|Photo: GETTY IMAGES, CBS|
What happened when women came forward to hold R. Kelly and Brett Kavanaugh accountable for sexual abuse? According to University of Oregon research Jennifer Freyd, DARVO is what happened. DARVO is short-hand for "Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender." She says it happens when someone who is guilty of sexual assault says that he is the victim of the accuser's lying.
Freyd and colleague Sarah Harsey conducted two experiments to assess the success of DARVO in turning a perpetrator into a victim and vice-versa. In the first experiment, two groups learned of an account of abuse. One group did not have any other information and the other group heard a DARVO response from the perpetrator. Those who heard the DARVO response were more likely to blame the victim and less likely to believe the victim's account.
In the second experiment, half the participants learned about the DARVO response and the other half didn't. The DARVO-educated participants were more likely to find the perpetrator less believeable.
Freyd and Harsey intend to do more research, but believe their results suggests that DARVO is effective in discrediting victims but that DARVO-education can reduce its effectiveness.
Check out Jennifer J. Freyd's webpage What is DARVO to learn more about:
- Institutional DARVO
- Empirical research
- DARVO in the news