Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kampusch Reveals Austrian Dungeon Ordeal

(Sept. 6) -- Natascha Kampusch, who was imprisoned in an Austrian cellar for eight years after being abducted at the age of 10, has for the first time revealed the full extent of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her deranged kidnapper.

Her traumatic autobiography "3,096 Days" -- a reference to the amount of time she spent in captivity -- tells of how she was beaten up to 200 times a week, slept manacled next to her kidnapper, and repeatedly attempted to take her own life to escape her hellish existence.

In extracts from her memoir, published today in the
Daily Mail, she recalls the first time she saw her kidnapper, communications engineer Wolfgang Priklopil, as she walked to school in Vienna's Donaustadt district in March 1998. "He had blue eyes, and his gaze was strangely empty; he seemed lost and very vulnerable," she writes. Kampusch, now 22, describes her capture as a "choreography of terror" -- Priklopil grabbed her around the waist and threw her into his white delivery van -- and details how she was instantly aware of the grim fate likely awaiting her.

"The moment the van door closed behind me, I was well aware of the fact that I'd just been kidnapped -- and would probably die," she writes. "Did I scream? I don't think so. Yet everything inside me was one single scream ... Did I fight back? I must have, because the next day I had a black eye. I remember only a feeling of paralyzing helplessness."

After her capture, Priklopil -- who demanded she refer to him as "My Lord" or "Maestro" -- initially acted with awkward hospitality, asking his young prisoner if there was anything she needed, "as if I were staying the night in a hotel." The 10-year-old Kampusch in turn attempted to preserve an "illusion of normality" by asking Priklopil to read her a bedtime story.

However, Priklopil became steadily more sexually abusive and violent, beating her so heavily that her bones snapped. "He hated it when the pain made me cry. Then he'd grab me by the throat, drag me to the sink, push my head underwater and squeeze my windpipe until I almost lost consciousness," she says. "I also vividly remember the snapping sound in my vertebrae when Priklopil struck my head repeatedly with his fist." She wrote down those daily acts of extreme violence in notebooks that she still keeps today.

Kampusch's despair led her to attempt suicide several times. "I knew I couldn't spend my whole life this way. There was only one way out: taking my own life," she writes. "At 14, I'd tried several times to strangle myself with articles of clothing. At 15, I tried to slit my wrists with a large sewing needle. This time, I piled paper and toilet rolls onto my hotplate. The dungeon would fill with smoke and I'd gently drift away, out of a life that was no longer my own."

However, she found she was unable to go through with the act. "When the acrid smoke reached my lungs, I inhaled deeply. But then I began to cough and the will to survive kicked in," Kampusch says. "I held my pillow in front of my mouth and threw wet clothes on top of the blistering paper. The next morning, the dungeon still smelled like a smokehouse. When Priklopil came in, he yanked me out of bed. How dare I try to escape him! His face revealed a mixture of anger and fear. Fear that I could ruin everything."

An 18-year-old Kampusch eventually escaped her windowless cell in August 2006. She distracted her kidnapper with the noise of a vacuum cleaner as he took a phone call, and ran to a nearby house to get help. A week later, Priklopil, 44, killed himself by jumping in front of a train.

Kampusch has attempted to move on with her life -- even launching her own TV talk show in Austria -- but still suffers from the deep psychological scars inflicted during her years in captivity. She has, for instance, bought Priklopil's old home and car, evidence perhaps of her conflicted feelings toward the kidnapper who destroyed her childhood, but was also her only human contact for eight years. However, she is also consulting lawyers about suing Austrian authorities over claims they failed to thoroughly investigate her disappearance.

Original Article- For pictures and more-- Natascha Kampusch Reveals Details of Her Austrian Dungeon Ordeal

Earlier Articles I've posted on Natascia and other historical kidnappings..

Disgusted with the system: The comparison of parental alienation to "Stockholm syndrome

Disgusted with the system: Why are child abuse scandals happening in Austria?

Disgusted with the system: Fellow Austrian captive Natascha Kampusch offers her help

Disgusted with the system: Kampusch: Time and silence will heal Amstetten wounds

Disgusted with the system: Ten Worst Child Kidnappings in History

Disgusted with the system: Police: Austrian father warned captives they would be gassed

Disgusted with the system: Fritzl family to receive charity and state aid

Disgusted with the system: Can Austria's Cellar Children Recover?

Disgusted with the system: Austrian Kidnap Victim Buys "House Of Horrors"

Disgusted with the system: Natascha Kampusch says her captor and Josef Fritzl idolised their mothers

Disgusted with the system: Austria neglected early leads to Kampusch kidnapper

Disgusted with the system: Austria neglected early leads to Kampusch kidnapper

Disgusted with the system: Another Imprisoned Woman Is Found, This Time in Italy

Disgusted with the system: Natascha Kampusch case may be reopened

Refresh - Go to homepage

No comments: