After years of starvation and abuse, can the 13 Turpin children mentally recover from their horrific ordeal at the hands of their parents? A top psychologist us tells us if there’s hope.
The 13 Turpin children may never be able to live a totally normal life after years of torture and starvation at the hands of their parents David, 56, and Louise, 49. The malnourishment alone has caused damage to the bodies and brains as they grew up without proper nutrition. It’s going to be quite some time before we know the long-term effects of their horrific ordeal. “We need to give these victims at least a year to come out the shock. I want people to give them a year to kind get to their base before there are any decisions made on how impaired this has left them. Every case is different but it is very common to have severe cognitive deficits from extreme torture,” psychologist Rebecca Bailey tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY.
Rebecca helped kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard after she escaped her captors, following 18 years of being kept prisoner and raped repeatedly. She and now sits on the advisory board the JAYC Foundation and tells us that “In a state of terror your body is in extreme fight or flight or it shuts down the system completely and you have what’s called learned helplessness. That’s how longterm child abuse can lead to cognitive deficits,” which seem to be affecting the Turpin siblings according to authorities.
The fact that the Turpin children — ranging in age from 2 to 29 — were so malnourished has resulted in growth and development issues for both their bodies and brains. A 29-year-old victim weighed just 82 pounds and the 17-year-old who bravely escaped and alerted police to their terrifying ordeal appeared to be around 10-years-old to the responding officers because she was so small and emaciated. “Nutrition plays a big part. When we feed the body we feed the brain and when we starve the body the brain gets starved,” Rebecca continues. “In addition a lack stimulus restrict the brain development, the neuropathways all suffer. Immobility, or being tied up, also cause long-term effects on the brain.” The siblings were often shackled to their beds and other furniture as forms of torture and punishment.
Prosecutors have revealed that a number of the Turpin children suffered cognitive damage because of their starvation. Rebecca says that its going to take time to see how permanent it actually is. “There are likely going to be lifelong challenges for these victims, but they really need at least a year to see where they are going to be on the continuum,” she tells us. “It may be mental processing that suffered. But there is lots of hope for recovery. Huge improvements can be made.”
HollywoodLifers, do you think the Turipin siblings will ever be able to fully recover from what they went through?