Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Stockholm Syndrome

I read with interest the story of a woman named Carol Smith (not her real name) being abducted and turned into sex slave for seven years before the abductor being arrested and convicted of 10 charges. Abduction, sex slavery, rape.

What made her case interesting was the ideas of her being brainwashed throughout the whole time she was in captivity, leaving her unable to run away from the abductor, even when the time permitted her to do so. Some said she was having the Stockholm Syndrome. Hooker, the abductor (well, that's a name that really suits him) almost got away from the sentences when Carol's love letters was being brought in at the court as an evidence saying that she was willing to stay with him the whole time.

What is this Stockholm Syndrome?

It is a state where the victim (of abduction or abuse or rape or similar cases) has, over time (not necessarily a long period), have sympathy, or fallen in love, with the person who inflicted the pain or fear onto him/her. Sounds impossible. How could you fall in love with the one who abused you?

In her case, she shut off her emotions and accepted his whole wrongdoings to her for her own survival.

"I used to tell him that I loved him," she defended herself to the A & E interviewer, "because the better I treated him the better he treated me."

While you might think of the whole Stockholm Syndrome as some "in TV's only" scenes, or "not likely to happen here", I can assure you that it really happened, whether we realised it or not. Now, not everybody knows that a medical term actually exists for such cases.

What is the proof of this kind of thing actually existed in our society? Ever noticed how, at times, there are reports on how a wife/mother finally managed to get away from abusive husband/father after suffering for a few years. Now, where did the strength to endure such pain came from?

It is hard for me to say this, but I guess I will have to blame it on the society's upbringing. Men are the heads of the family. True. I have no objection in that. But boys should not be taught with the mentality of "Men always and will always right, and women have no voice in anything." And girls should not be taught with "Objecting a husband's word is a sin. You should always obey." There is a fine line in everything that made the difference between it being tolerable or intolerable. We should learn where the fine line is.

If you quickly agree to what I just said and you say "Yeah, leave the abuser and go get some help. Get him arrested and have peace of mind," I am sorry. You clearly don't understand what really happened to the Stockholm Syndrome sufferer.

I don't know if I can claim myself to be in the same boat as the Syndrome sufferers. I have been in an abusive relationship that left me in fear. My Ex #2 is an abusive guy. He would pretend to be normal in front of his friends. They never actually suspected anything. I was always quiet in front of them. They thought I was being quiet because that is what I am. Half true.

Whenever we were separated from his friends, he would abuse me by forcing me to do things I really don't want to do. He put me in a state where I could not do anything else except to agree to whatever he asked me to do. He put me in fear.

How ironic! My biggest fear was not of being abused by him. I was even more afraid of being left alone, being dumped by him. Complying is the only option available. And another ironic thing was I was actually glad whenever he agreed to see me whenever I got the chance to go home.

Whenever I went out with him I have the tendencies to cling to him, like a little girl afraid of losing her way in a busy place. At first, it was because I felt safe being with him. I thought he was a reliable guy. Then it was not about being safe being with him. It was about being safe not being stranded alone. Queenie noticed that in me approximately two weeks ago.

Note to Queenie:
Yes, Queenie. I followed Patrick closely that day the way I followed Charlie around. I always think that I can always rely on them. I thought nobody will notice. So I just laughed it off when you pointed it out.

I still remember the pain of what he had done to me. I remembered how he made me think of the worst thing ever - Death. I remembered how he made me scared, he made me beg for mercy. He made me follow his instructions in exchange of not being dumped at the road side alone at night, in a place I didn't know.

I remembered his saying that he should have just raped me before dumping me, for all the hassles he had gone through when he was with me.

It wasn't love that made me stayed with him. It was fear of having nothing to hold on to.

You can read Carol Smith's story here. 15 short chapters, starting from her hitch-hiking to Westwood, her abduction and the tortures she had to endure, the escape and the trial.

There is another interesting story of Stockholm Syndrome I would like to dig in. The story of a celebrity kidnap victim, Patty Hearst, who was held for two months. She later helped the criminal to rob a bank. Love? Or what?

A fictional portrayal of Stockholm Syndrome is Amanda in the movie Saw and its sequels, Saw 2 and Saw 3. She was the apprentice of the Jigsaw Killer. Sick.

I'm going to download the movies. A gruesome movie marathon plus some snacks (I was thinking of heavier meals, actually). Yummy!!!



-langkahbaru- said...

waa...ada ek kes camni.takyah susah2 tekel/ayat pmpuan kan?
ni yg nak jadi jahat nie.hehe >:D

buTTerFLowEr said...

haha... xtau laa kat cni ade yg sudi ke x. tp ade kot...

mcm video klip anuar zain kne kidnap tu. kan pas kne release die stay gak ngn pompuan tu. sesucinya cintamu eyh? x igt laa v clip ape