A recent Valeriya Safronova article in the NY Times focused on the act of sudden, unexpected withdrawal and non-communication in romantic relationships. It shines a light on the cruel act that many victims in toxic relationships refer to as being discarded.
We have Valentine’s Day for celebrating love. We have days to acknowledge Moms, Dads and Grandparents, We even have days to recognize ground hogs. And did you know September 24th is National Punctuation Day…. No kidding!!
There are loads of good people in the world who wouldn’t hurt a flea. And there are folks who are obvious villains. But scam artists are pretty difficult to spot in order to tell the difference between the two.
A woman named Deb contacted me about what had happened to her and asked me to post it. It’s a tale that’s typical of the outrageous behavior of internet romantic scam artists with an enlightening “take-away”.
A little background….
Tom seemed to be a great match for Deb. He found her in an on-line dating site. He was a good communicator and they spent hours on the phone, almost daily, throughout their eight month relationship. She felt the “chemistry” of a new found connection right away when they first met.
He claimed that his job caused him to travel on assignments. Shortly after they met, he was called away. Little did she recognize, at the time, that married men frequently disguise their existing relationships by claiming the need to travel for business.
More false claims
Tom pretended that he was a Marine Reservist and a Forensic Psychologist. He’d been turned down by the Marines and never went to college. He stated his age as 41 when he was actually 52. He is alleged to be a bigamist. The case has been filed against him in New Jersey and is currently pending.
Debunking the myth
We often hear people accuse SexFraud victims of ignorance and gullibility. But one would hardly use those terms to describe Deb. In fact, she’s trained to recognize, sort out, and deal with issues that surface in dating. She’s a dating coach. She believes that the elevated level of conquest piqued Tom’s interest and made her a “high value” target.
You can read more about Deb’s case on her blog. She has located a number of additional victims who Tom has hoaxed and they serve as a support group for each other.
Emotional predators often strike when people are most vulnerable. They troll e-dating sites for the perfect target… someone who’s geographically desirable and recently divorced, recently widowed, or recently went through a break up…. the more painful the better!
Their concept of geographically desirable may not be what you think. For some, it’ll be the conquest that lives around the corner. For others, distance enables them to bob and weave to avoid expectations of consistency. While they’re not with you, they’re luring the other fish they’ve hooked on their line.
Don’t signal them that you’re vulnerable!
Many rape by fraud scenarios begin as Sir Gallahad on a white stead swooping in to rescue the fair damsel. Having been through misfortune can easily make you a victim and blind you to the reality behind their charm.
They’ll ask loads of questions, and you’ll think, “Wow, this person really wants to get to know me.” And in a twisted way, you’re right.
They’ll sympathize with everything you say when you pour out your heart about your past love. That dirty dog who left you flat will be the scourge of humanity to them. After all, they’d never behave like “that” to someone they love. Problem is, when you’re dealing with an emotional predator, they’re not capable of love. They’re simply angling to win your trust.
If you provide enough information, they’ll determine what makes you tick, and then it’s easy to conjure up a hoax to reel you in. Saying the right things and becoming that person they know you’ll relate to is seductive. But defrauding a person for sex is not seduction, it’s a sexual assault.
Mischele Lewis, the victim in the recent NJ case that went to trial against William Allen Jordan, had just parted ways with her ex-husband when they met.
Successive breakups drove Lauren Lazarro of Florida into the waiting arms of a former officer on NATO vessels, raised by nuns, with a dreamy Italian accent. He lied about his age, a character distortion typical in sexual assault by fraud. While his sophisticated web presence made him appear to be an astute businessman, his sudden “illnesses” provided the means to gouge her of money.
Recent heartbreak is not the only key to vulnerability, however. A single Mom we’ll call Suki hadn’t been seeing anyone special for a couple of years before she was love-bombed by a Scottish musician. He claimed to be single and committed to creating a loving, monogamous relationship with her. Little did she know he was married and involved with a veritable smorgasbord of women, both locally and around the world.
Treachery in internet dating
Four women recently outed the Marine Reservist, Psychologist, FBI Agent who charmed them all, while married to one of them as well as another woman. He kept them all dangling on a long-distance string. His favorite fishing hole, the internet.
Finding someone you want to be with should not entail bearing your soul over past relationships. You need to be careful of the loaded question, “So how come an attractive person like you is single?” It’s meant to gauge the depths of your vulnerability.
There is nothing wrong with saying, “I prefer to discuss my romantic past with someone once I know them better.” Don’t give in to the bait, “Well, how will you know them if you don’t share your past?”
Finding someone who cares about YOU is not about prior romance. It’s about who you are. Do you have similar interests, and similar values? Do you enjoy the same music, art, food. wine, movies? Are you both into traveling, sports, and culture? What’s your compatibility factor? So share your interests, but not your romantic history, with someone you just met.
By all means, don’t lie. You’re married, divorced or single. But don’t go into the gory details of what got you this way. And make sure to check ID for anyone you meet through internet dating!
Wanting to be loved is a normal trait
Unfortunately, we will often give great leeway to people who charm us by showing they care about our previous pain. We see them as empathetic, caring individuals and we respond with trust. A person who is guileless, expects the world to lack guile as well. But it is important in the age of dating perfect strangers that we ramp up protections to keep us safe.
And if you don’t succeed, it’s just as important to recognize that being vulnerable and allowing an emotional predator into your life, is not a crime. But defrauding someone of sex is, whether your state prosecutes it or not.
Spectacular in photos, but not so pretty when it comes to protecting against Sexual Assault by Fraud!
There are 13 types of fraud identified in Chapter 37 of Maine’s Penal Code. And one of them, Misuse of Identification, is particularly revealing. It states that oral misrepresentation of name, date of birth, or any other means of identifying the person that is generally accepted as accurate and reliable, would make the offender guilty of a specific crime.
This statute enables us to see that providing oral false statements about one’s identity, when used to conduct an illicit act, is, indeed, penalized in Maine, but not when it comes to defrauding a victim of sex.
2. A person is guilty of gross sexual assault if that person engages in a sexual act with another person and:
A. The actor has substantially impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control the other person’s sexual acts by furnishing, as defined in section 1101, subsection 18, paragraph A, administering or employing drugs, intoxicants or other similar means. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime; [2007, c. 474, §1 (AMD).]
Arguably, this clause could enforce rape by fraud if the state would support that lies impair the victim’s ability to “appraise and control” and if fraud would be considered “other similar means.” Instead, the state of Maine prosecutes one specific type of Sexual Assault by Fraud, that of being duped into accepting a drug that could render the victim powerless against sexual contact:
A. The other person is a patient of the actor and has a reasonable belief that the actor is administering the substance for medical or dental examination or treatment; or [2007, c. 474, §2 (NEW).
Unless otherwise provided, when causing a result is an element of a crime, causation may be found where the result would not have occurred but for the conduct of the defendant operating either alone or concurrently with another cause, unless the concurrent cause was clearly sufficient to produce the result and the conduct of the defendant was clearly insufficient. [1981, c. 324, §14 (NEW).]
In every act of Sexual Assault by Fraud, the result, sexual relations, would not have occurred but for the conduct of the defendant operating either alone or concurrently with another cause. In fact, many cases of sexual assault by fraud occur alongside defrauding the victim of money or property and sometimes, even for immigration status.
Sexual relations with someone mentally incapable of consent
Administering drugs intoxicants or similar means
Engaing in sex with someone who is incapable of resisting and has not consented to the sexual act
Engaging in sex when various circumstances of authority or medical care exist
In general, Maine needs to create specific language to protect its citizens, and travelers who come to fish, hunt, swim, hike, ski, kayak, bird watch, snowboard, surf, sail and conduct all kinds of other activities, from the perils of sexual assault by fraud when they’re visiting the state.
William Allen Jordan, dressed in street clothes, looked on at the conclusion of the case that preceded his. He’d soon be swapping his green sweater and jeans for an orange jumpsuit bearing the letters BCDOC, the Burlington County Department of Corrections.
New Jersey Prosecutor, Steve Eife, said “The case against Jordan reads like a fictional book.” He’d pretended he was an operative from the British Defense Ministry in order to scam Mischele Lewis.
Playing the sympathy card
Attorney, Karen Thek, attempted to impress Judge Philip Haines with efforts Jordan had made to make restitution. He handed over a cashier’s check for $4,383.00, the amount he stole from Lewis. He had pleaded guilty to the charges. Thek stressed that it was difficult for Jordan to earn the money that was required with all the negative notoriety in the press.
Ever the charmer, soft spoken Jordan tried a last ditch effort to soften up the judge before he pronounced sentence. “My attorney said it all. All I can do is apologize. My mother is in the hospital. I just want to get back to helping her and my father,” he said.
Nobody who heard him and knew the story was running for the tissue box!
The Judge pronounces sentence
Judge Haines recounted multiple prior convictions and arrests, starting with seven counts of passing bad checks, each for over $200. He cited British convictions for bigamy and sexual assault. He remarked that even the five years of prison that Jordan already served failed to deter him, and that the public needed protection from him.
Haines clearly laid out the terms the Prosecutor and Jordan had agreed upon:
Three years incarceration in the New Jersey State Penitentiary
Waiver of appeal
No contact, ever, with Ms. Lewis
Judge Haines gave Jordan credit for 130 days of jail time he’d already served. Officer Kocher approached and directed him to put his hands behind his back. Jordan complied and she cuffed his wrists. Then she quietly escorted him out of the room to the jail located just down the hallway. The irony of his jailer being a woman was poetic.
So ended Will Jordan’s personal contribution to the fight for sexual assault by fraud law.
This case was the first one that came to me after releasing my book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit. It was launched on November 20, 2013. Donna Anderson contacted me about the case less than 4 months later. Donna blogs at LoveFraud. com. She’d read and reviewed my book. She knew I’d be interested in introducing laws on this crime and advocating for victims. When Lewis complained to her about her case, she referred her questions to me.
I’d been involved in legislative changes in the past, I needed a current case in order to get traction on creating a sexual assault by fraud law because my personal case was forty years old. Lewis read my book and learned about why what happened to her should be a criminal offense. Her case was a good example for the law I’d suggested, so I agreed to help.
Donna and I were able to get press attention on the case:
A blog post I wrote attracted the attention of Michele Noberto. She’d inspired a New Jersey law that provides automatic restraining orders for sexual assault victims. Even though Lewis had applied for one and been turned down by Judge John Tomasello in an ugly example of judicial misogyny, Noberto was able to connect with the right people in the Prosecutor’s office. She found out that a temporary order had already been granted.
Assemblyman Troy Singleton, who represents Lewis’s district, noticed our press coverage and came forward to enact a law to prevent Sexual Assault by Fraud. I felt as if he’d heard my prayers!
NBC’s Dateline picked up on the story and created the episode, The Mystery Man.
Currently existing laws in NJ and the Prosecutor’s failure
I’m not convinced that the laws of New Jersey don’t already have language that could have convicted Jordan for sexual assault. But the Prosecutor, Steve Eife, insisted on charging him with sexual assault by coercion. No coercion took place. I tried to talk the Prosecutor out of going that route but he turned a deaf ear to me. Lewis agreed to his plan and the grand jury failed to indict because there was no coercion.
I spoke with Eife today about the charges he’d leveled against Jordan. I asked why he hadn’t used mental incapacity which states that an offender cannot use drugs or any other meansto alter a victim’s awareness. He insisted that referred only to actions like hypnosis, but if it was limited to “hypnosis,” the law would clearly state so. It does not.
There was clear and compelling proof that Jordan had defrauded Lewis of sex and a possibility that the Grand Jury could have indicted. For sure, they could not indict on “coercion. They indicted on the theft by fraud charge which used the exact same lies to defraud Lewis of sex as well.
I also raised the argument that deception nullifies consent, as stated in Model Penal Code. Eife argued that Model Penal Code’s Consent Provision does not apply in NJ law, yet it’s right there on page 148 of NJ’s Criminal Law Digest:
Consent is ineffective, unless otherwise provided, if it is given by a person who is induced by force, duress, or deception, or by a person who is legally incompetent or otherwise unable to judge the harmfulness of the conduct. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-10c.
Laws don’t assume. If something is not specifically stated as contradictory, it’s up to the jury to determine whether or not it applies. Eife did not give this case the opportunity it needed in order to determine whether the present language in the law can and should prosecute the use of fraud as a means of sexual assault. His failure to do so underscores the need for specific language to prosecute this type of crime.
A victory, none-the-less
Tonight, I’m celebrating a milestone for my book. It succeeded in opening society’s conversation about rape by fraud in the modern era. Today, we’re fighting for the law in one state, NJ. With input from more victims, the next state could be yours!
Romance Sams and other forms of sexual assault by fraud or deception will not stop until we make it happen. Please register with THE FORRSC to be an important part of that change!
Mankind is noted for having three differing types of empathy: cognitive, emotional and compassionate. But there are significant problems that take place when a person has too much or too little of any specific kind.
Cognitive Empathy- Sensing what’s going on with the people around us
Cognitive empathy enables us to perceive what’s going on with the next person. But just because you know what they are experiencing, and what motivates them, does not mean you’ll exhibit caring or be able to put yourself in their shoes. In fact, it may do just the opposite.
Strong cognitive empathy is the tool that torturers rely on to shake a prisoner down for information. They can detach completely from any sense of pathos toward their victim. People who have high levels of cognitive empathy make great politicians and sales people. When cognitive empathy is accompanied by emotional empathy, it’s a good thing.
Sociopaths that conduct emotional harm are intuitive about the needs and wants of their target. They’ll use cognitive clues to position themselves for acceptance, just like a chameleon changes colors. The problem is, they lack the emotional empathy that reigns-in their self-interest. Most people who recover from relationships with sociopaths think back on them as “reptilians” for good reason. There is a distinct cold-bloodiness in the way they operate.
Having cognitive empathy and no conscience enables swindlers to come up with asset grabs. Bernie Madoff pops to mind as a good example. We often think of con artists as people who try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to an unsuspecting victim.
Emotional Empathy- The knee-jerk reaction to the perils that others experience
Emotional empathy enables us to embrace the feelings of others as if we were sharing their experience. When your heart pops into your mouth as someone falls off their chair, you are experiencing emotional empathy. People with appropriate levels of emotional empathy go through life thinking that everyone has it…. until they crash headfirst into the path of someone who does not. Their efforts to try to convey their experience to others is often met with disbelief, which makes the victim feel even more violated and isolated.
A person with high levels of emotional empathy could be hamstrung from benefiting the person with a problem because they may get too emotional to react in a positive way. That’s where compassionate empathy kicks in.
Compassionate Empathy- How we make a difference in the lives of others
Through compassionate empathy, we can use our emotional empathy to produce a meaningful result. A person with a well balanced level of compassionate empathy would come to the aid of the individual who fell, calling 911 if needed, or problem solving to determine what the situation warrants. People with compassionate empathy will appear outwardly cool in a pinch, even while feeling significant concern for the person who’s in danger. While they might fall apart after the crisis ends, they remain sufficiently detached to provide help when it’s needed.
The risk of compassionate empathy in dating
Having compassionate empathy puts people at risk for becoming victims, particularly in internet dating scams. The actor grooms their target with an overabundance of loving gestures to fuel their sense of belonging and build trust. The offender will jiggle the hook with a small bait-like request for a token “favor.” They may even provide reciprocal favors in return, grooming the victim further.
Ultimately, when they believe the victim is sufficiently snagged, they’ll spring a mega-request, and it’s usually about money, sex, or immigration related. It’s often couched in language that makes the request seem like an emergency. Targets that fail to produce the desired result get hit with a scathing attack aimed at crushing their self esteem. They are often too embarrassed and devastated to immediately seek help. They are stunned by the cessation of love they had counted on. Before they regain their equilibrium, the predator is long gone. and probably bad mouthing them to their next victim.
How empathy factors in our relationships
Emotional empathy is absolutely necessary in sustaining a loving relationship. Without it, a person is only capable of engaging with others on a “What’s in it for me?” basis. While they may pretend to be caring, because they know it’s socially acceptable to do so, their self-centered way of looking at the universe will ultimately surface. There will be no “agreeing to disagree” in order to make peace, a negotiation skill that is vital in order to sustain a relationship when acrimony occurs, as it does in any human interaction.
A mate with no emotional empathy cannot and will not put themselves in your shoes. They simply lack the ability to do so. And without this ability, they cannot develop a conscience. The only limits to their behavior stem from fear of being “outed,” and fear of loss or consequences.
No amount of bargaining, acquiescing, pleading, explaining, or cajoling will change their mindset. It is the way they are wired. Once a person advances past the life stage in which their moral code of conduct forms, they are who they are, and YOU will not change them.
How do you know if you’re dating a sociopath?
Someone who lies to you, in order to seduce you, has little or no emotional empathy. They do not put themselves in your shoes. They see you as a prize, an entitlement, a piece of property, but not as the living, breathing, caring human being that you are. If they were dishonest in their on-line dating description, or other information they initially fed you, they have no conscience. They are self indulgent.
The derisive manipulation of a person without emotional empathy will undermine your well-being. Even if the relationship remains intact, the victim’s self esteem will be shredded. So if you are experiencing loss of worth or other abuse, get help, today!
If you are with someone who displays a lack of emotional empathy toward others, it’s a sign of their real, underlying nature.
But, isn’t there a cure? Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance? I felt so loved!
Sociopaths are people who lack emotional empathy. That is how their brain works. They are not sick. They are disordered. They know the difference between right and wrong. They just don’t care. They will not get better, but the longer you endure their behavior, the worse your situation will become.
They played with your brain chemistry to hook you. Find someone who loves you for you, not for your assets or other services you provide for them. Get out before giving birth to their child or financial complications get in the way.
A lucky example of collective compassionate empathy!
All of you with emotional empathy will be happy to know that the group of onlookers in the title photo rushed to the aid of the little boy who dangled from his fathers hands. He plunged 25 feet into their waiting arms, and skied the rest of the day. Thanks to Matt Roeser who had his camera at the ready to snap this awesome testament to compassionate empathy at Hidden Valley in Wisconsin.
Today, I received a CAD Identity post from Canada, from a man who had been defrauded there. It brought home to me, that although we generally see the larger share of romantic frauds, for sex and financial gain, by men against women, there is an extraordinary amount of unscrupulous women who defraud men.
The term we generally ascribe to this phenomenon is Gold-Digger! Their stories abound! If you have one, please post it here! As always, you can, and should change the names of all the participants, including yourself.
The problem of rape by fraud and emotional rape is global. Don’t hesitate to alert us to the country or jurisdiction where this happened to you!
I’m starting with the story of how a Gold-Digger impacted my life...
Young and pretty, she came from the Bronx and was fortunate to find a great job with one of the most prolific music publishers in the world. She was awed by his wealth and connections to the abundant talent in the music business. He was 30 years her senior, a father figure to her.
Narcissists don’t need significant emotional connections. The closeness of loving bonds are not what draws them. Instead, they’re driven by financial gain, fame, stature. He had it all.
When he died, she inherited the businesses he’d built. She needed a boy-toy to accompany her to balls, banquets, fund raisers and events; eye-candy who looked good in a suit, knew what wines to pick, spoke several languages…. someone who could dance and charm her friends. She chose my husband.
We were still married at the time although he had disappeared. There was no internet that helped you locate people back then. He’d left my son and me behind, unsupported. Finding him would have eaten into the money I earned to feed, clothe and raise my child.
We lived in subsidized housing, and I juggled multiple jobs at the same time, in order to provide. There are only 24 hours in a day, and the amount of time I needed to devote to making a living diminished the time I could spend nurturing him. Our relationship still suffers the impacts of that loss today. Meanwhile, my estranged husband enjoyed the largess of one of the wealthiest women on the planet. He worked in her office and lived in her duplex apartment on Fifth Avenue, just a few short blocks from our home. We traveled in far different social circles. Our paths never crossed.
She enabled him to deprive his child and eroded my finances. When I was finally able to drag his CADdish rear end into court, my son was 17 and about to go to college. I needed to recoup whatever I could in order to send him. My attorney tried to secure tax returns and income statements. He stonewalled. His income was untraceable. He had lived off the grid in her generosity. He claimed he had no job and was homeless, sleeping on his parent’s couch in Florida. I couldn’t afford a forensic accountant or private detective without putting my child’s education at risk. I had no idea what I would find, and no amount of wild imagining could have conjured up the truth!
The amount of money it would have taken to provide adequately for his family was a pittance to them. She simply didn’t give a damn. Gold-Diggers have no heart. When I learned what had actually transpired, I wrote to her. She never responded and they neither attempted to make amends nor repair the cavernous hole that his duplicity created in my finances.
There is so much more to this story, that lead me to create this blog and my efforts to enlighten society about the crime of rape by fraud. It’s said that God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. I was blessed with the spirit and strength to live through the pain, and the will to help enlighten and change society. I thank God for the friends who helped me through!
I’ve learned that there are different kinds of wealth in life. While they have money, I have a richness of fulfillment that they will never experience. Character disordered people are incapable of love. I am truly blessed!
There seems to be a very large misconception about what rape by fraud is, and what emotional rape is. And often they take place together. When this occurs, it’s hard for the victim to separate which is which.
Tricking a person to steal their love
and involve them in a relationship.
Rape by Fraud:
Tricking a person to steal sex
How emotional rape works
Being pranked for a relationship is emotional rape. The term does not denote a “sexual act” Rather, it describes the sense of having your highest emotion, which is love, stolen from you.
In emotional rape, a person creates a hoax about their character, or what their intentions are, and perpetuates that hoax over time. The unknowing victim provides love and caring that is undeserved and will feel violated when they learn the truth. Cases of emotional rape can lead to engagement and marriage with a partner who is not what they pretend to be.
When the victim discovers the truth, they may not react as society expects. People with high levels of morality and the brain chemistry that induces attachments will continue to feel bound by the bond of love that was established. They’ll experience the toxic glue of a Trauma Bond, also known as a Betrayal Bond, that keeps them feeling the chemical ties created by the neurotransmitters in their brain, enabling our species to “couple.” Please use this link to determine if a Betrayal Bond is affecting you. And refer to Dr. Patrick Carnes’ book, Betrayal Bond, Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships for further information.
Separating from an emotional predator can take considerable time and toxic interaction in the relationship. Often victims will defend their mate even though society will see their behavior as misguided. People without a deep-rooted sense of bonding will have an easier time breaking off the relationship. They’ll react more immediately to the realization of their situation. Victims who were previously abused, or whose moral code of conduct creates a sense of unconditional love, will be more forgiving.
How rape by fraud works
Rape by fraud is an actual, physical act of rape. Sexual assault or sexual contact takes place when a person is engaged in an act of sexually penetration without their freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement…. consent. Defrauding a person of the physical act of sex vitiates their “consent” for sex, and is therefore punishable in some states. Tennessee and Alabama have the most direct laws in dealing with offenders who defraud victims for acts of sexual penetration.
Model penal code states that “consent is INEFFECTIVE if induced by force, duress or deception.” Therefore, a person who is sexually penetrated as a result of deception, is being physically raped.
This form of rape is similar in trauma to being drugged or intoxicated to vitiate consent. Violence did not occur to overwhelm the victim in any of these forms of sexual assault. Instead the victim was outwitted.
Other forms of criminal “outwitting.”
If an offender beat a man as he approached his car, took his keys and drove away, we’d readily recognize his actions as auto theft.
If the offender pretended to be the valet in front of a restaurant, took the man’s keys and drove off with his car, we would also recognize the act as auto theft; even though the man willingly handed over his keys and didn’t realize he was being robbed in the moment.
The first act was theft accomplished by violence. The second was theft accomplished by fraud. The offender would be charged differently for the violent act and sentenced more harshly, but both are criminal offenses.
Distinctions in charging the offender with a rape crime
All forms of rape should be punished in every state. If the person were violently overwhelmed, their act of rape would warrant a more “aggravated” level of charge. The sexual assaults that do not involve violence to overwhelm the victim are a lesser offense. But all acts of rape, or sexual assault, should be punished.
Is emotional rape a crime?
Emotional rape is morally reprehensible. It steals a lifetime from the victim. It embroils them in marriages that are not what the victim perceives. When it generates offspring, those relationships exist for a lifetime, and often in a fashion that shatters lives. But is it a criminally punishable offense? Unfortunately, it is not penalized in any state in the US. It could; however, become a civil matter if there were sufficient awareness of this pattern of wrong doing.
You will get a much clearer grasp of the distinction between emotional rape and rape by fraud by reading Carnal Abuse by Deceit, which accurately conveys these issues in a real-world setting.
Every act of physically and sexually penetrating a person without their freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, is and should be punishable throughout the US!
This morning, I was happy to see Donna Anderson at LoveFraud pick up on a position that I’ve advocated for quite some time, and focused on in my book. And I did so because when people understand the chemical mechanics of romantic addiction, it makes it easier to cut the chord.
How and why brain chemistry connects us
Mother nature provided us with brain chemistry to bond us to our lover. It enables us to create offspring and cohabit with the other parent in order to provide the nurture and protections needed for their development. Love, therefore, has to be a strong and binding glue because the children of homo sapiens are the slowest to develop on the entire planet. Oxytocin, a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain, that aids in trust, love and emotions, as well as other “love” chemicals, are what separates man from beasts.
Dr. Paul Zak describes the role of oxytocin in his book, The Moral Molecule. And Scientific American refers to it as love glue. Coupled together, with our brain’s additional chemistry, they serve us as both the bait and the hook. But when we enter a relationship with a character disordered person, instead of becoming fulfilled and loved, we become damaged and at risk. The chemicals we were provided fight with our conscious awareness to keep us embedded. They begin to function as a toxic glue.
And our code of morality, which evolves over many years, together with the influence of abundant experiences, also defines how we react in romantic situations. For many of us, we develop a code of commitment to a loved one, and we feel shame when we behave out of character with our own personal code, better known as values. A crafty emotional predator can use our own inherent value system to shame us into remaining.
Fear induced bonding
There is yet another strong chemically-related bond that forms in relationships where there is trauma. Misattribution Affect has been aptly described by Dr. Kristin McKinney. When people experience heightened fear, their adrenaline starts pumping. Going through a traumatic event makes us bond with people with whom we share this circumstance. For instance, riding the roller coaster at the County Fair sparked many a relationship. If the couple wasn’t holding hands when they embarked, they were likely to be when the ride ended. As we go through the roller coaster of a relationship with an offender, even though they have caused us harm, we can feel more bonded with them.
A toxic relationship provides the pain of a constant hook. It is damaging to live with, and excruciating to walk away from.
People will often settle for the relative peace and apologetic behavior that occurs between episodes of abuse. Marriages can take place as a result of a predator’s temporary contriteness between times of turbulence. The victim can easily confuse the offer of marriage, even when made by the offender as an attempt to curtail exposure, as a sincere commitment to reform. And it is easy for a victim to be persuaded when they fall within a calm portion of the cycle of harm.
There is no way to turn, in or out of the relationship with a predator, that is not painful. Victims must surmount their fear of the pain and loss, that they associate with walking away, in order to take that necessary step.
Because of the terrible pain we feel at the loss, only through consistent and repeated harm, or the discard of the offender, do morally committed people sever a romantic relationship. In cases like Reeva Steenkamp, it’s likely that she died at the hands of her lover, Oscar Pistorius, before she reached the point at which she could free herself from her emotional bond. Pistotius’s cruelty spiraled out of control prior to her reconciling the discrepancy between her “feelings” and the reality of her predicament.
The need for No Contact
Often, even once a victim pulls away, what they feel as a deep-rooted emotional appeal, can draw them back again. They go through a period of turmoil, ruminating about their circumstance, emotionally heaping blame on themselves for not being more of this or less of that. Their brain plays the “if only I had” game as if something they did made the psychopath an aggressor. They can fall into deep depression and need to grieve their loss like grieving over the death of someone close to them. While the offender did not die, their relationship with them died. Having no contact, guards against recycling the predator’s pull and helps assure separation.
When we drink alcohol, it makes our brain feel a certain way. Abstention makes us crave the way we felt to an even stronger degree. Abstaining from a toxic relationship can produce a similar result. Unless people know the chemistry behind their craving, they are susceptible to relapse, which takes the form of forgiving.
How to know we need to go….
Once we recognize that the person is devoid of emotional empathy, getting away from them is the only way to regain our life and equilibrium. Emotional empathy is the knee-jerk reaction we have to other people’s pain or circumstance. Without it, we can’t develop a conscience. A psychopath will not change. They are wired that way. And putting oneself back onto their pathway only puts us in harm’s way.
What happens if the relationship produced a child?
Unfortunately, victims who parent with miscreants will have a lifetime of toxic behaviors to deal with. Victims must do everything possible to build the oxytocin receptors in their children’s brains, early-on, because they are especially at-risk for developing without emotional empathy. They have a pre-disposition to a genetic flaw. Modern mental health professionals tell us that approximately 4% of the world’s population is comprised of psychopaths. Not everyone who is the child of a psychopath will become one. But they are seriously at-risk of doing so. Dr. Liane Leedom constructs a pathway toward character development for children in her book, Just Like His Father.
If you are experiencing raising a child with someone you suspect of psychopathy, minimizing your own personal interaction with the other parent should be done to the greatest extent possible. Be cognizant of the chemical pulls that could cause you to feel drawn back toward their appeal. Be sure to retain sight of the harm you were dealt and live in reality. While they can exude the charm that attracted you initially, they are toxic at their core. And when they recognize you are no longer fooled by them, they can and will try everything possible to undermine you, including alienating your children. Stay smart. Seek professional guidance.
I am sooo very pleased to announce that on November 13th, Assembly Members Troy Singleton, Gabriela Mosquera, and Pamela Lampitt introduced Legislation #3908 making it unlawful to defraud a victim of sex in the state of New Jersey!
This bill has a long way to go before passage. It will be be reviewed in committee and must be approved by both the Assembly and the state’s Senate. But it is a huge step forward in the effort to enlighten societal awareness about what actually constitutes sexual assault.
A passage from the public online journal of Mischele Lewis, a rape by fraud victim from New Jersey
“Rape by deception is a fairly new concept. I know it’s setting a legal precedent out there but being the victim of such a crime, I’m certainly feeling passionate about it. No, I’m not saying that every man or woman out there who has an affair and tells their significant other that they’re single when they really aren’t should be open to prosecution when the truth comes out. But in a case like this where he lied about his entire EXISTENCE and used those lies to rob me of my sanctity, my body, my knowing CONSENT! I asked him why he didn’t tell me sooner. He said he was afraid to lose me. You think??!?
So let’s look at what Mischele says….
“Rape by fraud is a fairly new concept.” She’s says this in order to represent that she’s brought the concept to NJ. Not so fast Mischele…. you read it in my book. And it’s not new….
Socrates wrote about rape by fraud way back in the Roman era. Professor Susan Estrich wrote a book about it in 1982, called Real Rape. Several notable legal commentators have written about it, such as Law Professor Patricia J. Falk of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. There are states like TN whose penal code has existed since 1977. And my own book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit, How a Predator’s Lies Became Rape, was published in 2013, before you learned that Jordan wasn’t who he said he was.
In my book, which she not only read, but commented that she was xeroxing it for her attorney, I sincerely thank those who came before me, and upon whose convictions and knowledge my own work stands. It’s the background that lead me to help Mischele deal with her misfortune. Not only should no one ever xerox a copyrighted book, but I find it outrageous when someone fails to honor the work and efforts of others in order to self-aggrandize. I’d probably let it go if I felt she was creating a benefit in society’s awareness, but she’s doing just the opposite, and here’s why:
According to Mischele, when someone says they’re single but they’re actually married, the law should not apply. She’s wholeheartedly wrong! The law is either “it’s wrong to lie” or “it’s not wrong to lie.” There’s no middle ground here. You can’t be just a little bit pregnant! Laws are based on legal concepts and you can’t simply pick when you’ll apply it and when you won’t.
The law will not prosecute cases of “he said, she said,” because they lack significant proof. No prosecutor will act on the case. That, and not that it’s not a crime, will prevent marital cheats from facing prosecution.
Mischele is out to get a law passed for what happened to her. But she is self-serving to the detriment of other victims. And, she is totally overlooking the fact that NJ already defines sexual assault as sexual conduct without consent, and consent as ineffective if produced by force duress or deception. What is needed in NJ is Prosecutors with the cojones to do the right thing!
Coming to a victim’s aid….
Mischele was introduced to me by Donna Anderson, the author of LoveFraud, How marrying a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. She blogs at LoveFraud.com and has helped countless people recognize and deal with the aftermath of a relationship with a sociopath. I’ve written posts for Donna’s blog, and she knew I focus on combating rape by fraud by attempting to implement laws against it. When she learned of the problem Mischele had run into, she introduced us.
I spoke with Mischele over the phone and attempted to help her understand why what had happened to her was a crime. I told her I believed that either New Jersey would prosecute Will Jordan, the guy who duped her, or their failure to do so could provide the ammunition needed to protect other victims. She asked me to go with her to the police and file a report. I researched the statutes in New Jersey, put the information together in a file, and included two copies of my book. I drove the two hours from NYC to Florence NJ, where Donna Anderson, Mischele, and I paid a visit to the police.
Two days later, William Allen Jordan, who had posed as a completely different character than his actual identity, was arrested. The charges were 2nd degree sexual assault by coercion, third degree robbery by fraud, and impersonating an officer. It was my impression at the time that the coercion charge wouldn’t stick because Allen had not threatened Lewis. Quite the contrary. He had charmed her.
Mischele discovered Jordan’s true identity through a book and other efforts by Mary, one of his former wives. Mary truly deserves accolades for going public with Jordan’s story. Her ordeal made headlines in the UK and received additional media attention. Without her book, Mischele may never have known the truth. Mischele intends to write her story and has created a public journal.
Moving forward on 3 fronts…..
There are three major problems Mischele’s case could help resolve:
First- There is a cavernous hole in Meagan’s Law which requires the registration of convicted sexual molesters. Jordan had been convicted as a pedophile in the UK, but was deported to the US with no notice to NJ authorities.
Mischele was fortunate that the Assemblyman in her area, Troy Singleton, became aware of her case. He has agreed to introduce the Assembly version of legislation to close the international gap in Meagan’s Law, requiring the registration of international offenders who come to US shores.
Second- Michele Norberto, the mother of a sexual assault victim who had been instrumental in creating a New Jersey law called Nicole’s Law, contacted me. Nicole’s Law mandates that all sexual assault victims in New Jersey are to receive restraining orders against their offenders. She had noticed an online post I’d written, describing that Mischele Lewis had been denied a restraining order against Jordan.
The Judge, John Tomasello, had assailed Lewis for being “gullible”. And he likened her to a “gold digger” because she found him on the site, “Established Men.” He claimed that if he restrained Jordan he’d have to restrain all “college students”, as if lying to seduce someone was just kids’ play.
Nicole’s law was enacted to spare sexual assault victims from further, immediate harm. Although the record shows that Mischele had been issued a restraining order back when the arrest was made, she did not learn of it until after she suffered the wrath of Tomasello. She found out because Michele Norberto stepped up and contacted the authorities after reading my post.
Third- Sexual assault by fraud has other names such as rape by deception, impostor rape, and more. I have no preference as to what legislators call it, as long as the legislation is enacted in states that need it. The act could be considered as part of “date rape” in which the actor clouds self determination with drugs or alcohol. In fraud cases, the offender uses duplicity for the same purpose.
The realities of creating such a law
The problems of submitting language on this crime are many and great. People resist the concept because they believe the premise of “lies” as sexual assault may be offensive to victims of violent assault. By way of comparison, whether you’re defrauded of money or someone smashes you over the head with a two-by-four to grab your jewelry and your wallet, you’ve been robbed. Who can pass judgment on how violated a victim feels or should feel in either case? But Mischele, in pursuing a new law for NJ, should recognize that the law already exists, and for all deception, not just the one that happened to her.
When offenders lie about their marital status, a major deal breaker with most moral adults, they break their marriage vows, embroil the victim in adultery and fornication, and commit sexual assault by fraud. The victim has the right to self-determination over with whom they engage in sex, and should never be defrauded into a choice. A married man looking for hook-ups needs to find a “consenting” adult. Obviously it limits the field, which is exactly my point. Society needs to know.
Asm. Singleton also introduced a law on Sexual Assault by fraud. I attempted to ameliorate the problem of violent rape objectors and I received this message from one of his staffers as a cc:
“We have also requested OLS to draft legislation that would make sexual assault accomplished by fraud a crime, similar to Tennessee’s rape statute, including the language suggested by Joyce Short:
“The differentiation in the law should be one of “violent sexual assault” vs “non-violent sexual assault.” Violent sexual assault would apply when the person is physically overwhelmed by the offender. Non-violent sexual assault would be sexual assault committed by doping, intoxicating, DUPING, or coercing, and sexual penetration with someone unable to consent by virtue of age or mental capacity. “”
When Mischelle saw the note she called me screaming that I had interloped on “Her Law” and that I should go back to New York. She demanded that Asm. Singleton drop that language from the bill. Doing so caused huge negative repercussions in the press. And the bill failed to pass.
While Mischele was personally dealt a heinous crime of defilement, her post dismisses the crux of why it’s a crime. Lying to a victim to engage them in sex is, indeed, a sexual assault, period. The offender has sexually penetrated a person’s body by vitiating their knowing consent. In NJ, such consent is characterized as affirmative permission and the one change that would make NJ’s law more on-point is to simply change the words “affirmative permission” to “consent.”
I do not feel it is appropriate for Mischele to stand in judgement over how victimized others are when they are defrauded of sex. Whether the perpetrator uses the same duplicity that literally charmed the pants off of her, or any other ruse, all victims of sexual duplicity are violated.
Criminal code ascribes degrees of severity
Once a criminal act is identified, it is up to law makers to apply degrees to the crime. Those degrees convey the depth of seriousness of the crime. For instance, the crime of saying you’re single when you’re married to have sex with the victim once, could be sexual misconduct in the third degree, as opposed to a more severe charge against someone who continually assaults that victim by perpetuating the fraud over many years.
Mental health professionals have determined, and common sense dictates, that the damage to the victim increases with repetition. In other crimes, repetition of offenses is acknowledged by counts. Denying that a crime was committed when this behavior happens, even once, however, discounts the entire concept of “knowing consent” and discredits that the perpetrator’s willful and intentional invalidation of consent, by their duplicity, is criminal in any instance.
In cases where further crime takes place, the initial criminal behavior raises to the level of an “aggravated” act. In Mischele’s case, the offender was additionally charged with defrauding her of money. His conduct would warrant an arrest for “aggravated sexual assault by fraud,” a felony, as opposed to a one-time hookup which might warrant a misdemeanor charge. An Israeli case of a one-time offense resulted in an 18 month sentence for the perpetrator.
Varying types of deceit
When the tall tale that vitiates knowing consent is about the identity of the actor, the victim is penetrated by someone who is a stranger to them. Identity lies are irrefutable. They are not like a lie of intent in which the offender could rebut that they simply changed their mind.
Lies of intent are difficult to prove in any fraud, but should be dealt with in sexual assault in the same way that they’re dealt on all fraud charges. The difference in fraud that robs you of your assets vs fraud that robs you of your sexual sanctity, is simply the “booty” being sought. (Please pardon the pun, I just couldn’t resist!) Why should it be more burdensome for the court to determine whether a lie of intent existed in a sexual assault by fraud case than any other fraud case? That determination is their job.
In lies of identity, a person is either 28 or 48. They can’t have an MBA from a prestigious university and also be a high school dropout. The lie of identity is definitive and conclusive. It is specifically told to vitiate the knowing consent of the victim by masking the identity of the offender.
Validation at last……
I was delighted to have worked with Mischele to get Jodan arrested. and I was happy to discuss the law with Asm. Singleton in his efforts to make a difference. Hopefully, he will act on a law that requires Prosecutors to pay attention to the language that currently exists in their penal code to bring offenders to justice. But the nonsense that the only kind of fraud that harms them is the kind that happened to Mischele is simply self-serving nonsense.
Be aware. Sexual assault by fraud can happen to anyone! Here are some things YOU can do about it……
NJ residents- Call your legislators and tell them to vote to uphold the laws on sexual consent.
Residents in other states- Contact the legislators in your state to adopt language for a Sexual Assault by Fraud law, today!
Everyone- Please contact me today if you are a victim of Sexual Assault by Fraud in any state!