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Personal Accounts

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

192 accounts.
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Original Location

verylonelygirl - Friday, June 04, 2004

I know my experience was extreme, but it seems that it was more common than I thought...

I noticed HeartBrokens article created a lot of discussion about incest. I wrote an article a while ago about my experience with incest. I was shocked by the response I got. I thought I would hear a lot of people say that they too had been abused in this way. But most people said they were shocked by my experience.

Reading the comments from Lynn's article made me see that it was in fact more common than I realized. Granted my experience was extreme. Incest between siblings seems to have been the most common. I think that this was an overflow from what us children were experiencing from other types of adult/child sex. Almost like a way of coping with and trying to understand what was happening to us.

I think those of us that were abused sexually by our own flesh and blood parents, it may be a little more hesitant to come forward even with ourselves and face what happened. For so long I did not even want to think about it. It made me physically ill.

After that event there were many sexual encounters with between many of our siblings. Remembering incestuous encounters with my brother is really what made me search my memories and finally to admit what happened with my mother and father.

For a long time I was guilt ridden by the fact that I had sexual encounters with my siblings. Now I know that they would not have happened had my parents not raped my sister and me together.

Side Note: Something that I wonder about is because so many of the children born into the group don't know who their fathers are, remaining in the group and having sex with members in the cult still may in fact be having offspring born of incest.

Original Location

Laura - Tuesday, April 27, 2004

(I donít even know why I am writing this. Perhaps just expressing my thoughts will help. Does anyone else ever feel this way?)

Itís hard to shake the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with me.

I was never close to my parents when I was a child. The most I felt was resentment that they had so many children and that there was never enough of anything to go around.

I never fit in when I was in the Family and I didnít understand why everything had to have sexual overtones. Why did I have to pretend that I was dumb and that everything the boys said was brilliant just because I was a girl? I never understood the subtlety of backstabbing and why kindness sometimes was sincere and other times meant that we were supposed to be enemies. Why was pleasing men supposed to matter so much? Why was every interaction with everyone else a lesson in dominance and submission? Most of all, I couldnít understand why I tried so hard and but still couldnít get the things everyone else around me seemed to master so effortlessly: utter faith in the group, flirting and sexuality, popularity with my peers, being loved and respected by the leaders. I didnít seem to be able to fake it and so I lived in fear of anyone finding out who I really was.

When I left the Family I quickly learned that anyone who knew any details about the group and knew that I had been raised in it treated me as though I was damaged goods. Iíd made the break and left at a time when it was very difficult to do so and it was a shock to realize that after all I had struggled through to get out I still did not fit in.

I decided the best thing to do was to embrace my darkness. I became the epitome of a bad girl and played the role to the hilt. I did everything I could think of to do, and my imagination is out there and then some. After a few years that became passť and I decided to try the ďstraightĒ world to see if I could cut it.

I worked on obtaining skills that launched me into the professional world. I thought I had really bonded with some people from my new lifestyle but when they discovered my past it was ďAuf Wiedersehen, AdieuĒ for the exact same reasons. I had baggage and baggage was not cool or fun and while baggage could be tolerated in someone you had known for years it was not something really wanted in a new friend. Once again there was something wrong with me and something I should have kept more secret. My friends were stunned that someone who seemed to have so much going for them and was so together could be so deeply flawed. They never forgave me for that. Since then I have kept my distance from everyone.

A few years ago I got in contact with exfamily people, partially with connecting with my siblings, many of whom now have left, and partially through reading this web site. Itís been wonderful to connect with old friends and to learn about my brothers and sisters from whom I have been separated for so long. At the same time itís all been very strange. I have become quite embroiled in the insanity that is the Family that I left behind so long ago, due to personal reasons, but going there again has been very bittersweet. I care deeply about helping those I have made a commitment to. I went through so many horrible things because I didnít know where to go and sometimes a bit of support can make all the difference in the world. On the other hand I see the same old ugliness that I thought I had moved so far away from. When I talk to my brothers and my sisters and my old friends there are the same old triggers. There is the same old elitism, the same old denial of reality and the same old backstabbing. I get the same old sick feeling in my stomach when I read the same old stuff. I wanted to do something good for people I cared about and it has turned into something that haunts and terrifies me.

My brothers and sisters in particular have seen me as the person who succeeded in being free. I have become their role model and I hate that. I care, so much, about them. I donít want to see them fall the way I did and I will do what I can to be their safety net, but I also donít want to be on a pedestal. Iím flawed. Iím ugly. Iím weak. I will do what I can to be there for them, but I need equality. The ďmy foot on your neck or your foot on my neckĒ is so Family. If someone needs a parent or a ďshepherdĒ then they are on their own with that. I donít want anyone to demand anything more of me than being myself, the good and the bad. I accept that in my brothers and sisters. They are who they are, complex and individuals. Itís not fair for them to expect me to be made of steel. I will try to live up to what I can but I cannot save them or be the loving parent that I want as well. We are all in this together and we are in the same boat and equally stranded.

My point is that Iím tired. Tired of trying so hard. Iím tired of feeling responsible. Iím tired of the endless things that I am supposed to do and supposed to be because others expect it of me. Iím tired of feeling angry all the time. Iím tired of the pain. Iím tired of being the big sister. Iím tired of caring. Iím tired of being alone. Iím tired of destroying or being destroyed by anyone I get close to.

After all this time and all this effort I still wake up at least once a week crying from nightmares that I am a little girl again and my parents have left me again, screaming desperately, begging them not to leave me on that train platform. I dream that I am being screamed at and beaten in front of hundreds of people. I have been stripped naked and I lose all sense of pride and worth and humanity while I cry frantically in front of everyone, knowing that there is no hope of escape, try to cover myself with my hands and beg for mercy because I canít endure the pain. I dream that some Uncle is making me touch him. His ugly bright red penis is in front of my face and his horrible smell is in my nose and I am crying and choking and feel so disgusted and dirty and ashamed I know I will never really be clean again.

Stupid things still upset me. I have to control my panic just riding in an elevator at work with a group of tall men. The other day some friends were talking about Elizabeth Smart and how it might not have been so bad for her as the media portrayed since they had heard that ďthose sorts of thingsĒ are common in Utah among ďthose sorts of peopleĒ. I could see them talking but all I could hear was my heartbeat and all I could think of was the rage I felt at their ignorance. I was at the same time terrified that they would turn that same disdain on me if only they knew my story and I felt so ashamed for my fear. Most of my friends and the people that I work with come from good families, with supportive loving parents who dote on them. I feel overwhelming jealousy and shame when they talk about their childhood Christmases, their family vacations and even just going home for thanksgiving. The majority of my colleagues have at least a Masters and their blasť and elitist attitude towards an education that I would have done anything to have been able to have makes me, honestly, hate them.

The only things that keep me numb and stop me thinking are drugs and alcohol. It used to be that it would take the edge off, just a bit, and it was a way to have fun and pretend that I was the happiest girl around. Then it was a social thing and I wasnít alone as all my then friends shared my vices. Then once in awhile I would push it too far, but thankfully could not remember too much about where I got to the sketchy place I woke up in the next morning and would abstain for a month or so until I felt I could control it again. In actuality I could not and my dependence on these things has just gotten worse and worse. I can trace almost every stupid thing I have ever done or said to being under the influence of substances. Right now, even I can see I have a problem. I donít know what to do though. I have tried Al/Narc Anon but the groupiness of meetings and the ďhigher powerĒ stuff panicked me completely. I have also tried therapy but I went into the sessions watching for them to be excited by my story rather than actually caring and as soon as I saw that I pulled out.

Right now I cannot be intimate with a man or even be around an exfamily member unless I am under the influence of something. In times past when I reached the point where if I had to be wasted to do something that was my first clue (I was wasted okay) that it was not healthy and I would leave that environment. I canít do that right now. I fantasize about just disappearing, but I know you canít blame (all) your problems on your environment. I have to fix what is wrong with me, but I donít know what that is, only that obviously something is. I am angry, I am a bitch, I have ďissuesĒ, but what specifically does all that entail? How do you fight it? How do you get from so not okay to healthy? Itís like the monster in my closet when I was kid. I didnít know what he looked like, just that he was there and would eat me in a heartbeat. My monster is real now and I am still afraid of him.

There have been gains, but over the last few years my life has continued to slowly spin more and more out of control. The worst thing is that I canít tell anyone. If anyone knew how not okay I really am they would recoil in horror and I would be rejected all over again. I have tried so hard but life seems so pointless and empty right now and I often think about death and more to the point, suicide. Iíve sometimes wondered if thatís what I am really trying to do when I wake up in the hospital from another overdose. I do think about suicide a lot, but there is no one I can even talk to about this. If anyone who I care about knew I was contemplating suicide they would never forgive me and they would never understand. I am their rock and a rock feels no pain. Most days I can manage but when I think of the years looming ahead and how who I will be in a decade is likely to be who I am becoming now, itís terrifying.

I need help. I am not okay. Does anyone care?

Original Location

dina - Sunday, April 04, 2004

Was anyone else in this chat room ever sexually abused?

Was anyone else in this chat room ever sexually abused while in the Family, and if so how did you get over it and move on with your life? As much as Iíve tried I canít forget it, nor can I forgive, so whatís next?
If you have any experience with this or have any helpful advice at all, I need it.

Original Location

Haunted - Wednesday, March 31, 2004

That's exactly what we're doing - in a few different ways:

I notice the reoccurring topic thrown around and I wonder how each of us is doing this - and by "this" I mean "getting over it" and "moving on".

As a person who has suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse, I wonder exactly how some people expect us to "get over it". In a sense, I understand what they're saying: from what I can gather, those who are not being cruel about it wish us to move on with our lives and not waste the time we have now with obsessing about the past. In a sense, we've chosen a new life and have left the abuse behind, why should we not pursue this new life with all of our passion and ability.

While I understand this point of view, I cannot simply forget the horrors and everything I went through growing up in TF. Simply put, I cannot erase the memories. However, I also do not believe that it is healthy to obsess about the abuse all day, every day and yet, I believe that a normal part of the healing process we all have to go through is to talk about it.

I have found that the only way to put the past in perspective to my current life is to do just that - talk about it. There are times when that talk is serious, when I mourn the loss of innocence, the childhood I never had and re-live the abuse in order to gain personal insight to the person I am now and then there are the good times, the reminiscence with friends and family where we can laugh, joke and cry (tears of joy) about our former lives.

Is there anything better than sitting around and reminding yourself and others of the hilarious and stupid little things we had to sing, do and yes, even endure?

So respectfully, I say to those who would tell us to do otherwise: I'm glad you've 'gotten over it' and 'moved on' with your lives. You are my heroes. You must be very strong indeed and I envy you. However, I have not. So please excuse yourself from trying to tell me how to deal with my problems and my life and let me 'get over it' the best way I know - by hanging out here with friends and yes, even bitching and moaning about TF.

If it bothers you, don't read it.

Original Location

VWBabe - Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Jules, this teenager who was helping supervise the Victors in the UK, was he blond and named Andrew? If so, he also was sent to France to help "assist" in the Victor program there. He sexually abused 2 of the Victors there including myself. We should add him to the "Creeps" list.

Original Location

ohmygod - Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Jules I can't believe you know this man.
I am totally peace loving and hate violence but if I ever met this man again in my life I would kill him and would just have to live with the consequences, not only that but I think I would enjoy it.
This motherfucker threatened to KILL my brother (he was 7 at the time) and nearly did, I don't want to get into the whole story because of my brother's confidentiality but he's a sick motherfucker who get's off on people's pain.
What year where you in Belgium. Might know each other. By the way remember his kids?
I know Renata reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally well. I was stuck in confinement with her for a whole Goddam week. Enough to drive anyone mad!!!!!

Original Location

A daughter then a mother - Saturday, February 09, 2002

It is also really hard for me to read this stuff.I am a mother now I I cant for the life of me ,understand how any mother/father could think that that was the word of "God".And not just reading it but doing it as well.

My mother had sex with me when I was a little girl.And I just cant get past the fact that,Mothers are sopose to have maternal instincs.Why, Why, Why would you, and How could you, do such a thing to your own child.

I would kill anyone who ever thought, joked about or did anything to one of my children.

A mother is soposed to protect her child. ( fathers too) I just cant understand these things.

I would kill myself before I let anyone lay a hand on one of my children. Or even sugjested such a thing.

And here these people just ate up that stuff." The new wine".

It just sickens me.I cant do the subject justice.If I think about it too long I just start crying,and I think I might go crazy.

Original Location

Anneke - Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Hi, Jules...I just read your article. My husband and I joined in 1971 (we met in the F) and had three children after we married.) We left at the beginning of 1978. I have always had a theory that anyone that joined AFTER 1978 was demented but I have gotten a lot of criticism for that opinion. For the record I wanted to tell you that after a childcare worker (Sherah) spanked my 14 month old I took her out of the nursery and demanded a personal childcare worker. I gave her instruction that she could never physically spank my children and if punishment was needed then my husband or I would do it. She was with us until we left in 1978 and she treated my children very well. I rarely traveled without my children and when I had to I knew this childcare worker was on guard with my kids because we protected our worker as well from the random sex going on. James and Charity told my husband they wanted him to have sex with the 12 year old daughter of Bezeleal and Salome. James and Charity were our immediate leaders and my husband looked James in the eye and said he refused to molest a child. I don't understand why these things happened to the children. I didn't stay after 1978 so I can't put myself in anyone's shoes about what kept them in and putting up with what happened to their children. I am so sorry for what you went through. Mene (Merry) is a good friend of mine and told me episode after episode of what she went through. She told me personally the story that Sam A. told about how she lost her virginity. She said it loudly to me recently while we were in a big warehouse store shopping. Ai yai yai!

The COG basically took about anyone in that wanted to join. Who knows the horrible character of many of these people, of how many predators there were that joined, of how many sicko's that joined. We stayed as long as we did because of the high drama that surrounded everything that happens in the Family, waiting for that next letter, etc. We thought we couldn't be out of the "loop". We found out we got over that really fast as we started reading our Bible's again without the sexual slant and found a real purity. Now when anyone shows me any of thelatest letters thinking I am interested they seem just plain stupid. I saw a two hour tape recently of the dancing and the lesbian sex and then full on sex by men and women. I threw the tape away after I saw it. It made me so sad that somehow thinking human beings would think it was ok to create hard core porn so some pervert who was thrown out of a church many years ago because of his sexual perversians could "get off". One of my friends said she was routinely called to the bed of MO as Maria lay next to them and watched the sex. She actually asked me if Maria was at fault, too? I told her of course she was and that she was just as guilty. Did you see the geraldo show when Deborah and Mene appeared on it together and someone in the audience asked why there wasn't some adult that would step forward and stop this. Deborah broke down crying on national television saying that is exactly what she should have done but that she was afraid. Her dad did a real number on her as well. I just wanted to comment as your posting made me so angry about what was allowed in general to the children. If there are any adults in the Family that still have the wherewithal to think on their own I would ask them to step out of their box (it is not Satan speaking) and out themselves in the place of these children. My friend told me that all she remembers growing up is FEAR and not even her parents were there to protect her and that her parents were under the same fear. I don't understand that.

Original Location

porceleindoll - Monday, August 06, 2001

Wow Jules, you really went through a lot. I have to admire so many who went through these sort of things and made it through on the better side of life.

I was at the HCS as all those Jumbo things were going on and when those guys came over here. But I wasn't included in the teen department, being just older than the rest. I did come into the teen group right around the "Cool" thing and was included more in happenings, and many of the revolutions they tried there, but I shied away from what I didn't think I could handle. There was always a line I wouldn't cross, esp. when it came to sex and sharing. No matter how much they tried to convince me that it was all for love, I couldn't bring myself to join into kissing and petting parties, dates, etc. I finally tried it out with someone, and cried almost the whole way through.

My husband's oldest son was among the pioneer VICTORS and had many horrible things happen to him, things that today would definitely be considered abuse, and my husband has regretted giving his parental control over to the group and allowing these things to happen to his son. I am thankful his son isn't bitter against his dad about it.

My sister was also a pioneer VICTOR and had some severe abuse happen to her, and my Dad is now very regretful for the same reason, that he allowed the group to take away his rights as a parent, because when it comes down to it, the parents are responsible for their children.

A few years later I was working in the JETT department as a JETT shepherd, at the time when VICTOR programs were in full force, and finding ways to control your "problem" kids in the group. Some of the things we did, spankings or corrections for idiotic reasons make me feel very uncomfortable and sad. I once worked with Berg's grandson Josh, and he was so strict and merciless, it was heartbreaking, I couldn't understand how he could sometimes treat those kids as you would a dumb dog or less. I was glad when he moved on to another department.

I was there when the Techi series first started coming out, and remember grilling those young kids on their thoughts, their doubts, trying to drag it out of them. One of the Jetts "admitted" he had suicidal thoughts, and of course the red lights went off. Years later I asked him about it and he laughed and said he'd just made it up to say something, poor kid.

I regret not allowing kids to be kids, teens to be teens, but expecting a twisted maturity of them. They were expected to behave and act as adults, carrying adult loads of work and responsibilty, but not receiving the trust and freedom that comes with being an adult.

I wasn't hardly trusted at the age of 24 to take a small group of Jetts out for a bike ride, which was depressing for me, and was around the time I realised I wasn't going anywhere with my life. My counterparts on the outside were heading companies, completely independent, making major decisions every day, and I couldn't even take a small group of 11 year olds out for a bike ride. That was probably one major turning point towards me leaving.

I think a lot of leaders are probably regretting their action during the "School" era, and if they were to honestly apologise for their behaviour I would accept it, but if I met one who felt they were justified in any of their "corrections", I think I would give them a severe piece of my mind.

I remember having to give kids swats and make them say thank you to me, or witness their punishment and apology, and if they made a noise during the spanking or didn't smile afterwards, it was more swats to them. Of course I feel awful for it now, my heart hurts for it, and if I see them again I would do all I could to apologise and let them know I was truly sorry.

I don't want to justify mine or any other person's behaviour by saying this, I am willing to take full responsiblity for the mistakes I made, but I also know that when you're in that environment of control, it's hard to decide otherwise. To contradict your overshepherds and say "I don't think this is right" would be considered very bad and you would be out of it and on the "watch this person" list. Then a little while later they would sit down to list your sins and you would get the Word list, prayer, fasting, correction, humiliation, then try again to do it right.

I had at least 2 major breakdowns at the HCS, I think mostly cause I couldn't come to terms with some of the things I was asked to submit to, but I didn't have the courage to say, "I've had enough, I'm out of here!"

One of the Jetts once wrote on their OHR that during the night and adult man had come into her room and was feeling her out. I was infuriated, angry as hell that this would happen. I reported it to my overseer, along with my anger, asking "what's going to happen to this guy!" I later got "talked to" about being SR, and that we wouldn't want to excom a good dedicated guy just for a little slip. I had no idea how to react, it was very confusing, cause I had the lives of these kids under my care, and if it had been my own kid I would have been pissed as hell, but this guy wasn't going to get punished and I was wrong for being mad about it?? At the time I just swallowed my confusion, put it into the "doubts are of the enemy" section, and tried to forget it, but over the years as I have thought of it, I get angry each time. (I later found out this guy got a Word and fasting punishment for the incident).

Why am I saying all this? I don't know, just saying, I'm sorry Jules for you and for all the kids, including my sisters, and even myself, who were treated so inhumanely by a group who thinks it is God to the World.

Original Location

auty - Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Ahhh . . .the John PI scenario! I had to go the the HCS Victor Camp with him as a shepherd . . .can you imagine all the fondling the beaten down girls got from that man?

Also Ricky and Elaine, not sexual abuse but a lot of violent abuse . . .not to mention Faithy (David Berg's daughter) and Martin (Ricky's Brother). Oh My, my list is getting longer too!

192 accounts.
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