Kerry Daynes is a Consultant and Forensic Psychologist, speaker and media commentator. For over twenty years her average week has involved working with everything from stressed-out parents to serial killers and she is a sought-after court-appointed expert witness. Kerry regularly appears on international television networks and in the media; she was ‘The Profiler’ over three series of Discovery’s top-rated ‘Faking It’ documentaries.
Kerry is Patron of the National Centre for Domestic Violence and Talking2Minds. She is an advocate for better conversations about mental distress and alternatives to the culture of psychological ‘disorder’. Kerry lives in Cheshire with two huge dogs and yes, she is a proud natural ginger.
About the book
Welcome to the world of the forensic psychologist, where the people you meet are wildly unpredictable and often frightening. The job: to delve into the psyche of convicted men and women to try to understand what lies behind their often brutal actions.
Follow in the footsteps of Kerry Daynes, one of the most sought-after forensic psychologists in the business and consultant on major police investigations. Kerry’s job has taken her to the cells of maximum-security prisons, police interview rooms, the wards of secure hospitals and the witness box of the court room. Her work has helped solve a cold case, convict the guilty and prevent a vicious attack.
Spending every moment of your life staring into the darker side of life comes with a price. Kerry’s frank memoir gives an unforgettable insight into the personal and professional dangers in store for a female psychologist working with some of the most disturbing men and women.
In the first chapter Daynes talks about a questionnaire she had to put to convicted sex offenders at the beginning of her career. A long questionnaire about the victims reactions to each type of action or practice ( assault). A shockingly misogynistic attempt at placing blame on the victims – all in the name of science and the attempt to understand the predator better.
Nowadays one can take a step back and recognise that the questions, especially whilst being asked them by a woman – potential prey, as the opportunity to delve into and enjoy their deviancy with an audience to watch them do so. Very much the result of being part of a patriarchal society, where man dictates that certain responses lead to specific outcomes for the victims, as opposed to the deviant being held accountable. Much like the common stereotypical tropes such as: you wore a tight dress, you walked home alone, you smiled at him, ergo you deserved it and are to blame for the assault.
It’s one thing to know that society is ruled in favour of a certain gender, and that women get the short end of the stick when it comes to justice, pay, treatment by others in general, it’s quite another when you read examples of this lack of equality. I’ve been there and done that. My ex was guilty of so many things, but a male dominant court favoured him, regardless of what he said or did. I think my rudest awakening was when he manipulated a female member of the team to believe his schtick and I was deemed to be arrogant and to blame for everything for having the sheer gall to educate myself.
Luckily for me I got back up every time I was knocked down, but it taught me some important lessons. One of which is that anyone in the mental health profession is fallible, capable of human error and only as capable as the theory they have learnt. Theory doesn’t prepare you for reality or give you the advantage of actual experience. The feeling of being disenfranchised and disillusioned is worse when the misogyny is perpetrated by members of your own gender.
That element of honesty is what makes this book a great read – not the fascinating experiences and the way Daynes has made her mark in her field of expertise, but the way she lets readers partake in her most vulnerable moments.
There is also an attempt to address the way society views both sides. There is no them and us – there is just us. Much like we now view the majority of experimental horrors to ‘cure’ mental health and deviancy in the last few centuries, as harmful and the work of quacks. In future the evolved (hopefully) communities of science and medicine may think the same of 20/21st century diagnostic approaches, and find a more inclusive way forward with less labels and better comprehension.
I digress – mainly because it is a fascinating book I could talk or write about for hours (I know, poor you). I highly recommend you take a gander at the dark side.