Victim? Killer? Killer Victim?
Sarah Danlin was a young medical student at a bar with her friends, enjoying a night out and off from the stressors of medical school. While at the bar, she is lured into a room by a man, away from her friends. Waiting in the room was another man, friends with the first, and both men proceeded to then r*** her once she was alone. Danlin reported the crime and attempted to prosecute the men, but her credibility as a witness was questioned by detectives and one of the detectives knew the alleged perpetrators, so he was hesitant to believe they could do something like that. Disregarded by the police, Danlin became so paranoid at the thought of being sexually assaulted again that she became the perpetrator: she started murdering Caucasian men between the ages of 20-40 years old. Throughout the investigation, focus remains on her physical attractiveness, and this was also the method by which she used to lure her victims. Since her victims were young males, she needed to rely on something other than physically overpowering them. Due to the social currency placed on sexuality, one of the only ways to do this was for her to rely on a characteristic that she knew potential targets succumbing to toxic masculinity would fall victim. Danlin's case is unique in that it demonstrates clearly how one went from victimization to offending. What is unique about this is case is that female/female-presenting individuals are disproportionately the victims of sexual abuse, but typically do not go on to offend. Unfortunately, there are also examples of the same phenomenon occurring in men, but this more often does translate into the victim/offender cycle. This begs the question of what is unique about men's experience of sexual abuse that causes them to go on to perpetrate? Furthermore, if we were to identify this factor, could we then isolate it in examples of female offenders who are reminiscent of the victim-perpetrator cycle and then prevent offenders generally from continuing the cycle?
Adam Jackson was a young man in Texas, who experienced severe abuse in his childhood. His mother died when he was five years old, which caused his step-father to take out his rage on Adam. In order to cope with the trauma, Adam developed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and one of his alters, Amanda, was created to protect Adam from further abuses. An altercation at works causes Amanda to surface and protect Adam, which also leads to her killing of a man in Adam's body. Amanda then begins a spree killing in which she targets Caucasian 'alpha-males' and lures them into a hotel room, reenacting the trauma Adam suffered as a child and eventually suffocating them. Contrary to Danlin's case, Adam was able to plead insanity and was housed in a mental institution. The Behavior Analysis Unit (BAU) also described Adam in more sympathetic terms as comparative to Danlin, whom was characterized as more of a 'femme fatale'. This reflects current biases and stereotypes present in our system about female/male offenders; it is perfectly natural for a male to offend, regardless of the reasons, but when a female does it, it becomes dangerous. In both of these cases, the perpetrators are demonstrating the victim-perpetrator cycle but only in one case does previous victimization become relevant in sentencing. These cases go to show the gender biases still salient in both policing and our courts today, which can be the difference in someone's life.