Kerre McIvor
Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Let's care enough to interfere


A couple of years ago, I read a work of fiction called Room. It was a chilling account of a life lived in captivity as seen through the eyes of a child.

The boy had been born to a young woman who had been abducted and held prisoner in a hidden room in a suburban home. I won't tell you the rest of it, but it was a fascinating read.

I would never have guessed that truth would be even stranger than fiction.

There are a number of cases where young women have been abducted and locked away, but this latest case in Cleveland, where three young women were held captive for more than 10 years, is particularly nasty.

Especially when you consider that a number of times neighbours saw things that caused them to raise the alarm.

Some of the young women were seen on leashes, naked and on all fours in the backyard. The neighbours rang the police but no further action was taken.

I have no idea why. Were the neighbours able to convince themselves that somehow this was all just fun and games between consenting adults? Were the police so used to getting crank calls from stoned weirdos that they filed the information in the rubbish bin?

Visitors to the house were bemused by the number of locks on the doors and reported hearing banging sounds that they were told were the family's dogs.

I know hindsight is wonderful, but it seems so cruel to think that the women's ordeal could have ended years earlier, if only people had cared enough to interfere.

- Herald on Sunday

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