Experts say Stockholm syndrome reason Jaycee Dugard did not attempt escape from Abductor Phillip Garrido
After reports surfaced that a woman kidnapped at the age of 11 and held captive for 18 years, may have had the opportunity to escape her abductor, questions arose as to why she didn’t just leave her confines or ask for help. Experts say Jaycee’s situation meets the criteria of the Stockholm syndrome, which results in a bond between a hostage and an abductor.
Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped in 1991 at a school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and almost two decades later, was reunited with her family.
A sex offender, Phillip Garrido, and his wife, Nancy, have been accused of abducting Jaycee, but have pleaded not guilty to rape, kidnapping, and false imprisonment in connection with the case. Garrido also fathered two children with the girl, who he kept hidden in a secret backyard behind the family home.
Garrido ran a printing company out of his home and introduced Jaycee as his daughter “Allissa” to many of his clients. Ben Daughdrill visited the Garrido home about a year ago to check on a printing job he had commissioned Garrido to complete and was introduced to Allissa.
Daughdrill said, “She was the design person; she did the art work; she was the genius.”
Allissa, who in actuality was Jaycee, and Daughdrill had regular email exchanges and even spoke on the phone several times, but she never hinted at her true identity.
According to the authors of 'Negotiating Hostage Crises with the New Terrorists,' Adam Dolnik and Keith M. Fitzgerald, the Stockholm syndrome is a “mutually positive relationship” between a hostage and his or her abductor. It is amplified in barricade or captivity situations based on the dependency of the victim on the kidnapper, coupled with the captive’s instinct for survival.
The victim becomes obedient and passive in order to allay the abductor’s anger, which tends to lead the hostage taker to reciprocate in more humane treatment of the hostage.
Furthermore, the victim begins to view police in a negative light the longer the captivity goes on. In essence, the captive starts to believe authorities are not doing all they can to secure his or her release. This cycle eventually perpetuates the Stockholm syndrome, which gets stronger as time passes.
According to Joseph Carver, a U.S. psychologist and expert in the Stockholm syndrome, Jaycee’s situation meets all the criteria of such a reaction, as reported by the Guardian. Carver stressed that Jaycee’s survival mechanism was the main reason for her complicity, not romance. He also noted that recovery will likely take an extremely long time for Jaycee, her two children, and her entire family.