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zensky's avatar

The other day, an A Clockwork Orange like attack on a couple took place and I am shaken - how do these psychopaths live with themselves?

Asked by zensky (13367points) May 13th, 2012

First, he forced the young teenaged couple to do it while he watched – then he forced the guy to watch as he raped her.

This took place in a public washroom – for over an hour.

What goes through the “mind” of these predators? How do they live with themselves?

Can they be cured/helped in incarceration once caught – or are they biding their time until released, only to prey again?

I am locking up my daughter and never letting her out again.

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27 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I believe there’s a difference between the types of psychopaths and sociopaths. Some people are born with “faulty wiring”, while others were “made” that way due to a very detrimental upbringing. Then, of course there’s a mixture.

It’s very difficult to fathom why these people do this because for them it’s just another perspective, just like we may not understand why some people wear a certain piece of clothing, that person may have a million reasons why they chose to wear that item of clothing.

Blondesjon's avatar

By definition a psychopath is able to “live with it” very easily. They lack the brain structure that supports empathy and “giving a shit”.

I agree. It’s incredibly terrifying that these individuals are more numerous than what you would think.

Bellatrix's avatar

People who behave that way are sociopaths. I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist but I agree with @Blondesjon and @Blackberry these people are wired differently and consequently, they don’t give a shit.

They are out there and it is scary. We know it but we can’t live our lives in fear of them. I think all we can do is be aware of our surroundings and listen to our instincts. I have always thought this is one of the dangers of teaching our children to be too nice and too polite. When they come up against someone like this, does that work against them?

I certainly don’t think these people can be cured or rehabilitated. If they are identified I think they should be locked away and kept that way. I don’t believe in the death penalty but I do believe life imprisonment for people who commit these types of crime should mean life.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I do not believe they experience emotion the same way normal people do. They lack empathy.

They hear people talk about emotion all the time, and it makes them jealous to feel something.

So they stage the most horrific scenarios they can imagine, wondering if something will finally make them feel.

Aethelflaed's avatar

There’s quite a bit of debate within the psych world about just exactly how sociopathy, psychopathy, and other related names and ideas come about. Some believe it’s wholly biological and genetic, some think it’s created through environmental causes (being traumatized, mainly), some think it’s some combo of the two. It’s also important to distinguish between behaviors, and motives – all we know in this case is what this man did, not why he did it. It’s possible that he feels no remorse about his actions, but it’s also possible that he is deeply tormented by past trauma, and this is a way of him trying to take control, or this is him reenacting something that happened to him in an attempt to make sense of it, or… With only this much info, there’s no way to know why he did it. There are a myriad of reasons for this type of behavior, and sociopathy/psychopathy is really only one or two of those reasons.

As for cures and treatment, whether or not you think it can be treated depends greatly upon what you think causes it. It’s further complicated by the fact that, while there has been some successful treatment (and no, that successful treatment is not castration, real or chemical), the very nature of the disorder makes the people with it less likely than normal to seek and and be invested in treatment.

Couple points: 1) your daughter is way more likely to be raped by someone she knows already, not a stranger and 2) locking your daughter up is actually a great way to traumatize the shit out of her and make it more likely that she would act in a similar fashion.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Just FYI, the details of your details and the details of the news story don’t entirely match. You sure this is the right story?

zensky's avatar

@Aethelflaed It’s been widely covered here – some of the details have not been released as the rapist has yet to be apprehended. The English news item is limited. And you don’t think I’m serious about locking up my 20-year=old daughter?!

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I wish I could say that psychopaths were limited to attacks in bathrooms. Apparently, psychopaths are not necessarily always people who commit heinous crimes like that. They are high functioning, tax-paying members of society who carry out a lot of lesser “crimes” in the privacy of their own homes and with their own families. They are (according to current statstics) everywhere. They are indeed (as said above) unable to have any empathy or to feel any compassion or emotion. They just don’t have that capacity.

Many women are living with psychopaths. You know that friend of yours, the one that was so full of life and then she married that really nice guy and now you hear he is abusing her? She is so stupid for not just walking away, right? Maybe he isn’t such a “nice guy” and maybe she has been broken so much by him, she feels she can’t get out. That’s a another very, very common “Clockwork” scenario. And it is worse, because it is somewhat accepted or people look the other way. What about the boss who doesn’t “get” how you have to be with your son when he is dying in a hospital bed because there is a big board meeting and you have to be there? Or do you remember the bully who liked to beat you up after school and when confronted, just felt no remorse at all and did it again? There is so much talk about “bullying” in the schools and yet, I am guessing that most of these bullies are already exhibiting psychopathic tendencies.

Trauma or genetic, it exists. And the hardest thing is to do is to spot a “normal high functioning” psychopath because they are so charming, likeable and wonderful-sounding.
You can teach your daughter physical self-defense to keep the obvious predators at bay. The harder thing is to make sure she is safe from the less obvious predators, the ones who prey on emotional vulnerability…. It’s best to simply educate her for early warning signs…and to teach her to be vigilant. (And stay close as a dad and confidante, too….but you know that.)



Aethelflaed's avatar

@zensky I don’t think you would actually do that… but I have known parents who actually do that, so I tend to feel rather obligated to point out what a bad idea that is.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I think there is something to the idea that rapists often (not always*) manage to avoid feeling empathy for their victims. But, avoiding feeling empathy isn’t unique to psychopaths; it’s something that all of us can and will do, more often than not via justifications and Othering. Rapists – only a small portion of whom have and would be diagnosed with mental disorders – are often able to justify their actions. “Her lips said no, but her eyes said yes”, “why was she wearing those slutty clothes if she didn’t want sex?”, “she’d said yes before (to me or to others)”, “she didn’t put up (enough of) a struggle” – all are used by rapists to justify their actions. Everyone finds ways to justify their shitty actions towards others and relieve their cognitive dissonance, even if most of us are using that same process to justify standing someone up for a date or not giving our employees health benefits instead of rape. And every military worth its salt knows to Other the hell out of those the soldiers will be shooting, not just in the specific soldiers, but in everyone living the country the soldiers are fighting for.

*Some, on the other hand, are deeply ashamed by it, and may end up committing suicide.

XOIIO's avatar

Wow, that’s fucking crazy, it’s just like the movie.

You’d think for an hour someone might have noticed.

jerv's avatar

How do they live with themselves? Usually quite comfortably. My cat doesn’t feel guilty running around naked. She lacks the concept of clothes or shame. Same with psychopaths; they don’t have even the concept of giving a shit about others, let alone any actual empathy.

@DarlingRhadamanthus Many men are also living with psychopaths. Women can be crazy too, and they can kill just as well as a man.

rooeytoo's avatar

That is why all young females and I suppose males too should learn self defense. It should be a required course in school. You just can’t judge books by their cover! And if DNA can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt, the guilt of a specific man then I have no problem with capital punishment and I don’t care what color, race, creed the guy is or if he had a bad childhood.

As for the why, it is the nature vs nurture question again. I think it can be either or both. With regard to rehabilitation, all I can say is I don’t want the guy released to live in the house next door to me, do you?

CWOTUS's avatar

With all respect, @zensky, you’re asking the wrong question. Maybe the question you should be asking is: “How do we protect ourselves against those individuals?” Or: “How do we identify the likelihood of – and then avoid – those situations?” Or: “What should I do if that happened to me and a woman that I’m with?”

I think if you start thinking along those lines then you’ll find a way to enable your daughter – and you – to live your lives again and not be so fearful. Mindful, yes, absolutely. Fearful, no.

zensky's avatar

Go ahead; ask away.

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS Entirely correct. Fear paralyzes, but caution prepares. A life in fear is not a life; it’s a punishment. You can lock yourself away, but then you will never know the joys of life. You have to take the bad with the good.

ucme's avatar

I don’t think it’s possible to accurately assess the inner workings of these sick bastards minds, not unless you happen to be a professional psychoanalyst or a like minded deviant.
I guess it’s a sad yet inevitable fact of life that evil continues to exist.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know, my dear friend, @zensky. This is not the first time you’ve pondered such a thing, I’m sure. How did Mengele live with himself? How did any of them live with themselves? I suppose there has to be some sort of pathology either of thought, or ideology or some kind of organic pathology in a person’s brain that allows people to do these sorts of things to other people. The first step, something that is characteristic of sociopaths and perhaps of people who are merely just plain evil, is to view others, one’s victims as less than human.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@CWOTUS We’ve tried protecting ourselves, and it’s largely failed; at some point, you do have to put the accountability on the perpetrator, and that starts by figuring out what enables people to do these things.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know how we (the average person) live our lives without being in a constant state of fear, sometimes. :(

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote It’s easier to torture people when you don’t consider them human. Look at how we used to treat black people! That is why the first thing you want to do in war is dehumanize the enemy. People won’t kill humans, but they will kill inhuman monsters, even if that monster is a Homo Sapien.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@jerv…I didn’t mean to exclude women psychopaths…but male psychopaths seem to be more prevalent (or more reported, unfortunately for male victims.)

jerv's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Women are better at hiding the bodies.

Dutchess_III's avatar

There is a HUGE discrepancy in the amount of sexual crimes committed by men, and more, by the perception of a sexual “attack” on a man or a boy by a female. A long time ago a guy told me that his first sexual encounter happened when he was 10, by a teenage female. He had no idea what she was doing. It was a bragging thing for him. As far as I could tell, he wasn’t the least traumatized by it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Maia Szalavitz has a good article pointing out the differences between sadists and psychopaths, two distinct and different catagories. “Decety’s study suggests that sadists seem to be especially tuned in to what their victims are feeling — in fact, they experience it vicariously and are aroused by it. Psychopaths, on the other hand, tend to be indifferent to the emotions of others.” Do not let the fact that it’s from Time Magazine fool you; Maia Szalavitz rocks.

zensky's avatar

Update: an Arab was caught who claims he “only mugged them” but there is plenty of evidence against him… Story

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