Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

May 13, 2013

For Cleveland women, ordeal of recovery begins now

(Continued)

In the house owned by Ariel Castro, who is charged with kidnapping and raping the women, claustrophobic control ruled. Police say that Castro kept them chained in a basement and locked in upstairs rooms, that he fathered a child with one of them and that he starved and beat one captive into multiple miscarriages.

In all those years, they only set foot outside of the house twice — and then only as far as the garage.

"Something as simple as walking into a Target is going to be a major problem for them," Bowers says.

Jessica Donohue-Dioh, who works with survivors of human trafficking as a social work instructor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, says the freedom to make decisions can be one of the hardest parts of recovery.

"'How should I respond? What do they really want from me?'" Donohue-Dioh says, describing a typical reaction. "They may feel they may not have a choice in giving the right answer."

That has been a challenge for Jaycee Dugard, who is now an advocate for trauma victims after surviving 18 years in captivity — "learning how to speak up, how to say what I want instead of finding out what everybody else wants," Dugard told ABC News.

Like Berry, Dugard was impregnated by her captor and is now raising the two children. She still feels anger about her ordeal.

"But then on the other hand, I have two beautiful daughters that I can never be sorry about," Dugard says.

Another step toward normalcy for the three women will be accepting something that seems obvious to the rest of the world: They have no reason to feel guilty.

"First of all, I'd make sure these young women know that nothing that happened to them is their fault," Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at age 14 and held in sexual captivity for nine months, told People magazine.

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