By Dr. Anthony Policastro

There are many identified patterns of behavior that we know about. One of them is the pattern used by men who sexually abuse women.

It was codified by a psychologist named Jennifer Joy Freed. She gave it the name DARVO. It is most often used by men who are narcissists. The letters stand for Denial, Attack, Reverse the Victim and Offender.

The first portion is Denial. That is nothing unusual. When these individuals are accused of something, there is a natural tendency to just deny that it ever happened. They might even deny knowing the victim in the first place.

They might jump on the “innocent until proven guilty” bandwagon. If there is no absolute proof, then they feel that in and of itself proves their innocence.

However, some individuals go beyond just denial. The next step is to Attack the Accuser. In this stage there are multiple ways of doing it. They will make fun of the victim. They will call her names, they will say that she is doing it just to get publicity. The plan is to try and belittle the victim completely.

They also might have to make things up to go along with their accusations. There is often a need to make up an entire conspiracy theory. There is no truth to it. However, they make it so elaborate that others might actually believe it.

Then these individuals proceed to go even one step further. They try to make it seem that they are the real victims. They Reverse the Victim and Offender. They are being persecuted falsely by the accuser.

We know that the defendant’s lawyer in rape trials often uses this kind of strategy. They dig into the victim’s past. They try to find evidence of things like promiscuity. They then imply that their client is really the victim.

A famous football player used a variation of this tactic. He took a girl into the bathroom. His bodyguards stood at the door and would not let her friends in. When he came out, she cried rape. He said consensual sex. His lawyers then threatened to rake her over the coals in court if she continued the accusation. She dropped the charges. That didn’t make him right. It simply made him a predator.

This is a much more harsh approach than simple denial. Instead of just making it a “she said-he said” situation, the approach is to make the victim appear to be the one who is wrong.

The bottom line is that no matter how much the perpetrator denies, attacks or reverses, he is still guilty. All he does is try to become the victim rather the criminal that he really is.