Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wife who retracted rape claim: Explained

There are many news reports on the case of the wife who falsely retracted an allegation that her husband had raped her, and was sent to prison.

The Guardian gives them the names Sarah and Ray.

In essence Ray was abusive and a control freak over many years of marriage. After he had raped her, Sarach called the police, and Ray was arrested and sent down. Out on bail, he manipulated Sarah, first into dropping her charges against him, and then into retracting her rape allegation against him. She phoned the police and said she had made it up. The Crown Prosecution Service then did her for perverting the course of justice, and she went down until the sensible Judge Judge (sic) released her.

As a psychiatrist and GP I have seen many of these cases. 
There is usually a manipulative male* who insists on controlling all actions of his partner. She is unable to talk to friends, especially male, but also female. She has difficulty in going out of her partner's sight. Violence and rape is common. She is miserable, and begins to think about leaving; and this is where the difficulty begins.

Say an alert GP or Social Worker notice what is going on, and offer to help. She says she needs help, but then a strange on-off pattern kicks in. She wants help, but keeps going back to him - irrationally, and to the total frustration of anyone who is trying to help her.

The Battered Woman Syndrome has been written up by Lenore Walker, a psychologist. She frames it in terms of PTSD.

I offer a simpler framework: the woman's will has been taken over by the male. He exerts control over her actions, through very extensive manipulation.

For instance, when she tries to get away, he will convince her that he is going to kill her, or her children, and/or himself. He is able to convince her time and again that he is sorry, and that he will change. So the woman, powerfully driven by misery and pain to seek to leave him, is drawn back, equally powerfully, by his manipulations.

If this state of affairs were more clearly recognised by psychiatrists, medics, SWs, police, CPS and judges, we would all be that much better off.

I ought to write to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Maybe I will.

In the meantime, girls, if he seems to be a control freak - RUN!

*gender roles can of course be reversed


Unknown said...

That whole case really worried me. I've been married twice before, first gonk was controlling and abusive and I allowed the second gonk, same problem again, to rescue me from the first. I learned though. I left my second husband by informing the police first, they gave me a specific number and coded message to give when I left. I used the police to help me. I told them I was leaving my husband because of his agression and abuse. (He'd never hit me but was dreadful in every other way)They knew the day I was leaving and that I might call them. They in turn informed my husband that they knew the day I was leaving and would have a heavy police presence if needed. I did need them and they responded with blue lights and six officers and took it very seriously. He was taken away until the van had taken me, the kids and our stuff away. Under their advice I had a restraining order in 24 hours and all bar a bit of him shouting abuse, we got away unscathed.Not all women are that well informed.

DocRichard said...

Thanks for that info, Frugal. Sorry you have been through this misery.

Relationship is a delicate skill, is it not?

carmilevy said...

I hope you write that letter. I've seen too many cases on this side of the pond that ended up with the wife 6 feet under. It's a horrible scourge that society needs to figure out how to deal with.

Thank you for having the courage to raise the issue in this forum.

DocRichard said...

Hi Carmi

Thanks for commenting. I had forgotten I was supposed to write to the Royal College. I am completely blocked on taking any action in medical matters. Your nudge may help me to do that.

I know London, Ontario. It is very flat, as I remember it.