Friday, February 15, 2013

Jodi Arias case - What I believe and why. Domestic violence -Batteredwoman syndrome.

I have been following the Jodi Arias case closely these past couple of days, for those of you who are not familiar with it, the case involves a young woman accused of brutally killing her long time on and off again boyfriend Travis Alexander back in 2008. She is currently on trial and faces the death penalty if convicted. The focus of this case has been primarily the intense dysfunctional, abusive and sexual relationship the couple had and how Mr. Alexander was so obsessed with sex as well as verbally and physically abusive toward Jodi, that eventually it led Jodi to kill him.

The defense team's main focus is to prove that Jodi was suffering from battered women syndrome, low self esteem and an array of other conditions, derived from the abuse she endured during the relationship. The prosecutions main focus is to prove that Ms. Arias was a willing participant in the sexual activities which included role playing and sexual humiliation, to name a few, also that she was manipulative, and she is using the battered woman syndrome as a way to get a lesser sentence. Prosecution also want to prove her actions in murdering Travis were premeditated.


Jodi's attorney's want to convince the jury that she participated in these sexual acts and endured the abuse because not only does she have a history of abuse and neglect in the relationship with Travis, but she also has a history of abuse well before the relationship. The defense wants to convey to the jury that her need to please Travis is one of many behaviors that most women with a history of abuse display, which is why Jodi appeared as if she was a willing participant, due to the symptoms associated with the syndrome.

While I do not condone murder under any circumstance, I do however believe, from the testimony I have heard so far, that Jodi was and is suffering from many symptoms related to battered woman syndrome. I believe she felt emotionally stuck in the relationship and probably, many times, desperately wanted out, but did not get the proper help to do so in a healthy manner. Although, in the tapes presented in court she sounds like a willing participant, I believe mentally and emotionally she was not. I believe she would have said and done anything to make Travis want her and find her appealing. My opinion, of course.

Why do I believe this? For many reasons, but I will share one with you for now. I have a friend, I will call her Beth, My friend was in a similar relationship that nearly destroyed her life. While she never contemplated murdering or hurting her than boyfriend. She did however suffer immensely, consistently doing things for him sexually that she did not enjoy just to please him, she also behaved as if she enjoyed them, when she did not. I recall one particular incident when she went out looking for him in the middle of the night, when just the day before he had pushed her to the floor. Frankly, I couldn't understand her behavior, and at one point I contemplated breaking off our friendship, because I simply couldn't grasp why she kept looking for him.

Beth would do and say almost anything for the fear of losing him and to keep him happy, she would cook his favorite meals, where outfits he favored, go where he wanted, speak and sound as she thought he would like, etc. Eventually, physical and verbal abuse came into play.

As her friend I tried desperately to talk with her and convince her to leave him, sometimes she would, but only for short periods of time, she would tell me he was like a drug and no matter how much she tried to stay away she couldn't, either she went looking for him or he for her. There were times she felt like it was love, but it was clear, that it was not. This relationship brought Beth to her Knees and for the first time ever she volunteered to get hospitalized in a mental health facility.

Eventually, my friend Beth found a 12 step program called love addicts. Today she is free from this relationship and is a better person emotionally and spiritually. I am so proud of my friend, there was a time she was so consumed in that relationship that I did not know who she was. At one point I remember asking her, "who are you?" she just cried, because not even she, knew who she was anymore. Beth is back, and I am ever so proud of her. I spoke with her the other day and she sounds like the Beth I met and knew way before that horrid experience of that relationship.

Going back to the Jodi Arias case, again I do not condone the horrific acts she committed nor support them in any way. However, I do believe she was and is a victim, who unfortunately never got the right help to pshycologically heal and learn how to have healthy relationships.

Domestic violence is a two way street. Men also suffer from physical, verbal, emotional and mental abuse. Another one of my beliefs, is that the issue of abuse on men is quite often over looked and should be discussed more often, as well as there being more preventive education and help accessible for the victims.

For more information on the subjects discussed, I provided links below.




What is your take on the Jodi Arias case?

Have you ever been or know someone who has been in an abusive relationship physical, verbally or emotional?



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39 comments:

  1. Well...devil's advocate here. (But first, I deeply agree that psychological abuse can run deep in a relationship and can cause a woman to become someone she isn't supposed to be). I listened to the tape a little...if I were him, I would have NO idea she wasn't really into it. She sure sounds like a willing participant. Did she get that way through systematic abuse? Those tapes don't say. I wonder if anything that can be presented to a jury will say.

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    1. Hi Therese, thank you reading and commenting on my post.

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  2. Very moving post Madison! Yes my aunt was in an abusive relationship, but she moved on. Her ex husband cannot.
    It's just sometimes our human minds cannot process such pain that we pour out the anger that is bottled up.
    I don't blame her for her anger and hurt, but killing is not the way to go.
    I would allow God to take the lead, but only God and her know the true story!
    Hugs ♥

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  3. I am not familiar with this case in the news, but it sounds complicated. I hope the jury can sort it out and arrive at the right decision.

    I certainly know that women and men will remain in abusive relationships for all kinds of reasons, including low self-esteem, skewed sense of self, etc. I was in an abusive relationship many years ago, and I remember wanting to remain the relationship partly because I didn't want to be alone. It took me a long time to heal and know that I didn't need to be with someone to be a valuable person.

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  4. Yeah can't condone what she did, but she was a victim indeed and sometimes victims just snap. Glad your friend got through it, is hard for many, if ever, to get out from because they'd been so beat down mentality and physically their mind never seems to get to that right place again.

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    1. Hi Pat, glad my friend got help too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I am also not familiar with this case, and I guess every case of abuse is different, albeit with certain similarities.I hope her judgement is just.

    I'm one of those lucky people who has never suffered from depression, or been in an abusive relationship, or know of anyone who has. I do sympathize however with people who are in these kinds of situations, and admire those who choose to break the cycle of violence by seeking professional help, as it requires a great deal of courage.

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    1. Breathtaking, Thank you. I enjoyed looking at the photos.:-)

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  6. Battered women's syndrome is a real thing, an emotional spiral. I witnessed it in my mother. Ms. Arias was most definitely the victim here.

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  7. This is a very interesting post. This is quite a debate and I think there is no easy answer. That's why we need to keep talking about it.

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    1. AngelIkas, sure is. Thank you for reading!

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  8. I never heard of the case before you wrote this post. I was a volunteer for a domestic abuse shelter so I believe the syndrome is real and saw it firsthand. I think the statistics at the time was it took a woman in a an average of 8 times leaving the relationship to finally break it off.So hard to see women go back into a violent/controlling environment but our therapists stressed how important it was for them to learn to gain their own sense of control; their choice to leave, their choice to learn the skills to recognize and choose a healthy relationship.
    Talking about all this is important, education is key. I'm glad you wrote this post.
    I personally have always felt that whether I am in my right mind or not, I have to take responsibility for my actions. If it was a case of vigilante I certainly oppose that but would hope that if the victim was defending herself in an emminent attack or such circumstances that warrant consideration, that the judge and jury take it all in before sentencing. The death penalty seems harsh in this case but I would hate to be on any jury where I had to issue a death penalty.

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    1. Krystal, thank you for your input, greatly appreciated. :)

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  9. I've seen battered women many times and I just...something about this case isn't sitting right with me. Yes, Jodi does seem to fit some of the typical symptoms, but there's something about her that makes me just not trust her.

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  10. I believe this needs to be looked at more from the point of view of a Co Dependent relationship, although it is usually associated with a desire to enable the happiness of a alcoholic or addict, I have recently left a co-dependent relationship with a sexual addict/deviant. I see many of the same systems that I dealt with, ie, desire to please sexually while being degraded, total loss of self in the issues and problems of partner, financial ruin supporting partner, low self esteem, and many other issues where I lost myself. I attend CO DA meetings now, and have set firm boundaries, but not until after I did things that should have driven me to kill if I had not had the signs pointed out to me, and sought help.

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    1. I'm glad you sought help:-) Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  11. Co-Dependency, while tragic, is not a defense for a murder charge. Jodi's team is deliberately blurring the line between a dysfunctional relationship and an abusive one. We should not forget that the murder victim, Travis Alexander was raised by meth addicts who beat the crap out of him every day. He overcame his childhood, and because successful.

    No doubt he had some issues, and I would say that he and Jodi had interlocking dependencies. I'm not a professional, just have experienced a bad co-dependent relationship.

    It would have been nice if she had been able to get help. That being said, even after she butchered Travis, she didn't call 911, and she continuously lied to police about the incident.

    She is using domestic violence as a shield for her culpability when there is no evidence her life was ever threatened by Travis. He may have used degrading language toward her, but again, that is NOT related to self-defense.

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  12. Hello! I haven't even heard of this case so thanks for educating us about it. I will say though, I worked in a prison briefly, and I found that most women were incarcerated due to some extraneous situation with a man. As a sexual and domestic violence counselor, I believed that the battered woman's syndrome is very real. I pray that those involved in this case will get the justice that they deserve. Again, thanks for sharing!

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  13. I'm so glad that your friend got the help she needed. I feel horrible for all of the battered and abused women, and admire your friend for having the strength to turn her life around.
    Julie

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  14. Very interesting and compassionate post on a co-dependent relationship on trial. So sad when emotions rule and reason goes out the window. She's not blameless. A life was taken. But given the circumstances, mercy is definitely in order. She is as much a victim as he is.

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  15. I would say that everyone on this blog should continue watching the trial, especially now that Jodi is already being caught in more lies (the finger allegedly broken by Travis and a picture 4 months after that supposedly happened with her finger being perfectly ok). The fact here is that there is a dead human being that endured 27 stab wounds, a slashed throat (from ear to ear) and two shots to the head. And he is not here to say anything about that fated day. I truly beleive in Battered Woman's Syndrome and can see how someone would kill in self defense - but this here goes beyond overkill. I have a background in Psychology and I advocate for victims. I do not beleive Jodi fits this category. I think she is trying to create the illusion of being a battered woman and having depression to make herself fit into this category, but that is only her way of not having to answer to this heinous crime. We have to remember that this now is the THIRD story of her involvement with this murder. Jodi has a documented history of lying and loves to take pictures of herself. She loves attention and what I see her behaviors/characteristics fitting into the most, is a Narcissistic personality, not battered woman syndrome or even someone with low self esteem. She said so herself on live tv: "A jury will never convict me." In the end, none of us will ever really know what happened, only Jodi. All I hope the Prosecution is able to speak on behalf of Travis and get the justice he deserves. I am not saying Travis was perfect, not at all, but I am saying that he did not deserve to be killed in that manner and then left to rot for 5 days. I hope the jury looks at all the evidence as objectively as possible, and that the judge hands out the appropriate sentence. This case is just absolutely horrible and no one wins in the end...

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    1. Thank you for visiting and sharing, anonymous. :-)

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  16. Fascinating post, Madison. I am not familiar with the case, but I'm now very curious. Battered woman syndrome certainly exists. Stabbing someone 27 times indicates one hell of a rage. If it turns out she's a psychopath it's terribly sad that her lawyers chose to use the battered woman defense as that lessens it for all the women who really are battered, and end up killing the guy in self-defense. What else can they do - and maybe it's true. How you recover from something like that I cannot imagine. Thought-provoking post, that's always a good thing.

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  17. I haven't heard of this before. I guess love can be like a drug for someone, women who are addicted to their partner and believe they only live for him. I heard of one who said, she thought she would deserve to be hit by her husband, and this was all normal, and she as his wife had to do everything he wanted. Saw this on TV and don't know anymore how it ended. Luckily I don't know anyone personally who had to go true this.

    I am happy for you friend, that she found a way to get out of this.

    Thanks for writing about this!!

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  18. I hadn't heard of this particular case here in England, but I have heard of many like it.
    I have been in this situation in the past, so can fully empathise with her.
    I, too, felt I couldn't exist without the person I was with at that time. I believe that abusers have a knack of making their victims need them. That is what gives them their power.
    He gradually took away my identity - in the beginning, alienating my friends. Then dictating which clothes I wore, who I could speak to; and finally, what I could think or say.
    I became totally brainwashed, believing him to be some sort of god.
    It is a dangerous path to travel. It left me feeling degraded and worthless - yet I'd do absolutely anything for him.

    So yes, I really feel for Jodi.
    And I hope the jury can find it in their hearts to set her free.

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  19. I didn't know about the case, it sounds complicated. Sorry for what happened to Beth and I'm glad that she found a path to escape from the torturous life. It is quite disturbing to learn about the battered woman syndrome. Perhaps it happens to people who live in loneliness and their lovers are the only persons they depend on. It is hard to believe that people take advantage on women who suffer from this kind of syndrome, I don't think they're mentally healthy.

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  20. There is a vast difference between being involved in a relationship with a narcissistic sociopath and being on the outside looding in.
    Being the vicitm of emotional, mental, and physical abuse I've learned that the person doing the abuse is viewed by most people as a really nice individual who is the victim. They attempt at every turn to make their real victim into the villan.
    The recording of the sex tapes and record keeping of Jodi Arias is a true sign of someone with these mental issues. The narcissistic sociopath is always prepared. The narcissistic sociopath always has an excuse. To the narcissistic sociopath it's always someone elses fault.
    If you really look closely you will see that Jodi Arias is the true abuser here. The world revolves around her and she will not be denied what she wants by anyone. She seduces her victims by initially being their dream come true to only turn into their worst nightmare.
    Think Scott Peterson, Drew Petserson.

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  21. I was a battered woman for nine years and suffer from the syndrome. I was finally able to leave the nightmare situation after multiple attempts & when I decided that death was better than the horrific emotional & physical abuse I was enduring. I worked with battered woman several years following my escape!
    I am ashamed to admit that I indeed planned how I would kill my abuser...IF he continued to break into my home and beat me and my child. Thankfully my plan did not become a reality ... or I may have been a Jodi Arias!
    Jodi??? There are bits of belief in her story. The brain "scrambling" she refers to when men are angry and/or badger her is still true for me. It's been 23 years since I left my battered, yet to this day if a man raises his voice or badgers me I absolutely crumble. A normal disagreement can cause the "scrambling". The louder he is the worse I "scramble". I cannot even think. When it's over I am unable to even recall what was said during the incident! So Jodi may be truthful in this regard.
    I am not excusing what she did by any means!
    It is my sincere prayer that the jury will determine the correct verdict & punishment.

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  22. Thank you all for visiting my blog and commenting.

    Madison:-)

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  23. I know you posted this awhile back but this is a very interesting case. She seems to exbit some kind of mental disorder but could she be acting? That is what I am wondering. I do believe she may have been abused but not sure I totally buy the batteredwomansyndrom defense either. We will see what the jury thinks soon. Great topic and discussion.

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    1. Charles, thank you visiting and commenting.

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