Why Didn’t Abused Wisconsin Teen Seek Help?

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Madison teen who was starved, beaten and sexually abused for years had run away on several occasions, and said she used to sneak outside and dig in the garbage for food.

Some might question why, if she had access to the outdoors, she never knocked on a neighbor’s door or otherwise sought help.

One national expert cautions against second-guessing the actions of someone who has been terrorized. Ernie Allen is with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He says children develop coping mechanisms that help them survive, even if the mechanisms seem odd to an outside.

Other abused and abducted kids have reacted similarly. For example, a Missouri boy was abducted and brutalized, yet even when his kidnapper gave him some freedoms he never went to police.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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