January 25, 2017
“If we are somewhere that doesn’t have a closet, she will go to the shower, turn on the scalding hot water and sleep in there,” says Janae, describing one of the coping behaviors her 23-year-old girlfriend, Lauren, exhibits.
Lauren is an adult survivor of childhood beatings, psychological torture, starvation and other atrocities at the hands of her mother and stepfather. At the time of her rescue, 16 years ago, the media gave Lauren the nickname “The Girl in the Closet” because her parents had kept her sequestered in a filthy, feces-strewn bedroom closet from the time Lauren was two, until she was eight.
READ: Lauren – In Her Own Words
Janae says Lauren “can get very violent” and sometimes reenacts the abuse she experienced as a child. “I have to …before we go to bed, I normally put everything away that’s sharp, anything that she can hurt herself on,” says Janae. “I literally have to baby proof the house.”
Lauren admits she has flashbacks and various triggers from her time as a captive in her parents’ closet. She says one of her biggest triggers is country music – because, she claims her parents used to play it to drown out any noise she made. “Ken and Barbie used to play country music all the time.”
Tune in Wednesday for part one of this absorbing two-part Dr. Phil. Then on Thursday, Lauren’s older sister, Blake, reveals the guilt she feels over not being able to help her little sister escape their parents’ abuse.