On April 14th, 2014, the Nation woke up to a shocking news of the abduction of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, which became popularly known as Chibok school girls. No fewer than 276 girls were said to have been abducted. Few days into the attack the Boko Haram terrorists group claimed responsible for the attack. And from 2014 when this girls were captured it had been series of protest after another from both local and international calling for their relies, the famous being the #tag ‘bring back our girls’.
Unfortunately, protest for their release did not meet with achievable success. Uptill 2016 most of this girls were still held with their captors, and news fuzzing that they’ve been married to this terrorists. It was not untill 2017 that the Military began to record success, and From 2021 and 2022 the Military have rescued a huge number of this girls and made to unite with their families.
The rescue of these girls Brought back hope to their families. But recently it would appear this hopes are gradually fading as some of this girls have said they want to go back to their captors. Three days ago Wazobia FM station revealed this shocking news in its local news segment, ‘Them Say’. According to this report, the already rescued girls who are now probably united with their families where said to be making moves to return to their former abductors. This followed the same comment the next day by the Inspector General of Police on THISDAY live, when he said ‘Many rescued Chibok girls running back to their abductors’. Responding to this incident, the IG said are a result of Stockholm syndrom and been assimilated and acclimatised.
In this three minutes read we want to look at likely reasons that could lead to this kind of response.
Here we may begin to see society calling for prayers to bind and cast out some Devils which had probably find their way into them during those years of captivity. Well that maybe true, because every sector, every industry, every profession always have their own way of viewing/looking at situations, analyzing them, and aswell providing solutions to them. One is not wrong to guess this are those of the religious. But religious formulas are not only the measures of handling issues of society. This is why we have the Churches/Mosque and we also have the hospitals and also the Schools, and all this come in their own unique role.
There are often three stages that comes with this kind of situation. First, ‘the Fight back!’ This are moments when the captives are alien to the new environment and aware of themselves. She is fighting and she is hopeful that it would win in some gains and eventually things would change for standing brave. Then with time it moves to the next, what we would call ‘the Mid-term!’ This is inbetween the first and the last. Like a sandwich. First of you have been broken, first of hope lost, you are inbetween holding on or taking your last option to survive the growing threat or risk loosing your life. It is the most critical and traumatic, because the most devastating feeling is to watch all you ever treasured being taking from you: your hopes, your aspirations, your dreams, your very self being reaped. If we have this girl for example who’d vowed to keep her chaste for this glorious day when she’d unveil it to her man after marriage we would be having this girl who would watch this being taken just to survive. And finally to the last, ‘the Acceptance stage!’ At this point the individual is finally broken. It is no longer Leah, or Hannah, or Bitara that is there, it is a ghost, a shadow of oneself, a broken mirror and a consumed individual. In this case, it is no longer a student but a lover, it is no longer a woman but a mother, it is no longer a once innocent teenager but an individual who has now tasted fruits of the wild garden. And so we would be making the mistake to reach for Leah or Hannah or Bitara here without finding a way back to stage one.
This is where the job is and the most part experts do not see. Our expert things they are talking to Leah or some married girls who have just returned with kids. But no, they are talking to deep people now, and to use in a more harsh words they are talking to people who now live in their own World.
Then came this sudden surprise, a sudden twist of hate into love and acceptance and accommodation from this once perceived devils. One thing we do not realize is that, the same deep place which hatred can fill love and affection can also fill. One little example, suppose you create a ditch in the raining season, the rain has the ability to fill it up with water. But the same goes, during the dry season, the sand has the ability of filling it up aswell through days of voracious sandy winds. Here we see the issue of Natural disposition coming to play, the fact that the female sex are weaker and easy to convince describes the ordeal. Looking at reasons, it is no longer clinical to conclude on issues of Hypnotization or Stockholms syndrom or acclimatisation because post traumatic experience are often a deep place and some of this behaviours often comes from the un-realization of those involve (the government and solution providers) of these place and that it is, and putting adequate measures in place to address them.
How have the government or stake holders involved handled it over the months or years? Few week ago Washington Stand Columnist contributor Arielle Del Turco captured something similar of this post traumatic behaviour in her Article ‘This Young Woman Survived an ISIS Attack. Then She Was Euthanized in Belgium’. In her ‘This Young Woman Survived an ISIS Attack…’ Turco pointed out this kind of traumatic experience and some of the unusual come back, and how they do in unusual ways. In her case she wrote about a Belgian lady who was a victim of Bomb Explosion. She said Although she (the victim) came out unhurt she could not survive the trauma of that experience until she opted for a voluntary death, popular known as euthanasia. In her writing Turco accused the Belgian government, the department of health, and everyone involved in managing that case for not utilizing all medical and therapeutic options to save the ladies life. She said Shanti would not have opted for a death wish had all agencies involved were on toe.
This is almost the case, what Turco is saying, is, all options for helping this girls have not been put in place enough. Issues of this texture are not only managed by cash or gifts or material reliefs or visit of government officials which is the most approach government adopt. Turco wants us to see, beside medication, there are other far reaching measures that can be explored to help this now young women get back their life. That issues of this kind of behaviour aren’t often about hypnotizations but that traumatization takes alot of shapes, from unlove of self, to unlove of things, to unlove of people: those who they percieve to be responsible and even to those providing solution.
We must begin to see it is not just about hypnotization. First there is issue of hypnotization, which is true, Which result in most of this behaviours. But then government/those involved should not be caried away by hypnotization theories. Issues of this magnitude victims believe no one understands even when they think they do. So when we try to emphasize the hypnotic syndroms this is the very thing we do not see, this is the very side we fail to see and to touch, and so make the whole philosophy of hypnotization an inhuman face. We must begin to see beyond issues of being hypnotized to a people who feel betrayed and abandoned and grew to find love from this unusual place. As I’ve pointed earlier with issues of our human relationship and how they can affect us, three years with strangers even even if it was a terrorist is no longer stranger, alot of things have now entangled, most of this girls returned with babies, and at some point we would have this girls battling with questions as ‘ Mom where is Dad?!’. Children are a great means of bond between people and it doesn’t matter if they come from rape or legal intercourse, which in this case are both.
Here we see victims who have been through alot for over three years, and some, a whooping six years plus. Passing through all those stages alone, no government showed up, they at one point have felt the nation betrayed them, and never you think to erase that just by showing up with a smile.
But all hope is not lost. We cannot draw the curtains on them. Rather we should ask, what methods have been put in place to rehabilitate this individuals, how effective are they, and most importantly how sincere are the government and those involve to achieve this!. This is not just about drugs, we are talking about a healing process, which would take alot of resources, alot of commitment, and especially alot of right approach. Here we see Turco’s opinion of not exhausting every options of both medical and psychological therapies because most times the issues are not just about drugs but putting into use innovative newer methods, and other non pharmaceutical approaches. It is in this process that damage level are accessed.
Newer non pharmaceutical approach could come as engaging experts: motivational psychologists; surrounding them with people who generate positive energy, and we must not mistaken this to necessary mean family members but we mean people who this girls feel they can relate with, open up and share their fears and experiences; good spirited people with sound spiritual backgrounds and working homes can adopt them and offer them sanctuary for a period of time; or, government or ngo’s can support finding a new environment for them outside their immediate environment or state to start all over again. This are genuine ways/approach to help this kids beyond just talking on the news. This are frantic steps that have proved effective over time.
Jerry Okon Jonah is a political affair analyst, motivational speaker, and Life Coach. He Writes from Abuja.
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