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Kidnapping Victim Jan Broberg Reveals Why She Shares Her Story With The World

"I think often, we concentrate just on the one that was victimized with the actual abuse and we forget that everybody in my family was groomed," Jan Broberg said in an interview with Oxygen True Crime.

By Becca van Sambeck

Oxygen Book Club highlights books in the crime sphere each month and features exclusive interviews, guided discussions, and more.

At this point, Jan Broberg's story has been told in multiple mediums: news articles, podcasts, documentaries, even a fictionalized television series on Peacock inspired by the case starring Jake Lacey. But Jan was able to get the chance to tell what happened in her own words in "The Jan Broberg Story: The True Crime Story of a Young Girl Abducted and Brainwashed by a Friend of the Family," a memoir she co-authored with mother Mary Ann Broberg. 

In the memoir, Jan describes how neighbor and close friend Robert Berchtold was able to manipulate both her and her parents and kidnap her not once, but twice in the 1970s before she was 15 years old. Both she and her mother reflect on how Berchtold was able to draw them in, the stories he brainwashed them with, and the horrifying abuse he inflicted. But it's also a story of moving on from trauma and demonstrates the women's resilience, making it the perfect fit for Oxygen Book Club in December 2022.

Jan Broberg recently spoke with Oxygen True Crime digital correspondent Stephanie Gomulka to learn more about what inspired her to write the book, what's happened to her family since, and what she hopes people learn from her story.

RELATED: Jake Lacy Says ‘A Friend Of The Family’ Validated His Concerns As A Father

"I think often, we concentrate just on the one that was victimized with the actual abuse and we forget that everybody in my family was groomed and everyone in my family has a different reason for dealing with a trauma that has lingered in their life," she said while discussing how the book details the way trauma affects multiple people. "... So a lot of the things that we're doing now with the foundation, with the book, and with our podcast is really, truly a result of what each one of us experienced in a different way, and how trauma and the survival of that is different — if you're a family member, or a sister, or a brother, or a partner of a survivor as to what the survivor is going through to try to heal and thrive." 

Broberg explained that a motivator for writing the book was to show how easily sexual predators can manipulate people.

"I think we all are learning how to recognize the groomers and the predators because it's so subtle. It's not obvious and that's really the point of me telling my story and my parents and family members being so willing to expose their mistakes in our book, in our podcast, and on our series and documentaries. It really has been all about because we felt like we survived. We stayed together as a family," she said.

To learn more about why Broberg wrote the book with her mother specifically and what the family is doing now, watch the videos, above.