Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Most Eligible Rape Defendant

With 2 upcoming trials in Boston this case shows how someone's image can contrast with their private behavior.

Gary Zerola's dark, brooding looks and his work on behalf of foster children helped earn him a spot on People magazine's list of America's "Most Eligible Bachelors" and a tryout for the TV reality show "The Bachelor." [...] He awaits back-to-back trials beginning Tuesday in Boston on charges he attacked two 19-year-olds in 2004 and 2006. He also faces charges in Florida, where authorities say he force-fed drugs to an 18-year-old woman, then raped her in a Miami Beach hotel in October while free on bail in the Massachusetts assaults.

Prosecutors say Zerola met all three women in bars, charmed them, then attacked them when they refused to have sex. In the 2006 case, he allegedly took the woman shopping at Neiman Marcus, where he bought her a $700 dress and $250 shoes before trying to rape her in his Boston apartment.

This contrast between generosity and viciousness is far too common in rapists and those who claim to love women but then turn around and abuse them. Whenever I see signs of this contrast in people, they lose my trust even if they seem to have a valid reason for getting angry. I used to believe that the actions of others could cause someone to become vicious, but now I know that the actions of others are only triggers for viciousness that was already bubbling under the surface.

The nice person who flies into road rage because another driver cut them off is only reliably nice on the surface and when they realize not being nice will come back to bite them. They seem to be people who hold onto resentments. This resentfulness can be used to justify the unjustifiable.

When I read that Zerola bought one of the alleged victims clothing, I could almost hear the sneers of those who view women as dishonest gold diggers. The problem with this is it assumes, without any supporting evidence, that it was the woman who initiated the shopping trip. The problem seems to be with a man who would spend almost a $1000 like this on a stranger.

It makes me wonder if he has some desperate need to be seen as the perfect man. Those who are desperate to be perfect will need to find ways to blame others for their imperfections. This isn't healthy for the individual or for those who get blamed.

Zerola and his friends describe his past in foster care, beginning at the age of 3 when his parents divorced, as bad enough that most people would have turned to drugs or crime. In the description of his time before being placed permanently with a suburban lawyer and his wife, I notice that there is no description of any process of dealing with that decade. It's simply like a switch was turned.

Horrific to perfect.

That strikes me as an act of suppression. The problem with suppressing trauma is the trauma doesn't go away and nasty garbage can pop up to burst the perfect bubble. This in no way excuses him from responsibility for any crimes he committed since he made the choice of how to respond to each situation.

As with any defendant or criminal, someone else went through the same type of trauma and didn't choose to commit any violent crimes. Others faced similar rejections without becoming violent.

Those who view these women as the problem for "cruelly" rejecting this man reveal their tolerance for viciousness. That's never good.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:43 PM   0 comments links to this post


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