Stockholm, Balamban: when victim defends victimizer

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

STOCKHOLM syndrome was derived from a 1973 robbery in Stockholm, Sweden where four hostages, fearing physical harm and believing they had no means of escape, bonded with their captors, even defending them against the police.

In 1974, Patty Hearst, 19, a US heiress, was kidnapped. Two months later, she joined her kidnappers in a bank robbery.

What has the syndrome to do with the case of Casiano Apduhan, 45, suspected cult leader and arrested last March for illegally detaining Emma Nepumoceno, 33, in his house in Balamban, Cebu?


To refute Casiano’s defense and Emma’s claim that she stayed with him for five years on her free will, prosecutors presented an expert to prove she was suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

There’s a difference: Abroad, Patty Hearst was charged with crime committed with the captors during captivity. Here, it’s the captor alone who’s accused of any crime.

Some questions bug the Balamban case:

-- Was the crime perfected although Emma’s resistance later ceased?

-- Or did her consent and support, which continued after the “rescue,” wipe out the crime?

-- Can the detention be proved against the express testimony of Emma, her mom and others that there was no compulsion?


It may seem odd that the victim, who suffered from severe isolation and emotional and physical abuse during captivity, must be psychologically-afflicted again at the trial.

Emma may not be competent to testify about what happened to her. And if the Stockholm theory applied in Balamban, must she face another ordeal in prosecuting her victimizer?


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 19, 2014.


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