Traumatized [posted 9-1-09]

17 Jan

I’m not certain why I feel so invested in the Jaycee Lee Dugard case.  Maybe the event traumatized me in my childhood.  Maybe it’s because it could have easily been me.  Maybe I feel so strongly, because it was the first really terrible thing I knew about–it was the end of my innocence.

.. ..

I remember when Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped.  She was 11 and I was 6.  I identified with the girl:  We were both blond, both petite girls who were in elementary school, both had slightly big front teeth, both of us loved cats, both had a sprinkling of freckles, both of us had unusual names.  When she was taken, Jaycee Lee was wearing an outfit I regularly wore—pink stretch pants and a pink shirt.  She was snatched from Tahoe—I went to Tahoe with my family often.  The face on that poster haunted me.  It was familiar, and reminded me of what could happen—how vulnerable I really was.  She was taken while her father watched—how could I possibly feel safe again?  I felt as if she was just a little more unlucky than me—that time.  I suppose everyone felt this way.  Most little girls fit that description, no little girl thinks she will be taken away from everything.

.. ..

I also remember the resulting panic in the community.  The event was splashed all over the news, everyone was talking about it, parents in the area went into protective mode.  Fear was palpable.  There were pink ribbons and “missing” posters, featuring that little girl, on every doorway, window, and bulletin board in Lake Tahoe.  I don’t think there is a single person from Northern Nevada or the nearby California area (1991 to 1995, especially) that wouldn’t recognize Jaycee’s smiling face.  For years afterward, Tahoe looked for any sign of Jaycee Lee.  Every young girl (and her parents) worried SHE could be next.

.. ..

Things changed when Jaycee Lee Dugard disappeared.  The area was no longer a rural area free from sickos and predators.  Fun at the lake or on the slopes was no longer as carefree as it had been.  Kids were no longer safe to go anywhere (even the bus stop) alone.  They weren’t even particularly safe if their parents were watching.  I had to constantly hold someone’s hand when we visited Tahoe or Reno.  New reports gave suggestions on kidnap avoidance, stranger danger.

.. ..

I ALWAYS wondered what happened to Jaycee Lee Dugard.  The case was close to my heart, and also piqued my curiosity.  When I found out some answers, I was relieved.  Not especially relieved she was alive (because maybe death would have been a blessed end to her suffering) but relieved to KNOW.  Now, I’m troubled at the circumstances that led to her miserable 18 years of captivity.  That’s the next blog though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: