Wednesday, 8 May 2013

It is not "over"

yet. It will never be "over" for some people.
On seeing the news that three young women had been "rescued" from captivity the Senior Cat said to me, "They will never get over it."
He is right. They may learn to live with what has happened to them but it will always be there.
Being kidnapped and held like that would be even worse than being held in prison as an innocent person. At least if someone is held in prison family members will almost certainly know where someone is and that they are alive. 
Kidnapping is different. The questions are different too. Where are you? Are you dead or alive? If you are alive then are you injured or ill? How are you being confined? For writers of fiction it is a scenario with endless possibilities. 
The action usually takes place on the outside - from the point of view of those endeavouring to find the kidnapped person. That's understandable as more can happen there. 
I do wonder though at the mental torture the kidnapped person must go through. "My family does not know whether I am alive" must produce the most tremendous guilt feelings. The girl whose mother has died during her incarceration will almost certainly wonder whether she is responsible for her mother's death - simply because of the worry she caused her mother. All of them will wonder whether if they had tried harder they could have escaped sooner. They may even feel guilty about having betrayed their captors. The human mind does funny things at times.
Returning to the world will not be easy. There will be so many things they are not used to, everyday things like handling money, crossing a road, talking freely to other people, being able to make their own decisions and many more.
It will take months, perhaps years, to sort the mess out and they may always need help. We probably will not learn much more - although no doubt someone, somewhere is preparing to offer a substantial sum for "the story". 
I was reminded however, just as I was reminded when the Dugard and Kampusch cases came to light, of other people in other sorts of captivity we rarely recognise. I remember offering condolences to a woman whose husband had just died. She looked at me and told me she was glad he was dead - and so were her children. They later agreed with their mother. He had held them in a type of captivity for years. He had controlled their every move and watched every cent that was spent. Their house was bare. The children had grown up without toys. He would phone his wife several times a day - at the expense of his workplace. He told her that it was because he cared for her. In reality it was to ensure that she never left the house.
When their lifestyle came to light other people wondered why she had not left him but, now knowing other things, I realise it would not have been a simple matter of walking out on him. He controlled so much it would never have happened. Even now the woman finds it hard to make decisions and to spend money that is not absolutely essential. Her teenage children still do not mix readily but they do have plans for the future.
I know there must be many other families like that, although perhaps few are as extreme. It makes me wonder about the word "captivity". It is a word that few people really understand.

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