Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Elements of Violence in Language

Kristi Miller 
When a person is involved in violence, on various sides, it often reveals itself in the language.

1.  The victim
2.  The perpetrator
3.  The spectator

Let's look at two elements:  the victim and the spectator.  In Human Resources, we train professionals to ask specific questions and analyze specific responses to screen out those who pose the risk of violence in the workplace.  This will be for another article.

I.  Victims of Violence
II.  Spectators of Violence

I.  Victim of Violence.

Was Kristi Miller,  photographer assaulted by Mel Gibson?

Much analysis has been done on the linguistic evidence of violence upon victims.  We have seen this in abundance, including elements of post-traumatic stress in language, as well as how the victim relates to the perpetrator.  Bill Cosby's accuser, Barbara Bowman,  is a good example of how analysis showed how certain words are used when experiential memory is in play.  Analysis of her statement is HERE.   The comedian,  Hari , who claimed to be mugged by "3 white dudes" is an example of when there is no linguistic connection to an event.  That is found HERE as there are a number of "fake hate" cases covered.  Because the subject is deceptive, any emotion is artificial and there is often a lack of sensory connection in language.

Specifically in the language of violence, we must set our context correctly for the victim, in order to 'enter into' not only the personal, subjective internal dictionary of the victim, but to understand her perception of the impact.

Mel Gibson's accuser is a good example for us to follow.

This is where we sometimes see a change in verb tense:

“I took a photo of Mel and his girlfriend and when I turned around he shoved my back really hard. It shocked me because I wasn’t expecting it. I don’t know if it was his hands or elbow.
He was spitting in my face as he was yelling at me, calling me a dog, saying I’m not even a human being and I will go to hell. He swore and called me a c**t. It was non-stop, he didn’t even breathe.”

I posted this because it is an interesting statement, people enjoy quizzes, but it also highlights the difference between formal training and informal practicing of analysis.

1.  "I took a photo of Mel" is very likely to be true.  This has the statement beginning with the pronoun "I" which is often reliable because we do not like to connect ourselves to deception.  It does not preclude deception, however, which is why I chose the word "reliable" rather than "truthful."  In fact, that which begins as reliable can turn towards deception as it unfolds.

"I took a photo of Mel" on its form, is very likely to be truthful.

2.  "...and when I turned around he shoved my back really hard" is also, on its form, very likely to be truthful.

Now, with these two very strong statements, should she be lying, it would be not only extremely rare, but it would put her into a classification of a dangerous person of whom nothing she says can be trusted.

This is not what I find, however, to be the case.

Question:  What is the difference between:

a.  "He spat in my face" and
b.  "He was spitting in my face"?

"He spat in my face" is a highly reliable, past tense statement (as long as "he" and "my" are clearly defined in context).

What is the difference between "yelled" and "was yelling"?

Answer:  incomplete action.

"Was yelling" and "was spitting" has an action that is not complete and it must be judged within context.

This may suggest that for the victim, this is worse than the initial shoving of the back.  "Spitting" is very "up close and personal" and the change in pronoun may indicate that to the victim, the spitting and yelling did not end.

Why did she separate "cursing" from being called a "c***"?

This, too, suggests reliability.   The "C-word" is considered one of the most vulgar insults that a woman can receive, especially one who is a professional and may not be 'culturally' desensitized to this word.  (This would apply if, for example, this particular word was not used in her household, whereas someone else who heard this word from her own father, for another example, would not find it as insulting as our subject did.)

It is very unlikely that Ms. Miller was raised in an environment where this word was acceptable.  This is something her own language reveals.

 This insult is given a separate identification due to the intensity of the impact.  For her, the "C word" is a whole other level of insult, beyond "cursing."

"Was yelling" and "was spitting" went on, but the C-word was a final, very difficult insult.

This is the "continuation" that we see in PTSD-like statements, especially in childhood sexual abuse.

Kristin Miller told the truth.  Even when "less reliable" form of speech is used, we must not only weigh it against the other statements, but we must look at in context.  In sexual abuse cases, especially childhood, it is more of a 'norm', to the point where it is 'expected' in these statements.  (We cover an entire chapter of study dedicated to the language of sexual assault victims in our advanced course).

The analyst must be flexible.

Spectators to Violence

What about spectators to violence?  How does this impact their language?

These are those who hear or see violence in various degrees.

In our modern age, there is a difference between those who are at the location and those who are able to eye witness the violence through electronic means such as audio or video recordings.

There can even be a subtle change in language for those who experience violence through the written word, since it engages the imagination in a way that the audio and/or video does not.  For now, the spectator here is via audio and video and even this distance impacted her language.

Those who are spectators to violence must be judged in various ways, including:

a.  Were they fearful that they, too, could become a victim of violence?
b.  What was their belief system?  Did they believe the violence to be justified?
c.  What was their expectation?  Did they, for example, attend an Islamic stoning of a homosexual to report on it to the West?  Or, did they attend because they agreed with it?

These various elements will affect the "perception of reality" and will impact the language.

Secondary and even tertiary trauma is real and needs to be addressed.

Here, in this video from today's news, the newscaster did not have any expectation of violence.  

Here is a video of a reporter being shot live on the air. Note the television anchor's initial words: She drops her pronoun. Since there is no time to 'pre-think' this, what caused the witness to violence to drop her pronoun?

What caused her to drop her pronoun?  This may not be as simple as "distancing language" in our response.  It is distancing language, but why?

Because of the broad scope of analysis, there is no substitute for formal training.  One must learn, memorize and apply principles.

Once this is done, much practice is needed.

Along with practice, our monthly sessions with trained professionals is a must.  It is invaluable as "iron sharpens iron", and the best sharpening a professional can receive is as the hands of another professional.

I experience this regularly.  I look for two year commitments, in the very least, from dedicated professionals.  Once this point is passed, they often continue, almost like an addiction, and even after many years, still have "wow!" moments, like the several I experienced yesterday on a statement I had already analyzed!

Once this is in full swing, one must then move on to speculate soundly, as to what causes sensitivity indicators.  This is where we find the greatest number of errors and where putting one's signature matters most.

After this, one may then move on to a greater understanding of human nature and how it reveals itself in language, and finally on to profiling personalty types through language.

We are known by our words.

It is a long journey, but once well embraced, it will not be lost and will serve you for the rest of your life and career.

If your department or company wishes to host a training seminar, you will receive discount. If you would like to take our home course, including more than 6 hours of MP3 lectures and 12 months of ongoing support, successful completion will allow you into the affordable monthly live training with investigators from around the country.  See for details.


Anonymous said...

something caught my attention as I was listening to the WDBJ newscasters tell stories about their two colleagues who were murdered today...

They told stories in past tense, but then would slip and say something like "Adam is a Virginia Tech fan" - present tense, even though they have been told he is dead their language reflects their resistance to believe it. To me it reinforces what I've learned on this site about SA... if a co-worker can't bring themselves to talk about someone in past tense when they have confirmed reports that person is dead; how could a mother or father EVER refer to their child in past tense unless they know, AND have recovered from the shock of learning, their child is dead.

I believe now, more than ever before, that these parents of "missing" children who speak in past tense so quickly have guilty knowledge of the location of their children.

Unknown said...

****Unless they have been giving knowlege of certain death privy to law enforcement officials.

Anonymous said...

If she were that close he could strike her in the back, I wonder if she had not assualted him first. Perhaps bumping him causing him to spill a drink so she could get a distressed facial shot and prove her point.

These pests getting gunned down on air may be a sign people are getting their fill.

300 channels and nothing to watch on TV!

Juliet said...

Interesting on the c word - I'd like to know if she actually said the word or said that he had called her the 'c word' - because some people who have a strong aversion to the word will not and cannot say it, and so would not be able to use it in the recounting of the incident either. also, she would know it would be reported as having come out of her own mouth despite that she was recounting rather than using it herself. I think she would only be able to say 'he called me the c word' - she wouldn't be willing or able to let it pass her own lips. So, well, sorry to be contrary, but I have to contradict a little on that. :)

Juliet said...

Well, it says that she said it, but reporters like to sensationalise. She may not have said it, she might have said he called me the c word' and the reporter may have enunciated it for her, for all I know.

John Mc Gowan said...

After Shooting, Alleged Gunman Details Grievances in ‘Suicide Notes’

Capitals not added by me.

A man CLAIMING to be Bryce Williams called ABC News over the last few weeks, saying he wanted to pitch a story, and wanted to fax information. He never told ABC News what the story was.

This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the PHONE, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.

In the 23-page DOCUMENT faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:

“Why did I do it? I put down a DEPOSIT for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them."

It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You DELETED)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.

Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.'"

In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the DOCUMENT, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family."

He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry...I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace....”

“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily...I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”

C5H11ONO said...

In reference to the Mel Gibson story. The victim was reporting things in the negative. We have been told repeatedly here that one cannot report what one did not see, feel, etc. In this case she reported in the negative that she didn't know if Mel shoved her with his hands or his elbow.
This was important enough for her to add. Shoving in and of itself doesn't need a description as to how she was shoved, but it was important to her to state it. Why? Also, I am concerned about her stated that she wasn't expecting it. I believe she was expecting something from Mel, just not a shove. I think he had asked her not to photograph them and she did it anyway. He shouldn't have shoved her. If I was a paparazzi I would have expected all the rants and cursing because we have all been privy to it. Why would she not be expecting it. Perhaps her statement is indeed truthful, but I am inclined to think this was purposeful and with the intended results.

Turtle said...

Glad to see you post something like this. Too often I think everyone assumes that any deviation in speech must be due to lying.

Anonymous said...

“I took a photo of Mel and his girlfriend and when I turned around he shoved my back really hard. It shocked me because I wasn’t expecting it.

If she knew that Mel and his girlfriend didn't really want her to take that photo, then maybe what she DID expect was more like, "getting shoved past"?

Unknown said...

This live on air news shooting took place right outside of Roanoke VA. It is about an hour away from where I live.

Even more horrifying than the live shooting that was broadcast this morning, the deranged shooter later posted a first person POV video of himself shooting the victims to his twitter and FB accounts, taken by a GoPro he was wearing. The POV video is absolutely horrifying. He walks up to the group while they are engrossed in the live report, (the female reporter, the camera man, and the woman being interviewed) he raises the gun as they continue broadcasting oblivious to his actions, he lowers the gun momentarily, then raises the gun again and opens fire on the female reporter, (Parker) and the camera drops as he shoots the camera man. The woman being interviewed (Head of Chamber of Commerce) was badly wounded, but is said to be in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

I don't even watch horror movies because they leave me so upset, and stressed. I watched the POV video without warning. It was embedded in an article a friend fowarded to me. I wish I had never seen it, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all day. The sound of her dying screams, and the thought of her/his family witnessing their deaths have me tied in knots.

They were broadcasting a somewhat pointless 'fluff' story. An update about new facilities coming to the area. If only they had stayed in. If only it had rained this morning. If only the deranged killer had turned and walked away when he lowered his gun.

Instead we are left with two lives lost, and countless lives one disturbed man. It's impossible for me to comprehend.

Paul Flanagan said...

I just read this from Gibson's rep.

"No one shoved or spat at anyone. It's a complete lie. There was no physical altercation whatsoever."


Tania Cadogan said...

off topic BBM

Josh Duggar has entered a 'faith-based rehab' to be treated for sex addiction in the wake of further revelations about his sordid private life.

The decision comes after the family values lobbyist confessed to having a porn addiction and being unfaithful to his wife after being outed as a user of the Ashley Madison affairs website.

It was revealed earlier this year that Duggar was previously treated at a faith-based rehab center as a teenager after admitting molesting five of his underage sisters.

In a statement the reality star parents Jim Bob and Michelle wrote that their oldest son would be at the center long-term, saying he had: 'brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear.'

They wrote: 'As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others.'

Thanking their fans for an 'outpouring of love, care and prayers', they called the series of increasingly shocking revelations about their son a 'difficult situation'.

The Duggars explained of their son: 'For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change.'

The 27-year-old's decision to seek treatment came as a porn star told InTouch of how she twice had 'scary rough' sex with Duggar while his wife was pregnant with their fourth child.

In their statement Jim Bob and Michelle pledged their support to their son's wife and his four children.

'We will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future,' they wrote.

'During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.'

InTouch magazine revealed that the center where Duggar would be treated was 'faith-based'.

While the Duggars have not identified the rehab center there is speculation it may be the Christian-based Reformers Unanimous in Rockford, Illinois.

An investigation by Gawker found that a plane belonging to Duggar's younger sibling, licensed pilot John David Duggar, flew to Rockford late last night where it stayed to just ten minutes before returning to Arkansas, where the Duggars live.

Jim Bob and Michelle have previously visited the center which they praised for being 'incredible'.

Back in 2003 Duggar spent three months in residence at a faith-based rehab facility in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The center was owned by the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Christian ministry and training program founded by Bill Gothard, a Duggar family friend.

The Duggars sent their then 15-year-old son to the center to undergo physical labor and counseling after seeking counsel from their church.

The decision was made after he admitted to them that he had inappropriately touched five of his underage sisters in the breast and genital region.

Some of the molestations occurred while the girls were sleeping, while in other instances they were awake.

Read more:

Tania Cadogan said...

They are sending josh to another faith based rehab, hmmm, we all know how effective that was.
It is likely that when he left the facility he carried on where he left off, he will not have suddenly after X number of years decide to go porn viewing and being unfaithful to his wife.
He hadn't previously been caught.
Even now he only confessed as he was outed on the website.

It is interesting to note where his parents priorities lie in the order of their writing.

We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh. As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear. Yesterday Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change. In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future. During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.

Firstly it is all about them and OUR family
It is likely they have an eye on another reality show of some kind and the income it generates.
They lost their previous show due to josh's paedophilia and their non response to it.
it wouldn't surprise me if they tout a new show showing how they have been affected by the sex based behavior of their son given their strict christian beliefs and how god has helped them come to terms with it and is helping them through this crisis.
They will portray themselves as the victims in all this and also showing how even the most godfearing can face challenges blah blah.
This is another moneymaker for them.

We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh
Is josh's family not part of Ourfamily?
They minimise it to a most difficult situation
Note the qualifier most

gstone said...

That was an interesting exercise. Definite yes to the need to practice, practice, practice. A former teacher of mine once said that you should practice a technique 1000 times before you begin to consider it mastered.

Tania Cadogan said...

As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions.
They put themselves first rather than josh's wife and children who are the ones most affected by his infidelity and porn addiction.
The duggar brand is their priority.
Note the qualifers which weaken their statement.
So deeply
Note they say as parents rather than as hisparentsdropping the pronoun as well as distancing themselves from him.
Are they perhaps trying to portray themselves as regular parents, as if all parents go through the same or similar things?
This would then introduce sensitivity regarding how they are seen by other parents, their unorthodox parenting methods, their strange take on religion (putting even catholics to shame :) )
How they are seen by others is sensitive to the duggars.
Why grieved and not angered?
Why not simply say grieved by our son or even disappointed(given they have to be viewed as devout, pious and forgiving christians)
What are they grieving?
To grieve means to have felt loss.
You grieve for a lost loved one.
Are they grieving perhaps for the loss of their reality show?
Note also the order, decisions comes before actions.
Why the need to differentiate?
For him to have done what he has done, he needed to have made decisions first.

His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others.
Was molesting his siblings when they were minors simply a wrong choice?
Was his infidelity simply a wrong choice?
Was his viewing porn simply a wrong choice?
Was there a point in his life where he was presented with two choices?
You can molest your young sister or you can do something else?
Given how the children were sleeping, how the older ones were pretty much raising the younger ones whilst mom popped them out like a brood mare, given how the male is dominant to the female and the female must submit to the male did he see it as a right?
Why should he have to change his behavior when the only consequence was couple of months in a faith based rehab run by a family friend (what does a faith based rehab do differently to normal rehab?)which pretty much meant lots of physical work and saying sorry to go and then announcing that god has forgiven him so us mere mortals must as well and everything is now hey ho ticketyboo.
Note the qualifier in regards to his wife precious and also note she is not identified by name nor are his children.
This is an improper social introduction and i wonder if relations between his parents and his wife are sour
I look to see if she is given a name in the statement at all and if so where.
and have negatively affected so many others.
Note the qualifier so in relation to many others.
Who are the many others they are referring to?
What is meant by negatively affected others?
How have they been affected?
Is negatively affected not the same as hurt?
The latter part of the sentence sounds odd.
What sounds better is and they have also negatively affected so many others or Josh's wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children as well as many others
As it is i wonder if the negative affects relate to the duggar brand making the parents toxic whilst seeing some of their daughters now getting their own shows?
Are the parents the ones negatively affected as in loss of income, fame and reputation?
The politicians they publicly supported in previous elections have rapidly distanced themselves.

Tania Cadogan said...

He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear.
Who is the WE they refer to?
Is it just the parents or the family as a whole?
If the family how many of the family as in just the bio family or including those who have married into it?
Note the order values and then faith.
Value means has worth,is this leakage relating to monetary value, he has cost them a bucket load of money in relation to the show, income from speeches and lectures and the brand as a whole?

Yesterday Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center.
What kind of treatment centre?
What does it do treatment wise?
How long is long-term?
Who is paying for it?

For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery.
Order is important, wholeness comes before recovery.
What is meant by wholeness?
Can he be whole and not recovered?
Can he be recovered and not whole?

We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change.
Why pray and not hope or even expect?
Note the qualifiers complete and sincere.
Does this mean his last 'treatment' was not complete or sincere?
What do they mean when they say complete repentance?
Does this mean they will believe him cured if he claims to be sorry?
Does this mean they will believe him cured if he apologises to his family (which family i wonder?)
How will they know he has reached complete repentance?
Will he be issued with a certificate from god saying "josh has apologised and is really sorry thus i forgive him".
What is meant by sincere change?
Has he said he is changed and been insincere ( perhaps in his previous 'treatment' and in the years since?)
How will they know he has sincerely changed?
How can he prove he has sincerely changed?
Will he admit to all his infidelities?
Will he confess to any crimes committed since he was caught molesting his siblings and their friend?
He started as a teen, he will not have stopped since then up to his recently discovered infidelity and porn viewing.
It is all part of a pattern, he will likely have started off again with minor stuff and with not getting caught,escalating his behavior.
Since he molested his own siblings as a teen, i wonder if he has molested his own children, perhaps during diaper changing or bathing?
he broke a major taboo and once to cross that line the first time, it becomes easier as you continue.
I wonder how his wife feels about him and whether she could ever trust him again both with their children and with herself?

Tania Cadogan said...

In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future.
Will be is future conditional, why not are
What does getting their love, care and devoted support entail?
What requirements will need to be met?
Note the qualifier devoted
Finally we have the name of his wife Anna.
Note it is in relation to her receiving counsel and help for her own heart and future
Is this subtle demeaning?
Why would his wife need counsel if she has done nothing wrong?
What counselling and help will she be getting?
Will it be faith based?
Is this subtle blaming of her in that had she been a better wife to josh he would not have done what he did?
It would fit in with their version of christianity in that the man is in charge of the household and his word is law.

During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.
What is god expected to do?
Is this their way of absolving themselves of any responsibility for josh's behavior from when he was young?
Note they use the qualifier entire in relation to our family.
What is their definition of our entire family?
Does this include those who married into it?
Does this include Anna and their children?
What will happen if Anna decides she wants out of the marriage and she wants custody of their children (given josh's previous history she will in all likelihood get it)?

The whole statement reads as a pious begging for attention and forgiveness as well as subtle demeaning of josh's wife.
Money seems to be their priority as well, maybe they can can sell themselves as victims of josh and have a series showing how they cope with infidelity, porn etc as a christian family yaddah yaddah

Anonymous said...

Andrea Yates was in the Quiverfull cult.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why there is no blood number 1. look how close she was and number 2 she would have fallen not ran away in high heels no doubt. I think this was a psy ops once again to grab our guns. I believe those were blanks. not even a jerk gun grabbing government.

Juliet said...

The YouTube video of the reporter and camera-man has been removed by YouTube.

John Mc Gowan said...

He was spitting in my face as he was yelling at me,"

She does not say spat in my face.

Many people when irate and shouting "spray" spit as they are shout or angry.

Juliet said...

The boyfriend is still there, however:

Skeptical said...

If she was close enough for him to shove her in the back when she turned around, she was too close. She had to know from his history that he was a volatile person. What she did was the equivalent of poking a bear with a stick and then crying foul when retaliation sets in. She was trying to provoke an incident for a story.