Choosing conscience of conformity
Entrapped in a world of deceit, physical and mental abuse, Susan Hamlin feared for her life. Her children lived in fear as well. Richard Hamlin coerced and forced Susan into believing she was raped by her father and forced to witness terrible acts of violence as a child. (www.religionnewsblog com) If Susan tried to tell Richard otherwise, he would put a gun in her mouth and ask her if she was ready to die. He demanded she go to authorities and tell them she planned to murder him, and she was molesting their children. She was terrified that if she left, he would find her and kill her. The thought of going to prison appeared to be a safe escape from the complete control and torture of her husband. When she went to police, Richard accompanied her. (www.religionnewsblog com) After revealing the bizarre story of being a part of a satanic cult, child abuse, and murder plot, detectives saw holes in the Hamlin's story. Not only was the confession unusual, but it is rare for a mother to molest both her male and female children. Child abuse statistics conclude that 40% of children that are molested grow up to become abusers themselves.(www.ncvc.org; Widom, Cathy Spatz, 1992) Research is limited on female perpetrators. This is due to gender biased studies, and inadvertently defining sexual victimization only involving male subjects.(Anderson & Struckman-Johnson, 1998; Hunter & Mathews, 1997) According to the Census and caseload data of juvenile, and criminal case studies, approximately 140,000 of men incarcerated in prisons nationwide for sex crimes, only 1,500 women are estimated to be imprisoned for these offenses (Harrison &Beck, 2005). They represent only 1% of all adults incarcerated for sex offenses, and 2% of all females in prison. (www.csom.org/pub/female_sex_offenders_brief.pdf)
Susan now needed to weigh the odds. Was revealing the actual truth going to benefit her and her children? Susan was on the stand for seven days. She stated "It was very hard with your abuser sitting five feet in front of you." The children had to stand trial as well. (www.religionnewsblog com) None of this came as an easy feat for any of the parties involved. The majority of the emotional testimonies came from the Hamlin children. Their statements concluded that Susan's confession was not real. Susan was forced to admit what was really going on in the Hamlin household. By this time the children were in complete sympathy with their mother. Susan had gained allies, instead of enemies. By coming forth with the truth Susan and her four children no longer had to endure the torture and abuse of their father.
Richard Hamlin was found guilty. He had lost his most important case. The judge sentenced Hamlin to a life term with a possibilityof parole. Even though found guilty, Richard Hamlin stated he plans to appeal because in reality he's the victim. His diffusion of responsibility was made known in an earlier jailhouse interview when he told The Sacramento Bee that the only reason his wife recanted her initial statement to detectives was to avoid arrest. "The only way out of criminal responsibility was to blame me," Hamlin said. (www.religionnewsblog com) Experts have reached a consensus on several common characteristics among batterers. They are controlling, manipulative, often see themselves as victims, and believe that men have a pre ordained right to be in charge of all aspects of a relationship. (thereislifeafterabuse.com)
In my opinion both Richard and Susan Hamlin was in need of serious help. Bringing us to a sixth situational factor. The perception of a need for an intervention. The Hamlin's perception appeared nonexistent. They both failed to realize such an action was necessary. Susan Hamlin had subjected herself to a dangerous situation of conformity. Through the events that took place, in the end, Susan had chose her conscience. In doing so she not only saved herself but her children.