If you were placed in a position were your life was put into danger would you risk escaping? This question was asked by Jaycee Dugard everyday during her eighteen year being held captive. In her memoir A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard explains to us why she didn’t try to run from her abductor Philip Garrido even though she was given so many chances to do so. In most situations it is very difficult for victims to escape their abusers control. In the past it was near impossible for victims of abduction to escape safely on their own. With the realization that “We have seen a significent increase in the number of thru the means of strangers, family or friends” (Amber Alert 1). It has been easier to help child abduction victims with systems like the Amber Alert system, yet it is still difficult for the victims to leave on their own. Abuse victims along with Dugard also struggle with gaining the strength to leave. Years after Dugard was rescued she says “You must find your voice and not be afraid to speak up” (Dugard 148). Something she regrets doing while being held captive.
In the end the claim that victims of abuse should take more responsibility to escaoe their abusers control should be challenges because of the difficulty to escape their abusers control and to gain the strength to leave. Not only do child victims of abuse deal with the control of their abuser, but many adults deal with the same issue. Many women deal with the challenge of leaving their abusive partner, but fail because of the partner control and power they have over their victims. Many women find it difficult because they remain emotionally and economically dependent on their batterer (Domestic Violence 1). In most marital situations their is a cycle of abuse and the family’s life becomes a cycle of violence. “The man who was terrifying and intimidating turns into a remorseful, needy, and dependent man. The woman who was battered then will feel sorry for the man and recommit to him in a fantasized hope that the abuse won’t happen again.
But the cycle of abuse will begin again, often becoming worse” (Domestic Violence 2). In order to escape this abuse the cycle must be broken. According to Blich, “Stranger kidnapping victimizes more females then males, occurs primarily at outdoor locations, victimizes both teenagers and school-age children, is associated with sexual assaults in the case of girl victims” (Blich 1). After being abducted children are usually brainwashed and manipulated, gaining the abductor even more control. This is what happened in Dugards situation. Philip Garrido, Dugards abductor, told her that he was hurting her so he wouldn’t have to hurt other little girls, thereby making Dugard feel that if she did try to leave it would be her fault for the pain he caused others (Dugard 158). In doing so Garrido gained complete control over Dugard. However strong you are most can agree that it is very difficult to leave somebody you are dependent on, yet it is necessary if you want to go on happily. Therefore the claim that abuse victims should take more responsibility to escape their control is difficult for anyone.
Many will argue that people who are abused should take more responsibility to to escape from their abuser. In some situations outsiders will argue that we should outsmart our abuser and learn from it making us stronger to leave. According to The Washington Post, “They escaped these things not through the efforts of good samaritans, but through recognizing a bad situation and either getting away from it, avoiding it or screaming and kicking to draw attention” (St. George 1). This proves that children are capable not responsible. Another argument is that the child who is being abducted should be able to help themselves and escape the situation. “The child should do whatever is necessary to stay out of the car, because once the child is in that car, it dramatically reduces the chances of escape” (St. George 2).
This is a lot of responsibility put onto a young child. How do we expect an eight year-old girl to escape a potential abuser if many forty year-old women cant leave an abuser they have been with for years. During Dugard’s eighteen year abduction several visuals were taken to show the pain of her loved ones. It can be proven that many were concerned with her abduction. In the visual “Missing” published in The Telegraph (2009). We are shown both Dugards mother, Terry Probyn, and step-father, Carl Probyn, they look heartbroken and distressed. Some would argue that with how much Jaycee Dugard knew she was loved, she should of gained enough strength and motivation to escape and go back to living her everyday life. However she was unaware of this while being held captive. The argument that in domestic abuse options are available to leave or available to encourage victims to leave is true, yet difficult.
Victims have the option of professional help and gaining awareness of the situation. With the cycle of abuse it is very hard to get to the point were you understand you need the help, then there is the struggle of actually going ahead and doing it. Regardless of the several arguments that people can challenge we have proof from specific situations like Dugard’s along with more common issue like marital dispute that without finding overall strength and gaining the courage to escape the abuser control it is impossible to escape and go back to your normal life. Gaining strength is one of the most difficult things to do in life. One way we gain strength is having support and happiness. How do we gain strength if we don’t have either? This faces millions of people daily who are in abusive relationships. They simply cant find the strength to leave. In Dugards memoir she says although she is unhappy she is too afraid of the risk of leaving and doesn’t know how she would be able to take care of herself and her two daughters.
“One of the reasons I stayed was I wanted my kids to be safe. The outside was scary for me. I was so afraid that if i left or tried to leave and take them both with me I wouldn’t be able to protect them” (Dugard 276). Even her knowing the fact that if she were to escape successfully her daughters could have a much better life, yet if they weren’t successful they would have to continue living in hiding in the backyard of Garrido’s home. She didn’t have enough strength to take the risk although the successful end results were so much better then her current situation. In abuse situations victims struggle with the same issue of strength. In between the cycle of abuse there is only a small gap between the man being violent and the women feeling remorseful and forgiving him. Where gaining the strength in between that small gap is difficult especially when it would need to be regained the next time the abuse restarts. Women also have other options.
Most women have a supportive family or homes they can go to keep safe. But strength is key and difficult to obtain when one is constantly bringing you down. Although more options are available to leave, like hot-line cards in bathrooms for abuse victims or Dugard being taken into public with the option to run, we need strength to take them. Strength is a necessity to leave making the claim that abuse victims are responsible for leaving their abuser difficult to prove. In conclusion finding the courage to leave an abuser is an unthinkable challenge to those placed in that position. Without finding the strength and escaping the overwhelming control of the abuser its near impossible. As time goes on there becomes more options for abuse to happen or lead to abuse.
“One in five children ten to seventeen receive unwanted sexual solicitations online” (Blich 1), which can lead to a more serious abuse. No matter how different the situations are the abuse victims suffer through they can relate back to the same struggles. According to Jayvee Dugard after her long term abuse she refers to life today as “A light that I thought had been extinguished was coming back to life” (Dugard 238). While in the position of abuse its difficult to find the strength, but it can be gained again. The difficulty of escaping the abuser will also be difficult. It will remain difficult while recovering from the abuse. The claim that people should take more responsibility to escape their abusers? False.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 October 2016
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