Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Stockholm Syndrome: The relationship between an abducted child and Kidnapper

Picture: Hostage Patty Hearst (Granddaughter of Newspaper baron Randolph Hearst) who was kidnapped, and even took up arms on behalf of her hostages

Picture: Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm Syndrome: Case Studies

There are many cases of Child abduction, where the child is forced to speak up for the abductor, because of the unconscious survival instinct and bonding which arises during the hostage situation.

Refer earlier blogpostings:

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-takerregardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed.

The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Sweden, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28 in 1973.

In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their victimizers, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term "Stockholm Syndrome" was coined by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast. Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm.

In 2007, a group of scholars studied twelve highly-publicized cases of Stockholm syndrome, publishing their results in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia.

Psychoanalytic explanations

According to the psychoanalytic view of the syndrome, the tendency might well be the result of employing the strategy evolved by newborn babies to form an emotional attachment to the nearest powerful adult in order to maximize the probability that this adult will enable — at the very least — the survival of the child, if not also prove to be a good parental figure. This syndrome is considered a prime example for the defense mechanism of identification.

Potential examples of Stockholm syndrome

Colleen Stan, a.k.a. "Carol Smith" was held captive from 1977 until 1984 by Cameron and Janice Hooker in locked wooden boxes. She slept in a coffin-like box under Hookers' bed. During her imprisonment Colleen was consistently tortured and sexually assaulted to the point of complete mental and physical subservience.

Millionaire heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. After two months in captivity, she actively took part in a robbery they were orchestrating. Her unsuccessful legal defense was that she suffered from Stockholm syndrome and was coerced into aiding the SLA. She was convicted and imprisoned for her actions in the robbery, though her sentence was commuted in February 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, and she received a Presidential pardon from Bill Clinton.

Natascha Kampusch, a 10-year old Austrian child who was kidnapped by Wolfgang Priklopil before escaping at the age of 18 in 2006, showed signs of having suffered from Stockholm syndrome, as evidenced by her grieving after her captor's suicide, although she explicitly denied ever commiserating with him, stating that with his death, she lost the chance to get several questions answered.

Shawn Hornbeck was kidnapped at age 11 in 2002 and held for four years by Michael J. Devlin in Missouri. Shawn Hornbeck started using Devlin's last name and despite talking to police on two separate occasions about other unrelated matters, Shawn Hornbeck did not seek the assistance of law enforcement. There have been many questions raised in the media reports surrounding his rescue in January 2007 about why he did not speak out earlier leading to reported speculation that he suffered from Stockholm Syndrome. However, there are many, including other victims of sexual abuse, and others who have been victims of kidnappings, who have expressed their understanding and support Shawn's decisions not to make an attempt to escape.

Elizabeth Smart, a 14 year old girl, was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City in June 2002 by two members of a fundamentalist polygamist sect, the homeless preacher Brian David "Emmanuel" Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee. At first Smart was kept tethered to a tree in a wooded canyon, dressed in white robes, and confined to a twenty-foot long trough with a lean-to over it, but after two months, the couple was able to take the girl with them to restaurants and other public places, her face veiled, and she no longer tried to escape. The trio travelled to San Diego, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, with Smart claiming to be the couple's daughter, but they eventually returned to Utah. By this time, Smart had become so attached to her captors that when she was finally approached by Utah law enforcement officials, who had been searching for her for nine months, she told them that she was 18 years old and Mitchell's polygamous wife. Only when she was shown a picture of herself as she had looked before her abduction did she admit she was, in fact, Elizabeth Smart.
?Elizabeth Fritzl

The Parental Alienation of my abducted son Aditya Chandran written by Father Ravi Chandran

The Parental Alienation of my son Aditya Chandran


Dr. V. Ravi Chandran, father of rescued son Aditya (from Parental abductor).

Written on 23-08-2010

The International parental kidnapping of Aditya and subsequent brainwashing and parental alienation of Aditya is a text book case. This letter is a summary of every technique used by Aditya’s mother to alienate him from his father.

In June 2007, Albany County Family court in upstate NY allowed V*******  V*****,  mother of Aditya Chandran (then 5 year old boy) to be taken to India for a short visit, with a stipulation that she should bring Aditya back to the USA by August 3, 2007. However, V*******  V***** after reaching India in June 28, 2007, disappeared along with Aditya, and became completely untraceable.

I had to leave my job and everything in the USA to go to India since September 2007, and filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court of India ordered various police departments in 5 different states to trace my ex-wife and son. It is very difficult time for me emotionally. When the 5 different state police failed to trace my son in India, the Supreme Court of India ordered CBI (Central Bureau of Investigations, India’s equivalent of FBI) to trace my son in August 2009. In October 2009, my son and my ex-wife were traced by the CBI in a seedy motel in Chennai. On November 19, 2009, Supreme Court of India made a landmark decision, asking the mother to take the child back to USA. However, my ex-wife failed to do so, and escaped from CBI custody with my son.

The court again ordered CBI to trace my son, and on May 1st, my son Aditya Chandran now 8 years old was traced in another seedy motel in Chennai, South India, and on the same day he was handed over to me.
Aditya was a five year old young cheerful boy with sparkling innocent eyes when he was kidnapped to India in June 2007. After 2 ½ years of captivity and violent abuse by V*******  V***** , when I first saw him on May 1st 2010, my heart sunk to note how much the joy was forced out of him. He was thin, malnourished, and had the growth and development of a boy who was 2 years behind. This is what was done to him during those two years of fugitive lifestyle in India under the care of his criminally insane mother. While hard life in the filthy streets of India led to the loss of innocence for Aditya, I am planning to work hard to bring happiness in my beloved son’s life.

On May 6th 2010, I exited India safely with my son and reached USA. Thank god!

During the period between June 2007 to October 2009, V*******  V***** violently abused Aditya. It is important to note that V*******  V***** was and as of now severely mentally ill, and suffers from Munchausen syndrome by Proxy, in which the parent takes unusual pleasure to subjecting their children to numerous hospital and doctor visits, most of which result in severe painful operations and treatments.

But even more importantly, it should be noted that she did abuse Aditya because I, his father loved him. This twisted logic was the basis of severe and violent abuse of Aditya for a period of 30 months by V*******  V*****.

Since V*******  V***** had Aditya under her control exclusively, she had this fantastic opportunity to alienate him from his father, which was systematic and brutal. She had absolutely no regard for the emotional health of Aditya, and she obtained pure pleasure by violently abusing him by taking him to doctors and hospitals at every opportunity.

After Aditya was rescued from his mentally ill, criminally insane, and violently abusive mother; I asked him how many times did he visit doctors and hospitals. He said going to doctors was constant affair, and further enumerated that numerous times blood was drawn from his brachial veins for testing purpose. Most egregious physical and mental abuse of Aditya was his visits to dentists forced by his mother. During the period from June 2007 to April 2010, all his teeth were not allowed to fall normally, instead, he was taken to at least 5 dentists and the baby teeth were forced out. I asked, if it did pain, and he said, no, it didn’t pain while the teeth were loose, but yes, it pained very much when the dentists gave injection and then pulled the teeth, and sometimes they rub a local anathetic and pulled off. Either way during and after pulling those baby teeth, Aditya stated that it pained very much. However he was very surprised during the 2nd quarter of 2010 when one of his teeth fell off normally after he came back to USA. Naturally I was not going to take him to a dentist to remove his baby teeth.

The violent abuse of Aditya included not allowing him to have any social interaction. He was admitted to not less than 30 schools, and he was constantly moved from one location to another all over India. V*******  V*****’s mental illness was so severe that she didn’t understand the emotional consequences of her actions on Aditya.

Since she didn’t have to get permission from Aditya’s father, V*******  V***** had a free rein on brutal and unnecessary surgical operations on Aditya. She had systematically subjected Aditya to removal his tonsils, and adenoids and whatever else for flimsy or for wrong reasons. She took incredible pleasure of subjecting Aditya a numerous such operations, which she had refused to inform his father.

Truly, emotional abuse of Aditya took the form of parental alienation. Aditya was never allowed to talk to his father for the entire period of 30 months during the abduction and fugitive life style. Here are some extreme examples of how V*******  V***** brain washed Aditya against his father:

1. Sexual abuse: Day after day V*******  V***** told Aditya that he was sexually abused by his father, and it is very important that Aditya should stay close to her. If his father ever finds him, he will be subjected to same. Aditya, after hearing this every day for 30 months, believed that his father abused him sexually.
I asked Aditya after his rescue, what does he think now about his father. He said, that I changed, and became a “good” person. I told him that I never changed, I have been always a good father to him, and it seems that he is confused how come father has “changed”.

2. Change of Name: Aditya’s name was changed to Arya and to complete his brain washing, V*******  V***** even changed his last name to ‘Rao”.

3. The brain washing of Aditya was so complete, that in a hearing in Supreme Court of India, Aditya told the 3-judge panel that his father is a bad man. (Fortunately the judges realized that for 3 years he had been brainwashed, and chastised the mother for raising a child to hate his father). In fact Aditya’s statements at the Supreme Court of India just had the opposite reaction than what V*******  V***** expected.

4. V*******  V***** had severe malignant motives for her action of parental alienation, which include a) poor boundaries-failure to recognize the distinction between parental thoughts and children’s needs; b) desire for revenge against me (ex-husband); c) extreme narcissism; d) Guilt-attempt to deflect attention from her own failings as mother and wife; e) Insecurity-fearing that Aditya will like his father more than his mother; f)Paranoia – feelings that the other parent is fostering alienation; g) History of poor or absent relationship with at least one parent – V*******  V***** was born when her mother was only 13 years old, and she never had any good relationship with her mother.

5. Alienating environment V*******  V***** created for Aditya is another classic text book case. For example, she created conditions condusive for total alienation of Aditya: a) Isolation – Aditya was completely removed from any relative or friends from either side of his family for 30 months; b) Relocation – Aditya was constantly moved from one city or town to another during the 30 month ordeal in India; c) Kidnapping – Aditya case is classical international parental kidnapping, demonstrating that V*******  V***** had no regard or respect for any law of any country; d) Stripping – a technique generally employed by cults, where earlier symbolic and emotional connections are completely “stripped”. In case of Aditya “stripping” was so bizarre and treacherous, for example removing all photos of Aditya’s father, changing his name, and completely eliminating any contact with father and that side of the family. Furthermore Aditya was so well trained that he stated that “mom does not like the fact that I am thinking about dad”! e) Fear – Because of extreme way in which V*******  V***** vents her anger in an irrational and uncontrolled manner, Aditya wanted to make sure that he is not the target of his mother’s next tantrum. Like isolation, he was becoming more psychologically dependent upon his bad-mouthing mother.

6. Another factor that was responsible for alienation of Aditya was the corruption of his reality. A) Name game - V*******  V*****, similar to cult leaders, understood the power of language. She called her ex-husband, father of Aditya an “evil man” in front of Aditya numerous times over the 30 month period. B) Child Aliases - Furthermore by changing Aditya’s name of Arya, V*******  V***** attempted to devalue any relationship Aditya previously had with his father. C) Repetition -This is akin to implanting false memories in children, and V*******  V***** successfully implanted numerous false memories in Aditya against his father. D) Selective attention – Aditya was pointed out any of the weak qualities of his father and those are the only qualities V*******  V***** talked in front of Aditya. This also included judging father’s behavior out of context. For example, according to Aditya, V*******  V***** told him that his father does not love, because, you see, he has not so far come to see you in the past 3 years! – while all along it was V*******  V***** who kept Aditya away from everyone, including his father. Of course exaggeration and lies were part of the parental alienation, and V*******  V***** fully used them to her advantage. E) Revisionist History – Similar to tactics used by the leaders of soviet Russia, V*******  V***** systematically removed all good memories of Aditya about his father, and only implanted bad memories in his head.

7. Projection: Because of the severe mental illness, projection of her own shortcomings became a potent weapon in the hands of Vijaysree Voora. Since intuitively she knows that she is a criminal, she projected her criminal behavior on other, claiming that others are criminals. In a recent conversation with me, V*******  V***** asked, that…”You should not torture Aditya because I love him”. This statement was quite bizarre as it sounds, and made me wonder, if she tortured Aditya because I loved him so much. Then everything fell into place, and one early morning recently I realized why Aditya was immune to both physical and mental pain. He mental and physical torture was so brutal and complete, he was resigned to the fact the “life is like this, fully of pain and suffering, and better resign to this fact”.

8. No Love for Aditya: After Aditya was transported to USA, I expected V*******  V***** to be in contact with him. But such telephone contact, originally frequent during first few days, trickled down to nothing at the present time. It is very clear, Aditya was used as pawn to torture his father. Once he is no longer available, he is of no use to V*******  V*****, hence she completely cut him off from her life. This is the cruel story of a reckless mother with no love for her son.
I am currently working with Aditya to reverse the damages done to my beloved son. Tender loving care is what he needs, and I plan bring much happiness to my son’s life, and bring back his innocence.
I thank all the Supreme Court Justices for all their help and doing right by Aditya.

Aditya now enrolled in a excellent school district in Texas USA,  and since he is suffering from severe Parental Alienation, he may require prolonged therapy from a child psychologist and tender loving care from his immediately family in the USA.

Parental Child Abduction is the worst form of Child Abuse and yet society and the legal system (where these cases are allowed toi be dragged out for 6-8 years) allows these psychologically challenged non-Indian resident/foreign citizen mothers to hide behind their lies and evade responsibility for their wrongdoings simply and the orders of foreign courts. What makes it worse is that neither the Indian schools that help the abductor hide the child (and even agree to change the kidnapped child's surname) nor the abductors (and their helpers, e.g., relatives and friends, lawyers, doctors and other professionals) care that Parental Alienation Syndrome causes long lasting psychological damage to the child (it can damage his/her ability to enter into mature relationships). Consequently, India has become a safe haven for the NRI/PIO perpetuators of Parental Child Abduction. Therefore, there needs to be a strong deterrent and punishment for the abductor (and anybody that aids the abductor) to stop committing such heinous crimes, and India should sign the Hague Convention Treaty on International Private Law such that what was done to your child over the last couple of years does not happen to other innocent children.

I hope and pray that the same sanity will prevail in other cases of parental child abductions to India and those in charge will take steps to ensure that the psychological well-being of the child and the kidnapped child's relationship with the other parent is not destroyed.

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising has previously stated that India should sign the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction and she also knows that there are several such cases pending in the Indian Courts which involve foreign citizen women of Indian origin where the abductors have jumped jurisdiction and are misusing the laws in India. Hopefully the Government of India will pass this bill, so that kidnapped children will be speedily returned back to their native countries.

God bless Aditya.