Friday, July 15, 2011

A Victim’s Survival: Lessons for Us All

I was moved and inspired when I watched, along with 14.8 million other viewers, Jaycee Dugard’s first televised interview since being rescued in August 2009. Jaycee opened up about her experiences at the hands of her captors and explained she did what she had to do “to survive.”

As we all listened to this brave young woman recount the horrifying details of her 18-year ordeal, what kept resonating was the strength and courage demonstrated by both Jaycee and her mother. It gave us all a glimpse of what victims go through before, during and after a crime.

As victim advocates, we recognize the long-term impact a crime like this has on an entire family. Brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, children and even in-laws share the consequences, to some degree. Jaycee mentioned the lasting impact a crime has on the family, not just her family, all families.

While Jaycee’s story has gained worldwide attention, there are other countless victims enduring horrific circumstances on a daily basis, but you will never see their faces, or hear their names on the news. They deserve to have their voices heard too.

Jaycee understands this and has started her own organization called the JayC Foundation. The organization’s mission is to “provide support and services to ensure the timely treatment of families that are recovering from abduction and the aftermath of other traumatic experiences.” Despite what happened to her, she is determined to change the future for the other countless victims out there.

We all have much to learn from Jaycee’s story on so many levels. To move forward is to never give up hope, no matter how dire things may appear. It also reminds us to reach out and do something when we see something that isn’t quite right.

Jaycee is truly an inspiration to us all and a remarkable example of how one little girl can have such an enormous impact on other victims, advocates and the general public.

Like many others who have been following this story, I wish Jaycee and her family much success in their continued recovery.