Jaycee Dugard’s Magazine Cover: Too Much, Too Soon?
How it affects her healing.
By now, millions of people around the world have seen the photograph of Jaycee Dugard as she is today. The picture, on the cover of People magazine’s current issue, shows a smiling Jaycee along with the sentence “I’m so happy to be back.”
But an expert tells BettyConfidential that for Jaycee, who emerged from an 18-year captivity in late August, such widespread media exposure may have come too soon. “I can’t imagine she would be ready at this point,” says Carol Kryder, a marriage and family therapist and a mental-health expert on JustAnswer.com. “I think she has to have years of intensive treatment, and I don’t mean once or twice a week.”
Jaycee, now 29, was kidnapped in 1991 when she was 11 and held in a squalid compound made of tents and tarpaulins; occasionally, she was locked in a soundproof container. She gave birth to two children fathered by her captor. The California couple who kidnapped her, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, have been charged with kidnapping and sexual abuse.
In a prepared statement, Jaycee told People, “I’m so happy to be back with my family. Nothing is more important to me than the unconditional love and support I have from them.” Family spokesman Erika Price Schulte told the magazine that Jaycee allowed People to publish the photos because she “wanted to lift the veil and acknowledge that she is doing well. She wants to thank everyone for their support and best wishes and to let people see that this is her.”
Dugard also provided the magazine with a photo of her daughters Starlit, 11, and Angel, 15, that does not show their faces. (People’s managing editor Larry Hackett refused to comment directly on whether the magazine paid for the photos, saying only, “We have bought photographs in the past.”)
But the positive words do not talk about a deeper truth: that Jaycee has been taken away from the “family” she knew for 18 years and reunited with another family that she has not known for most of her life. As difficult as it may be for outsiders to understand, Kryder says Jaycee is “torn between her current and previous families.”