Statement and Behavioral Analysis of Sexual Abuse Victims
by Peter Hyatt
In viewing Statement Analysis and sexual abuse, we know that elements of "water" and "light" can enter the language. "Coverings" such as blankets, or towels, can also enter the language.
At times, the indicators can be found simply in a school teacher's language, not because she is involved in sexual abuse as perpetrator or victim, but because she suspects it in one of her students. We find these linguistic indicators in social workers, nurses, doctors, and others who may treat or care for sexual abuse victims.
The linguistic indicators of sexual activity, for example, must be assessed in context. There are times where PTSD combat sufferers and sexual abuse victims share language.
We follow pronouns.
The pronoun "I" should be present in truthful victim statements, but it is the pronoun "we" that carefully separates truth from deception.
In analyzing one of the Cosby accusers, we saw that she used the pronoun "we" in regard to herself and Cosby. The word "we", rather than "Cosby and I", indicates unity and cooperation. We noted that once she described the attack, the word "we" disappeared from her vocabulary. In fact, we also saw that "Bill", first name, casual, also disappeared once the attack took place. This is another signal of veracity.
"He has sex with me." This is instead of "we had sex." The word "with", when found between people, creates distance. Interviewers must listen carefully to not only the pronouns, but to see if the word "with" is used in this context. It is the 'norm' for sexual abuse victims. They do not see "we", that is, cooperation and unity, with the assailant.
The word "we" has caused me, all by itself, to accuse an alleged victim of lying. It has never failed me. Sexual abuse false allegations are often met with admission or confession once the liar is confronted.
Why do sexual abuse victims wait so long?
We often find "he began to..." and "he started to..." in their language. Summits, the reliable first person singular, past tense reliable commitment can change to present tense verb, specifically at the attack. This is a possible signal of PTSD, that is, "post traumatic stress disorder" impact.
1. Those victimized during development.
2. Those victimized during early adolescence.
3. Those victimized during adulthood.
These are there different classifications of victims. The first can have the most lasting impact. Those sexually assaulted in childhood will often use the word "child" in relation to their own selves. There is a powerful element of silence in childhood sexual abuse victims. They cannot speak out, often due to threats, but sometimes due to fear of consequence; loving the abuser, not wanting the abuser to be in trouble.
During the assault, hormonal rise is evident. Sometimes the brain will seek to protect itself with the imagination going off on a 'safety tangent', that is, the child is picturing something else happening while the assault is taking place. As the stress hormones are elevated, the brain "goes elsewhere".
Whenever the brain has elevated hormones, a powerful imprint will be left. (This is why pornography is so detrimental for developing children and adolescents).
If the brain goes off into imagination to escape AND the hormones are significantly elevated, the "leaving" or "departing" of the brain becomes powerfully engraved in the brain, sometimes called "Dissociative Disorder" (in various ways). It becomes a 'permanent portrait' of the brain.
The victim will suffer for the rest of her life.
This is somewhat overly simplistic but picture it this way:
The post-speech child is being sexually abused. The brain seeks escape and the child's mind goes to the park.
while "at the park", the cortisol levels are through the roof, dangerously imprinting the brain "at the park."
In memory, later, where is the child?
At the park?
or, is she being abused?
Later, she tries to describe this and sounds like a split personality or "two" people.
The pre-speech victim may be the worst of all possibilities, as the child experiences the trauma of abuse (for people of faith, they believe we are created in the Image of God, making sexual assault against the "soul" or "image bearer" of Divinity), but does not have linguistic capability that is so necessary to "talk down" the trauma --this is what "debriefing" does in alleviating pressure on the brain).
The pre-speech child may still "wander" off (Dissociative Identity Disorder, or "DID") without linguistics.
This adult, like the post speech victim, has a "need" to communicate what has happened, and may still feel the silencing or suppression in order to protect the abuser, or even to protect one's own reputation.
There is a violent war going on in the brain of the victim. It begins even before she can speak and it will impact her every day that she walks this earth. Even 'healing' is measured, and not complete. It will never be complete while on the earth. The suffering, in some form, will always be there, just as scars stay with the body, so they do with the brain.
(Perhaps you might understand why, every so often when a child goes missing, I get on my soap box and write about parental responsibilities, especially when I read about a 5 year old out walking alone. You'll have to indulge my soapbox in this regard, when a case like that opens up.)
Statistics show that such victims of sexual abuse are:
a. highly likely to go off into substance abuse
b. suicidal, suicidal ideation
c. depression and anxiety; feelings of worthlessness, without purpose or value
d. promiscuity; giving of oneself to strangers; not recognizing where her body ends and his body begins; boundary issues, overt sexual behavior (sometimes frigidity, inability to trust, enjoy natural sexuality, etc)
e. compromised immune system leaving way for a myriad of besetting illnesses and diseases
f. strange verbal descriptions, sounding almost 'schizophrenic' (see "DID" above. This is vital for analysts)
g. Unusual perception issues, including taste, smell, touch.
h. Unexplained illnesses and medical phenomena: some victims have sensory issues where her right arm felt cold to the touch, while the left arm felt hot to the touch. A doctor placing her hand on the limbs could literally feel what is verbally described. A simple touch can, at times, feel like a knife invading the body, while the same touch, later, felt like a normal human touch.
i. serial troubled relationships, inability to maintain stable relationships
j. life of self sabotaging happiness and peace; professionally sabotaging career, finances, health, etc
k. desire to destroy "home", that is, the place where one should feel safe and protected (see "j")
Due to the added suffering of being silenced, the victim learns at an early age to not articulate what has happened. When the normal urge to talk is suppressed, damage can be done. Compounded over years, the brain seeks to 'forget' what happened, in order to stop the conflict caused by suppression (verbal expression releases tension). Eventually, the victim 'forgets' what happened.
The body, however, does not forget, and we find victims "punishing" themselves, drinking or drugging themselves to death, or letting men sexually abuse them, which feels 'normal' to them, since it was imprinted upon them during the childhood assault.
It is, however, during the natural declination of human growth hormone that we all age, and show signs of aging.
One of the things you've likely noticed is that when you fall, you do not bounce back as easily as you did when you were younger. Professional athletes often decline more in a single year than they though possible. At 38, he may be productive still, but at 39, the brain signals to the body what to do, but the body is a split second behind, and at high levels, that is all it takes to fail. HGH and Testosterone injections put off these decline, as Roger Clemens and Bobby Bonds and others learned, and it helps them bounce back from injuries faster and stronger.
But not for women victims.
As they move into their 30's, the natural slowing down of life allows for the past to creep up on them. Where once they were able to sustain the depression and anxiety by reason of natural youthful energy, they now find that the depression and anxiety from sexual abuse's impact increases.
Memories return as the power of suppression weakens.
This is why many do not come forward for many, many years.
It is similar with those assaulted as adolescents, though the impact is not as acute. We do not see Dissociative Disorders as much in victims of sexual abuse who first were assaulted as teens, for example, as we do with those assaulted before the age of 5, who were imprinted with the "lack of personal boundary", that is, where their body ended, and another's began. This is why the natural desire of a child to close the bathroom door, at a certain age, is missing in some sexual abuse victims. Later, they are not embarrassed to be naked and give themselves to strangers.
There will always be some who will falsely accuse men of sexually assaulting them. I have dealt with such cases and have gotten confessions. Most do so because of the word "left" in Statement Analysis: the accused leaves them and the hurt of being left is turned into revenge. Their language, like all of ours, gives them away.
Adult victims when assaulted have the same hormonal increase, and if it does not go down quickly, an impression is left. Like combat PTSD sufferers, they are subject to depression, flashbacks, nightmares, etc. These victims are more likely to speak out earlier than those assaulted in adolescence, and those assaulted in childhood. The younger the victim, the longer the delay in reporting, is a pattern.
Generalizations are used to show norms and patterns. A principle is not established on an exception. There are, and always will be, exceptions.
Generalizations serve a purpose. When the generalization is not politically correct, it is often not only discounted, but demonized. This is to lose valuable information.
Not all sexual abuse victims fit into the above pattern, nor the pattern to follow, but many do:
Many act out the assault.
Women turn their rage inward, and act out in self-destruction.
Men turn it outward, and become violent towards others.
Women suppress the attack, but the suppression battle is often lost between 35 and 45 years of age. They no longer are successful and begin to speak about the abuse. This is where they are challenged as to why they were silence for so long.
The reality is that they were not silent, nor ever have been. If society was listening, the abuse was being broadcast in childhood, and especially in the teenaged years, through various means. This is where behavioral analysis comes in.
The sudden washing or refusal to wash.
The seemingly normal 6 year old child suddenly packages and brings to school his own feces.
The loving 12 year old girl is suddenly allowing men of all ages, at age 15, to touch her and abuse her sexually.
Sometimes parents describe it as change where a light switch was turned off and their wonderful little girl has disappeared and an unrecognizable "monster" has appeared, with suicidal ideation, sexual misconduct, perversion, eating disorders, and so on. The body is "broadcasting" that something is very wrong.
Do not be surprised when sexual abuse victims suddenly speak out after 20 years.
I do not trust Gloria Alred because I have analyzed her statements before and she is unafraid of lying. It does not, however, discount the new accusers. They will stand or fall on their own statements and statement analysis will get to the truth. If they enter her language, we will pick it up.
If they are deceptive, we will pick it up.
If they are truthful, we will learn the truth.
The bottom line or conclusion about Bill Cosby is this:
We have one victim who has told the truth and given us a lengthy sample from which to work. She was sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.
Then, we have Cosby's own refusal to issue a denial. If he is unable or unwilling to tell us that he didn't do it, we are not permitted to say it for him. He can now play the race card, or appeal to race, his comedic record, or can even attempt to bully his victims into silence. It matters not the pigment of his skin, nor the passage of years.
He sexually assaulted his victim, and from some of the other statements I have seen, it is likely that he has many victims and is a sexual and serial predator who enjoys, as he himself joked, drugging and assaulting them while they are in the state of vulnerability.
I will continue to analyze statements of sexual victims and when there is deception, deception will be indicated. If I am the one interviewing, I will use the deception to elicit a confession and seek to learn the motive.
Where a sexual victim tells the truth, I will support this and not allow them to be impugned due to the natural suppression that especially female victims show, and add to their suffering.
With their immune systems compromised, and a life time of depression, anxiety, self harm, and medical and psychological issues too numerous to name, they have suffered the indignity of sexual assault far more than I can assess: I will not add to their suffering with blanket condemnations because of the passage of time, or the status of celebrity of the abuser. That a given victim may not suffer from what is come from above does not nullify what therapists, for example, find daily in their treatment of victims. They seek to alleviate or at least, mitigate the suffering by causing the brain to 'relive' the suppressed information, and reduce the sting, or impact.
The statements and behavior of victims match.
The statements often indicate ongoing suffering, matching the raising of a complaint, and the testimony of not only the subject, but the peripheral interviews of collateral contacts.
The suffering is not singular. The victim, once molested, is sentenced to a lifetime of suffering, as are those who love the victim.
To stand and applaud Bill Cosby in light of the credible disclosure and the lack of denial, is to bring yet more pain to those who suffer.
It is interesting for me, during trainings, to bring up the statements of Michael Jackson, who was not only indicated for deception, but actually revealed, through content analysis, that he had victims in many countries where he traveled and performed. During this training, I have found resistance only from females who, all about the same age, were teenagers when "Thriller" was released. ("Thriller" was a Jackson album, and a video which included dancing.). One female police officer impressed me most when she acknowledged that he had, indeed, molested children, yet she felt a need to deny this, due to a powerful emotional connection she had, as a 15 year old, when "Thriller" was released. This self honesty impressed me. She highlighted that the heavy influx of hormones in the body during adolescence combined with the natural influence that music has upon the brain, along with skillful dance, all came together in powerful admiration of Michael Jackson. Yet, she saw him as one who was deliberately neutering himself and change his race, through surgery, and how his statements indicated deception.
Such emotional intelligence allows for analysis to proceed. It is those who refuse to see their own prejudices and influences that may blind them to proper work.
For those who believe that sexual abuse victims who come forward "twenty years too late", it is hoped that they will consider not only the stigma and shame attached to sexual abuse victims, and consider how defense attorneys have portrayed them as "whores", but also how the brain, in its natural attempt to protect the victim from such an assault against nature (especially by trusted loved ones, or those in paternal positions), will not only cause suppressed memories, but a desire to be silent, and continue to suffer.
Skilled therapists must "read the history" of the subject, in every case; not only the cases where the therapist may suspect deception. The "body speaks" much in the way the brain "leaks" truth, via wording. Girls who, while thin, see "fat" may not simply be safely dismissed as "attention seekers", but their behavior may belie something considered "unspeakable" because the impact seems, even after decades of research, to still not do it justice. We are unable to speak with authority the fullness of suffering, just as the victims themselves, almost with great unity, say "how do I explain the unexplainable?"
Understanding what one attempts to communicate is the heart of analysis.
It is important for investigators, particularly female investigators, to become not only proficient in Statement Analysis, but to become experienced at analyzing sexual abuse and sexual assault statements in children and in adults. Most victims prefer being interviewed by a female.
I have interviewed both children and adults in too many sexual abuse cases. I have indicated even children, for deception. In those cases, though rare, all had the child entering into the language of a parent.
In one particular case, the child accused a man utilizing the language of her mother, of whom had owed the man money, and did not want to pay, therefore, she coached her own child on how to accuse him, even though it would mean possibly prison.
I indicated her for emotional abuse of her child.
Do not dismiss the new Crosby accusers based upon the presence of a fame-seeking attorney. Judge by their words. Let their words guide your opinion. Even if one has a motive for money or fame, we still need to learn if it happened, or not, when we formulate an opinion.
Judgement is inescapable. Everyone of us has an opinion or judgement on whether or not someone is telling the truth, or lying.
In Statement Analysis readers, they are able to not only formulate an opinion like everyone else, but give a tangible reason for their opinion.
Bill Cosby is judicially innocent and the judgment here is not legal judgment. For investigators, it is the same: it will guide their investigation. If they believe the subject "did it" they will pursue, sometimes with vigor, for justice. If they believe the subject did not do it, with their limited time, they will look elsewhere.
Training is key.
A significant amount of time should be spent by all investigators in statements concerning allegations of sexual assault. There are unique elements present, and the application of principle is evenly done. The context of application is invaluable for those who seek truth.