Reclaiming Life The Jaycee Dugard Way


What survivors teach us about moving on with life after tragedy.

Recently, there has been an influx of success stories from women reclaiming their lives after being kidnapped/ or raped. These heroines have handled their traumatic experiences with such poise, such patience. Those who have mesmerized us as of late are Elizabeth Smart and Carlina White. Jaycee Dugard, once a victim of kidnapping and rape, is no exception.

Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped at age 11, had spent years living at the mercy of her kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

Upon law officials discovering her identity, she had already given birth to two daughters by Garrido. Although for some living in the spotlight may work, for Dugard living off the grid suits her and her daughters best.

Setting the precedent for other survivors, women like Smart—who reported that she is attending college and is now engaged— and Dugard give others hope by overcoming their attackers in their own way. Dugard also reminds us that although motherhood was forced upon her, doing what’s best for her children is just as important to her as it is for others. Although she had no say so in their conception, she is loving her daughters through it all.

Instead of focusing on the tragedy, the hell she called life for 18 years, she is moving forward with her daughters. “I think in time as they get older, they'll know how to deal with it better, and that would be the time that we would come out," she said in an ABC interview with Diane Sawyer.

According to an MSN article, “Dugard has been working to build the JAYC Foundation, which aims to support families dealing with abduction and other tragedies. She wrote a best-selling memoir last year, "A Stolen Life," which recounts her years in captivity.”

In addition, the article added “Dugard also made her first public appearance last weekend at a star-studded New York awards ceremony held by fashion designer and humanitarian Diane von Furstenberg.” It was at this ceremony that Dugard and Oprah Winfrey received an award for their achievements.

One critical point Dugard also made was admitting that she was in therapy. Many make the mistake of not seeking professional help after harrowing experiences. Fortunately, Dugard has the support of her family and so many others who care for her well-being.

Thus, Dugard serves as a role model for many. Although she’s received an award and the praise of many, it’s her determination, her drive that compels others who wrongfully suffered to cope and move on.

Clinging to life, Dugard insisted that the anguish and distress she once felt subsides daily. Her focus is not on the Garridos, nor the years stolen from her. Her focus is clinging to the strength she found within and letting the rest go.

A task many find difficult to do, Dugard reassured Sawyer and the world when asked if she often thought about the nightmare she overcame. Emphatically, she declared, “It's not with me every day."

This let others know that tragedy doesn’t have to haunt your waking moments. It shouldn’t devour you. Otherwise, your attacker wins. As a result, Dugard and others have taught us, inspired us and motivated us.

In addition, survivors show us that the best way to cope and move on is to be surrounded by those who love and offer support. With them, survivors find a way to do what others deem impossible, reclaim their lives.