Day 8 of 16: They might have Stockholm Syndrome


Sometimes, it comes as a shock when victims of abuse choose to stay with their partners. When children get compassionate towards their perpetrators. Often times, we judge them. What we don’t understand is that they could have the Stockholm Syndrome. We are half way through the #16DaysofActivism and I thought to discuss this.

What is Stockholm syndrome?

Britannica defined it as a psychological response wherein a captive begins to identify closely with his or her captors, as well as with their agenda and demands.

Victims start to change their attitudes towards their abusers. They start to see them in a positive light and start to align their goals to those of the abusers. As time passes, they start sympathizing with them.

The syndrome comes from an event that took place in 1973. Two men were held captive during a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. After being held hostage for 6 days, they developed the syndrome. The men denied to testify against their captors and even raised funds to help their case.

Stockholm syndrome and gender based violence

The actual syndrome might not be known to many, but it does occur to a lot of gender based violence victims. Most people have no clue on the actual syndrome or hoe to help those that have it.

The victims will mostly resent any authority. That is why you find women with black eyes who will still deny to take their husbands to the police. Worse still, when others take up the initiative to take them to the police, the women rush to bail them out.

This is because victims will focus on the few moments of happiness or kindness given to them by the abuser. They tend not to concentrate on the abuse they are experiencing.

That is how you find kids proclaiming their love to people that molested them. Girls stick with men who constantly abuse them. Guys stick with ladies that mentally abuse them. And the list goes on.

How to help those with the syndrome

This syndrome has no medication. It is a psychological response which helps victims cope with the abuse. They do not lose the syndrome by the click of the fingers. It is more complex, an activity that needs time, patience and a lot of therapy.

Do not be harsh with them. The first thing they need to understand is the abuse they have endured. If they don’t, then they end up back in their abuser’s arms.

Remember that it is time, patience and therapy that helps rid this syndrome.


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