Armchair Psychologists: Why “he” Is Not A Monster by Fayemarie Anderson Carter, MA

“He” is next door…

Hey! I know we all watch CSI and Criminal Minds but that seriously does not constitute a working knowledge of the mind a serial rapist, serial killer– hell, your mother!

It is  getting scary reading all these assessments of who might be a serial killer. Bert is not Jack, ok? I can almost guarantee it… and no, it is not about his age, although that does play into it. Serial killers can and do kill at an early age so that doesn’t necessarily eliminate him; BUT, Bert would have had to seriously change his MO or Modus Operandi and that rarely, if ever, happens on this scale. Jack tortured his victims as indicated by the numerous cuts on the bodies until he tired of them at which point he killed/mutilated them. This suggests that Jack was more interested in pain, his victim’s pain, and that is how he “got off”. Bert, on the other hand, seems to be more interested in immediate gratification, the quick kill. His thrill is the chase. He likes stalking and the challenge of “getting” the victim.Can you see the difference?

If we give in to this kind of speculation, we will miss the opportunity to find the real killer/killers of these victims and the cold cases will remain unsolved, justice, never served.

There are many things to consider when profiling psychopathy. You would be surprised at just all the nuances that distinguish one type from another. It is a difficult job and takes very intense study and years upon years of experience.

Please. We need to be careful who we call a monster. By the way, I don’t like that name BECAUSE it suggests that that person is so distinguishable from the rest of us…so different…so abnormal. Not really. If he were, we would have caught him a loooong time ago. No matter how we try to distance ourselves from people like Bert Vasquez by calling him a monster, blaming his mother, he really could be anybody couldn’t he? He is someone’s son…brother…uncle…cousin…friend…see where I’m going?

We need to accept that all this is part of human behaviour. It is all on a continuum…it isn’t like we are in one group called “normals’ and then there is Bert all by himself in the “monster” category. If we do that, we will be looking for only really abnormal behaviour (what is that really anyway?) as a signal of psychopathy, “the monster’ and we will lull ourselves into a false sense of security. A serial killer doesn’t “look” like a serial killer…he can be cute and charming…think “Ted Bundy“. He isn’t big and burly and intimidating, think “Jeffery Dahmer“.  And he is not always a “he”, think “Myra Hindley“.

Instead of sizing up our neighbours trying to determine if they are the next ‘Bert”, what we need to do as a community is get better educated. We need to teach ourselves, each other, our kids, appropriate boundaries, or, what we allow others to do and how close we let them come. We live in a society where the vestiges of colonial times renders us polite when we need to be assertive. Young girls should never talk to men in cars, much less get into them because he “needs help”. That is preposterous. A real man will go to a public place and ask for directions; he won’t creep on some innocent girl and play helpless. And instead of constantly telling our kids to “be nice” we need to tell them that they have to “assert”. That means that when they feel that something is wrong, instead of doing what they are told because some adult tells them to, they get to say “no” if it is uncomfortable and doesn’t feel right.

I remember when I was 8, and I had just returned from New York and I missed the connecting flight to Dangriga, my aunt put me on a bus. I was scared shitless because I was alone and everything was strange and I just wanted to get home. Some lady told me to go buy her tamales and I shook my head “no”. She called me rude and uppity saying I thought I was better than her because I was “white”. See her thought process?????? All wrong. I wasn’t thinking that at all. It was dark and I was afraid of being in a mostly closed market which was Belmopan market at 6 pm in the evening and being left accidentally…then what? And who the hell is she to be telling me, someone she doesn’t know, to do anything for her? Plus, the bus was full and I didn’t want to leave my seat or my Yankees backpack while I ran her stupid errand. Which brings me to my point. We adults in Belize put our children in danger ALL THE TIME. No. It is not ok to send a 5 year old to buy bread. Not anymore. And no. It is not okay to leave them at home or in the yard or in the car either….My sister- in- law just fired her babysitter because while she was bustin’ her ass trying to make a living, this bitch was getting her drink on with the neighbours, leaving my 8 year old niece and my 3 year old and 18 month old nephews alone in the apartment. Oy.

My heart goes out to all of you, truly. But let’s not get this all twisted people. Getting one predator doesn’t mean we get to relax and go back to business as usual. We need to continue educating ourselves and stepping up our game. We have to accept that no matter where we live, we can’t be complacent and tell ourselves that the issues of serial rapists, pedophiles, serial killers are just what happens in the States or on tv. We need to arm ourselves with new values, new ways of thinking and new behaviours. We can not accept old ways of adults interacting with our children. Case in point:

When I was 8, this “type of interaction” should have been a clue to my parents about a pedophile who was, what we call “grooming” me. He was 19, son of family friends who were more like family. He had further ingratiated himself into my family by posing as an earnest supporter of my father’s bid for Stann Creek Representative in the 1984 General Elections. My parents trusted him implicitly and thought he was a “nice” boy. I didn’t like him at all but every time I tried to put distance I was admonished for being “rude”. Like the time he made me a name plate in shop class. He stopped by in the evening after class and my father let him in and he sat down in our living room having a glass of kool aid while I hid in my room. My father sternly commanded me to come out and accept my “gift”. I said thanks and returned to my room and slammed it against the wall breaking off top part of the “M” in Marie. I almost got spanked for that but I hastily said it fell and tried to look sincerely sorry. My father glued it back on. This man kept showing up with gifts and asking to give them to me in private on the verandah and my parents allowed him! One time he gave me albums he had bought special for me in Chetumal: Menudo. O God…what to do…he demanded a kiss before he would hand them over and I refused. He got angry and I said I would tell my mother. His face changed immediately and he laughed saying he was just kidding blah blah blah…

He would babysit often and I was getting more and more scared because every time he tried to get more and more familiar…he would tell me how pretty I was…That he has been watching and wanting me from the time I was 5 but I was too young then, now I was just “ripe and ready” for him…that I’m the type of woman (yes, I said “woman”) he would marry…he wants to do what ‘married people” do with me so bad…One night, I had just come out of the shower and was wearing my nightie as it was time for bed. He grabbed me and put me on his lap asking me to show him my “cokes” (short for cocoa which is a colloquial term for vagina). I asked why and he said it had been so long since he saw a woman. And I said “But I am not a woman-why don’t you get a girlfriend who is?” And he got angry and I said that he couldn’t make me and that I was going to bed. I struggled out of his grasp and ran into my room. I locked the door and slammed my dresser up against it. My heart was thumping. He was banging on the door and screaming about how I was a little bitch and that I would get what I deserve one day because nobody says no to him. And that just because I was white didnt make me better than him (see a theme here?) And I said “If you don’t stop banging on my door I will scream until the inspector comes!” Yes. Both the District Medical Officer and the Inspector lived next door.

This went on for over a year until finally he was no longer nice and he was no longer giving gifts. He had slapped me and called me a bitch. He had stuck his finger in my vagina when my mother wasn’t looking and I knew it would be soon. On my father’s birthday, he crept into my room while I was getting ready and tried to kiss me on the mouth and I reached into his pocket and took his wallet. I ran to my granny’s room and slammed the door shut behind me. She said “What’s wrong?” And I showed her the wallet and told her the whole story. She got up, called both my father and this man and confronted him. My father didn’t believe until my granny showed them the wallet and asked “Well, how did she get this?” (I should have taken the money that was in it).

The end to this story is awful…he bought the building next to my house which was a grocery store and like my parents forgot or something, I was sent time and time again to shop in his store because this bastard had given my parents credit, ( about 5 years, till I was 15). I would be so nervous that I would make mistakes filling out the checks sometimes. I panicked every time I took a shower, fearing his eyes were peering into the window from some perch on that awful gargantuan building he kept maniacally building upon, never finishing it. He was never nice to me. He was mean and constantly stared me down. On the street, he would slow down his car like a shark swimming around his prey. Sometimes he called me a whore.

I heard he stabbed his brother and badly beat the mother of his children, eventually stabbing her too. As far as I know he is still there…living his life as a contributing member of Dangriga society, often being called upon to serve as mentor, benefactor, role model.

Get my point people? “He” is not a monster…”He” is right here…living with you….this story by the way, is not my only story of being the victim of a pedophile…what stories are you hiding? What stories is your child?

Info about spotting a pedophile:

Research Psychopathy:

12 thoughts on “Armchair Psychologists: Why “he” Is Not A Monster by Fayemarie Anderson Carter, MA

  1. Pingback: Jackee Burns breaks the status quo “silence” by: Aria Lightfoot « Twocanview LLC

  2. Thanks for telling your story. So many are afraid or embarrassed to share, but it’s clear from your example that stories shed light on how REAL predators act. What a difference it can make to know that the face we are looking for is not the face of a monster, but the MASK of a monster.

    I shake my head that you had to suffer at the hands of a pedophile. So unnecessary. So traumatic. But hats off to you for being your own defense! Had you not been so strong, the ending could have been much worse.

    Hopefully parents will catch that part of your post and learn to trust their children more than the “nice” kid that “wouldn’t do something like that”.

    Will be sharing.

  3. This is what som many children are experiencing. Thank you for sharing as it will open some our eyes

  4. Thank you for sharing, a lot of children are experiencing this in Belize, also by the hands of the parents, uncle, nephew, brother. Thank You for your honesty.

  5. Faye this article is very chilling… i fear for you.. like i was there.. people need to be careful indeed.. a lot of respectable man in society doing the same things to our kids.. and parents need to open their eyes to men that linger around young girls.. most parents in Belize tend to smile and entertain them when they bring over groceries and feel its ok for UNCLE DAVE to be there all the time…Am sorry you as a young child went tru that… but am greatful that shared your story with us.. so we as a country can see that they are charming and reallly not the monsters that we look for.. stay strong…

  6. Faye…i really commend you…this article should touch home to so many that are hiding stories or know that things like this happening and not saying anything…..Thank you for sharing with us….It is my hope that this inspires us all to speak out…..

    • Really? Hmmmm I hope people stay away from him…since you seem to know of whom I speak “Someone” please share my story so no on else is hurt…

  7. Nice Faye, I was wondering what you think his mental health played in all this. After all, mental health is not exactly a topic that is well researched in Belize. It could very well play a role in some of what you are alluding to.

Comments are closed.