August 28, 2006

"The intimacy only belongs to me."

Natascha Kampusch will not reveal the whole story of her 8 years of captivity:
[Wolfgang] Priklopil "was not my lord, although he wanted to be - I was just as strong", she [said]....

"To give you a metaphor - he carried me in his arms but also trampled me underfoot."

[S]he said she did not feel that Priklopil had robbed her of her childhood....

She is reported to have wept inconsolably when she was told the man she had to call "master" was dead.
Perhaps it is prurient of us even to want to know the details, once we know this much.

11 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I wonder if I could be patient were I the parent in this case. It must be excruciating not to be able to see your child again after so long. The (former) child seems to have quite a will. Good for her.

Imagine the hoopla if this had happened in the US -- the parents would have been on Larry King by now.

Ann Althouse said...

She's not a minor. She's 18. And she doesn't want to see them. We don't know the whole story. It's entirely possible that her life with them was bad and that's part of why she bonded with the abductor.

hygate said...

We don't know the whole story. It's entirely possible that her life with them was bad and that's part of why she bonded with the abductor.

That's true, but we do know that she 10 years old when she was kidnapped and was held captive for 8 years, quite possibly with no contact with any other human being than her kidnapper for that entire time. I don't think we can begin to understand the emotional damage that has been done to her, even if she was not physically or sexually assaulted (unlikely in my opinion, if nothing else the threat of physical violence would have been needed to keep her captive for such a long period of time). She may not wish to see her parents for any number of reasons. She might feel ashamed (unwarranted, put entirely possible), or perhaps she feels anger towards them not because they were bad parents, but because she holds them responsible for not finding and rescuing her. The fact that she stated that her captor had not robbed her of her childhood shows that she made emotional adjustments that enabled her to survive her captivity that are now counter-productive and will need to be overcome.

chuck b. said...

I don't think it's necessarily purient to want to know more. Isn't it reasonable to suppose this woman and her story have something to teach us about the human condition? Still, I do feel a little dirty wading into it.

chuck b. said...

Sorry, prurient.

twwren said...

Eerily like "The Collector."

Jim said...

Well Ann,

Tee hee, I imagine that even in Madison they teach you how to say, "touché!"

That she does not want to deal with her parents is no mystery. While strangers do abuse children, parents and close relatives are the abusers in over 90% of cases, starting with genital mutilation in the first week of birth. Check it out from gummint sources on the web.

Every child should be taught that, if threatened with abuse by a parent, he should run to a stranger (priests don't count). The problem of parental abuse has gotten so bad here in bubbaville that the police notify all the neighbors whenever a parent moves in.

Palladian said...

Jim, was Walgreen's out of Thorazine when you went to fill your prescription?

amba said...

I find her cryptic and fragmentary statements to be poetic and haunting and immensely suggestive of what she has been through.

She may be wise not to fall into the embrace of her parents just yet. They will be, they are, two more people demanding something of her, needing her to be a certain way for them. She's just been that for him for 8 years. She needs to try to hear her own still small voice.

My own relationship with my husband began in a somewhat Stockholm-syndrome way, though few people who know us know this, and I'm not sure they ever will. Rightly or wrongly, mostly wrongly, I'm sure -- because I was not held physically captive -- I felt I did not have a choice. So I tried to make the best of it, which is what you do. There are immense rewards for seeing things "his way" and savage punishments -- even if only psychological -- for not. Your ego is enlisted. You are made to feel needed and special, a fairytale princess. No one else understands, but you do -- or you can learn to. To long for your old inferior life is to betray yourself as one of the common, insensitive enemy. As his ally, you discover you have a unique kind of power. These are compensations for and adaptations to a life of confinement so that it is not one without meaning, or control, or some stunted but intense kind of love. The words "bond" and "bondage" are related for a reason.

All this has to be multiplied by a factor of ten when you're considering a child of ten and not a psychologically defenseless woman in her twenties. Whatever adaptations Natascha made must have been fantastically creative and in a way redemptive, and they must not be stripped from her all at once.

amba said...

There was a marvelous story by Alice Munro about a woman who was the psychological captive of her husband in a recent New Yorker. It was spot on.

amba said...

Here's the link to that Alice Munro story. Maybe read it instead of Natasha Kampusch's diary, which may not exist after all.