After four and a half years and many red flags, Dorothy finally broke off her relationship with Kevan. But that wasn't the end. "He kept calling me, calling me with repeated questions. What am I doing now? 'What are you going to do tonight?'" Dorothy says. "And that's when I realized I am in trouble here."
On the urging of her son, Dorothy got a restraining order on Kevan, which she says gave her peace of mind. "And that was a huge mistake," she says.
One night, Dorothy was asleep in her bed when she woke up to the sound of her name being shouted. "I turned to my left shoulder, and I saw a knife about [10 inches long]. I could see the reflection of my TV in the blade. Then I saw that he had cut off surgical gloves, and that was scary," Dorothy says. "I put the covers right over my head and curled into a fetal position and started praying. He said to me, 'Are you scared?'"
Rather than panicking, Dorothy says she got out of bed, stood up and told Kevan she was leaving. As she walked calmly out the door, he followed her to the parking lot. "So I said, 'You're leaving now,'" she says. "He turned, went down the street, and I didn't see him again." Dorothy immediately called 911, and police later arrested Kevan. He was convicted and is serving a four-year prison sentence.
Gavin says when Dorothy stood up, spoke firmly to Kevan and walked out, she was accepting a gift of power by acting on her instincts. "Fetal position is not a position of power, but you came out of it with a great position of power. And the pure power to say to him, 'You're leaving now,' is fantastic," he says. "Of all the details in that story, the one that stayed with me the most is that you saw the reflection of your little television set on the bedside table in the knife. And what that told me was you are on—you are in the on position. ... You were seeing every single detail and acting on it."
Growing up, Jaki says she was always "daddy's little girl." She says her parents always gave her everything she could ever ask for. When her mother died and her 90-year-old father developed dementia and couldn't speak due to a series of minor strokes, Jaki arranged for full-time, in-home care and installed cameras to check on the caregivers. "At that time, I didn't trust anybody," she says. "I wanted to make sure that the people I hired took care of him and weren't stealing from us or anything like that."
After hiring a woman named Anastasia to help with her father, Jaki says she checked the recordings for about two weeks. After that, her close monitoring fell off because of her busy lifestyle and because she came to trust Anastasia. "Anastasia was the type of person that I actually liked and got along with in the house," Jaki says. "I mean, I treated her like family."
After several weeks of not watching the surveillance tapes, Jaki was in her basement, doing her father's laundry. Also in the basement was the recording equipment. She says she suddenly felt compelled to watch the tapes. "Even in the rush that I'm in, I turn around, and I go back over to this DVR. And I said, 'Okay, I'm going to watch and see what exactly happened this morning," she says.
What Jaki saw was truly horrifying. "[Anastasia] pretty much just snatches my dad's hand off the rail. And as my dad brings his arm back, she just starts taking her fist and just beating him in his chest and in his stomach. I think every place on his body that she could actually strike him, she did."
Though she was distraught, Jaki says she took time to pull herself together before leaving the basement. "I went upstairs, I whispered in my dad's ear that I loved him and that I knew what had taken place and that I wasn't going to ever let that happen to him again," she says.
When Jaki confronted her father's abusive caregiver, she asked for her identification. "Because she had filled out an employment application for me, but I had never gotten a photocopy of an I.D.," Jaki says. "I took that, went, made a copy, came back, and that's when I called the police."
When the police arrived, they watched the tapes and arrested Anastasia. She was charged on multiple counts of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and vulnerable adult abuse. After posting her $5,000 bail, Anastasia fled the country...just eight days before her trial.
Jaki says her father is now 90 years old and in the critical care unit of a nursing home. "He is stable, but not the man he was," she says. "He has a trach now and a feeding tube and not really able to communicate. But he smiles when he sees me, and that's all I need to see every day."
Gavin says there's a right way and a wrong way to use hidden surveillance cameras. He says he likes that Jaki intended to use hidden surveillance cameras to make sure her orders were being followed and only later did they help prove elder abuse committed against her father. The key difference, Gavin says, is that Jaki actually checked the tapes, which he says few people ever do.
The way that many people use nanny-cams is to find out if their child is already being harmed, which he says is entirely different. "I get a phone call from someone who says, 'I'm worried about this nanny. We just don't trust her.' I say, 'Is there more to this story? Then fire the nanny.' They say, 'Well, shouldn't we put in cameras?' No, you should not put in cameras to experiment with your own infant," he says. "Your job as a mother is to protect the child."
Instead of relying on surveillance, Gavin says a better method of protection is through your hiring interview. When you hire a nanny or adultcare provider, it is your responsibility to ask all kinds of uncomfortable questions. "Like, 'Have you ever abused a child?' Everybody says, 'Why would you ask that question?' Well, because that's exactly what I want to know, and the way they answer will be helpful," he says. "Someone might say, 'What have you heard?' Or, 'Define abuse.' Or someone might say, 'No, I love kids.' ... Whatever they say, you get some intuitive information. If you never ask the question, you get no intuitive information."
Just like ignoring your intuition, Gavin says the way women are conditioned to be nice all the time can lead them into dangerous situations. "The fact is that men, at core, are afraid that women will laugh at them. And women, at core, are afraid that men will kill them."
This conditioning and fear, Gavin says, lead many women to try to be nice to people whose very presence makes them fearful and uncomfortable. They often believe that being mean increases risk, he says, when in fact the opposite is true.
"It's when you're nice that you open up and give information, that you engage with someone you don't want to talk to," he says. "I have not heard of one case in my entire career where someone was raped or murdered because they weren't nice. In other words, that's not the thing that motivates rape and murder. But I've heard of many, many cases where someone was victimized because they were open to the continued conversation with someone they didn't feel good about talking to."
For women like Dorothy who are dealing with abuse, Gavin says restraining orders may not be the right course of action. First, a judge's mandate can actually create a false sense of security for the woman. Second, it can end up provoking the abuser.
In fact, the most dangerous time for an abused person is immediately after a restraining order has been issued, Gavin says. Abusers are people who don't deal well with rejection, and a restraining order is a court-issued rejection. "You've done something very provocative. Restraining orders are basically a strategy of war. They are not a strategy of peace."
The conundrum of a restraining order, Gavin says, is that it generally only works to stop someone who's reasonable enough to listen to it. To someone who's unreasonable—and therefore most dangerous—it's just a piece of paper that is easily ignored. "[Restraining orders] are issued at the rate of a 1,000 a day in the United States, and yet every year hundreds of women are found murdered with a restraining order in their purse or a restraining order on their bedside table," Gavin says. "They're always right for police officers—they get the woman out of the office. 'Go get a restraining order. Prove to me that you really don't want to see him again.' They're always right for prosecutors, too. They're not always right for the woman who gets them."
How can living with your intuition mean living with less fear and more faith
? Watch more of the discussion with Gavin After the Show
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