Austrian girl locked in cellar for 8 years

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Austrian girl locked in cellar for 8 years

Postby Maia » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:49 pm

I've just finished reading a book about Natascha Kampusch, an Austrian girl who was kidnapped at the age of 10 while walking to school in 1998, and kept locked in a cellar for the next 8 and a half years until she escaped aged 18. Her kidnapper, Wolfgang Priklopil, then killed himself by thowing himself under a train (this is not to be confused with that other case in Austria where a guy had kept his own daughter locked in a cellar and repeatedly raped her). In this case, Natascha always denied there was any rape involved. As she got older her kidnapper would alow her up into the house and garden during the day to do menial work, and often beat her, manacled her and tried to get her to call him master (though she never did), but later still he took her on skiing trips and to the shops to buy clothes and things, and would even visit business associates with her, introducing her as a friend. On these trips she might have tried to escape, but didn't, until one day when she was cleaning his car on the front drive and he took a phonecall, she made a bolt for it, climbing over garden fences and alerting a neighbour who called the police. After 8 years missing they had presumed her to be dead, but within a very short time had mobilised a massive manhunt after her kidapper had fled his house, only to elude them and kill himself. On being told the news, Natascha burst into tears and was very upset that the police had let him die.

A media circus followed and Natascha is now a very wealthy woman, signing million pound book and film deals, and, extraordinarily, now owns the very house where she was kept captive for 8 years. She has founded organisations to help women in the Third World escape from abuse. She has also come in for a lot of criticism in the media for, as they claim, taking advantage of her situation with all the self-promotion and for getting a team of legal advisors right from the start.

I think these criticisms of her are disgusting. What was she supposed to do? After after 8 years of hell doesn't she deserve the chance to make something good come of it? It's hardly surprising she would have formed some sort of bond with her captor, since he was the only human being she had any sort of interaction with as she grew up from child to adult. I find it literally impossible to imagine what that must have been like, and what sort of effect it would have on someone, and the fact that she has survived at all, and done all these things to try and help people, is a tribute to her strength of character.
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Re: Austrian girl locked in cellar for 8 years

Postby Pandora » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:24 pm

I remember that story. I think what she is doing now is good, but I think in her case it was an exception to the rule, whereas in other countries it may be rooted in their culture/tradition, so the challenge may be greater.
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