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Could Stockholm Syndrome Explain Reportedly Abused Woman’s Recantation?

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If you’d been dry-walled into an attic room after two weeks of rape and beatings, is there anything that could make you defend the man that hurt you?

And sealed you inside? Don’t answer so fast.

“Anytime somebody’s held captive, they’re on an emotional roller coaster that the captor is keeping them on,” said Beth Hassett, executive director of the anti- domestic violence group WEAVE.

Experts say the woman recently rescued from the attic in an Oroville home – the woman now recanting a frightening story of abuse at the hands of her estranged husband, Lawson Rankin – may be on that kind of cruel roller coaster.

“They’re needing things from the abuser. The abuser gives it to them, the abuser withholds it from them so it confuses them and they become reliant on the person,” said Hassett.

It’s called Stockholm syndrome or “capture bonding.”

“And so it’s not uncommon even after they’re away from that person to keep going through that cycle of dependency and even love,” said Hassett.

Perhaps the most famous case involved Californian and publishing heiress Patty Hearst.

She was later pardoned by President Clinton after joining forces and robbing a bank with members of the Symbionese Liberation Army – the group that kidnapped her in 1974.

“We tell them it’s not their fault and that they don’t deserve it,” said Hassett.

For Hassett who deals with the victims of violence every day, she says the confusing impact of Stockholm syndrome is just one more reason the abused need so much compassion from society.

If you’re being abused, you can call weave for help 24/7 at (916) 920-2952.

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