Trigger warning: This story contains sensitive content regarding sexual assault.
While Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manages to be a comedy, the inspiration for the show — a young girl getting kidnapped and held hostage for years — is actually extremely dark. The closest the show comes to touching on the severity of Kimmy's past is during the second season when she tries therapy. The character has leftover reflexes and phobias due to her time in the bunker because, whether the show admits it or not, women being held hostage by men is never not fucking terrifying.
It's a fact that's hard to ignore while watching the series. Refinery29's own Kelsey Miller found the second season almost too hard to watch, because she recognized her own coping mechanisms from past trauma in the character on screen. To many, Kimmy's story is real.
It's also, unfortunately, not entirely unheard of. In the past 50 years or so, there have been several high-profile kidnapping cases involving women (or young girls) and male captors. One was even the direct inspiration for the Netflix show, but creator Tina Fey clearly borrowed elements from all of them. Obscure religious practices, sexual abuse, multiple victims, and eventually having to adapt back to the real world — the series softens the blow of these things with a catchy theme song and the enigma that is Titus Andromedon, but they come from real events
Ahead are five true stories of kidnapping, and eventual rescue, that have an eerie resemblance to Kimmy's story.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).