When I facilitated batters interventions programming I would routinely call out the men who were not yet committed to changing their behaviors by identifying their denial tactics. I discussed these 3 of these tactics as it pertains to Kevin Spacey and his tweeted response to Anthony Rapp’s account of being molested: Blaming An Outside Factor, Staying Stuck in Self-Pity, Forgetting What Happened.
On Dr. Nazanin Maoli's podcast Sexology, she and I briefly touched on how Roy Moore, the judge turned politician, is skilled in Distorting the Facts which I'll expound on below. However, he also uses Forgetting What Happened, which you can see in the quote below. I talked a lot about that tactics in regards to Spacey's statement already, so I'll just skip it for now.
I do not remember speaking to a civics class. I don't remember that. I do not remember when we...I seem to know or remember knowing her parents...that they were friends. I can't recall the specific dates because that's been 40 years but I remember her as a good girl
Here are 4 more tactics that Roy Moore uses regularly as he continues to run for Alabama State Senate. All of the following quotes can be found in the Sean Hannity interview.
1. Distorting the Facts
No, but I don't remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go on dates then we did. But I do not remember that.”
When Roy Moore does miraculously remember abusing teenage girls he redefines his acts of grooming as “dating.” This is one of those times where language matters. 30 year olds cannot date 14 and 16 year olds because teenagers do not wield the same powers as adults. She cannot buy her own drinks, sign her name on her own leases, or rent her own cars. These become favors that the skilled groomer can exploit. Many of Roy Moore’s victims were trying to escape stressful home lives for instance. Adults can rent a motel room for a night or book a vacation on their credit cards when they want to get away. Teenagers rely on charming older adults to do these things for them.
2. Outright Lying
Well Sean first let me say this these allegations are completely false, false and misleading[…]I don't know Miss Corfman from anybody. I never talked to or never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false.
Leigh Coffman is one of 4 victims referenced in this interview. In an interview with he Washington Post she describes how Roy Moore approached her outside of the court room and offered to watch her while her mother went inside the court house to attend a custody hearing. What she describes is a classic case of grooming. Child molesters usually don’t start with trying to lure a child into bushes in order to perpetrate rape. They slowly press boundaries and manipulate the situation to gain the trust of both the child and the parent. This might be done with providing special attention or favors as we see with Coffman and Moore.
Moore offered to sit with Coffman in a vulnerable situation and Nancy Wells, Coffman’s mother, was unaware of the intention behind this behavior. Sitting with someone is not inherently abusive after all. However, when Roy Moore started showing up to lure her daughter on "dates" he would attempt to gauge the mothers' awareness. If the mother didn't say that he was "too old for them," he then took that as permission. The mother or Coffman in particular may not have stopped it because she was also emotionally vulnerable during her divorce proceedings. The next time she sees Coffman, Moore layers in kissing. When she doesn’t tell and her mother doesn’t set a boundary about not being allowed to spend intimate time with a man twice her age, he takes her to his house and attempted to sexually assault her.
3. Playing the Victim
This has never been brought up. It has never been even mentioned and all of a sudden four weeks out they're bringing out--they're bringing up because it's political
Quite obviously this has been brought up because survivors are coming out in droves against sexual assault on the heels of #MeToo. Survivors are seeing that others like them are being believed and that perpetrators are being met with swift retribution. Roy Moore is only the latest serial perpetrator to be outed. It’s not a Democrat led initiative to smear him and none of his accusers have financial ties to his Republican rival Sen. Luther Strange. All his accusers are Republicans even!
And I think in her statement she said that her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me. I never went out with anyone without their mother’s permissions […]Well I mean I'm saying that in their statements that they made these two young girls said their mother actually encouraged them to be friends with me.”
The fact of the matter is that a mother’s permission is irrelevant. Sexual contact with a minor under the ager of 16 is automatically sexual assault in the second degree in the state of Alabama. As a trauma specialist, I tend not to get caught up in how the age of consent changes from state to state. Rather I help my clients to understand that their sexual assault was not their fault, nor the fault of non-offending parents. The mothers here were also manipulated in this situations. It is only the fault of the abuser who went out of his way to exploit several vulnerabilities in order to abuse this teen girl. Had he not been an abuser, and just well meaning district attorney, he would have maintained boundaries and made sure this teen found resources for counseling in order to process the impact of her parents' divorce and her new custody arrangement. It was not for a child to have to protect herself against an adult's advances.
Does Roy Moore Get anything right?
No. Unequivocally no. Roy Moore’s interview is a prime example of how abusers double down in their lack of accountability when presented with evidence for why their behaviors are abusive. The abuser, moves right on with his life unless repeatedly confronted by his community—that is to say we have a responsibility to survivors of Roy Moore’s abuse and his potential future victims to dig deeper into his account. He must reflect on his behaviors as they are patterned across multiple relationships. Men who change are usually challenged by authority figures and peers they respect. They face consequences like financial losses, the lost respect of their superiors, and yes, even campaign losses. The community should work to stop the man from having access to more victims and that will become increasingly difficult if Roy Moore gains another state office.
If you have been triggered in recent months due to new reports of offender like Roy Moore, but thought you were over your own history of sexual violence, then give me a call. We can discuss whether or not therapy is the next step for you.
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