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www.wmfd.com - For the first time since they were rescued more than two months ago from captivity in Cleveland, we hear directly from Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. }}" />

   
 
 
Trauma Psychologist Talks About Cleveland Kidnapping Victims

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 7/11/2013  They're video clips you can't help but be drawn to.   For the first time since they were rescued more than two months ago from captivity in Cleveland, we hear directly from Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight.   Brian Todd combed over phrases, and body language, with a trauma psychologist.   "I just want everyone to know that I am doing just fine," says kidnapping victim Nichelle Knight.   "I'm getting stronger each day, and having my privacy has helped immensely. I ask that everyone continues to respect our privacy and gives us time to have a normal life," says kidnapping victime Amanda Berry.   They're tightly-managed but still sometimes awkward, alternately revealing and closed off, riveting to watch.   I examined the kidnapping victims' You-Tube video with Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, a trauma psychologist from Georgetown University who's dealt with victims of violence for more than 20 years.   "I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family and friends," says Berry.   Brailsford says from the video, Amanda Berry appears to be the most stable and resilient of the three.   "She's also the one who had a child," says Brailsford. "So she had something to connect to during her captivity. And that's very important because captivity is about disconnection and being made helpless."   Brailsford says Michelle Knight seemd the most uncomfortable of all three.   "I may have been through hell and back- but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and with my head held high," says Knight. "What do you make of the fact that she's the only one who alluded to the torture that she went through?" asked CNN's Brian Todd. "You know she's obviously conveying you know the pain and suffering she went through in this period of time. But also it speaks to how her sense of self was destroyed in the process and how determined she is to now create a new identity," says Brailsford.   Asked Brailsford about Gina DeJesus' four-second clip.   "I would say thank you for the support," says DeJesus.   "Eight words from her. Then the parents do the rest of it. What do you make of all that?" asked Todd.   "You know, having grown up for 10 years and she;s the youngest of the three women, under very subordinated, oppressed environment," says Brailsford. "When you're in a situation of learned helplessness for so many years, you don't take initiative. You lose your voice. You lose your sense of identity. because all of that is now shaped by the captor."   Brailsford says she believes it may have been too early for these women to be doing this, because of the fact that unlike a single traumatic event, they have gone through what she calls a "chronic, prolonged trauma," which she says brings about irrevocable change, psychologically.   She says these women look like they're still in a place of shock and numbness.
   
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