Will the Cleveland kidnapping victims be able to recover?

Posted at 10:59 AM, May 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-13 10:59:15-04

Dr. Lawrence Balter discussed whether they will be able to full recover from the ordeal of their 10 years in captivity. 

I can offer a qualified yes.  People are resilient.  We can’t generalize because they are very different women and they were also treated differently by their abductor.   How much of a recovery will depend the extent of the maltreatment and their coping skills.  It will take lots of therapy and loving care from their families.  Good examples are Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard, both of whom endured unspeakable horrors and went on to lead productive lives.

These women will have to process a whole range of emotions ranging from rage and depression, through fear and anxiety.  They will need to shed their victim identities and overcome any unwarranted guilt feelings.  It will be a long and difficult road to recovery, but there is reason to be hopeful.

More women are speaking out these days, and it is empowering for them to turn their experience as prey into action against their predators.  It is an important part of the healing process.