CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Amanda Berry's escape Monday was the first time she left the property of a Cleveland home in ten years.
"It speaks to the real resiliency and the real courage of women that are in her spot that they would do that because the ultimate fear is if it fails that they would be killed," says Dr. Connie Best of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center in Charleston.
According to investigators, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were beaten and raped. Officials say chains and ropes were found in the home. Best says while the women are physically free, the long term struggle will be overcoming the psychological control Ariel Castro had over them.
"They are subjected to extreme physical abuse, often sexual abuse, dehumanizing acts that basically sets the stage for if they don't do exactly what their captors tell them, they are fearful they will be killed."
Best says while it's difficult for some to understand why they weren't able to escape years earlier, in her opinion, this is not a case of "Stockholm Syndrome," which is where a victim may show sympathy or loyalty towards his or her captor.
"What you see in those behaviors is really driven by high levels of fear and anxiety, and they're worried for their life, and even when it appears that the situation has ended, they are still not really able to grasp that, and so they're not going to do anything that would aggravate they're safety situation from their captors."
Best says Berry had to think of her daughter, who was born in captivity. Best believes through therapy Berry and her daughter can move forward.
"It is confusing. Their father is the person who perpetrated these crimes, and a lot of people often think this would not be a normal mother-child relationship, but that is her child."