Fathali M. Moghaddam, Ph.D.

Fathali M. Moghaddam

The Psychology of Dictatorship

Kidnapping, Control, and Cleveland

The psychological roots of sexual kidnapping

Posted May 08, 2013

Escape to freedom! This week three young women gained their freedom after being kidnapped and imprisoned for ten years at 2207 Seymour Avenue, West Side neighbourhood, Clevelend. They were kidnapped and jailed in a house owned by Ariel Castro. His two brothers Pedro and Onil were visiting him when the police arrived to arrest Airel. All three brothers are in their 50s. The freedom gained by the three young women is a reminder of other recent 'escapes', such as by Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard, who were also kidnapped and held hostage for long periods. 

In these cases, invariably the kidnappers are older males and the victims are young females.

What is the motivation of these males?

Why do they kidnap young women?

One obvious motivation is sexual, but that is only at the surface level.

The deeper motivation for these kidnappings is control of and domination over another human being.

The kidnapper is not satisfied with sexually attacking the victim; the kidnapper wants to be able to have complete control of the victim. The kidnapper wants to be able to manipulate the victim 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is the sense of absolute control that the kidnapper desires.

Kidnappers such as Ariel Castro are 'little dictators'. Within the boundaries of 2207 Seymour Avenue, there was a 'little dictatorship' for at least ten years, and the three young women were the victims of the dictatorship. 

On a larger scale, the Castro brothers in Cuba have manipulated and had absolute control of Cuba for generations, and the Cuban population have been their victims. 

The 'big dictators' in Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other closed societies are motivated by a drive to practice absolute control, and to manipulate the population of 'their' countries. In these 'big dictatorships', just as in the 'little dictatorship' at 2207 Seymour Avenue, everything the victim population does is under the control of the dictator - 'right' and 'wrong' is decided by the dictator in every little way, from words expressed to clothes worn, from images seen to sounds heard, everything is manipulated. Common to little and big dictatorships is the motivation for absolute control over other humans.

We are rightly horrified by the kidnappings in Cleveland; we must also maintain our sense of outrage and disgust with the 'kidnappings' of entire populations in the big dictatorships, the larger 'closed societies'.

The 'closed society' of 2207 Seymour Avenue broke open - how long will it be before the locked doors of the large dictatorships are broken down?

Click on the link below to watch a short video re 'The Psychology of Dictatorship'

Link: youtube.com