Predator Theory and George Zimmerman
In the wake of George Zimmerman’s arrest for aggravated assault, I wanted to revisit an aspect of Predator Theory that often goes overlooked: that the undetected rapists that Lisak’s research identified are non-specialist offenders.
Back in Meet The Predators, the most viewed post in this blog’s now five-year history, I wrote:
Lisak & Miller also answered their other question: are rapists responsible for more violence generally? Yes. The surveys covered other violent acts, such as slapping or choking an intimate partner, physically or sexually abusing a child, and sexual assaults other than attempted or completed rapes. In the realm of being partner- and child-beating monsters, the repeat rapists really stood out. These 76 men, just 4% of the sample, were responsible for 28% of the reported violence. The whole sample of almost 1900 men reported just under 4000 violent acts, but this 4% of recidivist rapists results in over 1000 of those violent acts.
If we could eliminate the men who rape again and again and again, a quarter of the violence against women and children would disappear. That’s the public policy implication.
I don’t know if there is a more specific look at this elsewhere, but Lisak found a correlation between rape of adults and sexual abuse of children, and between rape of adults and intimate partner violence. On the whole, one would anticipate that this would mean that there is a correlation between sexual abuse of children and intimate partner violence. That struck me because of what we’re learned over time about George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin but was acquitted:
He is under arrest for pointing a shotgun in his girlfriend’s face.
His girlfriend now alleges that he choked her in the past, and that he previously threatened to kill himself if she left him (a common abuser tactic of emotional manipulation).
This is the girlfriend he got together with after his wife filed for divorce. He allegedly punched his ex-wife’s father, threatened them with a handgun, and shattered her iPad to prevent video of his violent acts from being used against him.
He precipitated the confrontation with Martin, an unarmed teen who went to the store for snacks. It is undisputed that he shot and killed Martin. (Even some jurors have admitted that this acquittal was a travesty.)
So we might expect there to be a higher likelihood that he also sexually assaulted a child.
That’s exactly what one cousin alleges. The audio was released last summer, and you can hear her in her own words here, describing a pattern of abuse that lasted ten years and started when she was just six: “he would reach under the blanket and try to do things, and I would try to push him off, but he was bigger and stronger and older, and it was in front of everybody, and I don’t know how I didn’t say anything, but I just didn’t know any better …”
Folks make excuses for these people, until they don’t. After Trayvon Martin, there was too much attention on Zimmerman to take advantage of the cover he got earlier in life. But how many other people are out there, molesting relatives, abusing partners, doing damage to the world around them, while people try hard not to see a pattern?