What Are Camilla Carr & Jon James Doing Now? Netflix's 'Captive' Shows They Found A Way To Forgive
"If they walked through the door now," Camilla Carr says about her abductors early in an episode of the Netflix true crime series Captive , "if they walked into this room, actually what I'd say to them, I would just say, 'Do you realize what effect you had on another human being?'" That episode, the fifth of Season 1, centers around the kidnapping of both Carr and Jon James, two aid workers who traveled from Britain to Chechnya in 1997 to work in a children's community center in the war-torn country. They pair were kidnapped by rebels and held hostage for 14 months before their release. Since the episode begins with Carr ruminating about the effect the ordeal had on her, it's natural for viewers to wonder what Camilla Carr and Jon James are doing today — and how they've moved on from such a tragic event.
Fortunately, Captive doesn't keep us in suspense about the pair's fate. Since both the real Carr and the real James are seen onscreen giving interviews within the first few minutes of the episode, we know that they ultimately survived their kidnapping. But simply surviving such an unthinkable event isn't the end of the story… and sure enough, Carr and James have led very full lives since their release in 1998.
In fact, they got perhaps the happiest ending imaginable: they got married. The couple was already dating when they departed for Chechnya together, and James actually proposed to Carr while they were imprisoned, according to a 2000 interview they gave with The Guardian. And they were officially wed just a few months after their rescue. "As well as fulfilling their pledge, it was an important part of the rehabilitation process," the Guardian notes.
The interview also goes on to tell that, after settling back into life in Britain, James went back to his former job as a builder, while Carr returned to her work campaigning for the physical and mental wellbeing of the children of Chechnya — although this time from the safety of her own home rather than the middle of the war-torn capital city of Grozny. The article states that she was also in the process of writing a book about their experience; finally, in 2008, Carr and James would publish their memoir, The Sky Is Always There: Surviving A Kidnapping In Chechnya.
In 2010, the couple joined The Forgiveness Project, an "organization that collects and shares real stories of forgiveness to build understanding, encourage reflection and enable people to reconcile with the pain and move forward from the trauma in their own lives," according to its website. Carr's and James' page on the site speaks to their incredible ability to absolve the men who put them through a year of torture, rape, and terror. Carr writes:
Rape is a terrible violation of a human being. I will never forgive the act, yet I can forgive the man who raped me; I can feel compassion for him because I understand the desperate place he was coming from. […] I believe forgiveness begins with understanding, but you have to work through layers to obtain it. First you have to deal with anger, then with tears, and only once you reach the tears are you on the road to finding peace of mind.
And James adds:
Like Camilla, I’ve come to an understanding of where our captors, and where her violator, were coming from. Not many people in this world do stuff out of pure maliciousness. But it’s taken me a long time to get to a point where I can think about what happened without feeling a charge of negative energy.
To this day, Carr and James continue to travel around, sharing their story anywhere it's needed, including schools, business, and even prisons. Carr's website describes the couple as "inspirational and motivational speakers" who "offer experiential workshops using their coping and survival strategies to provide transferable tools for anyone working in a stressful environment."
Carr and James may have gone through hell, but it's thankfully clear that the ordeal in Chechnya wasn't their whole story; rather, it was just the terrifying prologue of a long and inspiring journey of love, healing, and forgiveness.