Lydia Gouardo

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Lydia Gouardo (born November 13, 1962) is a French woman, born in Maisons-Alfort, Val-de-Marne,[1] who was imprisoned for 28 years, raped, and tortured by her father, Raymond Gouardo, in their home in Meaux and Coulommes in Seine et Marne. The abuse took place from 1971 to 1999.

Lydia gave birth to six children, all by her father. During her imprisonment, she escaped and phoned legal aid, but her father recaptured her in a family residence in Melun.[1] She was finally freed in 1999 when her father died. Abuse took place from when she was eight years old.[2] Her mother knew of this, and a closed-door trial was taken against her. She was given a four-year suspended jail sentence.

Lydia claimed to have run away from her father when he hit her too hard but was always brought back by the police when she was a minor. She claimed to have not realized that the abuse was unusual. She bears the scars of her torture from her neck to her ankles from where her captor burned her with boiling water and hydrochloric acid. She spent a lot of time locked in the attic of the home she still lives in.[citation needed]

She wrote a book about her story, Le silence des autres (The Silence of Others), with the French journalist and writer Jean-Michel Caradec'h in 2008. She admitted that it was the worldwide news of the Fritzl case that made her talk; she described being behind shutters. She also said she wanted to be friends with Elisabeth Fritzl because she would feel less alone and she could support her.[citation needed] Gouardo believes the world "ignored her plight" as an incest and abuse victim.[3]

Her mother was convicted for failure to report the crimes she was aware of and for sexual abuse against one of Lydia's children.[4][5][6]

Police also suspect Raymond Gouardo of being implicated in the murder of four other girls in the Paris area in 1987. DNA tests on one of the victims have not shown any link with Gouardo and other evidence is circumstantial.[7]

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