Valle before you let the prisoner walk.

Cannibal Cop Leaves Jail

Why was Gilberto Valle released yesterday after being found guilty in 2013 of conspiracy to kidnap? Oh yes, the judge who heard his appeal, decided the former New York City cop presented no danger to the women he made plans to rape, torture, dismember and cook. In other words, despite tracking down their addresses, and researching ways to abduct, kill and cannibalize their remains, he was harmless. Just a regular guy —like Jeffrey Dahmer was a regular guy.

“This is a conspiracy that existed solely in cyberspace,” said the judge, Paul G. Gardephe. Well, I’m never going to get to meet you in person Judge, so I’ll just have an imaginary conversation with you in cyberspace.

I disagree with your decision, Judge Gardephe. I believe you’re wrong to regard the internet as a forum where psychopaths reveal murder fantasies to each other to great applause, but that’s as far as it ever goes. Recently, Elliot Rodgers went online to PickUpArtists, another website where men express hatred of women. Rodgers outlined his plan to shoot as many women as he could, and he went out and completed the task. He killed six people and wounded 13 others near the University of California before his rampage was ended.

Now, I have a question. If you had been given a transcript of Elliot Rodgers’s chat room conversation where he announced his intention to murder women, would you have dismissed it as insufficient to prove intent to harm? If you had, that decision would have come to haunt you. Well, Judge, like Elliott Rodger, Gilberto Valle was writing of his intent. And you have released Gilberto Valle. I hope that decision doesn’t come back to haunt you.

You ruled that a plan to commit a crime if it is shared on the internet —no matter that the research has suggested extensive planning—should not be taken seriously. I can assure you that if a plan to kill the President was discussed on the internet and the offender had been to scout out the White House, it would be treated as a credible assassination plot. No federal judge would release the prisoner from jail so he could walk free around Washington. DC.

And what if you were the intended victim? If a rage-fueled individual with a hatred of the justice system shared his plan online to break into your home and abduct, torture and kill you, and if he had located your address and followed you there, would you dismiss it as harmless fantasy and sleep peacefully in your bed at night? I doubt it.

So, what is it about the internet in this particular case that makes it a crime free zone for you? I don’t understand why you believe Mr. Gilberto Valle—a man with a manifest rage against women—did not have the intention to carry out his heinous plans. After all, he made plans. What if plans for the kidnapping of the famous Lindbergh baby had been discovered before the event actually occurred in the 1930s. Should a judge dismiss such plans as ‘fantasy’ because the child hadn’t yet been kidnapped? Should the conspirators be given their freedom even if they had tracked down the address of the Lindbergh baby, and had started lurking outside? Of course not. They had intent. And in the case of the Cannibal Cop, he had crossed the boundary from planning into action. He had taken the risk of illegally searching for his proposed victim’s addresses on a law enforcement data base, and he had begun stalking them. Doesn’t that imply intent to kidnap and kill?

“The highly unusual facts of this case reflect the Internet age in which we live,” you ruled. When it comes to sex crimes, the boundary between fantasy and realization isn’t as thick as the Great Wall of China, Judge. It’s thin. Every criminal profiler knows that. In the 1980s FBI profilers interviewed hundreds of homicidal sex predators in jails around the USA. John Douglas recalled: “One of the things we clearly established was that in any sexually related predatory crime, the fantasy always precedes the acting out.”

Roger Depue was head of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico at the time. In his memoir, he wrote that it is inevitable that once a violent fantasy takes root, the homicidal sex predator becomes obsessed with figuring out how to bring it to life. Other interests are pushed aside. I’m guessing Gilberto Valle didn’t have much time for other hobbies while he was researching torture. The guy was a ticking time-bomb.

But let’s give the last word to serial killer Edmund Kemper who brought mayhem, death and suffering to eight women. “I knew long before I started killing that I was going to be killing, that it was going to end up like that. The fantasies were too strong. They were going on for too long and were too elaborate.”

You should have done your homework, Judge Valle before you let the prisoner walk.

Cuomo promises an overhaul of how New York colleges deal with rape cases.

I met a man at a fund raising event. When I first walked in the door I realized with some dread, that I couldn’t see a single person I knew, so when the stranger introduced himself, it was a welcome relief. We fell into easy conversation. He was in his sixties. He was a pleasant, lively and intelligent conversationalist. I learned that he was a professor at a liberal arts college. I remember he was passionate about the environment, and that he was divorced, with a daughter in her twenties. We were getting along like a house on fire, until the moment he asked me what I was writing about, and I answered that I was writing about sexual assaults on campus.

My fellow guest chose to interrupt me at that point. He informed me stiffly that his college had been one of those investigated by the New York Times for its inadequate and improper handling of a sexual assault case. I remembered the story. The administration had treated the distressed victim unfairly, and despite compelling evidence, the rapist had gone unpunished.

I gave him a sympathetic smile. I assumed the professor’s sudden tension resulted from his embarrassment at the way his college had mishandled the case. Hell, I would have been embarrassed. But he wasn’t embarrassed, he was angry about the negative publicity. Nor did he appear interested in what I had found in my research into campus rapes. He already had the answer to the problem: he said, college girls just had “to stop drinking and dressing like sluts.” It astonished me that this man who had been in college in the late 1960s, when the Womens Liberation movement was flourishing on campuses, blamed victims of rape for “bad choices” and didn’t have a word of blame for the rapists. His underlying attitude was that boys will be boys, and they can’t be expected to control their urges. Odd to reflect that I actually have a higher opinion of men than he does. Because I don’t believe most men will automatically take advantage of inebriated girls in sexy dresses. I believe predatory men do that, and in many cases they have spiked the drink that got their victim inebriated.

It surprised me that an intelligent, liberal and educated man of his age, was so comfortable trotting out these sexist clichés, but there it was. On the issue of global warming, he was well informed , and concerned about the planet, but when it came to violence against women he was neither well informed nor concerned. He may as well have been born a Martian because we didn’t seem to inhabit the same world. Had I time traveled to the 1950s? Or were we now living in Iran? The professor’s attitude that it was the responsibility of women not to dress in a way that inflamed male lust isn’t different from attitudes in patriarchal countries like Saudi Arabia where the morality police have the right to arrest a woman for improper dress, such as not wearing their veil.

The flipside of the attitude that it’s the woman’s responsibility not to get raped is of course that it’s a woman’s fault if she does. In that argument, sexual violence is not the responsibility of the rapist. And that’s the attitude behind every college administration which has absolved young men of rape on the grounds their victim was dressed sexily or had one drink too many.

I am not saying my companion is typical of a 65 year old white male in this country, but I do think he’s probably representative of the older male politician who historically has shown zero interest in the issue of violence against women. There are many such men in Congress and the Senate who are more interested in protecting corporations from higher taxes than in protecting university students from being raped.

However, there is a new generation coming up behind them, and I have high hopes. I was heartened to read in the New York Times that Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced at a press conference that he had instructed ‘ the State University of New York to overhaul its approach to investigating and prosecuting sexual assault, including making affirmative consent the rule on all 64 of its campuses.’ Declaring campus sexual assault to be a national epidemic, Cuomo said that these changes would lead to a statewide law “regulating sexual assault at all New York colleges and universities.”

My interlocutor from the prestigious New York college must be bristling with the injustice of it all.

Obama urges students to do more to help prevent campus rapes

In 2009, President Barack Obama declared April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Sexual assault is pervasive in the United States” said the President, in a solemn address from the Rose Garden. “One recent study found that 18 per cent of women in this country have been raped in their lifetimes. ” After detailing the worrying statistics, Obama gave a call to action : “ I urge all Americans to respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.”

Yup, that what he said back in 2009. Talk about a fizzler. Did “all Americans” respond to sexual assault in the ways the President recommended? Uh, nope. Now I’m not letting ordinary citizens off the hook, but even more striking than our lack of action was the deafening silence from those in positions of power.   Where was the church? The university chancellors? The senators, congressmen, state governors and city mayors? I guess they thought they had better things to do with their time than declare war on sexual violence.  Instead of the vast improvement Obama called for back in 2009, the statistics for sexual violence against women and girls continued to worsen.  In 2012 a study by the US Centers of Disease Prevention and Control reported that one in five women in this country has been raped or experienced an attempted rape, and “1.3 million women annually may be victims of rape or attempted rape. (New York Times 4/9/2012). Law enforcement officials also voiced the opinion that the country is in the midst of an “epidemic of sexual violence”.

When did society start accepting sexual violence against females as something sad but…well, inevitable?   Politicians are so complacent about sexual violence that it’s not an issue they even bother to campaign on. Is that because sexual assault is predominantly a crime against women and girls? It’s looking that way, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure that if 1.3 million males were raped in the USA in the year 2012, it would not only be unacceptable, it would be the number one issue on every politician’s lips. A situation where  one in 5 women is a rape victim adds up to millions of victims living in this country. It tells us something else: with such high numbers, there are a lot of rapists out there.   The FBI also tells us that most rapes are committed by repeat offenders. In fact, according to FBI experts in sex crimes, there is no such thing as a non serial rapist; there is only a rapist who was sent to jail before committing a second rape.  Rehabilitation has been proven not to work on serial rapists, which makes it a baffling decision whenever parole boards release violent offenders early for ‘good behavior’.  In jail these predators were removed from their prey. . Good behavior towards guards and fellow inmates does not guarantee future good behavior towards women and girls.   The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that of more than 560,000 registered sex offenders in the country, “at least 100,000 are ‘missing.’”

In the first two or three years after Obama first announced National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, there was little evidence of any nationwide change in sexual assault awareness. But then gradually the topic of campus rapes became hot news, and so did military rapes. In both those closed environments, the institutions—the military, the universities— had failed to treat the victims’ complaints seriously, and let their rapists go free, no doubt to prey on others. There is evidence that because of these high profile cases, ordinary people are getting fed up with the way rape victims are being treated, and so last week President Obama tried again. He called for a shift in the country’s response to victims of sexual assault, and a vast improvement in the way women are treated.   “Our society doesn’t sufficiently value women” he stated emphatically. He called for a “fundamental shift in our culture” .

Obama acknowledged that improvements to the problem of sexual violence against women had not progressed much under his tenure. “We’ve been working on campus sexual assault for several years, but the issue of violence against women is in the news every day.” So he tried a different tack. Instead of another appeal to those in positions of power to make fighting sexual assault a priority in their communities, an appeal which had previously produced such a lackluster response, he shifted his focus to the younger generation.   In a speech from the East Room of the White House, he announced a plan aimed at empowering students to do more to prevent sexual assaults on their campuses. Actually students have already been galvanized into taking action, so Obama is just encouraging the flames of protest, but it’s worth doing. The campaign’s name is “It’s on us,” and the intention, said the president, is send a message that every individual has a responsibility to confront the issue of sexual violence. We can only hope that students will continue to challenge the ongoing apathy of politicians and institutions to the issue of sexual assaults.  Now, that would be an example of a real community, one that looks out for each other.

Risky business. Attacks upon female real estate agents

The number of violent attacks on real estate agents has increased significantly over the years. The brutal slaying of 49 year old Beverly Carter, a real estate agent from Little Rock, Arkansas, is the latest tragic incident. Carter was killed while showing a home to a man she had thought was a potential buyer.   Her body was later found in a shallow grave about 20 miles north east of Little Rock, Arkansas. As Aaron Lewis was being brought into the police station by arresting officers, the 33 year old suspect answered reporters’ questions. “Why, Beverly?” one asked him.   Arron Lewis replied matter-of- factly, “Because she was just a woman who worked alone —a rich broker.”

Tracey Hawkins, a security expert who advises real estate businesses on safety issues, personally knows of at least six other attacks on realtors this year.   Homicides of female real estate agents have occurred all over the country. In 2007 Kosoul Chanthakoummane was found guilty of the murder of Sarah Walker, a top selling realtor for D, R. Horton in McKinney, Texas. Kosul had requested an appointment with a female realtor to see a model home. The body of Sarah Walker was found on the premises. She had been robbed, beaten and killed. In 2011, 27 year old Ashley Okland was killed on the job in Iowa.

A woman alone in an empty house is also seen as easy prey by serial killers. Mike DeBardeleben posed as a businessman who was about to be transferred to the Great Barrington area of Massachusetts, and needed to find a suitable home for himself and his wife.  One of the appointments he made was with Terry Macdonald.   When Terry didn’t make it back to the office, her colleague drove to the isolated home she had had been due to show DeBardeleben,. He found her tied up in the basement, where she had been asphyxiated with a pair of her own tights. “Mom was just a very unsuspecting, very trusting person” Terry’s daughter Lynn remembers. “She always looked for the good in people. She was always positive about them.”

FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood who specializes in investigating sex crimes, comments: “The real estate women are available, accessible. To me, it is the most dangerous legitimate profession in America. They go with total strangers to isolated areas on weekends, nights and holidays. And I think that’s the reason DeBardeleben chose them as victims.”

The murder of Beverly Carter this week has been a wake up call, according to the real estate office she worked for. From now on potential buyers will be required to show up at the office first, where their identification will be requested and checked. Tracey Hawkins, the security agent, hopes the industry will remain vigilant. “My fear is, for a while, agents will be all shook up…but what happens is everyone gets complacent.”

 

The Most Common Victim Profile

With few exceptions—such as Edmund Kemper whose final victims were his mother and her best friend— serial killers only target strangers. This is not because they don’t have any rage to direct at family members. Most of them do.   John Wayne Gacy hated his father, a bully who beat him.  Ted Bundy bitterly resented his mother for hiding his illegitimacy from him, and pretending for years to be his sister. Bobby Joe Long despised his suffocating mother Louella.

But it’s a matter of self-preservation not to target family members. Serial killers know they will be interrogated if a family member is murdered, because detectives always investigate the family first. Knowing that, Kemper immediately turned himself into police after killing his mother, bringing his career as a serial murderer to an end. However, by choosing strangers, and committing what detectives refer to as apparently “motiveless murders,” a careful serial killer can elude the police for years, even decades as in the BTK and Green River Killer cases.    There is also the sexual component.   Serial killers- like serial rapists— get off on forcing sex upon a struggling, frightened stranger. It’s an act of cruelty that satisfies the psychopath’s sadistic drive to dominate and humiliate others.

The most common victim profile is that of a young female stranger. In a recent study, it was found that eighty six percent of individuals murdered by serial killers were female, and of those, three quarters were between the ages of 15 and 28. FBI researchers into victimology have also established that young females are at higher risk of being targeted if they display either a “a naïve, overly trusting” stance” or a “careless stance,” towards their safety.

The serial killers tended to search for victims the following categories of victims. They are in order of preference:
1. Women and girls of high school or college age, including prostitutes, addicts and runaways.
2. Children.
3. Travelers.
4. Women home alone.

They considered prostitutes the easiest victims to abduct, serial killers told FBI researchers, because a predator only had to drive to the red light district or a truck stop, and a female would willingly climb into his vehicle. They described an additional benefit: the women were less likely to be missed for a couple of days. The serial killers saw addicts and runaways as low risk for the same reason.

However, such victims were likely to be street-wise and wary of strangers compared to high school or college students. The serial killers remarked that college age and high school girls were also at the top of the list, because they were prone to risk taking behaviors, and a lack of suspicion. Pedro Alonso Lopez told detectives he watched for girls who appeared “gentle and trusting, innocent .” Lopez murdered over 300 girls in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia

“One reason why he targeted high school and college students” said David Gore, remembering a particular conversation he had with his friend Ted Bundy at Florida State Prison, “ was because at that age you think you are invincible.” Albert De Salvo expressed contempt for the college girls he used to fool with his ruse of being a modeling agent. “I hated them girls for being so stupid.” Serial killers have no compunction about preying on the young or innocent. It’s not intended to be a fair fight. They deliberately choose those they perceive to be less powerful than they are. They’re predators, after all.

Women’s Equality Day

I just learned that today is Women’s Equality Day. There’s never a lot of fanfare about this. It sort of sneaks up on you. For a lot of women, it’s just plain embarrassing to be reminded how little has happened since 1976— when our ‘special’ day was established. For example, only four months ago the Senate rejected the Equal Pay Bill.

I wish Women’s Equality Day could be more like Martin Luther King Day. There is much reason to celebrate that day. There have been significant strides in civil rights since Martin Luther King first arrived on the political stage, culminating today in a black president of the U.S.A. And when these hard won civil rights are denied or threatened, people take to the streets to protest, as they are doing in Ferguson. But I can’t help noticing, today being Women’s Equality Day and all, that there’s a deafening silence around the fact that 1. 3 million females are raped each year. What about their ‘rights’? Don’t they have any? Why isn’t there a nationwide protest? What is Women’s Equality Day celebrating anyway?

I’m happy that we finally got a black president in the White House. That is indeed progress that can be measured and deserves to be celebrated. But though Women’s Equality Day was established back in 1976, there has never been a woman president, nor has one been nominated by either party. Are we really regarded as equal? In 2008, for a short while it seemed like a woman had a good shot at the presidency, but does anyone remember the backlash Hilary Clinton received from male commentators in the media? I recall how vitriolic they were; I’d never heard anything like it. Male journalists analyzed Hilary Clinton’s legs, hairstyle, clothing; they made personal, offensive comments that would have been declared racially motivated if they’d been directed at Obama. But they weren’t racist, they were sexist, and even in 2014 that’s apparently regarded very lightly. In fact women are regarded as aggressive and humorless if they comment on it. It’s hard to imagine a black man’ being shrugged off as aggressive and humorless for commenting about racism, but misogyny is apparently more acceptable. So how far much have society’s attitudes towards women’s equality really evolved?

Take rape, for example: date rape, campus rape, stranger rape, rapes in the military, you name it, it’s never been so prevalent. The statistics for sexual violence against girls and women have skyrocketed since 1976, but I can’t see a corresponding outrage on Capitol Hill. When did people start accepting this trend as something sad but…well, inevitable? When did politicians become so complacent about the horrifying number of sex crimes against women that it is not even an issue they’re campaigning on? Why do thousands of rape kits sit gathering dust for years, while serial rapists walk around free? Is it because nine out of ten rapes happen to females? It might be, because I’m pretty sure that if 1.3 million males were raped in the USA every year, the Democrats and Republicans would declare a crisis and find a way of working together.

President Obama addressed the escalating rape statistics several years ago when he proclaimed April, 2009 to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Sexual assault is pervasive in the United States,” declared the President. “One recent study found that 18 per cent of women in this country have been raped in their lifetimes. In addition, rates of sexual assault remain startlingly high for students from high school to college A study of college women found that 13.7 percent of undergraduate women have been victims of sexual assault.”

Since 2009, the figures have only grown worse . The U.S. Center of Disease Prevention and Control in 2012 established that twenty percent of women in this country —one in 5 women! — have been raped or experienced an attempted rape; 10.5% of all high school girls have been sexually assaulted. One in four college girls experiences a sexual assault before she graduates.

“I urge all Americans” President Obama exhorted in his 2009 address, “ to respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.”

Well, that didn’t happen, did it? Unless I missed something. Five years after National Sexual Assault Awareness Month was instigated, little of what President Obama “urged” has happened. Instead there has been a growing complacency. “Sex crimes have risen dramatically in the last decade, “the FBI stated, “ and as I concerns law enforcement, it should be concerning all of us.” The FBI nailed it. Sex attacks on women and girls should be concerning the entire society our politicians, media, educators, athletic organizations, judges, military commanders, all of us. They should — but apparently they’re not.

So what are we meant to be celebrating, again?