The Cleveland Kidnapping Case: Another Domestic Abuser in Plain Sight
Following the recovery of the three women in Cleveland who were kidnapped and held captive for 10 years, I was reading the media reports about Ariel Castro’s background. What especially piqued my interest was the mention of a “domestic violence arrest” back in 1993.
According to the first article I read, this arrest did not lead to a conviction. But as we here on this blog know well, it was amazing that he was even arrested in the first place. Which means that all of the neighbors who acted shocked and said that Ariel Castro was “a nice guy”, or that there was “nothing strange” about him, were likely clueless about what had happened to his first wife.
So the truth did not lie with the clueless friends and neighbors. The truth lay with his wife.
Here is a quote from this article [Internet Archive link]:
Court records indicate Ariel Castro fought with his former wife, Grimilda Figueroa, over the custody of their children. Figueroa twice suffered a broken nose, as well as broken ribs, a knocked-out tooth, a blood clot on the brain and two dislocated shoulders, according to a 2005 filing in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court [Internet Archive link]. In the filing, her attorney requested that a judge “keep [Castro] from threatening to kill [Figueroa].
Here is a quote from Ariel Castro’s son, taken from this article [Internet Archive link]:
Anthony said neither he nor his three sisters have had much of a relationship with Ariel Castro.
‘Having that relationship with my dad all these years when we lived in a house where there was domestic violence and I was beaten as well… we never were really close because of that and it was also something we never really talked about,’ he said.
Grimilda Figueroa is dead, but there is plenty of evidence for us to put together the profile of this alleged kidnapper and rapist.
It would appear that here is an Abuser who discovered that instead of just abusing his wife and children (and thus having to work hard to conceal his deeds from outsiders), he could simply kidnap some girls, tie them up in his house forever, and let loose his evil desires for power and control to his heart’s content.
He is a typical domestic abuser who was bold enough to try kidnapping. Once he was successful the first time, the rest was history.
Perhaps that should cause all of us to take allegations of spousal abuse more seriously. Domestic abuse is not some small matter that has no repercussions outside of the family – it is an evil mentality that is contained within the home. But it can and does get out. Extended members of Castro’s family are reporting that they hung out with him, ate meals with him, and even traveled around playing in a salsa band with Castro. It is reasonable to deduce that these people had knowledge of Castro’s past (of domestic violence) – and yet they deemed him a suitable friend and acquaintance. Apparently they did not feel his horrible treatment of his family was cause for having no contact with him. This is interesting.
[Barb’s appendix] Let this be a lesson to all of us, especially in our roles as bystanders, friends, family and members of a church congregation: Domestic abuse hides in plain sight. The more we are aware of the little red flags and subtle signs that someone is a perpetrator or a victim, the more we hit the alert button when we have those micro-moments of cognitive dissonance, the more we pay attention to our intuitions or niggling concerns about a person’s demeanor, the more we take preemptive action when we hear things like ‘the alleged abuser had one arrest for domestic violence,’ or ‘the attorney requested that the judge keep Spouse A from threatening to kill Spouse B,’ the harder it will be for abusers to get away with their evil deeds.