The damsel in distress is being terrorized by an evil villain, just as the courageous hero shows up to save her.
It’s a classic narrative that plays out in movies, TV shows, books, fairy tales, news stories, etc. We are so used to seeing these roles in the media that we don’t recognize when we are playing them. In real life. And it wreaks havoc on our relationships.
It’s called the Drama Triangle.
The victim is terrorized by the persecutor, just as the rescuer shows up to save the day.