Friday, August 28, 2009
Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive
When I first heard about this case the name Colleen Stan leaped into my mind. Many people either don’t know or don’t remember Colleen but I still remember that case. It was the summer of 1977 and she was hitchhiking from Eugene, Oregon., through northern California. Hitchhiking was de rigor for teens back then. Life was an adventure and we were all ten feet tall and bullet-proof convinced that we could spot people out to do us harm. I used to hitchhike and despite several unnerving experiences it took seeing the movie The Chain Saw Massacre to make me stop.
Colleen was kidnapped by Cameron Hooker and his battered wife Janice. As a matter of fact the fact that the wife and baby were in the car when they pulled over made her feel even more certain that this was going to be a “safe ride.” It was not.
She was subjected to seven years of torture and sensory deprivation. She was made a sex slave, kept locked in a box 23 hours a day and brainwashed into believing that an underground network of sadists would recapture her if she attempted to escape.
As a claustrophobic this book was extremely difficult for me to read. As a rape victim it was doubly difficult to read. When she did escape, she simply walked away. It was his wife Janice who finally helped free her and turn in her husband. It was truly a frightening story of the depths depravity the human soul could sink..
It is the fear that every parent has. A stranger snatches our child. Yet statistically stranger abductions are extremely rare. There are about 100-200 stranger abductions a year according to the most recent report. Certainly we know about the ones that captured the headlines. Adam Walsh and Elizabeth Smart are two such examples. Most child kidnappings here in the US are committed by family members or people known to the child’s family. Yet when we look away for just one second and our child is gone we feel our hearts seize up in our chest imagining the worse.
This is why the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard highlights that we are not doing enough as a nation to protect our children, whether it be one child, one hundred, or 1 million, each child has the right to a childhood that keeps them safe from people who would abuse them. Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 29, was 11 when she was grabbed from a bus stop on her way to school by Phillip and Nancy Garrido outside her home in Meyers, near Lake Tahoe, on June 10, 1991. She hadn't been seen since.
When your child disappears there is always hope. You remember cases like Steven Stainer and Elizabeth Smart who were found after most people would assume that their child was dead. When my son was still a toddler one of my best friend’s had her nephew stolen from the hospital as an infant and after awhile I was certain that the child would never be recovered. He was but only by chance.
Now the details of her captivity are being covered in the press and we discover that this man was actually on probation and the State did not do its due diligence in watching him. Why I am not surprised? How many times do I have to open the paper and discover that a murder was out on supervised probation? That a rapist had a long history of rapes but he cut off his ankle bracelet so he could rape again? Do the people who decry the warehousing of people in prison have any sympathy for the victims or are they allowed to become the victim yet again and teach the perpetrator how to avoid detection next time? Does it have to happen to their child? Do they have to burry their child knowing that an adult stole her innocence before they realize that this isn’t something that we can “cure”?
I will be following this story because as rape victim myself my heart cries out for other women, not matter their age, who’ve been violated by this horrible crime.