A Stolen Life

“I don’t believe in hate. To me it wastes too much time. People who hate waste so much of their life hating that they miss out on all the other stuff out here.” 

Who hasn’t heard of the Jaycee Dugard case? An eleven year old girl kidnapped on her way to school. The horrors she faced while captive are outlined throughout this book. Jaycee writes her experiences, and then shares a reflection on how the events make her feel looking back. These reflections bring reality to her abuse and how it affects her long term. We often see kidnap victims returned to their family with a big party and media outlets splashing it everywhere but what happens after the newness wears off? She is left to return to a life that she hasn’t lived since she was 11 years old. She has daughters, and has never made real choices of her own. She has to learn to drive, learn to rely on herself, and cope with the sexual abuse that became normal for her. She felt sorry for her kidnappers, and wanted to do what was best for them. Changing an entire mindset takes time.

This book is horrifying. I would be concerned about anyone who felt it wasn’t. She was 11 years old the first time he raped her. She thought that being with someone was lying next to them. Her first child was born when she was 14 years old. As her kidnapper began to use drugs the abuse became worse. He asked her to have sex with a dog. This is a CHILD. He believed that by living out his fantasies with her, he would not harm anyone else. She was his salvation, and the angels told him what he was doing was right. He was a master manipulator, and Jaycee truly believed that she must suffer the abuse to save others. Another horrifying truth is that his wife never said a word. She knew what he was doing and let it happen. She had several opportunities to let Jaycee go, but chose to keep her locked up and parade Jaycee’s children around as her own.

The most frustrating part of this book is the failure of parole officers, psychiatrists, and numerous other people to find the truth. He believed he was smarter than law enforcement and that he would never be caught. They would live their life as a family. It scares me that the world has people like this in it. At this very minute something of this nature could be occurring and we are blind to it. I know it must have been hard for her to write this book, but I am so glad she had the courage to speak out. This is a book for anyone who feels like they have been through too much and can’t make it back. Not only did she make it through, but she has founded an organization “to be of service to families that have suffered a familial or non-familial abduction or other trauma; to spread the message of compassion and awareness through educational programs; to encourage the collaboration of various entities to provide “Protected Spaces” for families to heal.” Here is a link to check it out: http://thejaycfoundation.org/

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