Ariel Castro — the Ohio man who kidnapped three women and kept them as sex slaves in his home — pleaded guilty to 937 counts against him on Thursday, including kidnapping, rape, assault, and aggravated murder.
But what shocked many people during his sentencing were the statements he made in which he portrayed himself like a victim. Castro essentially denied torturing the women and blamed his actions on sex addiction.
“I’m not a monster. I’m a normal person. I’m sick,” said Castro, adding that he drove a school bus, was a musician and had a family. “I have an addiction, just like an alcoholic has an addiction…I did not prey on these women. I just acted on my sexual instincts.”
He also said that “most of the sex that went on in that house, probably all of it, was consensual.”
“These allegations about being forceful on them — that is totally wrong. Because there was times where they’d even ask me for sex –many times. And I learned that these girls were not virgins. From their testimony to me, they had multiple partners before me, all three of them,” Castro continued.
“It is not uncommon for offenders to have justified their own behavior, oftentimes to see themselves as a victim,” Barbara Paradiso, who directs the center on domestic violence at the University of Colorado-Denver, told NBC News. “They often have a sense of righteousness around their behavior, that they had a right to do what they did, or it was acceptable to do what they did, that they were forced to do what they did, because of the victim.”
Julie Espinoza, a therapist and member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, in Arizona, says that Ariel Castro expresses traits more consistent with someone diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder than sex addiction. “Antisocial Personality Disorder seems to also be exhibited in situations where said individuals lack respect for authority or society at large and experience extreme entitlement.”
She says it’s not easy to cure people with this disorder.
The difference between someone like New York City mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner, who has admitted to ‘sexting’ and watching porn, and someone like Castro, who locks women up and rapes/beats them, she says, is vast.
“A person that expresses their sexuality through sexual messaging and pornography is not necessarily engaging in what we would consider ‘deviant sexual behavior’ in that the behavior is often consensual and legal,” says Espinoza. “Though there are individuals that enjoy expressing their sexuality through dominance and submission, this also is consensual. The charges brought against Castro do not fall in either of these categories in that his practices though sexual in nature were expressed illegally and without consent.”
Sexual acts which are done forcefully and without consent, she says, have a devastatingly large psychological impact on the victims.
“These women [who were kidnapped and tortured by Castro] will likely be experiencing severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including nightmares, intrusive memories, flashbacks, panic, etc., and will need ongoing support,” says Espinoza.