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Getting Out : Seeking Justice

Suicides and Abuse in Perspective

from thinker711 - Monday, August 01, 2005
accessed 1789 times

Here is a comparison of the U.S. suicide rate and the suicide rate of ex-Familiy members.

In 2002, there were 31,655 suicides in the United States. This translates into 0.0113 percent of the U.S. population in 2002 (280,540,330). Of these suicides, 4,010 were committed by individuals between the ages of 15 and 24. Thus, 0.0107 percent of individuals in this age group killed themselves, or 9.9 per 100,000. The Family International has repeatedly claimed that the suicide rate of ex-members is below the national average.

To my knowledge, over 30 ex-members have committed suicide in the past decade or so (please correct me if I am incorrect on this estimate). In order to make a comparison between the national suicide rate and the suicide rate of ex-members, we need to know how many ex-members there are. Since I do not know for sure how many there are, I have calculated several rates based on different estimates of ex-members.
The first number is the estimated number of ex-members ranging from 2000 (which seems small, but might accurately reflect a certain age-group of ex-members) to 50,000 (a ridiculously high estimate, even if we include all current members). The second column is the percent of suicides (30) there would be of total ex-members for each ex-member estimate. The final 2 columns are how many times larger the ex-member suicide percentage is than the 15-24 age U.S. percentage and the total national percentage, respectively. The data used for these computations can be found at the American Association of Suicidology’s website and for the U.S. Census Bureau’s website (

# of Ex-membersPercentx > 15-24 Groupx > US Rate

Based on these numbers, we can conclude that the suicide rate of ex-members is substantially higher than the national rate (something most of us already believed). Even if we assume that there are 50,000 ex-members, the ex-member suicide rate is still 5 times greater than the national average (or 60 per 100,000). The true estimate is probably at least 75 times the national rate. As mentioned above, the national rate for individuals ages 15-24 is about 10 per 100,000. If there are 5,000 ex-members, the rate would be 600 per 100,000; if there are 3,000 ex-members the rate would be about 1000 per 100,000. In order for the Family’s suicide rate to match the United States’ there could only be between 0.23 to 5.6 ex-family suicides depending on the estimated number of ex-members (the comparable number of suicides are 0.23, 0.34, 0.45, .056, 1.35, and 5.64 for each ex-member estimate). Thus, if the Family did things like the “System” did, we probably would not have a single suicide, much less 30! These estimates also only include 30 suicides. However, it is very likely that there have been more than 30 suicides.

Based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 896,000 children were abused in 2002. Of these, 166,656 were sexually abused and 88,704 were physically abused. Thus, approximately 225,360 children were either sexually or physically abused in 2002. In 2002, children under 14 accounted for about 20 percent of the population, or 60,484,495 children. The national child abuse rate in the US, then, is 0.15% for sexual abuse, 0.28% for physical abuse, and 0.42% for both physical and sexual abuse.

As of now, we do not have an accurate count on the number of ex-member victims. However, on this website alone, there are 193 first-hand accounts of abuse. Many of these accounts detail multiple instances of abuse. Additionally, many ex-members have not visited this site, thus, their accounts are not included in this estimate. Therefore, this count grossly understates the level of abuse. However, if we take this number as a percentage of the total number of registered users on (2933 as of today), we get 6.58 percent. This figure greatly underestimates the level of abuse since many of the registered users are reporters, first-generation ex-members, current members, duplicates, and interested citizens. However, even the extremely conservative estimate is 44 times larger than the percent of child sexual abuse in the United States, and is 16 times larger than the combined percentage of sexual and physical abuse.

Even though this estimate is extremely conservative, we can make it even more conservative by claiming that the 193 instances reported on this site include all instances of abuse, which we all know is patently false (indeed, I have siblings who were abused who are not included in this count).

The table below is similar to the one above in that is calculates different percentages based on different member estimates (yet, still using the 193 figure for the numerator).

# of Ex-members Family AbusePercentx > US Sex Abusex > US Total

The true estimate is certainly greater, especially if members were broken down by cohort since the older ones (particularly girls) were especially sexually abused. Thus, the real abuse rate was likely hundreds of times larger than the U.S. rate. This table shows that, even if we use an obsurdly low count of abuse (193 cases), the level of abuse is still many times higher than the U.S. rate. If someone has a more realistic count of abuses, let me know and I can recalculate these estimates. Even if the Family's abuse rate was equal to the U.S. national rate, they would still not be guiltless. The Family is supposed to be a charitable, Christian organization, thus, it should be held to much higher standards than the "godless," "wicked," Americans. Obviously, even one instance of child abuse is on too many. The fact that abuse and suicides are and epidemic amongst those connect to the Family speaks volumes to their true character. Indeed, "by their fruits ye shall know them." The Family needs to address this issue and not blatantly lie when it comes to addressing suicides and child abuse. The defense, "people in the system are abused/commit suicide" is not a valid argument because 1) deviant behavior by others does not justify similar behavior, 2) the Family should be held to high standards, 3) as the comparisons above make clear, the Family is WORSE than the "System."

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from cheeks
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - 18:59

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I was talking to my mom the other day, she has been out of the Family for eight years now. We were discussing the abuse in the Family. Her comment to me was how often had I really been abused in the Family? I honestly think she thought she had, for the most part protected us kids. I told her it was in every home, in every country I was in, until I was seventeen. I have been in over nineteen countries and at least thirty homes. In every home in India there was some sort of sexual abuse. In every home in Europe there was one creep or another. Once you have been molested a couple times you can spot them a mile away. Even if it was the strange uncle who got his jollies off spanking kids. While they may sit there and say it was individuals who abused, it was the organization who tolerated and allowed it.
(reply to this comment)

from LR
Friday, August 05, 2005 - 17:36

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

In addition to the calculation problems noted by Whatzup below, it seems you simply pulled most of those numbers straight out of your ass. I believe I've seen another more valid (though still somewhat flawed) discussion of this issue a while ago.

here: (You may find it useful with some of your statistical analysis.)
(reply to this comment)

From thinker711
Sunday, August 07, 2005, 15:52

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

The link you provided is very interesting, and essentially confirms my basic point. I did not spend a great deal of time on the analysis above because I don't have a lot of spare time (indeed, this whole thing is taking far too much time). I have never seen that website before and have never been to before.

As my article states, I got the U.S. figures from the link that I provided above. The population data were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau's website. The ex-member suicides figure I got from an estimate that was collected by someone on this website earlier this year (Haunted I believe). This figure (32 I think) has been cited by several news sources and, as the link you provided suggests, has been challenged by the Family. I am not sure what the fuck you are talking about when you say that I am pulling numbers out of my ass! So you can take your snotty comment and shove it up your own ass. (reply to this comment

from Whatzup?
Friday, August 05, 2005 - 15:45

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Very interesting statistical analysis. The only problem I’m finding with your research is that you’re calculating on a one-time basis, as if all 30 alleged suicides had occurred in the same year. The yearly statistical rate in the United States for suicide in ages 15 – 24 has fluctuated over the past decade from 9.9 to 13.5 per 100,000 per year (see;;, and the World Health Organization pegs it at 16 per 100,000 per year. (

In order to calculate this, you’d have to extrapolate your calculations over a one or two-decade period, since the suicides would have occurred over the past one to two decades, not in one year. You’d first off have to confirm the 30 suicides to be accurate statistical data—several listed apparently were not, such as Lucas Frouman. Drug overdoses would not be considered suicide unless suicide is the official cause of death—that is a different set of statistics. Secondly, you’d have to take your calculations, bearing in mind variables such as the variations in the rate per year, build an average over the past 10-20 years and then figure what the rate would be.

So, to hit the middle of your statistics, let’s say there are 25,000 second generationers. That would mean that every four years, 10-16 would be expected to fall victim to suicide, to match world statistics. Since exers are all over the world, perhaps a good medium would be 13 to take in account the WHO statistics. So, to meet national or world statistics, an average of 3 of the 25,000 would commit suicide every year. Of course the numbers would get smaller as you go backwards because of population and age variations but still, even if 30 were an accurate number, it’s pretty much in line with the world average (of course we are only discussing estimates). Definitely not within your 75 times range by a long shot, or your final conclusion that “there would be none” if they fell within the national average. Highly unlikely, considering that suicide is the third cause of death amongst 15-24 year olds.

Even if you half your estimates, and calculate at 12,500 second generationers, you’d still come up with 1.625 suicides ever year. In 12 years, that would average out to 20, so depending on how many actual suicides there were, there still wouldn’t be the kind of difference you are hypothesizing.

Ultimately you would have to factor in another statistic: it is calculated that 1 in 121 people will commit suicide in their lifetime, so that also has to be factored into your year by year analysis if you’re including people over 24. (Washington Post, January 17, 2005). Not to mention that the numbers go up in the 25-35 age range, which averages in the 15/100,000 range.

Good luck figuring this out accurately. Certainly a lot of variables to factor in the equation and something that needs careful statistical analysis to achieve accuracy.
(reply to this comment)
From thinker711
Sunday, August 07, 2005, 15:36

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Everything you mentioned I thought about before I posted the article. I recognize that what I have posted uses only one year of data. As I said in a previous reply concerning the abuse statistics, ideally we would use longitudinal data that controlled for the changes in the population so that we would have a comparison group that is the same generation as second generation ex-members (i.e., a measure of how many persons have committed suicide who would be between 16 and 32 years old today). This would take some time and thought. Perhaps some day I (or someone else) will do a thorough analysis; however, right now I am too busy (I only spend about an hour on the above analysis).

However, I do have several comments concerning your suggestions. First, the number of second generation ex-members is nowhere near 25,000 (or even 12,500). I used these numbers for illustrative purposes. This is especially true when considering a particular age group of ex-members, namely those who are currently between 18 and their early 30s. This is the age cohort where the suicides have occurred. I would estimate that this group is not more than 5,000 individuals. Secondly, I think 30 is an underestimate of the suicides. The list that was compiled by individuals on was over 30 (32 I think), and as Mack suggests, there are probably more that we have not heard about. Additionally, you suggest that we consider that 1 in 121 people (or .83%) will commit suicide in their lifetime. This, however, is irrelevant since we are dealing with a group of people who are only one-third the way into their lives. Additionally, the elderly commit suicide at quite a high rate and for very different reasons than young people; thus, this would not be an appropriate comparison.

If we take the 13 per 100,000 rate and assume there are about 6000 second generation ex-members, in order for the ex-member rate to match this “world rate” there could only be about 11.70 suicides for a 15 year time period ( i.e., 13 * 15 = 195; 195/16.666 = 11.70 where the 16.666 is to adjust for 6000 individuals rather than 100,000). Thus, the ex-member rate is 2.6 times higher than this world rate. Likewise, if we multiple the number of suicides in 2002 by 15 (for 15 years) and divide by the 2002 population we get 0.169 % (i.e., ((31,665*15)/280,540,330)*100). The ex-family percentage (using 6,000 exers) is 0.5 % or nearly 3 times larger that the 15 year U.S. rate (2.96). While these figures are admittedly not precise, the do illustrate that the ex-member rate is alarmingly high (when reasonable estimates are used).

It is difficult to make a precise comparison between the U.S. or world and ex-members because we are not dealing with comparable samples. That is, with the Family we have an unchanging cohort of individuals, whereas with the US the population is constantly changing especially when considering a particular age group. (reply to this comment
Friday, August 05, 2005, 16:56

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(
25,000 second generationers? 12,500? I have my doubts. Even so, the approximately 30 suicides mentioned are only those known by people in touch through this board. If there were 12,500-25,000 people using this website, the figure of suicied would most certainly be different (higher).(reply to this comment
from Mack
Wednesday, August 03, 2005 - 19:47


There are a lot more suicide cases that we ex-members don’t know about. I’m saying this because of a story my younger brother (who is a current member) told me about a teen who was still in the "Family" and climbed up an electrical pole and was electrocuted a few years back.

My brother was telling me this story as a testimony of how he almost died trying to save this teenager. The teenager was not allowed out of the house and one day he was able to get out and climb to his death to end his miserable life in the cult.

I think this story slipped out to me because at the time my brother told me I wasn’t known as a full fledged "Vandari" There are so many messed up kids in TF that want out and some times the only way out is suicide, but I'm sure the "Family" would have covered it up if it happened in one of their homes. They have successfully covered up the fact that members have died due to lack of professional medical attention because the sick leaders were waiting for God to heal the sick instead of taking them to an ER.
(reply to this comment)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - 14:51


I am afraid to say that reported abuse's i.e. government statistics for child abuse are very different to statistics for suicide. The statistics for suicide are likely to be a lot more acurate than the child abuse statistics. You state that in the US, the national child abuse rate is "0.15% for physical abuse, 0.28% for sexual abuse, and 0.42% for both physical and sexual abuse." This is likely to be a gross underrepresentation of the rates. Furthermore the 193 cases of abuse reported on this site have abuse's of some people on more than one occassion and therefore can't be utilised as a figure. And there are other difficulties with the abuse figures which you helpfully point out. All in all the abuse statistics for both the US national child abuse rates and the ex-members are likely to be hugely underrepresentative of the true figures.

The suicide statistics you present are very useful, but you might want to take down the abuse rates.
(reply to this comment)

From thinker711
Tuesday, August 02, 2005, 15:58

I was the first to admit that the abuse statistics (particularly the measure for ex-members) are flawed; however, it is the best we've got for now. It is likely that the government figures do not capture all abuse, but it should be noted that these figures are estimates of abuse not simply reported abuse; that is, they are adjusted for underreporting, etc. While these estimates may not be perfect, they probably do reflect actual abuse rates fairly well. The percentages I report above were simply calculated by taking the number of estimated abuses for each category and dividing them by the population under 14 years old in 2002. For example, an estimated 166,656 children were physically abused, while 88,704 were sexually abused and the total population under age 14 was 60,484,495. (Note that I initially accidentally switched the sex abuse and physical abuse numbers, but have since corrected them). If you know where better national estimates are available, please let me know. In the meantime, I am comfortable with these national statistics (and I am sure any research journal would accept them as such).

Regarding the ex-member measure, yes, it is flawed; but in a conservative direction. The ex-member abuse rate is, admittedly, grossly underestimated . This, however, only bolsters my argument. That is, there are likely hundreds if not thousands more instances of abuse, which would increase the abuse percentage far beyond the 6.6 percent. If I had better data, I would have used it. Since I don’t, I just used the number reported on this site for illustrative purposes. I am not arguing that these are accurate and should be cited, but it does illustrate that even these absurdly conservative measures show that abuse in the Family was far greater than in the “System.”

You wrote: “Furthermore the 193 cases of abuse reported on this site have abuse's [sic] of some people on more than one occassion [sic] and therefore can't be utilised [sic] as a figure.”

I am not sure what you mean by this. Are you trying to say that some individual accounts include more than one instance of abuse, or that some victims are included more than one time in this 193 figure? Either way, it is likely that these “errors” will cancel themselves out. That is, one error underestimates the figure (i.e., those who report multiple abuses are only counted once) while the other overestimates (i.e., the same individual is counted more than once). This however, does not mean that the measure cannot be utilized. What is clearly evident is that this measure underestimates the level of abuse. The second table shows that even if you only count these 193 cases for ALL ex-members (rather than just registered users), the rate is still significantly higher than the national rate.
(reply to this comment
Wednesday, August 03, 2005, 03:47


The government reports as you say are not catching all reports. I am very surprised to hear that they are supposed to be adjusting for underreporting, my understanding of child abuse prevelance in the general population was that even the lowest scoring studies are in the region of at least 6% (i.e. at least 6% of individuals in the general public have experinced child abuse) and most studies report a prevelance rate of much higher than this.

What I was referring to in the 193 was that some victims are included more than once, and consequently this figure cannot be used as it appears to overrepresent the amount of child abuse, when in reality as you say we can expect the child abuse rates in those exiting the familiy who have been raised in it to be much higher.

Someone really needs to do a proper study of this. I think the only thing which goes remotely near this is the study by Egholm (2005) on Grandchildren of God: An Empirical Investigation of Apostasy Among Former Second Generation Members of the Family (Children of God), and this still doesn't really address the prevelance of child abuse issue, although 76% (88 of 116) of the respondents recorded yes to the question "Did you ever experience children being directly involved in sexual practises in TF?"

(reply to this comment

From thinker711
Wednesday, August 03, 2005, 08:26


I suspect the discrepancy between the percentage I calculated and the higher levels you referenced is simply that they are measuring two different things. The measue I created is for 2002 alone. That is, in 2002 about 0.15 % of children where abuses. What you cite is individuals in the general public who have ever experienced child abuse. This is obviously going to be a higher percentage since it is spanning individuals' lifespans. The primary problem with using such a figure to compare with our situation is it is not age specific; that is, it includes individuals that were abused 50 years ago. In our case, we are talking about a particular cohort that suffered abuse. In order to do an accurate comparison we would need to calculated the number of abuses that occured during the same time span and adjust for the population change. This would take a bit of thought and time. However, even if we take the 2002 sexual abuse figure and mulitply it by 20 (to represent 20 year of abuse) and divide it by the current child population (which is smaller than if we were adjust the population through time) the abuse rate is still only about 2.9 percent.

The 193 that I used does grossly undrerepresent the level of abuse. Although, as you suggest, several of the victims do appear more than once in this figure, many of the victims stories include multiple instances of abuses. Thus, if you were to read through each one and exclude the repeats and add the multiple instances, I'm sure that the figure would be higher than the 193 posts. In a proper study, obviously this measure would not be used, however, I put it in just to make the point that even if we use this insanely low estimate of abuse, it is still higher than the national rate (even if we combine 20 years of abuse).

I suspect that the 76% figure you cite is accurate (especially for the older cohort of children), thus even if the national rate was 6%, or 10%, or 20%, it would still pale in comparison with the Family's record.

(reply to this comment

Wednesday, August 03, 2005, 09:41


ahh, now I understand why they are so low - the prevelance rates were for one year only. My mistake I should have read your article more thoroughly. Thanks for the clarification.

(reply to this comment

from thinker711
Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - 11:04


Does anyone know how to make the tables show up as tables in the article above? It apparently worked before, but now it isn't. Thanks
(reply to this comment)

From MovingOn Admin
Wednesday, August 03, 2005, 18:06

I keep fixing the tables for you and you keep resetting them. When you're done editing the article, let me know and I'll format them for you.(reply to this comment
From thinker711
Thursday, August 04, 2005, 12:17

I'm done with the corrections now. Sorry about that. Thanks.(reply to this comment
Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - 03:15


Great work - well done
(reply to this comment)

from xhrisl
Monday, August 01, 2005 - 23:05

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Great job! Thanks. Regardless of the manner in which The Family chooses to acknowledge or ignore your estimates, the consensus among those of us within the SGA population and among those like myself who work in the mental health field would seem to be borne out by your dissection of the numbers.
In the best of all possible worlds wherein an estimate of 50,000 ex-SGA’s would be the sample number, the problem for The Family would be discounting such a large number of individuals as having found the lifestyle inappropriate.
In the more likely scenario—i.e. wherein, 2,000 is the actual number of the ex-SGA’s population size against which 30 is the number used to calculate the percentage of ex-SGA’s between the ages of 15-24 at the time of death by suicide, the percentage when compared against the national average is even more striking.
Regardless, of which estimated population sample size is used, the fact remains that the death rate by suicide for ex-SGA’s is a significant problem that The Family would do well to address if they are interested in doing anything more than lying about the support structures and life-skills training they have supposedly provided to those of us who have left. In closing I will state that the rate of attempts within my own family is 200 times the national average with a success rate equal to 40 times the national average---evidently, there are some issues that need to be addressed.
(reply to this comment)
from thinker711
Monday, August 01, 2005 - 13:38

Sorry about the strange formatting of the table, but neither tabs or spaces were working.
(reply to this comment)
From Great work!
Tuesday, August 02, 2005, 06:57

That was great Thinker.

I wonder though, maybe you could work out a chart for the abuse/rape cases comparison. I have a feeling the rate for abused children both sexually and physically was much higher in TF than in the US (per capita).

Who knows?(reply to this comment
From thinker711
Tuesday, August 02, 2005, 09:58

If we have some estimate of the number of abuses/rapes in TF, I could put something together fairly quickly. If we included physical abuse (non-sexual) the rate would be through the roof (probably close to 90 percent). If someone has tabulated a count of sexual abuse reported by ex-member victims, let me know. Thanks.(reply to this comment
From thinker711
Tuesday, August 02, 2005, 11:01

I've added some, admittedly rough, comparisons of sexual and physical abuse.(reply to this comment

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