Jaycee Dugard on Women Rescued in Ohio: Give Them Time to Heal

3 Missing Women in Ohio: Jaycee Dugard Responds to Missing Girls Found
Jaycee Dugard
Andrew H. Walker/Getty

updated 05/07/2013 AT 12:00 PM EDT

originally published 05/07/2013 AT 10:30 AM EDT

Few people could understand what the three women rescued this week from apparent captivity in Cleveland must have gone through better than Jaycee Dugard.

Abducted herself in 1991 at age 11 and held captive for 18 years, Dugard is cautioning the public to give these women time and space to begin healing. At the same time, she adds, the women's survival shows the power of human resolve.

"These individuals need the opportunity to heal and connect back into the world. This isn't who they are. It is only what happened to them," Dugard tells PEOPLE in a statement.

She adds: "The human spirit is incredibly resilient. More then ever this reaffirms we should never give up hope."

The three women discovered Monday in a house near downtown Cleveland, identified as Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, had been missing for a decade.

Authorities are only just beginning to piece together what happened to them, but Berry apparently gave birth to a child, now 6, during that time – much like Dugard, who had two daughters while being held captive by Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

Jaycee Dugard on Women Rescued in Ohio: Give Them Time to Heal| True Crime, Real People Stories, Jaycee Dugard

Amanda Marie Berry (left) and Georgina Lynn Dejesus

Reuters / Landov

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