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The Instinct To Survive: Jaycee Dugard and 'A Stolen Life'

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On a seemingly normal day, an eleven-year-old left her house and started off for school but along the way, was forced onto a path that would forever change her life. She was kidnapped that morning and remarkably found alive after eighteen years of torturous captivity.

She was brave enough to write about her story of survival and her strong instinct to live through the most unimaginable circumstances. Her name is Jaycee Dugard and her memoir is called “A Stolen Life.”

I remember the headlines about a kidnapped girl that had finally been found after eighteen years. I watched the news coverage of her reunion with a tearful mother that had never given up hope that she would come home. When I heard that she had written a book about her captive experience, I was hopeful that it would be a helpful step for her in the healing process.

As I read her book, I found the abuse that she suffered almost unbearable to read. It is a detailed look at the violence, fear, manipulation and isolation that she endured. As parents, we can never forget for a second that monsters are not fictional, they do exist and they wait for the opportunity to snatch a child.

But even more fearful to me is the realization that as children grow older, you can’t always be with them. They won’t always be able to hold your hand. At some point, you have to prepare them for life and give them the foundation to make good decisions and figure out how to solve problems.

Even at eleven years old, Jaycee figured out what she had to do to stay alive. As disgusted as I was at her captors, I was even more amazed at her will to live and how she was able to adapt to what she had to in order to survive.

Read her book,“A Stolen Life.” Her strength is an inspiration.

Edited by Jody Smith

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