Jaycee Dugard : A Role Model
On Thursday Sept. 24th Jaycee Dugard's lawyers confirmed that if in the event of a trial, she would testify against her captors. 18 years ago Jaycee Dugard was abducted by Phillip and Nance Garrido while trying to catch a school bus. She was kept in a shed in their backyard and gave birth to two children by Garrido. In August Dugard walked into a police station to call her mother and unintentionally turned herself in. ABCNews covers the story more in depth; (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moggWYQMAPo).
The fact that Jaycee will testify in the event the case goes to trial is huge. Not only is she a victim of rape and kidnapping, something most victims have difficulty even admitting, but she has grown to view the Garrido's as parental figures. On top of this, she has two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido, and believes that he loves her like a wife. For someone who claims to have had no intention in turning in her captors, I'm amazed by her willingness to assist in their persectution. CNN.com reports that Phillip Garrido currently faces 29 different felony charges, which include rape and kidnapping of another girl. In the Nevada courts if he is found guilty of ONE of those charges he faces 25 years to life in prison. If the case were to go through a court and Jaycee were to testify, this would be an amazing demonstration for victims of rape and kidnapping everywhere. The majority of rape incidences go unreported because many victims are too afraid to do so. For Dugard to testify in the face of her captors demonstrates amazing courage and makes her a role model for women, and in some cases men, who are also victims. After doing work with organizations such as the YWCA (www.ywca.org), I, personally, am sickened by how many people get away with sexual and physical abuse and the only way to put an end to it is to confront. Dugard is doing just that.
While Dugard does not completely grasp the concept of the situation regarding the past 18 years, she understands that what happened was not an act of love but was very, very wrong. As attorny Scott McGregor says, "There is no question that she knows that terrible and wrong things were done to her and that those people must be held accountable".
In regards to her daughters, they have never been to a school or a docter, nor has Jaycee in the last 18 years. The girls have been recieving tutoring from Phillip Garrido, obviously not a sufficient educations. Both the girls and their mother will begin to pursue and education. McGregor states ""This is a woman whose [own] formal education ended in the fifth grade," he said. "She has a brain that she wants to develop, so it's a very positive thing." In addition, the public has sent approximately $100,000 to the family in order to pay for the girls' education. I think the story of Jaycee Dugard is an extrememly positive message to all that by actually confronting the issue and rising about the trauma, it is possible for life to move past it and almost start over again. Jaycee and the girls have begun to spend time with Jaycee's mother, and are "working to make life as normal as possible and are making up for lost time".
The CNN report can be found at http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/09/24/jaycee.dugard/index.html.