"The Making of A Victim"


Judge Susan Weber's recent decision to dismiss Paula Jones s lawsuit against Bill Clinton will undoubtedly let the U.S. president breathe easier. It will also bring even greater pressure on Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to either prove something or curtail his investigation. And it will make the average citizen, and perhaps the courts, a touch more skeptical about accusations of sexual harassment.But where will it leave Paula Jones? Does anyone care? Probably not. The judge s decision has unceremoniously tossed her onto the dust heap of history. Instead of being the Paula Jones who got the President, she will be forgotten. Oh, what was her name who tried to sue Clinton? Unlike G. Gordon Liddy, Bob Halderman and Deep Throat, names forever associated with bringing down Richard Nixon, the failure of Ms. Jones and her associates will ensure their names quickly fade from memory.

However, whatever you think of Paula Jones, whether you believe her claims or not, you can t help but feel a little sorry for her. Imagine how it must feel to fall from celebrity status and be faced with a future as an ordinary person of no particular importance. But it is with this possible future facing her and not any past episode in some Arkansas hotel room that Ms. Jones demonstrates her true victimhood, and reveals why she should be remembered.

Ms. Jones deserves to be remembered as a victim not of Bill Clinton, but of the political forces that paid the bills for her victim status, and promoted that status to achieve their own goals. Like a pawn in a chess game, supported by the bishops and knights, she was used to checkmate the king. But, oops, it was a bad move. Those who played the game ignored Ralph Waldo Emerson s advice: When you strike at a king, you must kill him. And so Ms. Jones is a lost pawn of the moral Right, which cast her as an innocent victim of a morally lax society, as symbolized by Bill Clinton s presidency. But this only points to the deeper dimension of Ms. Jones s victimhood, the psychology behind the politics, if you will. Behind the political games is a psychology industry that invented the role of psychological victim and which seeks to persuade everyone, and especially women, that virtually any disturbing event causes deep psychological wounds. Ms. Jones and her handlers tried to convince the courts that having allegedly seen a man, albeit a man who is now the president, drop his pants years ago in a hotel room was so traumatic that her emotional wounds may never heal. Never mind that it took years before she reported the incident and that no one as yet has seen any signs of injury.

The script she followed to portray herself as a vulnerable and fragile sensitive woman is the same script followed by countless gullible or greedy women who tell their tales of woe in courts every day. The psychology business, which has long targeted women as its main customers, deserves the credit, or the blame, for this new type of victim what I call the fabricated victim.

The psychology industry tells women how to think, feel and act as victims. And it dangles the carrot of a future made brighter by virtue of being a successful victim. It offers not only excuses for stupid mistakes, failures and disappointments and opportunities for revenge, but also the promise of a healing process, a better and fuller life and, of course, financial compensation for all that trauma.

To my mind, Ms. Jones is at best a receptive, suggestible, or momentarily vulnerable synthetic victim; that is, one who has been encouraged to accept as factual some revised, reinterpreted or fictionalized version of a single incident and of its impact on her entire life. Perhaps, she has truly come to believe that she is a suffering victim. At the worst, she is a counterfeit victim, an opportunist who lied from the beginning in an attempt to turn a phoney victim identity into money, recognition, and fame. Fortunately for society, Judge Wright was able to discriminate between boorish and offensive behaviour and criminal assault, between personal bad manners and illegal acts. She demonstrated that some in the judiciary are immune to psychological infection and the contamination of politically correctness and can base their decisions of reason and logic and common sense. Unfortunately, the moral Right will continue to identify other virtuous victims and the psychology industry will continue to tempt women with its theories and false promises. Indeed, Ms. Jones will probably be diagnosed as a victim of victimhood and offered help to deal with the loss of her victim identity and in coping, like the rest of us, with the ordinariness of her remaining years.

@ Dr.Tana Dineen

by Dr. Tana Dineen, special columnist,