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Coerced Into Kidnapping?

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Was Nancy Garrido a willing participant in the kidnapping, imprisonment, and rape of Jaycee Dugard?

Nancy Garrido
It's about as sordid as a story can get: Jaycee Lee Dugard, then 11 years old, kidnapped and kept as a sex slave in a backyard for 18 years, bears her captor's two children. The alleged perpetrators of the crime are convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, both charged with 29 counts of kidnapping, rape, and lewd acts with a minor. When trying to process the story, it's easy to want to believe that Nancy Garrido was also held captive by her husband, and was forced to participate in his disturbed sexual behavior. How could a woman willingly participate in the rape of a child?

Dr. Michelle Golland, a licensed clinical psychologist, says Nancy Garrido's actions are more common than most of us would like to believe. Nancy herself was probably sexually abused as a child, explains Dr. Golland, and her relationship with her husband and their control over Jaycee Dugard let her "identify herself as the aggressor. She herself is in control as she reenacts the crimes that she endured as a child." There's also the possibility, says Golland, that Nancy was unable to have children of her own. According to reports, Phillip Garrido has claimed that his two daughters by Jaycee slept inside the main house. This would create a severely disturbed "nuclear family," with Nancy as "mother," all the while still being able to act out her sadistic fantasies with her husband.

How Phillip and Nancy met is yet another telling piece of the puzzle. Phillip Garrido, serving a 50-year sentence in a Leavenworth prison for rape and kidnapping, begins a relationship with Nancy, who was at the prison visiting a relative. "She knew his crimes. She was a pretty disturbed personality herself," says Dr. Golland.

When it comes to criminal behavior, women are not immune. A 2007 report by the Center for Sex Offender Management says that one half of sex offender therapy programs provide services to females. Approximately 3,800 adult women and 2,700 adolescent girl offenders were receiving sex offender therapy services in 2007 -- a number that's nearly doubled in two years.

"We have to understand that abuse is not relegated to males," says Dr. Golland, "that these things develop in a woman as much as in men. Only then can we give victims the support they need to report the trauma and seek help in their healing."

Characteristics of female sex offenders:

  1. They are women between the ages of 22-33 years of age.
  2. They have experienced sexual abuse as children or teens, and can have victimization histories at twice the rate of men who sexually offend.
  3. They have a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse.
  4. The majority are not mentally ill, but may experience depression or personality disorders.
  5. A majority are employed in professional jobs.
  6. They have difficulties in intimate relationships, or an absence of intimate relationships.

Victims of female sex offenders:

  1. A high percentage of victims are in the family, or the perpetrator is close to the victim -- friend, teacher, coach, sitter, or clergy.
  2. Victims are both boys and girls -- with a slightly higher number of girls.
  3. Younger children, under the age of 12, are more often victims of women over the age of 30.
  4. Children between the ages of 13-17 are often the victims of women who are between the ages of 18 to 25 years of age.
  5. Women do not tend to show a "victim age preference" in the same manner that male sex offenders do.

Categories of female sex offenders:

  1. Teacher/Lover: At the time of their offending, these women are often struggling with peer relationships. They perceive themselves as having romantic or sexually mentoring "relationships" with underaged adolescent victims of their sexual preference, and therefore, do not consider what they are doing to be wrong or criminal in nature.
  2. Predisposed: Histories of incestuous sexual victimization, psychological difficulties, and deviant sexual fantasies are common among these women, who generally act alone in their offending. They tend to victimize their own children or other young children within their families or those they have close access to.
  3. Male-Coerced: These women tend to be passive and dependent individuals with histories of sexual abuse and relationship difficulties. Fearing abandonment, they are pressured by male partners to commit sex offenses, often against their own children.

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21 comments so far | Post a comment now
Gail Cooke September 1, 2009, 11:55 AM

After all the years that poor girl was in captivity, Nancy Garrido could have found an opportunity to tell someone…found it in her shrivelled pathetic corrupt heart to tell someone…and she chose not to. She made a choice and is as guilty as her partner in crime. She made a choice to continue a cycle of abuse…she should not be spared punishment. I don’t feel sorry for her at all.

MarMar September 1, 2009, 12:06 PM

To add to what Gail Cooke said - she helped kidnap Jaycee too. She was in it from day one, and I don’t care what the reason behind it was. No sympathy from this camp.

Samantha September 1, 2009, 12:50 PM

Frankly Im tired of trying to figure out why sick people do what they do. She ruined the lifes of Jaycee, her family and also her children. Do we really need to dig in her past and try to figure out what went wrong? She is a selfish sadistic criminal. I wish this were a death penalty case but sadly too many people sit around and try to figure out why somebody hurts a child instead of executing them and being done with it.

MarMar September 1, 2009, 1:31 PM

Good call, Samantha. If something horrible happened to Nancy Garrido as a child or in her marriage, then I feel bad for her for that. But it doesn’t excuse what she did to Jaycee, at any point. Even if she’d come forward at some point - ANY point - before now and confessed, there may have been some redemption, some sign of her realizing what a horrible thing she was putting Jaycee through and deciding to end it. But that moment never came, and I think she’s just as guilty as he is.

Alethea Marina Nova September 1, 2009, 3:20 PM

Saying that it’s easy to want to believe that Nancy Garrido was also held captive by her husband and forced to participate in his disturbed sexual behavior, and posing the question, “How could a woman willingly participate in the rape of a child?” is –in and of itself- a serious hindrance for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.
Thank God that Dr. Michelle Golland, has publicly stated that women like Nancy Garrido are more common than most want to believe, and thank you for posting the statistics on female sex offenders. Women can and do sexually abuse children, even their own sons and daughters. Women are very capable of evil and sometimes willingly torture, kidnap, and rape children.

sick of the sicko's September 1, 2009, 6:40 PM

I do not care what happened to her, I do not care why she is like this or what made her do this. She is an adult, she knew right from wrong and she CHOSE to be this sick & twisted scumbag. Therefore she should die, along with him! They are of no use to society. There is no rehabbing them and taxpayers should not be forced to waste their hard earned money on 3 squares a day and a roof over their heads! Do the trial if you must, convict them and KILL THEM THAT DAY! Enough is enough! the gene pool in this country needs some serious chlorine! Stop making excuses for sick bastards, catch them and kill them! The rule should be “violate someones rights, lose yours! If you molest, abuse, rape or murder you die end of story!” I bet that would be a great deterrent!!

Jen September 1, 2009, 8:01 PM

People have to stop blindly trusting women. They can be just as sick. This woman is just as guilty as he is. The true miscarriage of justice was that he was out of prison after raping that poor girl in the 70s! They deserve the death penalty.

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