Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

In 1991, Phillip and Nancy Garrido kidnapped Jaycee Dugard, age eleven, as she walked to her schools bus, just steps away from her home in South Lake Tahoe California. Eighteen years later, she, along with her eleven and fifteen-year-old daughters were discovered and returned to freedom. As I read this statement I feel a deep black hole widening in my chest. Although I now know much of the horrifying detail of Jaycee Dugard's hours, days, weeks, months, years of torture, rape, and captivity at the hands of the Garridos, as told in her recent book, A Stolen Life: A Memoir, I have a hard time understanding that humans are capable of such beastly, soulless behavior.

Dugard lived in a tent in the Garrido’s back yard, and gave birth to her two daughters there. Garrido’s wife Nancy would go to playgrounds and film little girls doing the splits and showing their panties to take back to her husband. Garrido told Dugard that by being there for him to rape, literally for days on end (he called them “runs”), she was saving some other little girl. The depravity of the situation is unimaginable.

The book was amazingly digestible considering the topic, and there were some interesting elements that came out in her story. One was her obsession with cats – the only good thing in her life. They didn’t hurt her, lie or expect anything from her. They were all she had until she gave birth to her daughters, who she was forced to treat as her sisters.

Also of interest, Jaycee didn’t feel that she could or should escape because who would take her back or love her after what she’d been through. Her captors would abuse her horribly. then tell her they loved her and bring her gifts. They became her world; the Stockholm syndrome, where the captive grows to love their captor, tragically played out.

A series of government errors, bureaucracy, and circumstance served to keep the horrible situation in place, the monster Garrido prowling, and Dugard secreted in his backyard. It finally ended in 2009, when Dugard and her children were discovered and returned to her family. The Garridos (pictured) were sentenced to a combined 467 years imprisonment. In 2010 the State of California approved a $20 million dollar settlement with Jaycee, to compensate her for "various lapses by the Corrections Department [which contributed to] Dugard's continued captivity, ongoing sexual assault and mental and/or physical abuse."

To watch Dianne Sawyers 47 minute July 10th exclusive interview with Jaycee Dugard you have to tolerate a series of commercials, including Bali Bras and Chase credit cards, but if you haven’t seen it and are curious about the story, here's the link.,

Don’t read the book, it is just too horrifying, but do tell your children that you love them with every fiber of your being, and that there is nothing they could do, nothing that could happen to them, nothing that anyone else could do to them, that could make you stop loving them.

The thing that Jaycee always remembered about her mother, the long eighteen years they were separated, was that her mom didn’t kiss her goodnight the night before Jaycee was abducted.

1 comment:

  1. What this young girl went through is not only amazing, but should never have to be experienced by anyone! Jaycee is truly an inspiration...and a real survivor...what a testimony of strength...and to her mother what a gallant woman...never giving up hope.