As leaders, we want to encourage our teams to succeed. To battle challenges that are put in front of them and come out the other end stronger.
We often hear people making excuses for their careers or their performance or their achievements based on difficulties that they have faced. But to truly succeed as leaders, we need to be able to overcome adversity and today’s guest is the best possible example I could find of someone who has done exactly that in their life.
Jody Plauche from Baton Rouge, La., made national headlines in March 1984 when he was abducted by his karate teacher and taken to Los Angeles, Ca. FBI officials rescued Jody and his abductor was arrested. Upon his karate teacher’s return, Jody’s father Gary, shot and killed Jeff Doucet. The shooting was captured by WBRZ news crew, a local ABC affiliate.
Jody has worked in the field of violence prevention since 1995. While attending Louisiana State University, he served on the executive board for Men Against Violence, a campus organization aimed at preventing campus violence, including sexual assault and other physical violence.
Currently, Jody presents professional and college trainings about sexual violence risk reduction throughout the country.
We asked Jody to come onto the show to talk about his past, his work, and his philosophy, and how he has come to be the success that he is today.
In this week’s show:
- How did the ordeal affect Jody at the time?
- How did Jody come through the experience and move forward positively?
- The catalyst for Jody to get into public speaking and sharing his experience with the world
- Overcoming adversity
- More information about Jody
How did the ordeal affect Jody at the time?
Jody was 11 years old when the kidnapping and the shooting occurred. At the time, in 1984, Jody was angry with his father, Gary Plauche, for killing his abuser, Jeff Doucet. It’s important to remember that ‘compliant victims’ as they are termed, or children that are being abused, don’t hate their abusers – largely because they don’t truly understand what is happening.
That was his initial response. Obviously over time, he came to realise that Jeff was a predator and not a good person.
Jody also stresses that he does not advise any parent to respond the way his father did – a parent should be with their child rather than putting themselves in a position where they may spend the rest of their life in prison.
That said, what helped in Jody’s recovery was the fact that the publicity that the case generated led Jody to deal with it at a young age, rather than keeping secret for 20 years. His friends were very supportive of him as a result of the case and he was able to begin to move forward positively.
How did Jody come through the experience and move forward positively?
Jody gives credit to his mother.
She sat down with her kids (long before the incident or abuse occurred) and watched a movie called ‘Fallen Angel.’ She warned them that there are people out there that pose this threat to children.
So when his karate teacher began testing boundaries and began abusing him, he realised that this was one of those people his mother had taught him about. For that reason, Jody never blamed himself for what happened or thought that he had done anything wrong.
This had a big impact on his ability to move on positively.
Jody compares the experience to a grieving process. He didn’t recover overnight. But because his father did not have to serve any jail time, they quickly moved back to being a normal family and Jody went on to develop normally into his late teens.
Jody worked at the Victim Services Center, Montgomery County, PA, and one of the things that he was most proud of that they do is offer counselling not just to the victims, but their significant others. He has seen, in his experience, that parents need counselling as well the victims of abuse.
The catalyst for Jody to get into public speaking and sharing his experience with the world
It started when he was 18 years old and he was offered a free trip to New York City.
He and his father were invited onto the Geraldo Rivera Show to discuss their experience. After the show aired, he got a call from the Sheriff’s Major who investigated Jody’s case in 1984.
He called to say that he had just arrested a Pastor at a church who was molesting two boys. They came forward after having seen Jody appear on The Geraldo Show. At this point Jody realised he could really make a difference to the lives of others.
This put him on the path to raising awareness of the issue and encouraging other victims to come forward and show them that events like this don’t have to destroy your life.
With the proper support, you can overcome, says Jody. He encounters a lot of victims that aren’t aware of the support that is available to them.
You’re not forever damaged or scarred for life, by using a support network you can rebuild. Whether it be through professional therapy or free counselling through your local Rape Crisis.
More information about Jody
You can find more information about Jody on his website: http://www.jodyplauche.net/
You can watch the E 60 feature of Jody’s story on YouTube.