Eight Days in Darkness
Review is by Molly
Eight Days in Darkness, the True Story of the Abduction, Rape and Rescue of Anita Wooldridge is a narrative written following the events beginning on June 25 1998 when Anita Woodridge was taken from her parents’ home and held for 8 horrifying days by a convicted rapist.
In 1998 Anita Wooldridge was a fiery tressed young lady, 1995 Taylor High School graduate, working, enjoying a serious relationship with the young man she thought she might spend her life with and living in her childhood home in Kokomo, Indiana.
She and her close friend and co worker were happily anticipating the wedding of her friend; Anita was to be part of the wedding party.
Anita Wooldridge’s life was to forever change when Victor Thomas Steele, Tom, referred to by Anita as the mole in her book forced his way into the Wooldridge home where Anita was sleeping in, her plans to go over to the high school and help with the clean up taking place following a recent tornado had been cancelled due to a heat advisory.
Anita had a fleeting acquaintance with forty-two year old Tom Steele, he had come to the gym where Anita worked.
During the 8 days following her abduction Anita was forced out of her home, into the trunk of a car, to the farmhouse where Tom had an attic bedroom in his Mother’s home where she was assaulted more than once, was transported to Wisconsin where Steele had grandiose plans to open a book store and have a loving relationship with ‘his girl’. Anita kept in a locked cupboard Steele had laid upon the floor for most of the time, she was allowed out of the cupboard during the times Steele demanded sexual gratification and to cook or clean.
Her eight days of horror at last ended when the police in Indiana and the police in Wisconsin pieced together the truth, located the house and rescued Anita from her metal prison.
She had little knowledge then that her involvement with Tom Steele was not yet over. During his trial Steele served as his own attorney, demanded that Anita confess that she and the FBI has cooked up the whole story just to get him in trouble.
Anita has gone on with her life, but nothing will be the same. Her relationships with men are still problematic. After years in therapy Anita feels strong enough to serve as a victims’ advocate and travels throughout the US to tell her story and present the story of her successful rescue.
After nine years of appeals during which time Steele was never successful he has now brought civil suit against Anita and her attorney for a million dollars as payment for the suffering he has faced in prison.
Angela Roegner, LCSW, has penned a compelling, fast moving read filled many details detailing the excruciating fear, horror and awfulness of the Anita Wooldridge case. I had a vague memory of the case from news reports back at the time the matter was taking place. Reading first the news reports online and then reading Anita’s story on the pages of Eight Days in Darkness I can only marvel at the pluck this girl managed to come up with to assuage her attacker’s brutality, to keep herself alive and to return to life, not as it was but as it is now filled with more understanding and continuing faith in God in spite of all the horror of those eight days.
I find Eight Days in Darkness to be a compelling read and despite the misery Steele inflicted upon Anita, the story remains one of hope and is a tribute to the human spirit.
Told in straight forward manner, Roegner worked closely with Anita to produce this work filled with graphic sexual reference, gritty language and the pervading faith Anita clung to during the ordeal. Anita was taken by a convicted rapist, he assaulted her brutally and repeatedly, and the details offered are necessary to really bring the reader to an understanding of what one young woman was forced to endure, how she faced the misery, rose above it and determined that she would not forever be bowed by it.
Not for everyone, however happy to recommend Eight Days in Darkness, the True Story of the Abduction, Rape and Rescue of Anita Wooldridge for survivors of rape and assault, caregivers, family, counselors and the high school, and public library shelf.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
Book Rating System