Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Stolen Life ...by Jaycee Dugard

If something of yours is stolen, you'd feel a sense of loss. The intensity of the feeling would indicate how precious that something is. But what if, it's your life that's stolen? Would you feel that sense of loss? You're alive and you do stuff which might not be normal to most people but because you've been doing it for so long, it feels normal. It's hard to imagine how a stolen life that lasts 18 years can feel like cos by a couple of years, everything would be so hazy.

I remember reading about her rescue not too long ago. It made news worldwide because of the length of time she had been in 'captivity'. She was kidnapped when she was 11 years old, turned into a sex slave by this demented man, Phillip Garrido and his wife for the rest of the next 18 years. And in that time, she had 2 daughters, the first being born when she was 14 and the second 3 years later when she was 17. It's hard to imagine that a person can sink so low to such beastly acts. And that another person can be an accomplice to such acts. And our laws? Do we give people second chances? Jaycee was abducted by a repeated offender on parole. Parole officers visited him. He even went back to prison in the 18 years. And they did not find out about her.

And he was all her world for the first few months. Later it expanded to include Nancy, his wife. So how would one know that their life had been stolen, when all that you get and know are just 2 people? It's hard to imagine. And the horrors of his sexual runs, how he used her, yet interspersing those abusive moments with rather normal everyday mundane activities. There were pets for her and the kids. She was even allowed to go out on trips to Walmart and to do her nails very much later in her captivity. By then she could have escaped but did not know that she could. She even had Internet connection where she downloaded materials for her children as she homeschooled them. Her world was what Phillip painted it to be. And that despite all the horrible things that he did to her, the rest of the world out there was bad.

Yet I find it amazing, her love for her kids. She wanted them to have an education. She searched for materials on the Net, printed them and organised their learning, despite her own little education. But I realise that even when a life is stolen and you seem to lose everything, not everything is lost. Even though she became Alissa, she never forgot her name or her mother. How do you go back to that one moment of your life when everything was frozen in your memory while the same everything has moved on?

But I wonder too, how she would be if the nightmare had gone on. Would she totally lose herself? Would she forever lose Jaycee and become Alissa?

Book 18. This is the second consecutive book (randomly picked) on the subject of abuse.  It's a memoir, written in a candid way, confusing at times but poignant nevertheless. It's a story of hope too, hope for the victim and her family. I cannot imagine the anguish that her mother had to go through. And coming from one who had just 5th grade education, I think it's quite amazing how she had managed to pick up her life as she went along.

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