Dr Eve, I am one your pupils for many years now, thank you. Friday night I stayed up and waited for the Oscar interview to be flighted. The interest is this case is borne out of the fact that I am a survivor of Intimate Partner Violence married for 12 years but lived in different cities for 2/3 of the time (four incidents of physical abuse two of which were almost fatal – the emotional, financial was ongoing remotely). The Oscar interview had an unexpected outcome – I was upset for I recognize the three or four stages of abuse. That he is angry over the fact that what was supposed to be a secret between Oscar and Reeva was now in the public space – he refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. I wonder if others with similar experiences (IPV) recognized the pattern (cry, blame, anger) and whether they shared the same emotion? Thank you
Dr Eve answers:
The aftermath of Oscar is what fascinates me too. And since your mail, you are of course aware of the sentence of 6 years which may further trigger you and too many other women who like you are survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) . I care not in the least about Oscar as person. I care about the triggers he has raised in you , and others, such as remembered incidences , and accompanying feelings of powerlessness, sadness, anger, shame and fear.
I commend you for being able to extricate yourself from your situation , a feat too seldom achieved by the one in four women in South Africa who experience IPV.
In 2009 Rachel Jewkes conducted a study in South Africa. She found that of 3,797 female homicides 50.3% were from IPV. Overall the mortality rate from IPV was 8.8 per 100,000 women. Mortality from IPV were elevated among those 14 to 44 years and women of color. Blunt force injuries were more common, while strangulation or asphyxiation were less common. The national IPV mortality rate was more than twice that found in the United States.
The signs of IPV include being controlled, cut off from friends and family, monitored, emotionally and physically hurt, threatened, non consensual sex, excessive jealousy,
Who are the Oscars of the world? Who are these many men who hurt women they love? Research gives us good clues: These men have >
- Previous Acts of Violence against Women:
- Traditional Gender Role Beliefs
- Personal History of or Exposure to Abuse
If Oscar were my client , I wold manage him as a survivor of trauma. I would get a history and discover that he ticks all three of these points. I would diagnose him with Developmental Trauma Disorder . That means that as a result of his publicly known early childhood trauma, namely disability, abandoned by father, independent attachment , teasing , feeling of being different, his brain became wired to respond to life from flight/fight response. His anger, shame, fear and anxiety drove him into behaviour both harmful to himself and to others as well as into highly powerful successful athletic feats.
I would teach him how to mange desperately difficult feelings , to emotionally regulate himself so before turning to a gun , he would still his mind by breathing deeply, allowing his brain’s fire to extinguish and to let his cognitive brain think for him.
The cry/blame/anger you witnessed are indeed typical responses from a man who feels under attack and will defend himself to the end.
You experienced the helplessness and hopelessness of attempting to communicate with a man who has a fired up brain . Just like Reeva attempted to rationalise with Oscar’s brain. You managed to escape . Unfortunately she did not.
To all the women who are vibrating with empathy and compassion for Reeva, who see the signs in their own relationships , get counselling. You are not “overly sensitive” or ” creating the problem “. You are simply responding to a traumatised brain that has no ability to regulate its own emotions. And the impact on you can be fatal.