(Part 1 of a 2-part special)
Barbie Kardashian is the adopted name of a male, with a history of sexual violence towards women, now incarcerated in a female prison in Limerick.
The details of this case have been subject to reporting restrictions in Ireland. However, as it happens, I was familiar with an earlier judicial case concerning the same individual. That case centred on an appeal against a special order to detain them in a secure facility.
A word about pronouns.
The legal situation in Ireland, and journalist conventions, mean that female pronouns are used, both in the legal case and in the media. I will not be adhering to those conventions; they are inaccurate; the use of female pronouns distort perceptions of male violence, they are an insult to his victims and, finally, I believe they do great harm to this young man himself. Males in flight from their sex are not women. These are #NotOurCrimes
Cycles of abuse
I want to first look at the inter-generational cycle of abuse in which this young man was, and is, ensnared.
At the time of this case, the appellant was known only by the initial G. The household is described as one of “extreme depravity and domestic violence” Below is a flavour of his experiences when still a baby. His mother was prevented from breastfeeding him or tending to him. Both mother and son were abused by the father. I vehemently disagree with the framing of the parents as in a “sadomasochistic relationship”. One of them may well have been a sadist. Women in abusive relationships, coerced into participating in sadomasochistic acts, can’t be assumed to be involved in consensual sexual activity
G eventually learns that their best mode of self-protection is to ally himself with the person with the most power. Unsurprisingly this is the male person. This is described as being “recruited” by the father to also abuse his mother. This is all the more tragic because, we are told, she was the “only source of benign interaction” 👇
This poor child was forced to perpetuate the abuse against the only person who could, in other circumstances, have been a source of comfort to him.
Anyone who has been involved in abusive family dynamics, as I have, (though to a much lesser degree), know the urge to deflect the violence in any way you can. Sometimes this means betraying your siblings. As an only child G deflected by colluding with the abuse of his mother.
My own situation was rooted in my father’s history. However, understanding the why of trauma, and cycles of abuse, should not be mistaken for excusing the perpetuation of that abuse. Women are less likely to repeat cycles of abuse. Societal influences, which fail to deal with male violence, are a significant factor. Men are thus given permission to externalise their trauma while women are more likely to internalise it,
Nevertheless, the psychological toll this must have taken on this young boy, is heartbreaking to contemplate. However, even as a child, he becomes an abuser of women and disassociated from the consequences for his mother.
Like father, like son
When G was 9, he and his mother escaped to a domestic violence refuge. (“Sadomasochistic relationship?”) However, there was soon concern for the level of aggression G displayed towards her. Before long this violence resulted in proceedings which removed him from his mother's care. There is no assessment included as to what care the mother received.
There followed a series of foster placements. Each broke down. The first two because of an inability to deal with his escalating violence. The final one lasted around a fortnight and seems likely to have broken down for similar reasons.
By the time he was 13, he remained in care settings and his violence had developed a sexual dimension. This is the detail of one attack which left his female victim hospitalised. The Gardaí (Irish police) expressed concern for female staff after this attack.
The details of the attack are distressing. G’s response can only be described as chilling. While interviewed by the police he expressed a desire to murder his victim and showed annoyance that he had been unsuccessful adding this detail:
Thereafter psychiatric assessments show an increasingly callous and unemotional adolescent. During the same period, from age 15, he began to identify as transgender, seemingly after encountering another trans-identifying male at one of his placements.
Amateur psychologists may hazard a guess as to why a male, subject to male violence, and now a perpetrator of same, may seek refuge in a kind of “rebirth”. Professional psychologists, instead, obtain a referral to a Gender Identity Clinic, because that’s exactly what happened next.
G obtained a referral to the Tavistock in London. The thirty-minute assessment confirmed his testimony was in line with a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria. However, the clinician judged that the history G himself provided was well-researched, unemotional and seemed “scripted”. A description many parents of dysphoric kids will recognise. The clinician also noted that the teenager “seemed on the verge of offensive attack at all times”.
Thereafter, the judicial transcript makes repeated warnings about how this individual is a danger to women. For emphasis, I assume, some of the statements refer to the risk to females. My inference is the judge is well aware that the risk is to the female sex, as distinct from people who merely self-identify as women. G knows which sex to target. He is also reported as being much more compliant with male staff. He also shows a complete inability for self-reflection which makes him unwilling to access any therapeutic interventions to help change his behaviour.
His next statement is eerily reminiscent of a U.K. case of a pre-op, trans-identifying male. He committed attempted rape while released, on license, from prison. The mitigation offered for his offence was that he was not motivated by “sexual desire” but by envy of the woman for being what he was not.
Here is a quote from that other case. Also from a judicial transcript.
I see echoes of that same sentiment in this statement by G. Their failure to be recognised as a woman and observing the happiness of others. This unhappiness could easily turn to jealousy and anger against women who are born women and result in escalated violence.
The judgement also makes repeated references to G’s controlling personality and need to manipulate those around them. They instrumentalise any tool at their disposal to get their own way. This extends to manipulating clinicians in their orbit:
One aspect of this manipulation is the repeated threats of suicide and self-harm. Yet, it is made clear, that there is no bodily evidence of self-harm. Below is a statement, by G, re their threats to cut off their own genitalia. Yet the second paragraph veers off into a teen fantasy albeit focussed on a future in adult films.
Another clinician, who interviewed G highlights that they are very deceptive and this makes risk assessments particularly difficult:
Fast forward to September 2020. G has changed his name to Barbie Kardashian. They were charged with four counts of making threats to kill, or cause serious harm, to two people, a woman and a man. His address was given as ‘no fixed abode’. Giving evidence via video link he was keen to emphasise his gender identity and fear of being put in the male estate.
His legal representative presented his Gender Recognition Certificate to the court.
He is already legally a woman.
He has been remanded in custody to the women’s wing of Limerick prison.
(Tomorrow, part 2—The new priests, same as the old priests).