Jaycee Dugard steps out publicly for DVF Awards
This post has been corrected, as detailed below.
Jaycee Dugard stepped out publicly on Friday for the first time since her rescue in 2009. The kidnapping survivor was in good company at the United Nations in New York for Diane von Furstenberg’s DVF Awards ceremony, where she met fellow honorees like Oprah Winfrey.
Dugard received the Inspiration Award for her JAYC Foundation, which aims to help families “recovering from abduction and the aftermath of other traumatic experiences.”
People reports that, taking the microphone, Dugard told the crowd: "My name is Jaycee Dugard and I want to say that, because for a long time I wasn't able to say my name and so it feels good. I am truly honored to be here tonight with these amazing women who have done and been through so much more than me."
Despite her horrific experience, she said it was her mother’s hope that helped her go on. "And I did live. I have two beautiful daughters who I love with all my heart,” she said.
Dugard, 31, made headlines first when she was abducted at age 11 as she walked to bus stop from her South Lake Tahoe-area home, and again 18 years later when she was rescued with her daughters from her kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido.
However, her “hope is to be remembered for what I do,” not the kidnapping that stole so many years of her life.
Winfrey, who received the lifetime achievement award, showered Dugard with praise, saying: "I am so proud of you. You are using your courage and your strength and your power to show the world that you care."
Winfrey got her share of the spotlight too. The Washington Post reports that Oprah shared a hug with friend Von Furstenberg, who told the crowd: “She is the most formidable person I have ever met in my life. What is extraordinary about Oprah is that she has done so much and yet she is still a little girl. She is still very pure and you can make her cry and laugh so quickly.”
Von Furstenberg and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation created the DVF Awards in 2010 to “recognize and support women who are using their resources, commitment and visibility to transform the lives of other women.”
Each of the five honorees -- Dugard, Winfrey, Layli Miller-Muro of the Tahirih Justice Center, Panmela Castro of Rede Nami in Brazil and Chouchou Namegabe of the South Kivu’s Assn. of Women Journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- received $50,000 for their cause.
[For the record, 7:25 p.m. March 10: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the awards took place on Saturday.]
-- Emily Christianson
Photo: Oprah Winfrey, left, and Jaycee Dugard. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images