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It’s Thursday and what a journey we’ve gone on so far! My appreciation to everyone for following along as we learn more about “Sexual Assault” and “Child Abuse” this month.
Today’s F stands for the Fritzl Case.
For those of you who cannot remember the story, Elisabeth Fritzl, age 18, seemed to disappear into the night in 1984, and reappeared 25 years later in 2008. Her father, Josef Fritzl, had created a padded cell in the basement of their family home and one day asked Elisabeth (whom he had been raping since she was 11) to help him with the last piece of the cell before using an ether-soaked towel to make her lose consciousness before throwing her in the cell where she would remain for 25 years.
Elisabeth’s mother, Rosemarie, filed a missing persons report but Josef claimed to have letters (he had forced Elisabeth to write) saying she had been unhappy at home and left to live with a religious cult.
For the next 24 years, she was kept locked up in the cellar of her family home where she was repeatedly raped, bore her father 7 children: one (Michael) died shortly after birth, and three—Lisa, Monika and Alexander—were removed from the cellar as infants to live with Fritzl and his wife, who became their foster parents with the knowledge of local social services authorities. (Supposedly he had given quite “plausible” explanations for how the children arrived at their home and no social worker or police officer was suspicious during their routine visits!
Elisabeth’s other three kids, Kerstin, Stefan, and Felix, were kept locked up in the cellar with their mother until 19 April 2008 when Kerstin fell ill w/ kidney failure and Josef took her to the local hospital. Hospital staff found Josef’s story to be suspicious and alerted police. When Josef brought Elisabeth to Kerstin on 26 April 2008, the police took them in for questioning where Elisabeth, after being promised she would never have to see her father again, told her story. Josef was arrested and charged with incest, rape, coercion, false imprisonment, enslavement and the negligent homicide of the infant Michael, all of which he pleaded guilty to and was sentenced to life imprisoned.
Josef remains in a psychiatric prison and Elisabeth and her three children have been given new identities and a chance to start life anew.
You might think that horrors Elisabeth and her children experienced were only to be found in fiction and movies but this is a true story, a sad story and yet one with a decent ending as Elisabeth, Kerstin, Stefan and Felix now live in sunshine and are free!
If you think this story sounds a bit familiar, it is because recent film, The Room, starring Academy Award Winner Brie Larson is partially based on the Fritzl case.
I hope this story has been educating to you, my lovely readers, and that you give thanks for your own freedom!