115 E. 23rd St., 9th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Dear Ms. Perina & Psychology Today:
In the shockingly irresponsible article "Sweet Revenge" (Psychology Today, January/February 2010), Regina Barreca, Ph.D. praises convicted Texas killer Clara Harris for her "great moment of revenge." The act for which Barreca praises Harris? In 2002, Harris repeatedly ran over her ex-husband David, as David's daughter Lindsey sat in the front seat of the car begging Clara Harris not to kill her father.
While Barreca praises Clara Harris, Lindsey, who loved her father and was only 16 years old at the time of the killing, publicly denounced Clara Harris for "the ultimate act of selfishness, caring only about obtaining revenge and thinking not one bit about how her horrible act was going to affect me or my brothers, Brian and Bradley. Anyone who shared my ride in the car that evening, seeing my dad's face as he was about to be hit, and experiencing the horrible feel of the car bumping over his body would understand that this murderess deserves no sympathy."
Lindsey says that Clara mistreated and neglected David, and that her father often confided in her how lonely he felt. Coupled with Clara's temper and evident capacity for violence, David had ample reason to want to get out of the relationship. Instead of letting him go, Clara killed him. Does Psychology Today feel this is praiseworthy?
Besides condoning violence, Barreca's article also reeks of gender bias. The vast majority of divorces are initiated by women, not by men, and research shows that women's decision to divorce often catches their husbands by surprise. These men don't just lose their wives, they often lose their children, too, and their rationale for feeling betrayed is often far more legitimate than Clara Harris'. Does Barreca also feel it would be "great revenge" for these men to murder their wives?
No type of marital or post-marital violence should ever be condoned, much less praised, and Psychology Today should immediately and clearly distance themselves from Barreca's reprehensible statements.
Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers & Families
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families
R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org