May 8th, 2013
11:11 PM ET

Psychological trauma in captivity

Laura Cowan survived an abusive polygamous marriage for four years. She was beaten, tortured and mentally traumatized before she escaped. Now she counsels other victims who were held captive.

Cowan knows from experience why a victim doesn't run away even when given the opportunity to leave. She says victims can suffer from Stockholm Syndrome; they try to please the captor to survive.

Stressing the importance of speaking out and getting involved, Cowan credits her own escape to a stranger at the post office who recognized she was in trouble.

It was only after eight years of therapy that Cowan was able to regain her voice, share her story and help others. She tells Anderson Cooper that healing is possible, but takes time.

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