This is not supposed to the article that I was going to publish today but as I was finishing the article that I was going to publish, I came across a movie summary video on Facebook. I have seen that video many times and today was finally the day that I clicked on it. And I regret that I clicked on it. Until now, I still feel so sick and disgusted.
The video that I watched is this one. It was posted by the page Nadn vstd with clips from the movie called "Girl in the Basement" and a voice-over of the summary of the events that happened. While watching it, I already felt sick to the stomach especially more so knowing that the movie was based on a true story.
I did not want to delve further into the real-life events after watching the movie summary but a part of me wanted to know if the real-life victim managed to be rescued. So I did my own research, of course, I just clicked on the first link that summarizes the whole case of the woman whose life became the basis for the Girl in the Basement- Wikipedia. I know that it is not as reliable as some other sources but it was the best site to look for a summarized version of the events. I also checked the sources and references for the Fritzl and it seems reliable. I am a researcher at heart so I always feel icky about using Wikipedia for reference. But this time, I can't just site all the references because there are 74 references and I will be going through the case as a whole instead of just one part. So as a cross-reference, I used this article to check for the accuracy of the main events.
I want to warn everyone who is reading that the following part is disgusting and disturbing which includes mentions of r*pe, ass*ult and inc*st. I urge everyone who has triggers about this topic to turn back and skip this article.
The movie Girl in the Basement might be familiar to some or maybe you have heard of it but never watched it (as do I). Based on the summary of the video I found, it is about a girl who was locked up in a hidden cellar by her own father for his own gratification. She was imprisoned there for years where she gave birth to children because of the rape she endured. For the many years that passed, she never gave up on the hope that she can escape, and when her children grew old enough, she told them of the true reason why they were locked up there. This led to the children getting angry with their father/grandfather. They began to fight back against him, and they learned how to defend themselves. When the father grew angry, he threatened to kill them by gassing them inside the basement, an evil deed that was thankfully stopped. There were a lot of instances in which the girl almost managed to escape but is always foiled by the father, and she was beaten up because of it. The perfect chance finally happened when their daughter got sick, and she managed to convince the father to take the child to the hospital. She also begged to be allowed to see her daughter, and once she was in the hospital, she told a nurse about what happened to her leading to the arrest of her father. In the movie, it was shown that the daughter was reunited with her mother and sister and they were happily watching the children play. The girl in the movie also had a loyal boyfriend who waited and looked for her for many years, and when she finally got free, he was there waiting for her so that they can live out the dreams she had when she was still a teenager.
What happened in the movie is already bad enough that it made me sick to the stomach when I saw it. But the story where it is based is much worse.
This horrifying event is known as the Fritzl case. It involves the father, Josef Fritzl, and the daughter, Elisabeth Fritzl. It started when Josef asked then 18-year-old Elisabeth for help in attaching the door to the cellar where he knocked her unconscious with a towel soaked in ether. She would wake up and experience 24 years of hell at the hands of the person who should have been protecting her. The general idea of it is that she gave birth to 7 children, one of whom had died a few weeks after birth and was promptly cremated by the father. Three children were left in her care and the other 3 were left in front of the family house's doorsteps with a note from their supposed runaway daughter asking her mom to take care of her child. The father lied to the mother and the police about what happened to Elisabeth, telling them that she joined a cult with a letter as evidence that he forced Elisabeth to write. Thus, the pieces to the ploy he made were completed. I do not want to go further into the details of this heart-wrenching event, you can refer to the articles that I have linked if you are interested to know more. What led to their escape is pretty much the same in the movie, where Elisabeth managed to tell a nurse and the medical staff tipped the police and arrested the father. She recounted what happened to her for more than 2 decades only on the condition that she never has to see her father again. Her testimony is said to be 11 hours long, and the jurors that presided over the trial cannot bear to watch it for more than 2 hours at a time. It was sickening that there were even reserved jurors to take over the regular jurors if they cannot handle watching more of the evidence. The trial ended with Josef being sentenced to life in prison.
Elisabeth with her "downstairs" children were reunited with the "upstairs" children where they learn how to heal from the trauma that they suffered from. They also changed their names to keep what happened to them in the past and there are strict laws about it. The most recent news about them is that they are living peacefully with Elisabeth managing to find love again with one of her bodyguards.
As I was watching the video, I can feel my stomach turning to stone. I wanted to stop watching it but I did not want to turn away from what someone had to live through. I felt that it is only fair that someone knows of their story, so I continued watching it till the end. When the video ended, I wanted to just forget about it and pray that it never happens again. But my mind is not satisfied with that. I wanted to know the name of the girl so that I may pray for her. I wanted to know what she suffered through not because it will help her but because I do not want people to forget about it. What happened to her is so despicable that it will be a dishonor to pretend that it never did.
I did not want to turn a blind eye to what I learned. And while there is nothing to be done about it now, I can still remember and pray for their healing. I also do not want her to have to remember what happened to her every day, but pretending that it never happened to them is disrespectful because they have to live the rest of their lives with that horrifying experience.
I do not really know how to put what I feel into words. I feel angry and disgusted with this monster who did not deserve to be called a father. How can someone do that to another let alone his own flesh and blood? Is lust so powerful a demon that not even the bond of family is spared?
What really set me off is that the man showed no remorse about what happened, even telling people to look into more cellars in houses because they may find more families and daughters locked up. It is sickening that he thought it is something that normally happens.
I hate that we live in a world where evil things are done to others. There is not enough punishment on Earth that can make up for the horrific things he did to Elisabeth and her children.
The knowledge that people are capable of doing such cruel things led me to be more determined to bring more light and love to the world. I cannot stop people from committing evil things, but I can help fight it by spreading love and hoping that it can help someone in need.
I also salute how the people showed their support to Elisabeth and her children after the ordeal. While the whole situation that brought them to where they are now is horrifying, it is still a restoration of my faith when I saw how much support they received. It reaffirms my belief that while there are evil people in the world, there are much more good-hearted individuals who are ready to help people.
The event that I learned of today is something that I wished nobody had to go through. But it also gives me insight into how humans always find a way to get out of a dark situation. It also shows how hope helps us stay strong and sane throughout different times in our lives. This is not meant to be an article which talks about looking at the brighter things in life because what happened to them is not something that is easily set aside like that. This is an article that talks about the existence of cruel people, and how the victims had to live through the pain. This is an article that reminds people to always be kind to others and to not stay complacent in situations that call for their actions. Imagine if the nurse ignored her story and if they turned a blind eye to her situation; it would have led to more years of living in hell.
The rescue that occurred is thanks to her courage to tell people what happened and her bravery to never let go of the hope of escaping. It is also thanks to the people who made sure she is protected and who made sure she is heard. Their actions that day led Elisabeth and her family to experience the outside world again. It led them to learn how to be a part of the world beyond their small prison.
I want this to be a reminder for me (and for others) to do what we know is right, and help when we see others in need. It also lets me know that I can also try to ask for help if I need to and to not give up on hoping for an escape.
References for the video and articles:
If you are interested to see more of my articles, I have a list of all my articles written last May. This is the link to that list: https://read.cash/@ZehraSky/may-2021-articles-summary-59e3f5b8
I would also want to express my gratitude for the continued support of these wonderful people who upvoted my recent articles.
Thank you for your kind support. It motivates me so much to keep writing.