Patty Hearst was a student at the University of California at Berkeley. On February 4, 1974, she was kidnapped from her apartment. The whole country was in shock. After a few days, a guerrilla organization called Symbionese Liberation Army took responsibility for the kidnapping.
At first SLA demanded that they swap Patty Hearst for their jailed SLA members. That negotiation failed. Then they demanded that Patty’s father, Randolph Hearst distribute seventy dollars worth of food for every needy Californian. This would cost a little over $400 million. Randolph Hearst made arrangements to distribute food throughout the entire San Francisco Bay Area, as a starter. SLA then reneged on their promise to release Patty Hearst. They said the distributed food was of poor quality.
Here comes the twist. Patty Hearst was hit with what is known as “Stockholm Syndrome”. It is a strange psychological occurrence where the hostages start to show slavish admiration of their captors and have positive feelings toward them. This happens even after the hostages are mentally, physically, and sexually abused by their captors. At the same time, they begin to hate people who genuinely like them.
She started to participate with the SLA on some bank robberies. She issued statements that she is committed to SLA’s goals. She changed her name to Tania. She was arrested in September 1975 along with other SLA members.
Famous attorney, F. Lee Bailey defended her in court. He argued that the SLA brain washed her and was forced to participate in bank robberies. The judge found Patty guilty and sentenced her for 7 years in prison. President Jimmy Carter commuted the sentence after 22 months in prison. She was granted full pardon by President Bill Clinton.
Patty Hearst is now married and lives a quiet life with her husband and two daughters. After this episode, the “Stockholm Syndrome” is now being referred to as “Patty Hearst Syndrome”.
Prime candidates for Patty Hearst Syndrome are:
1. People who suffer from severe isolation.
2. People who get depressed a lot
3. People who have had emotional and physical abuse like a battered spouse, incest victim, abused child, prisoner of war, cult victim, kidnapped victim, or a hostage victim.
The earlier they realize (or people close to them realize) they have this syndrome the easier the treatment will be by a psychiatrist.