FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Experts See Need to Support Victims of Psychopaths —
“Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy Foundation” Incorporated in Illinois
Chicago, Illinois, October 26, 2009
The word “psychopath” often evokes images of serial killers, stalkers and other violent criminals. Although, on average, psychopathic offenders commit more violent acts than nonpsychopathic offenders, the truth is that many psychopaths are not violent. Recently the term “psychopath” has been applied to those who defraud friends, business associates and romantic partners by inspiring trust and then betraying this trust to fleece investors or to abuse romantic partners. Whether perpetrating violence, fraud, or more subtle forms of sub-criminal abuse, psychopaths create victims.
In the aftermath of assault or betrayal, victims may suffer financially, emotionally, psychologically, and physically. Some may experience intense feelings of guilt and self-doubt, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression or other debilitating symptoms, which impede their ability to return to a normal and productive life. These often long-lasting outcomes of abuse, and the arduous path toward healing they require, are referred to collectively as the “Aftermath.”
In addition, victims sometimes face the disbelief of friends, relatives, social service organizations, and even mainstream media. Victims are asked: “How could you not have known?” or “Why didn’t you just get away?” Many people who have never been the target of a psychopath falsely believe that they would have acted differently or that they, themselves, would have seen through the lies and deceit. The reality is that the psychological makeup of psychopaths enables them to lie to, manipulate and control others with extraordinary agility. Their “mask” is hard to penetrate, even by those who know with whom they’re dealing.
The syndrome termed “psychopathy” has been recognized for hundreds of years, but the origins, the exact cause, and possible treatment for this disorder have eluded researchers and scientists. One 19th century term used to describe the psychopath, that still rings true today, is “moral insanity.” But, this antiquated term doesn’t cover the scope of traits that allow a seriously disturbed and destructive person to pass as “normal” or even “talented” in our society.
Today many researchers agree that psychopathy is a severe personality disorder that affects about one percent of adults. Although many of a psychopath’s victims are strangers, it is increasingly recognized that individuals with psychopathy can be extremely harmful to their families, friends and associates, and to companies that employ them. In fact, the whole of society is impacted by their predatory behavior, parasitic lifestyle, and lack of conscience.
Recently incorporated in Illinois, the Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to informing the public about this disorder, supporting research on its causes and effects, seeking avenues of intervention and treatment, and supporting victims and family members of those with this disorder. The Board of Directors comprises leading researchers, including Dr. Robert Hare, Dr. David Kosson, and Dr. Paul Babiak, as well as victims and family members of psychopathic individuals. As a first step in outreach to the public, the foundation maintains a website at www.aftermath-surviving-psychopathy.org.
For information, contact Dr. David Kosson, email: email@example.com