Saturday, July 25, 2015
"Water" and "Doors" in Statement Analysis
A child who becomes obsessive about washing her hands may be a victim of sexual abuse. It does not mean that she has, but it is an indicator that someone must inquire.
Linguistically, let's look at this same child:
The little girl has suddenly become obsessed with washing her hands. This is something seen, visibly, and she is washing her hands (physically) because she is thinking that she should wash her hands though she may not know why.
The principle is simple:
*the washing of hands is on her mind (brain activity) and she does it.
*the use of water, therefore, is on the brain.
*when speaking that which is on the brain, comes out.
Therefore, when water, in any form, enters a statement, we note it. If water is mentioned, in any form, as an unnecessary detail, it is a very important point.
We do not interpret in Statement Analysis.
Water does not equal sexual abuse.
When someone says, "I washed my hands" in an unnecessary manner (no one asked if you did, for example), we believe the subject washed his hands. We are not re-interpreting anything.
What are we doing is this:
We are seeking to learn why it was important enough to tell us.
What decades of research has found is that water is often found in sexual homicide statements, sexual abuse statements, statements with some form of negative sexual activity, and that it is found in the statements of both victims and perpetrators.
To broaden the context, and show the need of questions based upon analysis ("Analytical Interviewing"), the source of sexual abuse could be, in adult language, something that took place many years prior.
Therefore, the scope is wide, and contextual questions are needed for closer examination and focus by the investigator.
Next we find that "doors" are often associated with sexual abuse, as well. This is also not difficult to understand.
Picture yourself as a child victim and what trauma is in your brain when the door of your bedroom opened (or closed behind the perpetrator) and consider the acute impact upon the brain, and how in recall, "door" is very important to you.
When "door" is used unnecessarily, it is that we should explore childhood sexual abuse.
Recall the Baltimore Fake Hate money raising scam where she described the note using "door" in her wording. It's inclusion should cause an investigator to learn if the subject was sexually abused in childhood. This is where its inclusion is unnecessary to the sentence; making it very important to the subject.
Here is the transcript from our comments section. For more on this, look at some of the analysis of the statements made by Amanda Knox that indicate presence at a sexual homicide.
STEVE: Brandon this is the second time that you’ve been accused of molesting your niece right? Tell me what happened.
"Tell me what happened" is the best question followed by "...and what happened next?" as the second best question. Due to multiple accusations of molestation, the Interviewer (Steve) properly framed the question with a statement first, so that the subject (Brandon) knows specifically where to answer. Also note that "what happened?", though limited to the second accusation, still allows the subject to begin his question where he chooses, which can give us much yield, including priority.
BRANDON: Uh, one saturday night I was watching the kids, I stayed with them about a month, month and a half. The whole time I was there, they slept all day. I became a maid, a babysitter, full-time.
STEVE: For your sister.
Do NOT interrupt nor lead. We were getting information from the subject and even if the subject paused, the Interviewer should remain silent signaling to the subject: you have not told me what happened, therefore, I await your answer. Also note that "tell me" is very strong, with "me" being personal, causing the subject to be 'rude' should he not tell "me" what happened.
In spite of the interruption, he was asked about molestation and he has 'slowed the pace' down with his answer (a) and he has found a way to portray himself as a victim (b) in which one might even feel sorrow for him, being a "maid" and a babysitter, full time (not a "full time babysitter"; which I leave for another analysis)
Abusers are often charming, which is why they are successful in grooming. Here we see the need to not only stall the answer (internal stress; be on the look out for deception) but the need to be pitied, and cast blame upon another.
Will he blame the sister for the molestation?
Molestors do blame others, including other adults who "knew not to leave me with the child, but did so anyway", right up to the child, herself, often ascribing the child in adult terms as a 'seducer' of sorts.
BRANDON: Yes, nobody else was watching them. I’m the uncle, felt obligated. Um, the Saturday night that these supposed allegations were made, um, I want, I was watching the kids, put them to bed at eight, that was their bedtime. My niece was watching a movie, put the boys to bed. She kept turning the tv up and down. Well, before I get into that, supposedly they have videotape of me going in and out of my niece’s bedroom. I was in and out of the bedroom. But... Um -
a. Note the need to blame someone else. He was "obligated"
b. Note the need to indict his sister with "nobody else was watching them"; negligence;
c. Note "supposed" allegations is met with "these", which indicates psychological closeness for the subject.
d. Note the weakness and psychological removal or distancing withe the dropped pronouns
Present tense language.
Please note that present tense language reduces reliability. It should be noted, however, that some perpetrators of perversion will 're-live' the molestation, even while attempting to deny it, because they are aroused by it.
With victims, present tense language can show something similar: they are re-living it, but not for arousal, but due to post-traumatic-stress-disorder-like symptoms of pain, guilt, shame, rage, suicidal ideation, and so on.
This is why we do a separate study on the language of sexual abuse in our course and seminar.
STEVE: They have surveillance cameras in their house?
Another reminder: Don't interrupt, and do not lead! The pause of "um" should be met with silence.
STEVE: Why would, why would they do that?
We know what the Interviewer is after, therefore, so does the subject, but best to first complete the "what happened" narrative, by encouraging him with silence, affirmations, or by phrases of continuance such as, "I'm listening..." and "What happened, next?"
Therapists, take note.
BRANDON: I don’t know. Went in there three times to turn the tv down because she was keeping my nephews awake. Then she calls me back in there cuz the disc start skipping. I go back in there, clean it off, didn’t work. Go back in there again, switch the movie, it worked.
a. Note dropped pronoun
b. Note inclusion of number "three" (there is video verification), which leads us to consider that he may have done more so, as minimization is expected.
c. Note the need to explain why he went into her room even though he was not asked, "So, why did you go into her room?"
This is an indication of missing information that is extremely sensitive to him and may lead us to ask if he had an alternate reason for going into her room.
d. Note the subtle blaming of the victim with "she calls me back in there" in the present tense language. This is to shift responsibility again to the victim. She 'caused' him to go in there with television volume and now she caused him to go back in there because of the skipped disc. This is to further affirm just how sensitive going into her room is to the subject, Brandon.
e. Note the word, "clean" as one that sometimes enters the language of perpetrators. Some want to "clean" their name, rather than "clear their name." This is sometimes associated with water, and with sexual assaults.
f. Note, again, the dropped pronouns. Ask yourself, "Why, at this point in his account, does he not wish to place himself in her room at this time, psychologically?
"Go back in there again, switch the movie, it worked" does not tell us who went "back" in there "again" (two words to double the emphasis, making this very sensitive, and without a pronoun, as if it wasn't "him" that was in there.
Whatever took place in the room at this very time in his account, is something he does not want to associate himself with.
By this point, you have a sense of what happened. You have not heard a denial, only a "supposed accusation" which, for innocent people, is enough to issue a denial.
STEVE: So that’s your explanation for going back in there in the room?
Conclusionary. Avoid. There is no reason for us to conclude; we listen.
STEVE: When did you learn that you were being accused of molesting your niece?
BRANDON: A week later. I’m washing a load of clothes. I get a knock at the door. It was a [city] detective and two city cops. I open the door. He was like, “ are, are you Brandon?” I said “yes sir i am.” read me my rights and told me that my niece was making allegations against me that I touched her.
a. Note he finally gets to the answer to "what happened?" in his response after significant pre-event description and explanation, noting the "need to explain why" scenario.
b. Note the present tense language as not only associated with deception, but possible re-living of the sexual abuse.
c. Note the inclusion of water via, "I'm washing a load of clothes" as unnecessary to his answer, making the inclusion of water "very important" to the subject.
d. Note the inclusion of "door" as indication of possible childhood sexual abuse. That he mentioned the door, twice, makes it sensitive to him. That he goes to the "opening" of the door, further affirms the possibility of childhood sexual abuse. We know that most people who are abused in childhood do not go on to sexually abusing others, but of those who sexually abuse, most all (if not all) were molested in childhood; or some sexual trauma existed. To date, I have not conducted an interview where this was not the case, nor has anyone submitted a case in which I doubted the perpetrator's own childhood status. This may become, one day, an important argument against "genetic sexual attraction" used by defense attorneys, defending pedophiles against responsibility for their crimes.
e. Note that "I touched her" is not entering the language of his niece, nor the investigator, which may be, therefore, an "embedded confession" within his own words. Note that being read his rights and "told" is both past tense and appropriate, with "told" being authoritative. When read his rights, he must be "told" what the arrest is for: no one is arrested for "touching" anyone. It is "assault" or "sexual assault" and so on. This is to not only avoid telling us what he is specifically charged with, but strengthens the assertion that it is an embedded confession.
When one has an opinion on whether someone "did it" or not, it is just that, an opinion, and if wrong, it is dismissed and forgotten.
Not so for others.
When an investigator or analyst makes a conclusion, he or she puts much on the line, including:
a. The legal status of the accused. The accused is now under arrest which is serious and can impact him, the victim, the case, and so on. No sane investigator wants to see an innocent man arrested.
b. The investigator's reputation and career.
Should the investigator conclude, from his analysis, that "he did it", and writes up a clear, concise report which suggests its own conclusion, the investigator now shares responsibility for the arrest with the district attorney's office, reducing the 'pressure'
c. The analyst's reputation and career.
The subject has not denied the allegation and neither shall we deny it for him. He has given us linguistic indication that:
a. He molested his niece
b. He did it in her room
c. He is likely a victim of childhood sexual abuse
d. He is deceptive via withholding specific detail
e. If asked questions based upon his own language, he will not pass a polygraph.
The analyst stands upon these assertions and must trust that the polygrapher will do a good job with the polygraph machine and not contaminate the results by his or her own language given to the subject.
The analyst, if wrong, will be seen as not only wrong but:
a. having led to an innocent man's false arrest and possible trauma and fallout, including potential legal and civil ramifications
b. will not be trusted for further investigations
c. will not be hired in other training seminars, etc.
In short, a strong conclusion, such as above, puts the work and the analyst "on the line", without equivocation.
There are cases where the analyst may qualify, such as, "he is deceptive, but more interviewing is needed", or "not enough sample", or, "perhaps, maybe, possibly," and so on, can be used.
This is why breaking down the analysis, point by point is so important because it allows the error to be located, should one be made.
The scientific process is not subjective, nor a "feeling" but of continual digging according to pre-stated principles.
In the above, I conclude: he did it.
Should he pass a polygraph, I would need the audio or transcripts of the pre-screening interview and the actual questions asked, and the results.
Should he actually pass there is now a disagreement between results.
Because we follow a systematic scientific process, the error will be found.
Because we do not make a conclusion lightly, or upon a single indicator, we allow the subject to guide us, and the conclusion is based upon many points, bringing confidence to the conclusion.
The written report is then taken, and analyzed in the same method we use for interviews and statements, with additional language removed.
The end result: The Investigative Report is clear, simple, and convincing the reader (DA, jury, etc) of guilt, without the need to persuade.