Stockholm Syndrome! Are you Aware?

Photo Provided By Hobo Trader

Photo Provided By “Hobo Trader”

Milan Washington , Staff Writer

Every now and again, you may receive those “annoying” Amber Alerts, which is a way to notify the public about the most serious child-abduction cases. Many times the conditions and side effects of these abductions are not exposed or discussed, one is Stockholm Syndrome.

By the most literal definition, Stockholm Syndrome is the feeling of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.

On Saturday, October 21, 2017, Resolve for Rise, a non-profit organization, hosted a teen workshop for Stockholm Syndrome awareness. Resolve to Rise is committed to the safety of children, adolescents, and communities. They strive to provide nationwide education for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention using targeted workshops and symposiums, while also supporting those who have been victimized.

At the event, three guest speakers, Lisa Aguilar, Amelia Fortes, and Justin Castillo, all survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, outwardly spoke about their experiences. Aguilar shared her story about experiencing Stockholm Syndrome, while both Amelia and Justin talked about self-love as motivational speakers.

Aguilar spoke out to share her own personal experience of being a victim of sexual abuse and how she was affected by Stockholm Syndrome. “I hope wholeheartedly no other child or teen becomes a target or is victimized by this type of manipulation by shedding some light on this barely talked about topic,” she said.

In her story, she shared how her captor was a family friend, who she was frequently left alone with. During her time spent with him, his power over her became sexual and extremely dominant. “He held me hostage in my own home through emotional manipulation,” Aguilar remarked.

She soon developed strong feelings for him as he seemed to be a shield from her mother’s abuse. “I became attached out of fear, desperation, and having to grow up in survival mode,” Aguilar expressed.

Aguilar saw him as a hero during a traumatic and difficult time in her life, so she never thought to accuse him. “He made a woman out of me long before I was supposed to be,” she said. ¨I felt robbed of a special part of my formative years and the norms of a teenage life.¨

This man was 16 years older than she but was never charged for his crime.

Alongside Amelia Fortes, Justin Castillo shared that their journey as survivors has led them to the opportunity of speaking out against domestic violence brought a larger range of connections and growth.

“The first thing popped up is that it’s my superpower because even though what happened to me set me back in my self-worth a little, it’s what drove me to actually go through all that personal development,” said Fortes.

As a male survivor of abuse Castillo talks about how in this world it is expected for men to be strong and hide their feelings. “We aren’t supposed to cry we are not supposed to be happy or sad you know that girly stuff,” he expressed. ¨So I always encourage men to show their feelings and be vulnerable.”

“There’s this vicious cycle of one in every three women are abused sexually, verbally, or physically, and every man I’ve ever met doesn’t have a good relationship with their father and that’s sad to me that this is how the world works,” said Castillo.

All three of the survivors were able to find happiness through either forgiveness, creativity, or gratitude. “It makes me unique in the fact that I get to be a voice because you see there a lot of women’s empowerment but there’s not a lot of men’s empowerment,” Castillo said. “It makes me human being able to connect with society.”

Fortes, on the other hand, had the intent of going to the event to teach self-love at the core, where she also explained her theory of what she calls the ¨Sparkle Test¨. Many times people are told to improve their weakness but Fortes pushes people to focus on what makes them look the best.

“Never allow people to tell you different than what you know in your heart,” Fortes said, as a motivational message to Da Vinci students. “What happened to me was not me.”

Many times, individuals can succumb to Stockholm Syndrome if they believe their captor can and will kill them, are isolated from anyone but their captors, or think it is impossible to escape. Victims of Stockholm Syndrome can suffer from severe emotional and physical abuse were responding in a compliant and supportive way is a tactic for survival.

Everyone is encouraged to ask questions about abuse and be aware of the possible situations that could happen. Pushing more teens and the young adults to participate in these workshops could educate and help victims of abuse through a rough time.