Supply: Cathy Jonelson/creativecommons
On September 4, after two months on the lam, 41-year-old Brazilian Claudia Campos Veiga was arrested for the homicide of her 65-year-old father, Omar. In accordance with varied information sources, she invited her father on a hike on July 9, throughout which she tied him to a tree, doused him with gasoline, and set him on hearth. She burned him alive.
Ms. Veiga reportedly informed police that her motive was to pay him again for sexually abusing her for years. Veiga’s ex-boyfriend backs this up and informed native legislation enforcement that she had been wanting revenge for “over a 30-year interval.” This latter declare appears unlikely, provided that she would have been 11 years outdated again in 1991 and the alleged sexual abuse started in her teenagers. However what does appear true is that Ms. Veiga fantasized about killing her father for months — possibly even years — earlier than she did it. This was no crime of ardour.
The Sophisticated Relationship Between Trauma and Revenge
It’s unclear at this level simply how a lot premeditation was concerned. Ms. Veiga says she known as and talked to her brother about her plan just a few days beforehand. Some information studies counsel that the one cause she started visiting her father, who had lived for the previous 5 years in a rehabilitation middle for the homeless, was to achieve his belief earlier than sending him to his grave. Employees on the rehab middle stated she had visited him a complete of thrice and had acted like a loving daughter, even asking him to come back stay along with her throughout their second go to.
Let’s assume that Ms. Veiga’s allegations are true; given how uncommon false accusations of incest are, it’s a fairly secure wager. Revenge fantasies after an interpersonal trauma are widespread; after being victimized and deeply harm, who wouldn’t daydream about turning the tables? That is very true when the perpetrator was somebody able of belief. I believe there are few better betrayals than a mother or father who forces his little one to be their intercourse associate.
And it’s not simply the acts themselves which might be devastating. What occurs after the abuse can both mitigate the harm or irritate it. Abuse victims who’re believed and supported by different members of their households, who get skilled assist, and who see their abuser face penalties for his or her actions typically see their revenge fantasies fade as they heal. They’re, in any case, a poor substitute for real justice and a restored sense of self-control.
In Veiga’s case, although, not solely did her father’s deeds go unpunished, however for many years they had been unstated. She informed police that it was solely in the previous couple of years that she disclosed the abuse to the remainder of her household. Nobody has publicly talked about what sort of response she bought.
Was the Media to Blame for Homicide?
There’s a protracted street between needing revenge and taking it. Why homicide her father now, in any case these years? What occurred to lastly push Veiga from rage to retribution? It wasn’t proximity; Veiga lived a four-hour airplane experience away from her dad and will simply have maintained zero contact with him. He clearly wasn’t spending his golden years dwelling the nice life.
We don’t but know what circumstances really set her plan into movement. However, in response to Ms. Veiga, a film impressed her to place apart any concern of penalties or punishment. It was the 1978 movie, I Spit on Your Grave, wherein a raped and brutalized younger lady seeks violent revenge on her rapist. Ms. Veiga stated she watched that film and hatched her plan.
In the event you’re tempted to leap on the “media causes violence” bandwagon, please wait: Ever since ethical crusaders (usually psychological well being professionals and ministers) blamed comedian books for his or her corrupting and violent affect on Nineteen Forties youngsters, there have been individuals desirous to level the finger on the media as an alternative of root causes of retribution. (Do you know there was once comedian e book burnings?) There’s, nevertheless, little or no proof to assist them.
There’s an enormous distinction between an individual on the ledge utilizing a film to leap off, and a well-adjusted teenager chasing his girlfriend with an axe simply because he noticed The Shining. As a forensic psychologist, I’ve talked to many murderers. As a criminal offense author, I’ve researched lots of extra. And I’ve by no means been tempted to slide antifreeze into my husband’s Gatorade or rent a success man to take out my sister. And if watching slasher films turned somebody into Freddy Kreuger, you may wish to keep away from me this Halloween.
The Backside Line
Sarcastically, Ms. Veiga’s horrible actions could have lastly garnered her the sympathy she so desperately deserved. Headlines like these condemned Veiga’s “monster” dad whereas others expressed outrage that, beneath the circumstances, she had nonetheless been arrested for homicide. However that’s what she dedicated.
Ought to her historical past of victimization play a task in her trial? Ought to she be charged with a lesser crime or given a decreased sentence? These are questions we forensic psychologists are requested to given an opinion about on a regular basis. There aren’t any straightforward solutions.
Whether or not or not they play a task, Ms. Veiga ought to — and can — should reply for what’s she’s executed. All of us do. However I additionally suppose that, when a sufferer turns into a perpetrator, we have to take a detailed have a look at the trail that led her there. The door to revenge tends to open when the doorways to justice and repentance are closed.