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10 Stories Of Women Who Escaped Horrifying Ordeals

by Mikah McAllister
fact checked by Jamie Frater

There are many ways to break a human spirit. Physical, emotional, and mental abuse are commonly used by captors to enslave and degrade their victims. More often than not, women are the victims of these evil acts. We always hear about women who are found murdered at the hands of their captors, but this list is all about the women who survived.

10Bound And Naked

A 31-year-old Georgia woman was walking to a nearby store when a man pulled up to offer her a ride. Having met the man before, she gladly accepted and got in the car with him. That’s when things immediately took a turn for the worse. The man, who was named Brian Jury, pulled out a gun and held it to the woman’s face. He then tied the woman’s hands behind her back and drove her to his camper about 60 kilometers (40 mi) away. When they arrived at his camper, Jury ordered the woman to step inside, where he used an electrical zip tie to bind the woman’s hands and feet and covered her mouth with duct tape. He then raped the woman multiple times before leaving her bound and naked in the camper.

At first, the woman was afraid to try to escape due to the threat of being killed by her captor, but she soon found the opportunity when she heard Jury’s truck pulling out of the driveway. The woman tried to break free from her restraints, but it was an impossible task. While still bound, the woman maneuvered out of the camper and crawled almost 15 meters (50 ft) towards the nearest road.

Hoping that a passing motorist would see her, the bound and naked woman lay next to the road until her prayers were answered. A motorist did come to her aid, and soon after, the local police identified and captured Jury. He was charged with rape, kidnapping, and possession of firearms.

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In October 2013, police rescued three women believed to have been held against their will in a London apartment. Identified only by their age and nationality, the victims were said to have endured repeated physical harm and even brainwashing for almost 30 years.

Officials revealed the descriptions of the captives as a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish woman, and a 30-year-old Brit, all of whom showed clear signs of years of emotional manipulation. The two eldest women claimed to have met their male captor many years ago in London, and after discovering their shared political ideology, they agreed to live together in what was called a “collective.” The youngest of the group provided a birth certificate and is believed by officials to have lived with her alleged captors all her life.

The “collective” fell apart many years ago, but the women continued to stay with the suspects for over 30 years. Although the women were not physically restrained, it is believed that years of emotional and physical abuse contributed to their “invisible handcuffs.” After watching a documentary about forced marriages and forms of modern-day slavery, the women contacted Freedom Charity, which led to their rescue.

On November 21, 2013, British police announced their arrest of a couple suspected of slavery and domestic servitude along with immigration offenses. The couple, both 67 years old, were of Indian and Tanzanian origin and had moved to Britain in the 1960s.

8The Escape

On August 19, 2011, a 26-year-old Israeli woman living in Hamburg, Germany was abducted at gunpoint in her home by an acquaintance and held captive for two hours. Her captor, 30-year-old Thomas Fischer, locked the woman in a soundproof cell made from a converted telephone booth. The woman escaped from her confinement after discovering that Fischer had forgotten to lock her cell door.

Luckily for the woman, Fischer also lived on the first floor, which provided an easier escape by way of busting through a window covered in barbed wire. Fischer, who was reportedly armed, gave chase to the woman but couldn’t catch up to her. Once safe at a friend’s home, the woman alerted police, who were then dispatched to detain her captor.

Upon investigation, police described Fischer’s apartment as “one massive torture chamber.” Fischer’s sinister plans became evident as police combed through his apartment and found several months’ worth of supplies, including 113 fire extinguishers containing traces of explosives and timber beams that could possibly be used to board up windows and other entrances. Police also found a pistol, a hand grenade, and surgical tools, including a scalpel, syringes, and gynecological equipment that appeared to have been tested on a mannequin that was also found in Fischer’s apartment. Police revealed that Fischer had been investigated for assault and stalking prior to this incident and charged him with taking a hostage, depriving a person of their freedom, and numerous explosives violations.

7The Sole Survivor

On September 27, 1992, a 19-year-old Palm Springs, California nursing assistant named Jennifer Asbenson had missed the bus and was running late for work. When a man offered her a ride, she accepted the invitation but gave him a fake phone number when he asked for hers. In response, he waited until Jennifer got off work early in the morning and offered her another ride, but while driving, he grabbed her hair and revealed a gun. He pulled over and tied Jennifer’s hands behind her back while calling her demeaning names and even attempted to “make out” with her. Then he forced Jennifer to perform oral sex on him. When he couldn’t produce an erection, he choked Jennifer until she turned blue.

When his hands got tired, he released Jennifer and forced her into the trunk of his car before driving away, but Jennifer escaped from the moving car. Fearing that there were too many witnesses, the man continued to drive, leaving the girl behind. Upon investigation, Jennifer told authorities that he succeeded in raping her. Unbeknownst to Jennifer at the time, she was the sole survivor of serial killer Andrew Urdiales, who was later imprisoned due to her testimony.

6Nine Months A Sexual Slave

On June 15, 2012, a woman was waiting to board a train with her family in Kanpur, India when she excused herself to the bathroom and encountered a male acquaintance. According to the woman’s account, she was drugged and taken to a house in Delhi. For nine months, the man beat her, threatened her life, and repeatedly raped her. The woman’s ordeal worsened when the man brought two of his friends to gang rape her. She was often drugged so that she wouldn’t fight, and the television was turned up so neighbors couldn’t hear the woman being tortured.

Keeping her mind on her husband and kids, the woman summoned the strength to escape and run to the nearest train station, where she called for help. The man and his accomplice were captured, but only the main abductor was charged and sentenced to 30 years in prison. During the trial, the judge found it hard to believe that an adult woman would be easily drugged and carried away from a train station without witnesses or the local police noticing. Careful not to imply that the woman left her family to voluntarily enjoy a sexual relationship with the suspect, the judge nevertheless theorized that perhaps the woman went willingly.

5Escorted Out The Window

Escape from the ruins
In November 2012, a female escort found out the hard way that she should have called in sick. When she arrived at the apartment of a potential customer, Benjamin Gaston, she was robbed of her money, cell phone, and identification card. Gaston told her that she would not be leaving the apartment because she would be working for him from then on. The woman fought back, but the man threatened her and held a pillow to her face until she submitted to his demands. At one point, the woman found a cell phone in the apartment and attempted to call for help, but authorities were not able to help until she could provide them with her exact location.

After more threats of what would happen if the woman didn’t cooperate, Gaston relocated her to a sixth-floor apartment in Harlem, where seven men were waiting to have sex with her. Desperately looking for a way to escape, the woman climbed out of a window in the apartment and used her jacket as a makeshift rope. The woman ended up falling six stories and breaking both of her legs and her back. Authorities arrested Gaston and the man who owned the apartment, charging them with holding a woman hostage and enslavement to prostitute.

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4A Close Call


In 1974, Carol DaRonch was leaving a shopping center when a man approached her claiming to be a police officer. He told Carol that someone had broken into her car, and he needed her to identify the suspect at the police station. Carol was doubtful at first, because nothing seemed to have been missing from her car, but the man convinced her otherwise. Finding it strange that the man was not wearing a police uniform or driving a police car, Carol asked to see a badge, which he produced. Assuming he was off duty or perhaps undercover, Carol made the tragic mistake of getting into his car.

Carol started to panic when she noticed the man was driving the opposite direction of the police station. The man became violent, pulled a gun on her, and attempted to cuff her hands. Not realizing that he had handcuffed the same wrist twice, Carol was able to open the car door and stumble onto the road. The man tried to apprehend her, but she fought back relentlessly. He then attempted to hit her with a crow bar, but she kicked him in the genitals and ran toward another vehicle for help. It was only later that Carol found out that the man who attempted to kidnap and kill her was none other than infamous serial killer Ted Bundy.

3Lisa Holden

Domestic abuse is one of the most common attacks on women, but it often goes unreported. Lisa Holden, a Texas mother of three, had been severely abused by her husband for many years. Lisa’s husband would often beat her with electrical wires, jumper cables, and occasionally with a baseball bat. Her health had deteriorated to the point that the wounds on her arms and legs no longer healed effectively.

In late March 2012, Lisa Holden‘s husband beat her with electrical wires and a baseball bat before taking their seven-year-old to school. When he returned, he continued to beat her again with jumper cables after his truck wouldn’t start. Promising to kill her upon his return, he left again. With their lives at stake, Lisa took her two youngest children and fled to the woods to hide from her husband.

After two days in hiding, a concerned motorist noticed Lisa and her children on the side of the road and came to their aid. When police arrived at the Holdens’ home, they noticed video cameras within the residence. They suspect the cameras were used to monitor Lisa’s and the children’s movement. Lisa’s husband was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and bodily injury.

Lisa was listed in critical care for 10 days for broken bones and head trauma. Investigators also found metal pellets lodged into Lisa’s legs from a previous incident after her husband shot her with a pellet gun. The three children were placed in a foster home until Lisa recovered.

2Michelina Lewandowska

Michelina Lewandowska’s story of survival is astounding. On May 28, 2011, Michelina’s fiance, Marcin Kasprzak, and his 18-year-old accomplice, Patryk Borys, stunned Michelina with a Taser gun at their home in Huddersfield, Northern England. Once unconscious, her fiance and his accomplice bound, gagged, and stuffed Michelina in a computer box before burying her in a shallow grave under an enormous tree branch in a nearby woodland.

When Michelina regained consciousness, she was overwhelmed with fear, but through prayer and thoughts of her two-year-old son, she regained the strength to survive and broke free of her restraints. Using the diamond on her engagement ring, she cut through the box and dug herself out of the grave. Michelina then flagged down a passing motorist.

Kasprzak was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. His accomplice was only charged with kidnapping and will serve four years. Both are eligible for release after serving only half of their sentences. Kasprzak’s plan of murder arose after a heated argument with Michelina over their son’s future. Kasprzak also claimed that he was bored of her before the attack happened.

1Megan Williams

This case of a 20-year-old black woman who claimed to have been kidnapped and tortured by seven white men and women in a rural area of West Virginia shocked the nation. Megan Williams claimed that, for almost a week in September 2007, she was subjected to racial name-calling, kicked in the face, hit with painful objects like cedar sticks and belt buckles, and repeatedly sodomized. Her more horrifying claims include being forced to eat human and animal feces and vomit and being doused with extremely hot water. The captors threatened to kill Megan if she screamed, choked her until she turned blue, and made her perform sexual acts on one of the older women in the house.

Based on an anonymous tip, authorities stopped by the suspects’ trailer to perform a welfare check. The female owner claimed that she was alone until Megan limped to the front door and pleaded for help from the officer. Megan was rescued and eventually reunited with her family.

Because the suspects were white and the victim was a black woman, Megan’s story instantly became high-profile. The public declared the incident a hate crime and demanded that the suspects be charged accordingly. In 2007, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke at a rally against hate crimes in West Virginia and even financially compensated Megan and her family.

In a surprising twist, Megan recanted her story in October 2009. Explaining that she no longer wanted to live a lie, Megan stated that she had made up some of the story to take revenge on a boyfriend who beat her. Based on an interview Megan gave to a Cleveland newspaper called The Call and Post, she feared her mother and was forced to exaggerate her story for the family’s financial gain.

The story gets even stranger, though, because there was plenty of evidence, including the suspects’ own confessions, that Megan was, in fact, kidnapped and tortured by the Brewster family, who were convicted of these crimes. In February 2008, one of the accused, named Alisha Burton, revealed a more complicated insight into the relationship Megan had with the Brewsters. According to Alisha, Megan was romantically involved with Bobby Brewster. After the relationship fell apart and he became physically violent toward her, the family took turns holding Megan captive because they were scared that “the law” would be called onto their property to intervene.

I enjoy pop culture, superhero movies, and watching TV shows like The Walking Dead, The Americans, and Hannibal. I’m also addicted to Listverse. If you’re curious about what I look like, you can check me out on Twitter.

fact checked by Jamie Frater