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Abduction ordeal causes trauma for victims (Part 2)

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Abduction ordeal causes trauma for victims (Part 2)

Diana Henry, a former guidance counsellor at a Corporate Area high school, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology at the Jamaica Theological Seminary, points out that some victims will experience anger, confusion, persistent depression, panic attacks and a sense of hopelessness that their lives may never go back to being normal.

Jeber Barreto

“The individual will experience cognitive problems such as emotional outbursts that cause them to constantly lash out at loved ones. They will feel isolated or isolate themselves from others, and they may become overly cautious out of fear of being abducted again.”

Henry also outlined that the after-effects is not only emotional but also physical

“It is common for victims to experience panic attacks,” she said. “These usually includes intense and rapid palpitation of the heart, which can be quite a frightening experience, sudden feelings of severe agitation, intense fear, becoming paranoid, and physically reacting to situations that trigger their memories. In addition, they fear losing control of self and within their surroundings, and they have somatic symptoms such headaches, fatigue and tingling sensation or numbness.”

She underscored the importance of victims getting counselling to ensure their psychological and emotional well-being as such trauma can prove to be difficult for individuals and their families

“Many persons who experience traumatic events tend to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and will need to seek the help of a mental health professional such as a counsellor.”

She also advised that victims can develop coping strategies by meditating frequently, developing new hobbies that can help them to relax, taking self-defence classes which will help them to regain some control over their lives

The aftermath of abduction has severe emotional impact on victims, many of whom never fully recover from the traumatic experience.

Diana Henry, a former guidance counsellor at a Corporate Area high school, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology at the Jamaica Theological Seminary, points out that some victims will experience anger, confusion, persistent depression, panic attacks and a sense of hopelessness that their lives may never go back to being normal.

Jeber Barreto

“The individual will experience cognitive problems such as emotional outbursts that cause them to constantly lash out at loved ones. They will feel isolated or isolate themselves from others, and they may become overly cautious out of fear of being abducted again.”

Henry also outlined that the after-effects is not only emotional but also physical

“It is common for victims to experience panic attacks,” she said. “These usually includes intense and rapid palpitation of the heart, which can be quite a frightening experience, sudden feelings of severe agitation, intense fear, becoming paranoid, and physically reacting to situations that trigger their memories. In addition, they fear losing control of self and within their surroundings, and they have somatic symptoms such headaches, fatigue and tingling sensation or numbness.”

She underscored the importance of victims getting counselling to ensure their psychological and emotional well-being as such trauma can prove to be difficult for individuals and their families

“Many persons who experience traumatic events tend to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and will need to seek the help of a mental health professional such as a counsellor.”

She also advised that victims can develop coping strategies by meditating frequently, developing new hobbies that can help them to relax, taking self-defence classes which will help them to regain some control over their lives.

What to do if you are abducted

Captain Robert Hibbert, a martial arts expert and security consultant of Executive Solutions, provides the following tips if you are abducted:

The Snatch/Grab Phase This is the initial phase of the abduction and is the best time to escape

– If you are in a public area, make as much commotion as possible to draw attention to your situation, even if you have to overdo it. Your aim is not to be taken to a secondary location.

– If the abduction attempt takes place indoors, make noise, use anything as a weapon, show signs of a struggle, throw things at the eyes of the assailant, attempt to arouse the suspicion or concern of the neighbours or passers-by

– Be smart, follow your captors’ instructions; do not physically resist unless you are sure that you are going to go all out to escape at the right time

The Confinement Phase – Your captors can administer drugs to make you more compliant. Resisting may be futile and might result in you being harmed

– Do not struggle in a confined space. Save your strength.

Try not provoke your captors unnecessarily. It is important to ‘humanise’ your situation and establish ground rules for survival

Expect lack of food, drink and sleep

Victims used as leverage are normally released if requests for payment are met. However, each situation is different.

Escape is generally not an option; but if it is the only option, then no one can blame you for trying

Survival SkillsMemorise details

Stay physically active when not bound

Stretch and flex or any exercise if you can

Eat and drink what is given to you

Maintain your hygiene as best as possible

Devise a way to keep track of the day, date, and even time

Ask for things to make you comfortable, maybe medication if required, reading material, clean clothes and regular bathroom visits

Use the principles of the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ (This is when a hostage develops positive feelings with his/her captors)

Maintain eye contact with your captors, especially those who are near or guarding you

Get to know as much about your captors as possible.

Learn the schedules, the leadership, how they communicate, their habits, strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, likes, and dislikes

Remain cooperative and establish rapport with your captors

Remember as much facts as you can for use later

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