Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and her photographer former beau were held captive in Somalia for over a year by Islamic militants and faced daily rape and sex abuse. When government intervention failed to save Lindhout, her family worked with a private hostage negotiator and paid about $500,000 to get her home.
Lindhout described her ordeal as "almost constant abuse," and said that she had a bit of an awakening during one of her innumerable rapes: "Abdujllah was abusing me, he was hurting me, and I was protecting myself and had an almost out-of-body experience," she explained. "I found myself looking down on myself on the floor. It's pretty clear my captors were products of war and certainly had been shaped by that. Having that understanding helped me. They're human beings with painful stories of their own. It doesn't make them innocent by any means, but they're products of a culture of violence."
As if that weren't horrifying enough of a story, Lindhout hasn't even completely escaped her captors, who subjected her to a slew of sexual abuse throughout her 460 days: One of them even contacted her on Facebook. One wrote to her praising her new work with the Global Enrichment Foundation, which provides higher education to women in Somalia.
"The fact that they know about the work I'm doing now … that I have chosen compassion, that they could see that they didn't break me — that's the best justice I could have."
Of course, another great justice to have is a movie deal with an Oscar-nominated starlet like Rooney Mara playing you. Here's hoping Mara learns to stretch those smile muscles, because otherwise the stoic, oft-scowling actress may find the positive-thinking Lindhout to be her most challenging role yet.