Colleen Stan was 20 years old when she was abducted by Cameron Hooker and his wife Janice

A woman who was raped and tortured for seven years after being kidnapped on her way to a friend’s party has said she learned to “go somewhere else” in her mind to escape the horror of her daily life.

Colleen Stan was 20 years old when she was abducted in May 1977 by Cameron Hooker and his wife Janice and taken to their home in Red Bluff, north California.

She was held captive as a sex slave by the couple and spent years locked in a homemade wooden box for 23 hours a day, brought out only to be raped, beaten and emotionally abused.

“I thought I was going to die,” Ms Stan, 59, told US magazine People ahead of the release of a TV film of her ordeal, called ‘The Girl in the Box’.

Ms Stan accepted a lift from Mr and Mrs Hooker, near her home in west Oregon. But while she said the pair – who had their baby with them – initially seemed nice, things soon turned ugly.

According to the magazine, around half an hour into the journey, Mr Hooker stopped the car and threatened her with a knife, before tying her up, gagging her and forcing her head into a box.

She endured perpetual sexual assault and violence, including being chained up and imprisoned under the couple’s bed, until Ms Hooker helped her escape seven years later in 1984.

In a previous interview with CBS news, Ms Stan said Mr Hooker renamed her “K” and made her sign a contract that “basically said that he owned me body and soul”.

He would whip her, burn her and give her electric shocks, according to the broadcaster, and told her that if she ever told anyone, a secretive, powerful authority would kill both her and her family.

She was even taken home to visit her family with Mr Hooker about halfway through her captivity – but by that stage was so fully under his control she didn’t tell them anything about what had happened, leaving them to worry she had joined a cult.

Ms Stan told People she would focus on pleasant thoughts and happy memories to help her cope with the horrific ordeal.

“I learned I could go anywhere in my mind,” she told the magazine. “You just remove yourself from the real situation going on and you go somewhere else.”

After Ms Stan’s escape, Mr Hooker was sentenced to 104 years in prison, with his wife accepting immunity to testify against him.

Ms Stan has had years of therapy and is now a grandmother.

“Thirty years have passed, I’m better, I’m healed, I’m doing good, I’ve got on with life, and then things like this come up and it has a way of pulling you right back to that event,” she told USA Today when Mr Hooker was up for parole in 2015.

He was denied release and was told he would remain in prison for at least 15 more years – and probably much longer, a California prisons spokesperson said, according to the broadcaster.

-The Independent

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