Someone asked me yesterday whether or not I worried about what people would think of me once my story goes public. She asked if I was worried that people would write me off as a scorned woman who was hell bent on blaming Lucifer or that people would think there was something wrong with me because I had fallen for Luc’s con/mind games. These are great questions to which I am absolutely reading and willing to answer. The “scorned woman” and the “stupid woman” are two labels that I have become intimately familiar with in the past few years as a result of Luc’s reign of terror.
If someone had told me my story three years ago, this likely would have been close to what I would be thinking: ’Damn, that’s the most horrifying story I have ever heard. That being said, I have to wonder about this girl. If Luc is this disordered, how come she didn’t see him coming? I am glad that I am a smart woman who doesn’t trust easily. I feel bad for her, but thank GOD I don’t have to worry about anything like this happening to me.’
Judge Algeo actually addressed me in court after he likely had a similar thought. He said, “Now Ms. McLeod – you are not without fault because you actually chose him.” At that moment, he was possibly thinking that I deserved what Luc had done to me and what would likely happen to Prince because I had been a “stupid woman”. I understand how people would wonder if I was “stupid” or “blind” because I would have felt the same way had it not actually happened to me.
This is a completely normal reaction and has actually been explained in the world of Psychology (or for the purpose of a definition – wikipedia). This idea is called the ”Just -World Hypothesis” or “Just – World Fallacy”. The Just-World Fallacy is a cognitive bias that human actions eventually yield morally fair and fitting consequences, so that, ultimately, noble actions are duly rewarded and evil actions are duly punished.
This “Fallacy” contributes to why many people often jump to blame the victim. For example, a woman is raped at a college frat party and people ask what she did to make the man believe she wanted to have sex with him. A man is mugged while walking down the street and people blame him for carrying so much cash and walking alone on the street at night. Blaming the victim makes us feel safe and as if we couldn’t end up in that person’s shoes because we are smarter and more street savvy.
At the risk of sounding cocky, I can assure you that I am not a stupid, uneducated, or gullible woman. I am a confident, intelligent, and educated woman. I was before I met Luc and I am now. The biggest difference is that now I understand that not all people are good people, that even a smart woman can be fooled, and that good/successful/smart women are often great targets for psychopath men. Period.
This label is interesting. While I hated that my attorneys, the Judge, and just about everyone in family court was quick to write me off as just a “scorned woman”, I have come to accept this term. To a degree, I am scorned and I believe that any NORMAL person would be if they had to go through what I have in the past three years. If I were not a scorned woman, I would not be human. The danger here, however, is when the court fails to treat victims as human and has expectations not based in reality.
For example, two days before Prince’s first birthday we were back in Family Court. Luc hadn’t made any requests to see Prince on his birthday until we were sitting in front of the judge. In true Luc fashion, he sat on the stand and cried about how he had dreamed he would be able to spend half of the day with his friends and family (which I knew he didn’t actually have) and take Prince to Chuck – E- Cheese. Judge Algeo fell for this hook line and sinker. He was determined to make this Chuck E Cheese outing happen.
During the trial, we agreed to allow Luc to have an extra hour of supervised visitation that week to take Prince to Chuck-e-Cheese. After the trial was over, Luc didn’t mention Chuck-E-Cheese again. He had his visit that week at the mall per usual and didn’t mention to the supervisor any plans to take Prince out for his birthday or change the location. Then, on our next court date, Prudence Upton (Luc’s attorney) asked me if Luc had been able to take Prince to Chuck-E-Cheese as promised. I responded by saying, “He never asked.”
Prudence then spun the whole situaiton to make it appear as if I had refused to let him take Prince out for his birthday. It appeared to me that Judge Algeo had expected me to call Chuck-E-Cheese, make reservations, pay for a birthday party, and call Luc with the details of the party he was to enjoy that I had planned on his behalf. Despite all of the terrible things Luc had done to me and my entire family, I was continuously expected to “turn the other cheek” and welcome him with open arms into my family because he was, in fact, my son’s sperm donor. Luc, on the other hand, was expected to just stay out of jail.
The Courts couldn’t understand why I didn’t invite this man to Prince’s baptism and why I hadn’t rolled out the red carpet for Luc’s supervised visits so that it was easier for him to be a father. I provided Luc with a diaper bag and he complained about the contents not being to his specifications. While this was initially appalling to me and the supervisor, it does not shock me now that I understand the message the courts were sending to him. So I stand here before my readers.
I promise to give you honesty and keep things real. The reality of the situation is that I AM scorned. I am rationally and appropriately scorned given the circumstances. I honestly believe that any loving parent (man or woman), when given the card I was dealt, would have reacted the same way. They too, however, would likely be written off as both stupid and scorned. I am scorned, but I am not stupid.
I was a scorned woman in court, but perhaps what the court should have focused on was that I was also a very scared woman. My fears were not irrational. My fears were based in reality and based on very real experiences and facts. This fear overpowered the reality of any scorn.