Last week, in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I did presentations at two more colleges about sociopaths and love fraud. On Tuesday, October 22, I spoke at Rutgers University in Camden in the afternoon. Then I traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I did two presentations at the Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) – Gettysburg Campus, one on October 22 and the other on October 23.
In each of the presentations, there was someone in the audience who knew — far too well — exactly what I was talking about.
At Rutgers, the woman was a Lovefraud reader who saw my announcement about the presentation (all were open to the public). She’d been married to a sociopath, and was trying to decide whether to go after him for what he had taken from her, or walk away.
In the first HACC presentation, a woman who had been in an abusive relationship came to hear me, dragging a friend along. In the middle of asking me a question, she choked up, but was able to ask the question anyway.
In the second HACC presentation, a young woman was very familiar with the Red Flags of Love Fraud — she’d already seen them all because she’d been involved with a sociopath. Three-quarters of the way through my presentation, I talk about what happens when people have a child with a sociopath. At that point, the woman had to leave the room. She returned, and afterwards told me that my words were difficult to listen to, because she was worried that her young son might be at risk of developing antisocial personality disorder.
After each of the HACC presentations, Jessica Knouse, coordinator of student life for the Gettysburg campus, talked about the support services that the college offers to students who find themselves in abusive relationships. Students can talk to the school’s professional counselors, who can assist them or make referrals to outside agencies. Students can talk to any member of the faculty or staff whom they trust. They can alert the security office if they have a restraining order against someone, and request an escort to their cars. They can also anonymously report any crime or incident via a form on the college website.
A representative from Survivors, Inc., based in Gettysburg, also spoke about the services that they offer to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
All in all, I was impressed with the actions that HACC takes so that their students can feel safe. And then I saw their efforts in action.
After my program, when most students had left, a woman huddled with Jessica Knouse and the representatives from Survivors, Inc. She spoke to them for a long time. Later, I learned that the woman had been “beaten up pretty good” over the weekend. I was very glad that the HACC staff, and the domestic violence resources in Gettysburg, were on hand to assist her. I hope she finds the strength to leave her abusive partner. The HACC community certainly stands ready to assist her.
So among the people who attended my three presentations were at least four women who had been targeted by sociopaths. All of them were traumatized. That’s why it is so important to teach people about love fraud — so they can recognize the warning signs and escape before too much damage is done.
What can happen when the warning signs are not recognized? Read the Joyce Jaccodie story.