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Personal Accounts

The following are first hand personal accounts from survivors of abuse as children in The Family

192 accounts.
Page 3 of 20

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Original Location

familyrat - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I'm reposting the article I wrote. Its the sentiment that a large quanitity of YP in TF feel right now.

For years Family leadership has weaseled their way out of trouble very cleverly. Even though individuals have been leaving the Family for over 30 years, the leadership still refuses to even sincerely apologize for all the abuses that they have condoned, and who even now, continue to persist in their abuses in spite of all that has been said and done.

All of us have tried to do our part. Whether the minority who strives for a new Family who will respect the rights of individuals and make assurances that such abuses will never happen again, or the majority who have done what they could to help our younger brothers and sisters find a way out of the fanatical religious insanity that they have come to know of as "discipleship" in The Family. People like myself in TF are tired of the perpetual rhetoric we hear day in and day out that has been parroted from the GN's. We're told that TF is the best place to be. We've been told since we were young of all the miserable things that would happen to us if we left. Throughout our entire lives, fear has been the tactic used to not only keep us in TF, but to keep us from discovering the truth.

I once had brief access to a CIA manual on interrogations. Its interesting to relate the surprising similarities noticed between the tactics that the CIA unofficially uses to not only get information, but also to keep loyal their moles who gather information for them. The one word that describes the tactic used is FEAR. One section I remember in particular recommends alternating between beatings and affection. This breaks down the victim quickly since never knowing what to expect, coupled with the fear of further pain keeps the person in a constant state of submission. The confusion experienced is similar to what many of us SGA's have experienced in TF. How many of you can remember being beaten severely to the point of the pain being unbearable, and then being told again and again that they loved you and that it was all for your own good? I'm sure that every one of us has had this happen to them at some point. Not to mention the numerous sexual abuses that have been condoned by Family leadership for decades.

But things have changed, thanks to all of those who were brave enough to leave, start a brand new life from scratch and not stop there, but then proceeded to face down the biggest fear of all. That of being entirely rejected by their family and loved ones, by actively doing what they could to stop the abuses and to assure that such evils would never be committed again. This has given them the infamous titles of "detractors" and "apostates". This was in the hopes that the further humiliation would cause those who fought the injustices of the family to shrink away and hide and cease in their persistence that the wrongs be made right. The hope was also that public examples would be made of these people, so any departing members would instinctively stay on good terms and not talk about the things they saw, heard and experienced in TF.

However, slowly things are now beginning to change. Masses of people are not easily kept silent for long, and Zerby and co would have done well to study the historical ends of tyrannical rulers. From Adolf Hitler to Pol Pot, and from Lenin to Saddam Hussein. ALL POWER must at some point end. Notice the similarities: dictators have always had strong idealistic theories and policies which kept them in their places for a surprising length of time. But every one of these leaders failed to foresee that people will never willing accept dictatorship and the blinding propaganda that follows it. People will rise up. People will take charge of their lives sooner or later. And if they are unable, then others will rise to the occasion and liberate them. A new war is now beginning.

The Family has been stricken with outside attacks for years, "persecution", "lies from our detractors", (who are now proud to wear the title of "Vandari!") and the endless stream of people leaving as a testimony to TF's abject failure. Now, those of us who hate the injustices have decided that we will not leave TF! We will stay on, and fight from the inside. A general once said: "One enemy on the inside is worth 500 on the outside." The family's leadership has failed to see this dangerous trend and is even now oblivious to the hundreds and more of Family young people who have become angry at the years of persecution they have so freely received at the hands of their "shepherds". We have suffered it for years...all of us. And now we will return it 100 fold. We aren't fearful anymore. We've experienced the worst that they can give us, and have seen that we could survive it.

To Zerby and the family leadership I say this. This is just the beginning of a new war. You hoped to make us into your soldiers. The "hope of the future", weapons that you could wield to excuse your insanity and triumphantly display in front of your enemies. Now, these same weapons have been turned against you. Everything you taught us has been to "fight the good fight!" Its been driven into our minds so well that now its become a part of us. We are natural warriors, having been taught how to fight to the end without surrender. (aka the John Paul Jones story) We've been preparing for "the endtime" for years. Well, sorry...some of us just got tired of all the waiting. We will now put all that we have learned to use...AGAINST you. The beatings you gave us. The abuse we experienced, will all be repaid.

Would you like to know the beauty of this war? The beauty of it is that you cannot see your enemy. You will never know whom of us it is. You know, I really hope for your sake, that all the things you've told us about prophecy and the "power of the keys" are real, because once the information we have gets out, and the real damage're going to be calling on everything from your kitchen mugs to the toilet plunger trying to find out who we are. And don't even think that kicking out the "rotten apples" will do the trick. We aren't bad kids by any means. To the contrary, we are very law abiding citizens. There are CO secretaries, computer programmers, office workers, and even VS's who are on our side. Information is our weapon, and we will use it to ensure that justice is dealt. Time has simply run its course, and now the day of reckoning is here.

We begged you, we pleaded with you, we cried for help when we needed it. It all fell on deaf ears, and now we have grown strong. We have also grown angry, angry and vengeful. Angry that you justify the abuses you committed, and angry that you would dare to try and repeat these injustices on our brothers and sisters. True, most of the sexual abuse has been stopped. And yes, the physical abuses have been diminished to a relative degree. But the greatest abuse of all continues, and that is the abuse of deception. Of attempting to gain power through the (ab)use of masses of individuals who have been brainwashed for so long, that they will accept anything you say, no matter how bizarre or insane.
How can we accept simple apologies for these serious crimes. We want compensation. I would consider sufficient compensation the solemn oath that you would never again commit or approve of such heinous crimes against humanity as you have done, and the severe punishment of any who do such things again. To all of you who have left: I salute you. We on the inside are fighting just as you are, and together, we will never again let such abuses and injustices happen if we can prevent them.

Original Location

itsxena2u - Sunday, March 07, 2004

Original Location

Albatross - Tuesday, February 17, 2004

“She ( Sara Davidito ) stands condemned by her upbringing of Davidito and Techi and her own daughter Davida and she was a party to the abuses which took place within the Berg household. She remains notwithstanding all of that, a highly respected and influential childcare officer. I have no confidence in her.”
"…Berg and Maria came down to her [Mene] bedroom and whilst Maria and Sarah were talking, Berg got into her bed in their presence and fondled her. This
happened on a number of occasions.” Justice Ward May 1995 UK.

“Even as young as Davida was, she was still put on Berg’s "scaring schedule". She wasn’t very happy about it, but because of her mother’s ( Sara Davidito ) prodding, pushing, and threatening, she consented.
She ( Sara ) became increasingly violent to where she would just loose it, and start hitting and kicking us for minor infraction. She threw me against the wall and kicked me repeatedly.
Ricky (Davidito ) June 4th 2002

”Bed Bugs!” The Davidito book Chapter 45. Davidito at 2 years 4 months.
15. Sex!: Now if I share with you some of Davidito’s sexy experiences, will you try prayerfully & cautiously to benefit from the lessons learned, and follow the Lord’s leadings in possibly sharing the same kind of gentle love and fun, without stumbling our little sheep?
18. On the 28th of April after naptime, Alfred, Davidito & I were all three loving up, when Dito looked at me […] & said, “Sara, I yub you!” pulled me down to kiss him, then pushed my head down to kiss some more!
19. It all developed so gently & lovingly, that he really was affectionate, eyes closed.—So guess what happened? For a bouncing climax (ha!), he spoke out in excited foreign tongues! […] Afterwards, he lay still in my arms to rest and even reached out to love Alfred around the neck, too, thanking him for sharing!
Sara Kelley (Davidito) From “The Story of Davidito.”
It should be noted that there were accompanying pictures in this publication.

Sara Davidito is a pedophile and child abuser. There is ample documentation.
The Davidito book was meant as an instructional book on childcare for TF. I counted 55 individual paragraphs from the Davidito book alone, which make reference to sexual abuse of children in Berg’s home. Most of the abuse mentioned took place at the hands of Sara Davidito. In this book she gleefully recounts her’s, her husband’s, and others', sexual escapades with children as young as 2 years old.

At the end of 2002 I met with my father Dan Roselle, AKA Ado, Adonikam Benjamin. When I pressed him on child abusers, he agreed that anyone who had contact of a sexual nature with young children was in the wrong and that it was not beyond the pale to suggest that they should be jailed. It was at this meeting he committed to review the Family publications to see whether they had ever advocated adult child sexual contact. It was during a subsequent phone conversation on January 5th 2002, that he denied that there had ever been anything in the Family publications that advocated adult child sex.
He is now setting up a home in Texas with Sara Davidito, one of the most notorious and egregious child abusers and pedophiles in the history of TF. Sara Davidito was the Joseph Goebbels to Berg’s Hitler, at least when the subject was the molestation of children. It is my father’s wish that he be allowed to live in peace in his little home in Texas. The sentiment is an understandable one. What strains credulity is that someone with that as a goal, should have either the blithe ignorance or the arrogant hubris to believe that he can survive unscathed after having chosen to create a home with someone who’s history is littered with the broken lives of the children in her care, someone who’s destructive perversions reached out and touched many of our lives, someone who literally wrote the how-to book on sexually abusing Family children. That my father, knowing the history of this woman, should allow her anywhere near my 10year old brother is unconscionable.
Sara Davidito has a lot to answer for and a generation to answer to. I am leaving the question of her relative culpability as an intellectual and moral free agent vis-à-vis the corrosive effects of Berg’s influence, to those who find that discussion more interesting than I do. I do think however, that I can promise her, my father, and anyone who chooses to associate themselves with her, knowing her past abuses, a time of discomfort over the next couple of years.
More information on her place of residence, and activities will be forthcoming.

Daniel Albatross

To the Family team that monitors this site: I am happy to know that you passed on the last article I wrote on TF and Sara Davidito to my father. If I were to offer a critique, it would be a small one. I would only mention that it seems it took 11 days for him to receive it. I don’t know if this is because of difficulty on your end or because of an irregularly checked email account on his end. That minor detail notwithstanding, I appreciate your efforts. I hope you will be so kind as to repeat the favor this time as well. Thank you.

Original Location

cheeks - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Here are the Creeps that I want to name and shame.

I know most of them are still in TF.

Philip, who is still in Europe. He was in Marseilles in '93. He likes spanking teen boys with a paddle, from my understanding at the time he got off on it and insisted they hug him for long periods of time afterwards.

Deaf Gabriel, who is of Spanish origin fondled me when I was twelve years old. I was so scared, I didn't know what to do. I couldn't leave because I was in the YC room and didn't want to leave them with him. The "leader" in charge at the time said I must have led him on.

Frances, who was a NAS in France as late as 95, was still putting people in "spiritual quarantine". I also heard he was allegedly demoted for fondling a teen girl.

One more: Samuel, who was living in Marseilles after the raid, was seen violently cutting a pair of pants off a teen boy who was living in the home at the time. Also he was seen on numerous occasions fondling young girls.

Original Location

verylonelygirl - Thursday, November 06, 2003

After reading all those comments on Anthony’s poem, I think I will make my own comments.

Abuse is something you can be attached to and detached from at the same time. I was attached to it when I wrote that article. I recently became detached and confused after confronting my parents.

I meant to be writing about my father. I want the hate I have for him to come out. I want to stop projecting that onto the men in my life. I want to be able to let go. My father has managed to escape responsibility in my mind. How can I pin this tail where it goes?

Both of them deny any memory of the event. I gave up half way before telling my father off like I wanted to. I reminded my mom of details. I couldn’t with my dad.

What Anthony did for me by writing that poem was he gave me back my material in his own projection. After reading the poem I realized my anger is still dead center on my mother. Was she guiltier than my father?

I have yelled at her not him. I have written to her extensively not him. She is my focus. Anthony showed that to me. Although the subject matter was horrific it helped me digest my own experience in a way I hadn’t before he posted it.

I have had so many memories of the mundane in my childhood since confronting them. I have sensed my little girl inside. She is beginning to remind me of what I was like as a child beside all the shit. In conclusion, Anthony wrote that poem for me. I can appreciate it. I can use it. The memory is painful, sacred, agonizing, disgusting. It is also ancient rotten filth that is toxic and terminal. I hate to remember but it is the only way out of it…

Original Location

jackie - Thursday, August 21, 2003

I wanted to write this a long time ago but just never seemed to get the courage to do so , I hope that this time I will post it. This is what I went through in The Family. I insist on the fact that I have not in anyway exagerated or changed anything; this is how I remeber it. Most importantly this is how I lived it.

The first memories I have of abuse are from when I was about 5 years old. I remember men coming over to our "home" and having intimate contact with diferent women. We litlle girls dressed- up and danced for them , many times only in our panties. This happend so many times and I remember that it was very embarassing for me and the other little girls.

The first time I had any sexual contact with an "uncle" was at about the age of 6. This "uncle" would come and read us the "heavens girl" mags (you know the ones that were also just our imagination), while doing so he would stick his hand under the covers and touch me. I remember crying and telling him that it hurt really bad and he just stuck his finger in his mouth and then got back to it again asking me if it was better like that. I had terrible nightmares and when I wanted to tell my parents about this he told me that it was normal and that if I told them I would get a big spanking , so of course I didnt say anything. That was the first of many sexual abuses.

Then there were the spankings and emotional punishments as well. When I was 11 I was put on my first Victor program , it was horrible! We were always put on hard labour and treated like shit. I was on silence restriction for months on end and told that I was a "man-pleaser". If I rebelled and voiced any doubts or questions then I was rebellious and if in the end I tried to adjust to what they asked of me then I was being self-righteous.

One day I was cleaning the garbage area when one of the "shepherds" came and told me that I should go with him because I was going to get a spanking. I asked him why and what had I done wrong (again!) and he told me that I hadnt done anything wrong but that they felt that it would help me sober-up. So I was taken upstairs to a room with 5 people and told to pull down my clothes ( I was already 12 and quite developed) they hit me with a big stick. It was horrible! I fell down after the first swat and was told that because I fell down (or should I say was knocked off my feet) ; I would get 3 more swats! About 2 months later I was taking a shower in one of those "shower rooms" with about 6 others girls when I noticed they were all staring at me , I asked them why and they told me that my back was full of black and blue lines! That is when I realised that I had bruises all over my back and bottom. One time they spanked another "Victor " infront of all of us other victors and I started to cry because it was just too much for me, I later got spanked for that as well.

When I was 13 I went with my parents to one of the RTCs and that is when I was raped by a man who was about 40 years old. Raped in the middle of the night by this "uncle" who stank on wine and woke me up by touching me all over my body. I tried to scream but no sound would come out and he hit me. It was the first time I had someone inside me and I will never forget it - UNFORTUNLY! When I finally had the courage to tell someone about what had happend I was the one who got in big trouble. They put all kinds of restrictions on me and punished me for it. According to them it was me who provoked him and I was flirting with him. He was an ugly old man to me and in no time had such thoughts even crossed my mind , and even if they would have ( DID NOT!!) he as an adult was the one to blame in any case!! There is no excuse!! Child abuse is child abuse!

There are a lot more things that I would be able to write about but I just dont have the time to keep on right now and dont want to bore you all. According to the Family this is all in the past and in my case I was told that it was just my imagination and blah blah. As I wrote in other articles I still wait for TF to acknoledge our existence and our pain! The Family has no right to talk about love because they know it not!! I hope that we will somehow find a way to get over all the hurt and be able to re-build our lives. To the Family and their perverted blood-sucking leaders I just wish them to BURN IN HELL! Here is the story of my imagination !Mine and so many others personal safari through hell!

Original Location

Ratty - Friday, July 04, 2003

Hi everyone. I'm a new member of this website.

My sister Tazy introduced me to it and this is the first time I've given some thought about my past since I left. When I was sixteen I made the decision to leave, and rather than leave me to fend for myself in the big bad world, my mom left with me and took my brothers and sisters with me. I will always be eternally grateful to her for that.

It was amazing to me when we left to discover how totally wierd we were and my natural exuberant personality, (which was constantly getting me in trouble in the Family), completely disappeared. It was like having to learn to do everything from scratch, develop a new personality, make up a not so wierd version of my past to explain never having been to school and learning to interact with people totally different from me.

It was embarrassing because I had to pretend I knew about music and films I'd never heard or seen before and I didn't even know how to post a letter! Crazy when I think of it now, but very hard at the time. I had so much to catch up on, including a sorely neglected education, that I ended up throwing everything into my re-education and not dwelling on my past.

I too, went through the worst that the victor program had to offer here in England, including public paddlings, 3 month long silence restrictions, canings, isolation etc (oh, and a rather funny exorcism which involved me spouting loads of gibberish which was supposed to be "speaking in tongues") For me, the worst was the psychological abuse. The rest I could take. I always told myself I was tough and they would never break me, (imagine the lectures I received on my pride, arrogance and rebellious spirit), and I was considered the worst of the lot.(For which I am a little proud!) However, the emotional and psychological shit was always the worst for me. It's not a great feeling when you're constantly being told how much of a bad person you are (very demoralising as I'm sure you're all aware)

My reason for writing this bit is because I want to pose a question. I feel like my life has been in two parts: Family and post-Family. The only problem seems to be that I have forgotten most of everything that occurred in my Family part. When my parents or sister say "Do you remember so and so or this home or that event" I can very rarely say "Yes". It seems like I have blocked most of it out unconsciously. I never meant to, it just happened. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does this mean I have loads of unresolved issues and have repressed things so I don't have to deal with them? Or should I just count my lucky stars that I've been able to do this. Perhaps I just have a crap memory! Maybe some regressive hypnosis might help, I dunno!

Anyway, this story has a happy ending. I studied hard, went through college, then university and came out with good grades. I've travelled and am now joining the RAF. But I do sometimes worry about the sheer amount of memories that I seem to have lost. Should I endeavour to recapture them or leave well enough alone? What do you think?

Original Location

lucidchick - Saturday, December 28, 2002

I'm not the author of this letter, just posting this as a favor for my friend Cherish (Jules: I hope that's OK), who's either too LAZY or too busy taking care of Gaucho (world's most spoiled miniature countertenor dachsund) to post it herself ;) (girl, I did the minor editing we talked about).

I know how much you hate it when I speak my mind, but I really have no choice being that every second I grow older and smarter I realize what a fucked up background I came from. How ironic is it that my 13 pound son, Gaucho, has taught me what I never had the opportunity of having growing up: stability and love!!!!!!! I know that Gaucho would never leave me for 11 years as did my father in the name of a blind cunt, (aka Karen Zerby,) and an even greater pervert [for initiating sex with Mene, his own flesh and blood] Mo', the 'lion' who's currently burning in hell!

Anyhow, Gaucho has taught me something I've never had been able to learn: love is real! And it does not matter if I was only able to experience it at 28 years's there! Anyhow, as much as I shouldn't, I do harbour feelings for you, and I wish you weren't as paranoid and 'sketchy' as you are! But what am I to do? Nothing! My 28 years has not done much for our relationship. All I can hope for is that Dad leaves the cog and that I can re-establish my relationship with him! I'd LOVE it if you left as well, tho' I'm also well aware that you leaving is 'wishful' thinking on my behalf.

All I can say to the COG, are a few words which I share with the likes of H., G., M., M., F., Davidito, E.C., T.C., S.C., (to name a few)....etc., etc., etc.,: 'Los amigos del barrio pueden desaparecer, los que estan en el aire pueden desaparecer, pero LOS DINOSAURIOS VAN A DESAPARECER"!!!!!! A song written by Charly Garcia, in Argentina in the early 70's regarding the military dictatorship, and a song that gave me the courage to run away from the most horrific existence I've yet to encounter, at the age of 17! Am I pissed? HELL FUCKING YES!!!!!!

You guys, 'The Family' or 'The COG', which ever you prefer, are the worst examples of parents I've yet to encounter! You guys committed crimes on us kids which are FAR worse than those committed by the NAZIs! And I have no doubt that the ones who came up with the 'torture' (like making me wear a sign on my neck at the 'Enterprize' for three weeks that said 'I can't talk, but I can smile' what? you think I've forgotten that torture?!!!!! The one thing a 'normal' college education did for me was to help me realize how strange my entire past was, and I feel like the most fortunate woman in the world to have been able to get an education after the past I had to endure.

What the FUCK is the 'VENDARA' prophecy about? Tell your blind CUNT (A.K.A. Karen Zerby) to fucking get a life!!!!!!! I'm sure that the DELUSIONAL 'Vandari' prophecy was written by Karen, due to the fact that her eldest son, Davidito, has since spoken his mind (and the truth) about the abusive childhood Karen Zerby made him endure! And there is not a single thought in the world that would make me doubt what he says!

I know that you hate to hear this, and just like you went on T.V. in Miami, back in '93, and blatantly lied in front of the world, that the Davidito book never existed, I have no doubt that you'll refute what I'm saying. But you see? The beauty of this is that I now have seen again copies of all of the 'literature' I was exposed to growing up; which replaced scholastic reading (gees, I would have been so lucky to have read normal stuff!) Like: "Heavens Girl' 'Summit Jewels' ('93, which was published a year after I left, and in which Karen Zerby states that the family teens are 'out of it' for not being into adult/minor sex......she says; "our young people have a weird and conservative'
attitude towards sex": FUCK YES........I DO--------I don't want any of your disease filled adult COG members fondling me! Sorry, I may be conservative, but I've seen WAY too much when it comes to the males who belong to the COG!!!!! OK., then, the DAVIDITO book is out there! Lovely!

I'm not sure which is worse; 'Mexico Teen Training' Camp, in which me, an 11 year old is sent to to shout slogans such as 'revolutionaries for Jesus', or you and Dad not taking me to the doctor when I had spinal meningitis in Peru????!!!!! Me mad? You bet! I have reason to be! And all those dead beat, good for nothing, p__ of s__, not too mention irresponsible parents, who make up the COG, will pay someday.......that's something I'm sure of, due to the fact that you guys have brought that ill fate upon yourselves!

You guys are the weirdest people I've yet to encounter, and I feel very fortunate that I've always known (even when I didn't know anything else) how FUCKED up your whole religion is! I can't believe I actually have the courage to say this to you, but I've got to......'If your god is as you say he is, tell him (or her), I told him to go FUCK themselves!!!!!

Sorry, but your leader, Karen, and her WHACK prophecies like the 'Vandari' one, only prove to me how crazy and delusional you guys can become.---Not too mention down right twisted and evil! I laugh at how she (Karen Zerby), is going to roast in hell!!!!! I know that you're liable to deny everything I've just stated, and that's fine with me! But, as my mother, you must realize that it's healthy for me to talk about the abuse I endured growing up; abuse that you never once sheltered me from. Being at the Peru Teen Combo with Juan running his hands all up and down under-age teens to ensure that we did not have bras on, and being on 'sharing' schedules, and me running the kitchen with ZERO schooling;;;;;;;;;;;;oh, yes, that's the 'privileged' up-bringing kids in the COG had, not to mention being raided in Mexico at the age of 5! And then of course, watching you and Dad fight over whether not you should engage in FF'ing! C'mon!!!!!! It's not like I'll ever not think about these issues, so I'd rather you confront them and make an attempt to rectify the BULLSHIT you irresponsible hippies and parents subjected their eldest children to!

OK., now that I've told you about my feelings; I also want you to know that I love you and am thinking of you. xo!


Original Location

Snuzzles - Saturday, November 30, 2002

Brazil combo (the one where the three homes were walking distance from each other in sao paulo (crispin) I had to wear a surgical mask for 10 months and was beat every night before bed because I didn't have a "cheeerful smile face".
I was 13 at the time another teen who was with me was Michael Caravan, nice kid beat up everyday by U. Sam (not Singin Sam) horrible guy, power hungry and controlling.

Don't have too much to say I was born into TF and I ran away at 18 yrs old 3 months pregnant. I just found this site so I'm not sure what to write :) pls see my profile as I would like to find people I knew I think that would be helpful.

Original Location

Jules - Thursday, October 31, 2002

Now maybe there's a God above
but all I ever learned from love
is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.
And it's no complaint you hear tonight
and it's not some pilgrim who's seen the light--
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
--Leonard Cohen

In the Family, I remember the other children as people I could instantly relate to, no matter where I went in the world. They were interesting, intelligent and sensitive. In our isolated communities, the pickings were slim for friends, and as we matured sexually, also for lovers. It was rare however to find a home where there was open contention among the second generation. We seemed to bond almost instantaneously. But despite the company of peers every waking minute and despite the people surrounding me everywhere, I remember always feeling alone. I learned to be mindful of what I said and whom I said it to. Even with people I trusted the most, I was careful to word confidences in a way that could not be used against me if it were to be repeated.

Since leaving the Family I have not had much contact with my peers who were also raised in the group, until this web site. The process of reconnecting with my friends and my past has been intense and both healing and painful. The relationship with my peers in the Family was always complex and I have been doing a lot of thinking about the dynamics I remember and sometimes still surface. It’s hard for me to really trust anyone, and for some reason especially people I grew up, and I’ve been trying to understand this.

Many of us were separated from our parents at a young age, and we were all taught that our identity was the group, not our individual families. We were herded like cattle much of the time, and as long as we weren’t loud, disruptive or caught breaking any rules, no one really cared or noticed what we did. In the absence of any parental guidance and care, our friends became our family and our peer dynamics our identity.

There was never enough of anything to go around, whether clothing, food, rest, or even love or attention, and as children we were put in the terrible position of having to compete for these basic needs. Surviving as a child in the Family was a delicate and volatile balance. If you weren’t noticed there was no hope of ever moving from the menial and gruelling work of cleaning, fund raising and child-care, but it also kept you relatively safe from being singled out for humiliation and punishment. If you were noticed, you had a chance for other things, and possibly even to have some of the love and care we all desperately needed, but it also meant you could fall from grace at a moment’s notice. One wrong word or look and you could be stripped of any privileges and mercilessly brutalized until you broke and gave utter submission.

I don’t remember ever knowing unconditional love or acceptance. It was always a contest to see who was the most valuable. “Rewards to the Deserving”. If we weren’t the sort of children we should be then we could be punished severely and isolated or even permanently sent away from the only home we had ever known. If you had a thing you could do, a role you could play, then you could feel somewhat secure in your place. Considering myself unmusical, unartistic, unintelligent, unspiritual and unattractive, this was always an issue for me, until I read the quote from a Family publication: “There is always a place for a man of talents, even if his only talent is knowing how to work”. I could work hard, and so that became my thing. I tried to do everything I was asked to as well as I could and do it all without complaint or question.

The competition we all were under was brutal, and even if you figured out how to do what was required in your situation, that could all change at a moments notice. The rules changed constantly, and because the more recognition you were able to get, the more other children were passed over, a single mistake could cost you all the security you had achieved. Although relationships seemed close and supportive, just under the surface it very rarely ever was. We were all pitted against each other. Anybody could turn at any time and I slowly and painfully learned never to trust anyone.

In our Lord of the Flies styled tribe, some people took the path of oppressors over being oppressed. In England, the most brutal of the overseers in the Victor programs were teenagers themselves. The environment allowed for sadism to develop and thrive, and it’s true that it wasn’t limited to FGAs. I know a number of young girls that were raped and molested by older boys. It’s still difficult for me to talk about, but I was raped in the Family by teen boys that I had been put in charge of when I was an older teenager myself. I have experienced a great deal of brutality personally, but this is by far the most difficult to understand and deal with, because I don’t know who is responsible. I believe we must take responsibility for our own actions and lives as adults, but these boys had been through horrific abuse themselves and I was supposed to be responsible for them.

I hope that one day I will be able to learn to trust and be able to maintain a healthy relationship. The legacy of the Family in the life of its’ children is ugly and shameful and it makes me angry that I still carry that shame. Despite my best efforts I was never able to fit in within the Family and I always felt as though there was something wrong with me. In the real world my unconventional upbringing makes me feel as though I am different than my friends and it’s hard not to feel that same isolation on the inside.

One of the things that has affected me the most of anything that has been written on this site was Xhrisl's article about his brother Josh:

I can't read it without crying. The last line is the hardest to read: "because sometimes the demons win". I know sometimes they do, but I just can't accept that. I refuse to accept that.

The reality is that we as peers were not kind to each other all the time. We sometimes didn't support or stand by each other, and some of the hurt that was done was done by us to each other. The reality also is that the demons we all face are real, and no one understands what we struggle with but each other. For better or for worse, we share this legacy. Perhaps it's true that we can't escape the past, or our upbringing, but the cruelest irony of all would be to have to fight the demons we share alone.

192 accounts.
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