I've been following the Jaycee Dugard case coming out of California for various reasons. First, it's an unprecedented case. The young girl was kidnapped as a child and 18 years later found--alive. Her kidnapper raped her, impregnated her at least twice (she now has two children), and transformed her life in ways most of us could not imagine. And second, it's clear that she has quite the ordeal to overcome.
It will take time. It will take her family's patience. It will take, as news reports are rightly suggesting, a lifetime of therapy. And the issues she'll have to face may not be textbook stuff. Therapists will have to consult each other. Her family will likely misunderstand. And her children will have their own issues, creating an even greater challenge.
Jaycee Dugard will need to rely on everything I teach here--and much, much more--to overcome what those outside of her circumstances probably see as horrific. Even those who are and will continue to be charged with helping this young mother re-enter "normal" society may never fully understand how she sees it.
But I watched the taping here on "Good Morning America" this morning of one of the kidnapper's prior victims. In the mid-70s, a woman named Katie Callaway Hall was also raped by this man. He was convicted of that crime and sent to prison--a 50-year sentence just for the rape conviction. He (and pardon me for not including his name; I don't wish to give the guy any further recognition) received a life sentence for the kidnapping charge, the news report suggested. Sadly, and for reasons only the legal system can explain, he was let out after less than 11 years. The criminal, a registered sex offender, went on to commit the same crime again. Jaycee Dugard was allegedly his victim this time, and possibly her two children as well. Police continue to investigate if there are others.
As someone who has experienced sexual abuse, these kind of cases disturb me for obvious reasons. But I know we can learn from them as well. Hall is a good example of what we can learn. When asked what she might tell her rapist if she ever saw him again, though holding back what might have been much stronger language, she responded with the word that says it all: