(I wrote this story based on a true story of a woman who was kept captive in a basement by her own father for 24 years of her life. I wrote the story as I was on her own shoes...)
My name is Elizabeth. I have lived in Austria at my mother and father's house for 43 years. During the first 19 years of my life, I lived with both of them, I mean, face to face. After that time, I was still there but without seeing or hearing my mother and she the same thing, could not see or hear me. From my 19th to my 43rd birthday the only contact I had with the world ouside was through my father. In the basement of our house, he built a "cage" for me. A very strategically made cubicle where only he could have access by using secret codes. For 24 years of my life I was kept as my father's sexual slave. He did inflict me all kinds of abuses: thinkable and unthinkable. He stole my freedom, my life, my dreams, my hopes, above all, my dignity .... He violated my body, gave me the deepest emotional scars. My life became what he wanted to be for his supreme and exclusive pleasure.
Most of the time, my days inside that torture chamber were lived in absolute darkness. The most terrorizing thing to me was the sound of his steps toward the door. Every day he came was another day to live exposed to his brutality and sadistic mind. Every time, before raping me, he used to handcuff me. At the beginning, my body was hypersensitive to his touch. The sexual act was the most painful, distressing, horrifying thing to endure. But after some time, I was so emotionally hurt that my body grew benumbed. It became a dead body being assaulted. My feelings and mind were not there anymore. They were apart of that molested body. It was a self-mechanism to survive psychologically. However, the functions of my physical body were still working. I got pregnant seven times. I had seven children with my own father. The kids were born destined to be slaves... like me. Their fate were already sealed... like mine.
The outsiders really cannot calculate how really free they ARE, even the ones who think they have no freedom at all, like the ones locked up in penitentiaries, they DO. At least, they can see the sunlight, feel the wind blowing on their skin, smell fresh air, walk outdoors inspite of having fences around them. Even so.. they are free!!! I know what freedom is and what is not as all others who live the same condiction as myself. Silenced voices of the forgotten. They scream but nobody know they exist, but their inhuman/barbarian/primitive "owners". If I got sick, I could not see a doctor. If I got a tootache I could not see a dentist. I would have to endure the pain whatever it was and try to figure out a way to get rid of that problem myself. I did have to face seven pregnancies with no any kind of assistance. Seven times in labor. The pain, the worries, the nightmares I felt in full, under the most absolute solitude. Then had to raise each one of the kids in that hole. No enough space, almost no ventilation (air we got only through little holes on the wall), no light most of the time, everywhere was pure mold ... Besides no celebrations, nothing to hope for, no possible promises of a different life to them. The only perspective in my mind: "Here you all were born, here you all will live and die." It was deeply painful to me to see the kids and accept they would never see the sunlight, have friends, go to school, climb a tree, play soccer, see the ocean, the sky, animals, the moon, in a nutshell, the beautiful dynamic of the universe outside those gelid walls. They would never understand the concept of freedom, how it looked like, felt like. Their world was just that tiny, dark, and suffocating place, nothing else! They could not imagine anything else. It was like to try to make a blind person to understand about colors. It was an impossible task. It did not make any difference if it was explained with a wealth of details or no details at all. Some things in life one must see and feel to really understand what they mean. It is a lot about experience. Some things cannot be translated through words.
My life and my kids' lives in that claustrophobic banker for years and years and years were nothing more than what our own concrete fears and uncertainties had created in that atmosphere and, above all, what my father had decided. His power over us was absolute... iron-fisted kind of influence. Our life experiences were based on his own heinous needs ... ours were ignored by him, in his sick mind unexisted. Our vulnerability was so, so opressive!!!..
For 24 years inside that hole, the same thoughts came out of my mind every minute: " What if my father dies? Nobody will find us here and we will have a very agonizing death!" One day, my older daughter got very sick. There was nothing I could do to help her. She needed medical attention desperately. She was about to dying when my father decided to take her to the hospital. He was very, very distressed, afraid of being caught, and all his horrific crimes come up to the surface before the public knowledge.
The day came when a miracle shinned to all of us. At the hospital, the staff which was taking care of my daughter rouse questions about her strange illness. She had gotten a very serious skin condition by being exposed to too many fungi and no sunlight at all. It was a red flag for them. The police was called and it was due to my daughter's condition our destinies changed forever. We got our FREEDOM!!! The police found us and imediatelly removed us from that underworld. After 24 years of forced incarceration and abuse, it was unthinkable conceive there would be a way out of that hell. I was in shock as well as all my children. We did not know what to do. We left the house all covered, under blankets because our eyes were not used to the sunlight. All of us were taken to get medical and psychological treatment. My older daughter was put into coma to recover little by little from that "mental and emotional asphyxia" my father imposed to us for so many years.
My father's fate was sealed, finally out of his own control. The police took him into custody. There was a trial. Finally, I had my voice heard! It took 24 years to experience that. I did testify against him, the monster who haunted my days and nights for almost two decades and a half. From my chair I could see him under another perspective. That so powerful and so controlling man had fear in his eyes. He was experiencing humiliation and vulnerability. He was sentenced to life in prison. As a very old man he already was, he would not live long behind bars in his existence, but anyway he would savor a little bit of his own poison: to live inside 4 walls and witness the power of his freedom in the hands of others. Our story shocked not only Austria, but the whole world.
When my story was told, others in other countries emerged. Other women, other "Elizabeths" lived what I did live and got their own freedom. Due to my story, many other happy stories came up and so many destinies were forever changed. The only rewarding thing about my experience was to be able to give voice to others... Now free, I felt like I had a sencond chance to be born. I did! Amen