Jaycee Dugard, the brave and resilient young woman who was kidnapped and subsequently imprisoned and then repeatedly raped over a span of 18 years, says she would not forbid her daughters from seeing their father, if they chose to do so.
Their father is the same man who captured, imprisoned, and raped Jaycee over the course of an entire lifetime.
“I want them to make their own choices in life, and if that’s something that they need to do, then you know I’d … I wouldn’t be OK with it. But I wouldn’t not let them do it,” Dugard, 36, said in an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.
It’s not something that either she or her own mother, Terry Probyn, want for the two girls, but Dugard says that if they wanted to go see the man who fathered them in person, she would allow it — with certain provisions.
“I would hope they wouldn’t want to, but as long as he’s behind bars, and they’re safe, then I wouldn’t hinder their ability to make that choice.”
It’s only because her captor is safely locked behind bars that Dugard can even consider the choice. Their grandmother, Dugard’s mother, reluctantly agrees, ABC News reports.
“It’s their decision. I would hope that they would choose not to.”
Dugard said she has done everything she can to not let her own fears limit her daughters’ lives, which would certainly be easy enough to do, considering her own past. But her brave resiliency has led her to rise above that, and focus on letting her girls live as normally, and fearlessly, as they possibly can.
“Do we scare our kids into never wanting to do anything or do we prepare them for the worst in life, never knowing if, you know, if it’s really going to happen?” she said.
Dugard, whose love for her two daughters is evident, says that she has worked hard to protect her children’s privacy, stating that some of their own friends aren’t even aware of their past. But the three of them are able to talk about their lives, and what they went through together, with one another.
And when talking about the man who fathered both of her children, by force, Dugard says she no longer refers to Phillip Garrido as her daughters’ dad, which, up until five years ago, she did.
“When I refer to him … I think I’ve been calling him Phillip lately, actually,” Dugard said.
Her daughters knew just how unstable Garrido was, Dugard said, stating, “They saw his craziness and ups and downs and knew how unpredictable he was.” And now, free and living out the dreams she dreamed for so long, she says she and her daughters have learned to actually laugh about some of it, and that the laughter is helpful.
“To know it was OK to laugh about, you know, Phillip and Nancy and their … craziness … it helps.”
Dugard was abducted in 1991 by Phillip and Nancy Garrido, at only 11 years of age. She was then held captive in Garrido’s California backyard compound, becoming pregnant by him twice. She gave birth to her first daughter at age 14, aided only by the Garridos, who gave her codeine when they found the young girl in labor.
“I can’t fathom how I kept it together or, you know, I must’ve been checked out, you know, on a different level. You know, [I was] present, but not present for, you know, some of it, because it’s terrifying on its own. But being alone, how did I even do that?” Dugard said.
In 1997, she became pregnant again, and gave birth to a second daughter, in the same dangerous conditions.
“Anything could happen,” Dugard said. “And I had two.”
Of her daughters today, Dugard displays nothing but pride and love.
“They’re so resilient, and they’re beautiful and loving, and I’m really lucky.”
Dugard and her two girls were rescued in 2009. Her captor, Phillip Garrido, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and 13 counts of sexual assault. He was sentenced to 431 years in prison. His wife Nancy also pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping, one count of rape by force and to California’s “one strike” rape law. She was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison.
Jaycee Dugard’s second memoir, detailing how she has moved on in life after being rescued, called Freedom: My Book of Firsts, is due out July 12, Mercury News reports.
For more on how Jaycee Dugard has lived her life to the fullest since gaining her freedom, click here.
[Image via Twitter]