We all know that’s how it’s supposed to be. But how many times have you seen criminal proceedings and decided the person was guilty before all the evidence was presented? We all knew O.J. Simpson was guilty yet he was found not guilty. How many times do the police get it wrong? I’ve seen forensic shows where at least 4 people confessed to a crime after they were charged. Charged because there seemed to be evidence of their guilt. Yet none of them did it.
Is it different when it’s someone you know? When I was younger my cousin was always getting into trouble. Seemed he would borrow other people’s cars and go for a ride. People he didn’t know. People he didn’t ask for the use of their car. I love my cousin. Did he do it? Yes. I knew he was guilty but it didn’t stop me from supporting him.
Is it different when the crime is more serious? What if someone you knew was charged with murder or sexual assault. Armed robbery? Would you support them then? It’s a cliché now when you see interviews with people talking about a killer or rapist. He was such a nice guy. Always friendly. That always made me question how well you can really know someone. One of the reasons I write the books I write (with murder and mayhem) is to examine that question.
In truth you can only know someone as well as they WANT you to know them. They’ll only reveal aspects about themselves they want you to know. Can you ever truly know you didn’t marry a murderer? How do you know your boyfriend isn’t a rapist? Getting jewellery from your loved one? How do you know they actually bought it? Most of the time he’s not a murderer. He is a sweet guy. And he just likes to buy you things. Unless there are signs that something is very wrong I think you’re probably safe.
I’m suspicious by nature. Goes with the territory writing serial killer books. It helped me pick out the signs. Now, before anyone freaks out he wasn’t a killer or anything. But he was heavily into credit card fraud. Did I stay with him? I was young, rationalized that he wasn’t hurting anyone, really, so I stayed.
What tipped me off? Having to meet someone at midnight. Getting a pager at a time when only doctors and drug dealers had pagers. Before he actually admitted it to me he said he worried I wouldn’t love him anymore and I would leave him. I assured him that as long as he hadn’t killed or raped anyone and he wasn’t selling drugs I would stay.
In the end he broke up with me. But we were together for probably about a year after I found out what he did and why we could go on the getaways we went on. Why his sister’s boyfriend could afford to buy a boat. It wasn’t all bad. I got a horror movie idea from it all.
Would I have stayed if he had done something more serious? I can’t even say that depends. If he was charged with something more serious, knowing his temper, his size, his friends, I could have believed he’d done it. I didn’t know him that long. We’d only been together two years total before we broke up. Did I really KNOW him in that time? Probably not.
What about you? Do you truly know your partner? What if they were charged with a serious crime? What would you do? Stand by your man (or woman) or leave? Without proof the choice might be easy. But what if there was proof? What would you do then?
Until next time…