Wednesday, September 29, 2010


You may wish to skip this post, and I don't blame you. Aware of more than one story like that of Jaycee Dugard, I was compelled to collect them last night. I don't usually feature such horrible crimes in Quigley's Cabinet - and have chosen to focus on the survivors, rather than the human monsters who imprisoned and impregnated them - but when another case appeared in the weird news just after I finished compiling my list, I knew today was the day...

Jaycee Dugard, United States
Jaycee was kidnapped within site of her California home at the age of 11 in 1991. She was forced to live in a tent behind her abductor's house for 18 years before she was rescued in 2009 and her captors imprisoned. Jaycee was raped and gave birth to 2 daughters, who were raised thinking she was their older sister. They are now teenagers and living with their mother out of the public eye.

Elisabeth Fritzl, Austria
In a case to which all others are compared, Elisabeth was held captive from the age of 18 by her father and spent the next 24 years in a concealed part of the basement of the family home. He physically abused her and raped her repeatedly, resulting in the birth of 7 children and 1 miscarriage. One child died at birth, 3 were raised upstairs by Elisabeth's father and mother, and the other 3 were imprisoned with her in the basement. She convinced him to take one of the girls to the hospital when she became ill, and this triggered the discovery of his monstrous crimes, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. After the discovery, Elisabeth, her children, and her mother (who soon became estranged because of her passivity during the horrific events) spent several months in a local clinic receiving medical and psychological treatment. They released a statement to the community: "We, the whole family, would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for sympathy at our fate. Your compassion is helping us greatly to overcome these difficult times, and it shows us there also are good and honest people here who really care for us. We hope that soon there will be a time where we can find our way back into a normal life." Elisabeth and her kids now live well-protected in an unnamed village.

Laura Mongelli, Italy
was forced to live in a dark room with no electricity from the age of 9 until his arrest in 2009, 25 years later. She had been repeatedly raped by her father and her brother, who also abused his own 3 daughters.

Lydia Gouardo, France
Lydia w
as imprisoned for the first 28 years of her life by her stepfather. She spent much of her time locked in the attic, was tortured from the age of 8 and raped, and gave birth to 6 children. She escaped in 1999 when her father died and has since written an autobiography.

Unnamed victim, Australia
In what is referred to as the "Moe case," a daughter was kept a virtual prisoner in the family home and sexually assaulted almost every day for three decades, beginning at age 11. She gave birth to 4 children by her father, who was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to 22 years in prison for incest.

Natascha Kampusch, Austria
Natascha (pictured) was kidnapped at the age of 10 and held in captivity for 8 years in a cellar beneath her abductor's garage.
"I always had the thought: surely I didn't come into the world so I could be locked up and my life completely ruined," she said of her ordeal, although she would not discuss her sexual abuse. She escaped in 2006, after which her captor threw himself in front of a train. Natascha donates the money she receives for interviews, has written a biography, and has her own talk show. She now owns the house in which she was imprisoned, and there are plans to make a movie about her life.

Unfortunate themes running through these stories are the failure of the mothers to intervene and the opportunities the police missed to uncover the abuse. The women above survived their abusive childhoods, but these are just the ones who came to light.

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