Couples that abuse together

Have you heard of Vinson Filyaw? If not, or if his name sounds vaguely familiar, remember that he was a construction worker who abducted a 14 year old girl on her way home from school by impersonating a police officer. Vinson then forced the girl, Elizabeth, into an underground bunker where he chained and abused her. While he kept her, over the course of days, Elizabeth managed to talk him into letting her entertain herself on his phone. Instead of plying the promised games, Elizabeth texted her mother her location. Elizabeth, pretending to have Vinson’s best interest in mind, convinced him to flee before the police showed up. He was caught, not far from the hole Elizabeth was found in.

There are a few things not commonly known about Filyaw’s case. One is that Filyaw had a previous victim, a 12 year old girl, whose home he snuck into while her mother was sleeping and abused. The child told her mother, who did not appear to act on the report. The child then went on to tell a counselor, setting off a manhunt for Filyaw. The second, related part of this story is that both Filyaw’s paramour and his mother helped him hide in several underground bunkers, thus paving the way for Elizabeth’s capture.

Unfortunatly, these types of situations aren’t unknown to social workers, CASAs, and police officers. There is one parent abusing and the other is equally as actively abusing or knowingly allowing the abuse to occur. Why is this? Why would a person either allow or be talked into accepting deviant, violent behavior in their partner?

This article from WPTZ is a great reference to that question. It says-

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Luckily, and mostly because of her quick thinking and mature character, Elizabeth, now in her twenties, is making a happy life for herself. She has partnered with her local police department and gives speeches on safety and self defense at schools. Elizabeth said she uses her experience to remind herself of her inner strength but says that mostly she has moved past the violence.


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