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This month we bring you:
Jaycee’s experiences are important because she is the only known survivor of a long term stranger abduction to provide the public with such detailed information about her kidnapping, what happened during her captivity, how she survived, and how she now approaches life. She is an inspiring person.
- Jaycee Dugard--No More Secrets
- Jaycee’s Mom Always Had Hope
- UC Berkeley Policewomen Crack the Case
- Lessons from Jaycee’s Experience
JAYCEE LEE DUGARD--NO MORE SECRETS
For 18 years Jaycee Lee Dugard kept her kidnapper’s secrets—that he had kidnapped her when she was 11 years old, that he abused her, fathered 2 daughters through that abuse, and kept them all captive in his backyard.
She has now stepped forward to show her face, and tell this kidnapper’s secrets. In her book, A Stolen Life, Jaycee said that writing the book was extremely difficult. “The more I write, the harder it becomes…I feel that if I don’t, then I continue to protect my kidnapper and rapist.”
Her 2 hour interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer showed a youthful looking 31 year old, who had natural grace and dignity. She has been with her beloved mom, family and friends for 2 years now. She often laughed and joked. She displayed her vast personal strength and courage as she spoke about her ordeal, and in her descriptions of her own actions during her 18 years in captivity.
As for sharing the memories of the worst years of her life, she told Diane Sawyer, “Why not look at it? You know, stare it down until it can’t scare you anymore.”
See highlights of Jaycee’s interview, remembering when she asks to see her mom, click here.
Jaycee writes just as she speaks. She’s straightforward in her descriptions of what happened, there is no sensationalism. She makes it clear she’s not a victim and she’s not at fault. The events of her 18 years were orchestrated by her kidnapper, “I was just a character in his world, a world he created for his own benefit.”
Throughout the years Jaycee often recalled her mom and what her life used to be like. When thinking about her mom, Jaycee would sing to herself songs she and her mom sang. It’s not surprising to learn that Jaycee’s mom, Terry Probyn, also sang those same songs to comfort herself during those 18 years of captivity.
Jaycee describes in great detail what she did in order to survive. She adapted. She learned not to talk back to her kidnapper, not to suggest anything or ask for anything. She learned to be extremely compliant. Her ability to be compliant for 18 years was the key to her survival. And yet she now understands that her compliance may not have always been the best approach to all situations.
“I hope [my kids] grow up with a greater sense of self than I had. I was raised to always be polite to my elders. In most cases this is right, but there are moments in which all of us need to have a backbone and feel that we have the right to say no to adults if we believe they are doing the wrong thing. You must find your voice and not be afraid to speak up. I gave my power to my abductor.”
When Jaycee’s daughters were born, she vowed to protect them. And, she says she was able to do that. At one point she wanted to set up home school hours for her girls, which her kidnapper opposed. She somehow convinced him that this was necessary, and she was allowed to use the Internet to create daily lesson plans and learn enough to teach her girls. (The girls are now students in normal schools.)
Jaycee felt totally under her kidnapper’s control. He abused her from the time she was 11 years old. He was the one who fed her, provided shelter. He made her believe he was protecting her and the girls from an evil world. He told her he had tracking software on the computer, so if she tried to ask for help, he would know. She believed him. He made her change her name to Allyssa and told her never to say the name Jaycee. He told her daughters that his wife was their mom, and that Jaycee was their sister. He took away her identity so she did not feel she had any value. Her lack of self esteem showed in that she “never thought about asking for help.” She never thought anyone would help.
In many ways she was right. One of the most forceful ways she was devalued and not helped was by the Probation Office. During the 18 years of her captivity the house was visited by probation officers 60 times. Please understand, her kidnapper was a registered sex offender who had been convicted of rape. Never once did any of those officers thoroughly search the property and find where Jaycee and her girls were living. At several points different officers even saw the girls or Jaycee. At no point did they ask any questions about who these girls were.
While there were a number of outings, which were always accompanied by her kidnapper or his wife, Jaycee writes, “I could never shake the feeling that one day someone would say, ‘Hey, aren’t you that missing girl?’ but nobody ever did. I was nobody. Nobody saw me.”
Jaycee Lee Dugard achieved her goal of claiming her voice and exposing her kidnapper.
She also wanted to write her story “in hopes that it will be of help to someone facing a difficult situation of their own.” From reading the comments following the broadcast of her interview, it’s clear she has done that. A good number of abuse survivors thanked her for her story.
See Jaycee Dugard Read from Her Book, A Stolen Life,
Jaycee is an inspiration for us all. “I am so lucky and blessed for all the wonderful things that I do have. Life is too short to think about all the things you don’t have.”
JAYCEE'S MOM ALWAYS HAD HOPE
Terry Probyn, Jaycee’s mom, actively searched for her daughter from the moment she was kidnapped. Terry founded a group called Jaycee’s Hope, which managed volunteer and fundraising activities. She made tearful pleas on television, and tens of thousands of posters were distributed. She held vigils to keep up the public interest. She wrote countless letters to TV stations, newspapers, homeless shelters and police stations asking for help.
Jaycee was featured an “America’s Most Wanted.” Terry Probyn worked with Child Quest International and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (Jaycee was kidnapped 2 years before Polly Klaas was kidnapped.)
Some songwriters in her community recorded a song for Jaycee, with her mom participating in the recording. Cassettes of the recording were sold to help finance search activities.
Listen to Terry Probyn’s message to her missing daughter, click here.
In the ABC interview, Terry Probyn said, “I feel like I spent my lifetime looking for her and dreaming about her.”
While hugging her mom, Jaycee said, “Being a mom now, you know, I know that she never forgot about me because I could never forget about my kids. But…when you’re a kid and you think you’re easily forgettable and you’re not important. But she kept …her hope. I don’t know how she did that.”
The evening before Jaycee was kidnapped, Jaycee made her mom promise to come in and kiss her before leaving for work. Terry was late for work, so she ran out the door without kissing her daughter.
Her failure to take the time to kiss her daughter was her greatest regret. In the ABC interview she said, “I chose not to go in and kiss my girls goodbye that morning…I wanted to be on time. And for 18 years, I kick myself for not kissing that baby goodbye.” In her book, Jaycee often talks about that longed for kiss.
“But it’s a good lesson, you know” Terry Probyn says. “Take a minute for your kids. Do that extra thing that may be an inconvenience to you, but it’s important to them.”
Jaycee’s home town certainly remembered her, as did her classmates. When Jaycee was kidnapped, the community came together and held door to door searches, mailed out thousands of posters, and searched the nearby forests in Eldorado County. Local casinos and other citizens offered reward money. When they heard Jaycee was alive, the town turned out for a celebratory parade.
See Jaycee’s school mates and home town celebrate the news of her return, click here.
UC BERKELEY POLICEWOMEN CRACK THE CASE
Two alert policewomen on the UC Berkeley Police Department were the ones who decided something was not right. Their uneasy feelings and subsequent actions changed everything.
One day the kidnapper took Jaycee’s two daughters to the UC Berkeley events office to get a permit to talk about his book on the campus mall. They spoke first with Lisa Campbell, Special Events Manager, who made an appointment with them for the next day. Lisa was uneasy about the daughters, so she asked Officer Ally Jacobs to sit in on the meeting. Prior to the meeting, they ran the kidnapper’s name through the system and discovered he was a registered sex offender.
These women, with years of law enforcement experience and years of being moms, were able to do what no one else had done: set in motion the actions to get the kidnapper arrested and free Jaycee and her girls.
See Lisa Campbell and Officer Ally Jacobs being publicly recognized for their actions at a UC Berkeley football game,
See Lisa Campbell and Officer Ally Jacobs describe in detail their interviews with Jaycee’s kidnapper, their concern for the girls, & why they took the actions they did, click here.
LESSONS FROM JAYCEE'S EXPERIENCE
♦ Learn from Terry Probyn’s experience. Be sure to kiss your children, tell them you love them, tell them how important they are to you and to your community, and “do that extra thing that may be an inconvenience to you, but it’s important to them.”
♦ Make sure each child knows they are a valued member of your family, and a valued member of their community. Commend each child on their strengths and what they offer as an individual. Tell them you will always love them and remember them.
♦ When you see someone displaying personal strength, courage, compassion, love, gratitude or goodness, point it out to your children. Help them know ways they can live their lives and surround themselves with good people.
♦ Create family memories and traditions that can be emotional anchors through good times and bad. You can choose some easy songs that can be sung to show family love. You and your family can sing them to each other, during quiet times, and during difficult times. During those 18 years, Jaycee and her mom each sustained themselves by singing their moon song —“I see the moon, the moon sees me, the moon sees the one that I want to see. God bless the moon, God bless me, and God bless the one that I want to see. “
♦ Make sure your kids know how to ask for help. Help them learn to identify the kinds of people they can ask for help. Our free Child Safety Kit outlines our “What if” game that you can play with your kids.
♦ Make it a family rule not to keep secrets. A child can prevent sexual abuse by saying, “We don’t keep secrets. I’ll tell.”
♦ Help your child say “No!” to adults. Children who are polite and compliant are at risk. Children are safer when they can recognize adults breaking the adult rules and can say “No!” and come tell you.
♦ Make sure your kids know unacceptable adult behavior. In our free Child Safety Kit we list 4 unacceptable adult behaviors.
--Adults don’t need to ask kids for help.
--Adults should not offer anything to a kid.
--Adults should not ask kids to keep secrets.
--No one should touch a kid’s private parts (parts covered by a swim suit) or ask a kid to touch their own or another’s private parts.
If any of those should happen, your kids should yell ”NO”, run away, and tell that the adult has broken the rules.
♦ Be sure to let your children know you will back them up if they do runaway from inappropriate adult behavior. Respect their instincts.
♦ If you see a child in a situation that does not feel right, speak up. Go to the authorities and ask them to look into it.
♦ Find something positive in each day. Share it with your family, and ask them to tell you their positive news.
♦ Always have hope.
FREE CHILD SAFETY KITS
Our free Child Safety Kit is sub-titled "How to teach abduction prevention without scaring your child (or yourself)" and includes 24 pages of guidance for parents.
If you live in the US, please click here for your Child Safety Kit.
If you live outside the US, please click here for your Child Safety Kit.
About Polly Klaas® Foundation
The Polly Klaas® Foundation helps find missing children, prevents children from going missing, and promotes laws like Amber Alert that help keep children safe.
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