Very few movies have made an impact on us like this new wave of Lifetime movies. Their new "Ripped From the Headlines" series of movies are absolutely phenomenal! The executives are rolling out films that touch on everything from real life hostage situations, abuse, trafficking and abduction. The first film to roll out is called "The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story" that depicts the real life abduction of 15-year-old Kara Robinson who was abducted from her friend's front yard!
Here's the story's synopsis:
15-year-old Kara Robinson (portrayed by Katie Douglas pictured right with Kara Robinson-Chamberlain) was watering plants in her best friend’s front yard in South Carolina when she was approached by a man who put a gun to her neck and forced her into a plastic storage bin and drove off. He took Kara to his apartment where he held her captive and sexually assaulted her for 18 hours. With her survival instincts kicking in, Kara memorized as many details as possible throughout her ordeal and when her captor finally fell asleep, she escaped the restraints and fled his apartment. Kara was able to lead the police back to the apartment’s exact location and identify her captor as Richard Evonitz (Bruun), a serial killer who was also responsible for the unsolved murders of at least three other young girls. Cara Buono portrays Kara’s mother Debra.
We spoke with Robinson-Chamberlain and Smart to discuss their collaboration and both women were adamant about one thing. They wanted to show the realistic ways in which Robinson-Chamberlain was able to cope after her abduction. Robinson-Chamberlain wanted to show that her PTSD wasn't like that of others. "I think for me what is important is telling the story that was authentic to what I experienced. For me, what's most important is telling a story that might look a little different, how I responded and how I reacted, than some of the stories you've seen on television. Because, ultimately, I know that I'm not alone in the way I responded to my particular trauma. The ability to tell a story that is different is what was most important for me." Robinson-Chamberlain said. "The only responses the media portrayed was this extremely, I'll say, traumatized reaction of having PTSD, having anxiety attacks and nightmares and that was never something that I identified with personally. Immediately following my kidnapping, I felt like I was 'fine'. And that was a story that I perpetuated for about 15 years."
Elizabeth Smart, another abduction survivor and advocate, said "These stories are so powerful in helping other survivors know that they're not alone. The crimes of sexual violence are so isolating that it's so easy to feel alone so, to know that they're not alone. To know that they don't have to be ashamed, to know that they don't need to keep it a secret. Whether it's something that happens on a very intimate or small scale or something that's so large that maybe the world knows about it, I want them to know that they don't need to be ashamed."
Elizabeth Smart returns to Lifetime after narrating and executive producing the network’s highly rated 2018 film I Am Elizabeth Smart, and hosting the doc specials Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice and Smart Justice: The Jayme Closs Case which featured Smart leading a roundtable discussion with other well-known victims of abduction including Kara Robinson.
Please make sure you schedule time to watch this movie, especially with your teens, because the way Robinson-Chamberlain was able to escape is something everyone should know!
The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story is executive produced by Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley of Marwar Junction Productions, Howard Braunstein and Elizabeth Smart. The film is produced by Juliette Hagopian. Simone Stock directs from a script written by Haley Harris. This film premieres on Lifetime this Saturday, February 11, at 8pm EST.