Should Children Have The Right To Sue The Government For Failure To Protect Them From Criminals? Part III

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

Patty Hearst.jpgMost of you can remember the 1975 movie Dog Day Afternoon starring Al Pacino.  Pacino, playing the role of Sonny Wortzik, and his co-star, John Cazale, playing Pacino’s partner in robbing the bank, as Sal, go into a bank, attempt to rob the bank, but things quickly go wrong. Soon the hostages become concerned about Pacino and Cazale and the rest is history.

The Stockholm syndrome was developed in Germany at Normalmstorg in Stockholm, Sweden, in which bank employees were held hostage from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal (Wikipedia). After the hostages were released, they would not cooperate with authorities and refused to testify against the robbers. In fact, they even raised money for their legal defense.

The Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. Studies conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) demonstrate that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of the Stockholm syndrome.

The Stockholm syndrome became a known term here in the United States as this happened to Patty Hearst when she was kidnapped in 1974, by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Later during her captivation, she assisted in robbing a bank with the people who had kidnapped her.

In the matter of Jaycee Dugard, she recently filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government for not keeping her kidnapper and rapist, Phillip Garrido, incarcerated knowing that he was a violent serial sexual offender. During her captivation, after behaving suspiciously, Garrido’s parole officer interviewed Dugard alone. At that time, Dugard did not disclose that she was a kidnapped and raped at the hands of Garrido and his wife, Nancy. Instead, Dugard told the parole officer that she was a battered wife from Minnesota who was hiding from her abusive husband.

During an interview by many reporters, Dugard admitted that she had formed an emotional bond with Garrido. Even though he abducted her, raped her, emotionally and mentally abused her, she protected Garrido from being apprehended for the crimes committed against her.

The psychological disorder that Patty Hearst and Jaycee Dugard suffered from isn’t as easy to detect at first glance. When the police interviewed Dugard, she was not forthcoming with all of the things Garrido and his wife had and wearing doing to her. She had been so shielded from others, she saw the Garrido’s as her parents. How she resolved (if she has) the fact that Garrido fathered her two children is still unknown.

Phillip Garrido.jpgThe story behind Dugard’s life over the past 18 years has yet to be revealed in detail. General information about the captivity has come out in bits and pieces and there is so much more to learn about her 18 year captivity. The environment that Dugard had to live in will always be a part of her life. There is no psychological therapy that will take away the many nights she went to bed crying for her mother. The mind will play tricks on her and at times she will feel she is reliving the captivity she was forced to endure during the past 18 years.

The question everyone is asking is why did Dugard not try to escape? Experts in this field and statements made by Dugard indicate she and Garrido had an emotional bond, which made her rethink taking actions to escape. Some professionals in the psychology field state that the actions of Dugard are expected and predictable. They predicted that she would make decisions which would seem odd and unexplainable to the average person.

You can compare the Stockholm syndrome to that of the survival of the fittest. The captor can make many decisions but if the escape routes are eliminated and the captors are running the show, the captive has no other choice but to conform. The captive has to rely on the captors to feed them, and in the Garrido and Dugard situation, this is what happened. Garrido was extremely intimidating, mentally and physically abusive, and eventually sexually abusive.
Jaycee Dugard.pngThe roles of Garrido and Dugard changed over the years. At first she was a frightened young female who had no one to turn to. She had nowhere to run to and no one to protect her. In an article written by LiveScience, they suggest that what Dugard had to do was to use a survival strategy. They stated the following, “Bonding with a kidnapper is not just a mental coping skill, but a physical survival strategy. Since Dugard's life was at the mercy of the Garrido’s, and she depended on them for food and shelter, it was in her best interest to bond to protect herself from further abuse.”…"Someone who's kidnapped as a child might make an unconscious decision to not fully see the abuse and bond with the person providing food and shelter," said Jennifer Freyd, a psychologist at the University of Oregon. "A person might respond by putting it out of their mind and acting like it's not happening. It's too important to protect their relationship."
All of these thoughts, suggestions, professional opinions and conclusions cannot take away from the psychological affects that Dugard suffered at the hands of the Garrido’s. She was eleven years old, walking on her way to school, and the next thing she knows, she is being held captive by a violent serial sexual offender and his mentally challenged wife. The circumstances point to a world of craziness for Dugard, which no child should have to suffer through. Sometimes there are happy endings, but in Dugard’s case she is now physically free from the Garrido’s. Mentally, she will never be able to eliminate the darkness which she suffered during the past 18 years. Is Dugard now living a happy ending? Maybe; only time will tell.

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