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Hannah Anderson: Survivor
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Guest Post By: Deborah King

Hannah Anderson, who survived 6 days of captivity by James DiMaggio, a close family friend, not only went through an abduction, but also watched as “Uncle Jim” was shot dead by the FBI in her rescue. If that wasn’t enough, she then learned that her mother and young brother and her dog had been brutally murdered, allegedly by DiMaggio. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with, never mind for a 16-year-old cheerleader!


On top of all that, some people have called Hannah a co-conspirator, not a victim, because of her calm demeanor, although she did shed a few tears during her interview on the Today show. I think she is still in shock and hasn’t yet had the chance to process her grief. I would hope she is getting help from a counselor or therapist, preferably one who is trained in dealing with what could possibly be Stockholm syndrome, where the hostage, as a result of trauma, begins to bond with the captor.

I also suspect that “Uncle Jim” may have been grooming Hannah for himself. Although nothing has yet come out about what happened during the six days of Hannah’s captivity, one would not be surprised to learn that there had been sexual contact and psychological control, which would complicate her recovery.

Calling herself a survivor instead of a victim is the way Hannah is holding herself together, especially in her desire to be as strong as her mother was and taught her to be. At the same time, she is very much a teenager, and painting her nails pink for her mother and blue for her brother, as well as her interactions on social media, are healthy forms of expression for Hannah and help her feel connected to her supporters.

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Considering all that she has been through, and the many ways in which her life will never be the same again, Hannah is doing very well and we should continue to hold her in a positive light in our thoughts and prayers.

Attorney, health and wellness expert, and New York Times best-selling author Deborah King is a frequent guest on TV, appearing on shows as diverse as news on ABC and NBC, CNN, and Fox to entertainment shows like Showbiz Tonight and E! Entertainment. Below is a video introducing Deborah further:

Article Photo Credit: Howard Lipin/AP



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