I pounced on this book after reading an interview with Sabine Dardenne in the "Guardian." Naturally there was my morbid curiosity about her experiences at the hands of a serial killer, but something about the feisty, engaging clear-headed voice of this young woman made me want to hear more from her. This book completely satisfies. Much more than a victim's statement, it is a testament of a normal young life and how it's been lived, during and after a failed attempt to subjugate and destroy it. Sabine sets forth her experiences here honestly and perceptively (leaving out the details of what Marc Dutroux did to her sexually--sorry, thrill-seekers) but perceptively analyzing exactly how this not very bright psychopath was able to get away with doing what he did to her and his other victims, with a little help from his wife, a few friends, and a criminal justice system that enabled this pedophile/sadist/rapist to carry on his long and destructive career with a minimum of incarceration and apparently no follow-up afterwards. As we learn more about sex criminals, particularly sadists and pedophiles, it's becoming clearer that such individuals cannot be rehabilitated, nor can they be trusted to live among the public at large. The solution Sabine poses, to either institutionalize them for life or keep them electronically tethered or otherwise under constant control and observation, would have spared her her 80 days as a tortured captive. But to do this would take a revolution in our way of thinking of sexual crimes against women and children--to see them as a serious threat to our community, rather than as an extension of male privilege. The same sense of male privilege that caused Dutroux to dare use Sabine the way he did.
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