Abducted in Plain Sight director answers the burning questions you have about the documentary
So many questions.
Since being released on Netflix a few weeks ago, Skye Borgman's documentary Abducted in Plain Sight has absolutely captivated anyone that has seen it. Much like any true crime feature, the documentary is not an easy watch though because it incites an extremely strong emotional response from viewers.
As stated in our review, the documentary tells the story of Jan Broberg, a girl who was kidnapped not once, but twice, in the 1970s by a family friend named Robert Berchtold, who manipulated her and raped her repeatedly.
Aside from sexually molesting and brainwashing Jan, Berchtold also seduced both of her parents, Mary Ann and Bob, to manipulate them into giving him access to their young daughter.
Both of Jan's parents were also romantically involved with Berchtold and even after he abducted their daughter, they both stayed in contact with him.
In a recent interview with Vulture, the director of the documentary, Skye Borgman, answered some of the questions that viewers still want to be answered.
Here are Borgman's views on...
Why Jan's parents were willing to 'look the other way' regarding Berchtold's horrific behaviour?
"I think it’s just absolute denial. I really do. The shame they feel [about] the affairs they had threw them into such denial. Between the time Jan was 16 and 21 — when they weren’t really talking about this stuff at all, when they hadn’t realised any of the sexual abuse — I think they literally were able to convince themselves that if Jan’s not telling us about this, it didn’t happen".
Why they stayed in contact with Berchtold - even after he abducted Jan to Mexico and raped her?
"They convinced themselves of that, even though so many people [and] the FBI said that this is something that happened. I think it really has to do with the fact that they placed so much faith in experts, in doctors who said, “There has been no sexual abuse because her hymen hasn’t been broken.
"They didn’t have any real concept that anything else could be sexual abuse. It was purely penetration, really, that they thought was sexual abuse. So if a doctor said, “There’s been no penetration,” they’re like, “Okay, she’s fine. She’s fine.” That’s part of the denial as well".
Why Mary Ann (Jan's mother) seems so passive about her affair with Berchtold.
"Compartmentalization, I think that’s exactly what she did. And I think she continues to do that to this day. But I really think that Mary Ann was in love with Berchtold. It had started before the first kidnapping, and he had made her feel beautiful and made her feel attraction".
Why they continued to trust Berchtold, despite his horrific crimes.
"The Brobergs didn’t really think of it as him kidnapping [Jan], even though he took her without their knowledge, this is where I think the depth of the brainwashing really comes in, Mary Ann loved him, or thought that she loved him, and just couldn’t see what had really happened. He came back and was still saying, “I love you, Mary Ann. I think you’re great. You’re beautiful.
"It didn’t really dawn on her that he could also be attracted to a 12-year-old little girl. And again, doctors had said nothing happened. So I think they thought he had just had a little mental breakdown. But again, it’s that denial. Even though I think somewhere deep inside they knew something was wrong, they just couldn’t see it".
The director also states her belief that Bob Broberg's sexual interactions with Berchtold occurred "more than once".
You can read the whole interview here.