Millions of couples a year meet on internet dating sites…
Indeed, since the early days of the internet, lonely people have looked to the likes of chat rooms, Facebook, and Match.com to help them find that one special someone in a sea of “other” fish. But what happens if that soulmate you meet isn’t who they say they are? What happens when what looks like a dream come true turns into a real nightmare?
This is not a love story. Not really, anyway. Like many, the woman who we will call Ilia, had spent hear early 20’s trying to find Mr. Right. Unfortunately, living in Russia and being of a very specific faith, meant that the search wasn’t going smoothly. She decided to take to the internet, as so many had done before her, to see if she could find “the one”.
Ilia Met Online
So Ilia logged onto a dating website for Tatar Muslims like herself. It was a very specific niche, but there were apparently enough single people looking that this didn’t matter. In no time at all, she and Rinat had found one another. He seemed to be everything she was looking for. Ilia believed she’d finally met the love of her life, but she couldn’t have been more wrong…
The pair dated for a while and things were going swimmingly. Rinat Bilyanov seemed to share her faith, her heart, and her plans for the future. In no time at all, they were prepared to make a more permanent commitment to one another and though the pair were never officially married, they did join together in a brief religious ceremony.
Home Sweet Home
It was only after this rite had taken place that Ilia began to see that things with Rinat were not as they appeared at first. It was when he took her to their new home, that she first realized something was wrong. The squalid house had unplastered walls and boards on the windows. It looked like a prison…which is exactly what it turned out to be…
The house was located in the Pushkino, Moscow region, in a neighborhood that would no one would ever have described as “upscale”. Still, looking at it, she knew that together she and her love could make it a home. The twenty something young woman didn’t know it yet, but as the door closed behind her, she would behold the last glimpse of daylight she would see for the foreseeable future.
Rinat then told her that she was never going to leave the house again. He explained that she was his prisoner and that she would only ever be allowed to leave when her parents paid him 200 million roubles or $3 million. Of course, he had no intention of letting her go even then…
Ilia wasn’t allowed to leave the house at all. Her husband held the only keys and she wasn’t going anywhere. Soon, the walls of the cramped, dilapidated home began to become suffocating. As if her imprisonment wasn’t enough, her new husband, for lack of a better term, also delighted in physically punishing her.
Master of Torment
Bilyanov would beat Ilia mercilessly whenever the mood suited him. When he wasn’t assaulting her physically or berating her verbally, he was forcing her to have sex with him. Her dream for a perfect love had turned into a living hell. Life remained that way for some time, until Ilia became pregnant with the couple’s first child…
During her time as Bilyanov’s prisoner, Ilia gave birth to four children. As more of them came, the house and the resources available to the two of them became more scarce, but Ilia didn’t care. The children at least offered her some escape from the hell she had found herself in and some respite from her captor’s brutality.
Unfortunately, the children would only provide her with respite for so long. The first of many more serious beatings actually began when their first child was born. She was beaten so badly that he broke a wooden plank on her skin. Her recovery was slow and she still had a child to care for, and soon enough, she’d be pregnant again…
Bilyanov would sometimes take the children out in order to give them some air and show them off to his friends, but never Ilia. No, his “wife” was to remain inside the tiny, unplastered apartment, breathing in the crumbling essence of her dream life as it flaked off and turned to dust around her.
Because of their cramped upbringing, the abuse, the constant threat of violence and berating, almost all of the children grew to have developmental problems. Most of them couldn’t speak properly and those that could seemed to shrink at the sight of their father. He did try to teach them of course, though his lessons were as cruel as his behavior towards Ilia…
The cruel father added insult to injury by raising his boys to hate their mother as much as he did and to believe that she was evil. He spoke to his son on more than one occasion saying, “Ruslan, when you grow up, you must keep beating her like this, with your fists, kicking her, because she is very bad.” It was almost too much to bear to believe her precious boys would become like Bilyanov.
Six Long Years
He would beat her in front of the children, scream at her, even sexually abuse her. He didn’t care what it was doing to them. For six long years, Bilyanov kept Ilia as his prisoner, broodmare, punching bag, and sex slave. Then, one day, Ilia decided she could bear it no longer. Something had to be done…
Call the Police
Ilia has spent so long being beaten, broken, and talked down to, that she could barely recognize the woman she’d become, or even remember who she was. Perhaps it was the idea of him hurting the kids or else warping them to be like himself, whatever it was, she decided to take the chance and call the police.
Miraculously, the authorities believed her story and mobilized a team to come in and save her. They stormed the small home, freeing her and her children from the tyrannical grasp of Rinat Bilyanov. They were finally safe at last. Now it was time for the tormenter to suffer…
Safe at Last
Today, Ilia and her children are out of the hovel and in a safe place. They are currently living in a shelter for women and beginning the healing process, though, for the severely affected kids, that process will take a while. “My youngest daughter has been outside only once in her life.” she explained to a news reporter after being saved.
Eye for an Eye
At the same time that Ilia and her children are healing, the police are beginning a preliminary investigation against Rinat Bilyanov. If the allegations are proven true, he could face up to seven years in jail: a very poetical punishment considering what he put poor Ilia and his children through. There are many like Ilia who have escaped capture at the hands of a madman…
10-year-old Natascha Kampusch’s story isn’t the same by a longshot. She never wanted to date the man who abducted her. Indeed, she had never even sought him out. He, like so many like him, stole her away from her front yard in a white van and brought her to a new house that would, in no time at all, become her prison.
Forced into Slavery
Natascha became a live-in maid, cook, and sex slave. Her abductor turned jailer made her clean the house from top to bottom every single day lest she receive harsh punishments. Like Ilia, it would take many years before Natascha would find her way to freedom, but eventually, the guilty parties got their just desserts.