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Getting Real : Speak your peace

Even our lawyers didn't respect us.

from rainy - Saturday, January 12, 2008
accessed 914 times

I was just remembering when we won the court case suing the state of NSW for the Sydney raids.

Well, I suppose I shouldn't say "won", I should say settled. Although our lawyers and everyone involved, including the media, seemed to take it as a win.

I was visiting Sydney from India at the time, and the litigation we'd started years earlier was finally due for its day in court. We agreed to a settlement, but the amount of money and its distribution was dependant on what we were offered by the DOCS. We, of course, pushed for the most money to go to the youngest children and the handicapped ones. I was particularly vocal about that. Ironically, they offered the most money for the ones of us who were most vocal, although I myself never claimed to have been permanently damaged by the raids. I have to say I felt absolutely awful being awarded more than most just because I was there to have a voice. I handed over most of it to be distributed between the others, and gave some to other particularly needy families I knew of. They didn't understand the tears in my eyes as I gave the money. "You don't have to give it up you know". It wasn't that. I wanted to give the money. It was about this:

After leaving the court where the case was closed and speaking to the media outside, (not that we could say much at all, part of the settlement was a gag order) our lawyers took us to the Sydney International for celebratory drinks. I was dressed up and taking special care with my make-up because there was a gorgeous young lawyer on the team who I had a massive crush on. (Yeah, yeah, I know I was in The Family, I was just dreaming. All I wanted was for him to notice me.) I idolised our lawyers, because back when we first met them just after the raids, our solicitor had invited us all to his beautiful summer home by the sea and thrown a massive party for us. I'd come shopping with him for the party and he bought absolutely EVERYTHING I pointed at. Being able to do that was a definite first. So I LOVED the lawyers. Most of my faith in our side of the case was based on the fact that they, professional outsiders, believed in us. It made me feel that maybe we weren't that weird after all.

Anyway, the lawyers sitting around in the Sydney International began with the crude jokes and swearing I was beginning to get used to. I think being forced to be so professional and use such formal language in their work made the opposite come out when they had any down-time. They began by joking about one of the single Family mothers who had a baby every year to unknown men. "Don't walk down the hall and bump into ______! She'll conceive if you even look at her! That kid she's carrying now is because I bumped into her in the hallway!" It was much cruder than that I think and the joke carried on and on the way drunken jokes do. The adults were laughing politely along and I was beginning to feel ill. I was idealistic enough to be shocked, both that they were making fun of us to our faces, and that the adults were selling out completely and not standing up for their friend. Particularly as the main adult there was the father of one of her progeny. I and the other girl my age went to the bathroom and re-applied our lipstick before coming back to the table. Our solicitor started shouting, "Girls been putting lipstick on! Looks like they want a little FFing action! He called to the young lawyer I had a crush on, "Take your pick! Which one do you want? I think FFing is a fair price for winning the case!"
I can't tell you what that did to me. Crushed me to my soul. I was in a lot of denial about FFing, as far as I was concerned it was nothing to do with me and never would be. I was so horrified that these lawyers who argued so well for us in court could say something like that. I definitely began to question everything about the court case. I was embarrassed for all of us, for who I was and what I was born into.

That memory just came back today, thought I'd share it.

Reader's comments on this article

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from murasaki
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - 05:24

I can relate, once being idealistic myself. It's been wierd slowly seeing how the family is perceived from the outside. Family members are often so proud of their "good sample", when the real impression they give out is so different.
(reply to this comment)
from cheeks
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 11:02

Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
They may also been trying to gage the adults reactions. What would a real parent there do if someone said that about their daughters. What would the lawyers have said if someone said that about their children regardless of how drunk they may have been? I think that is the most telling. And for the single mother with children, she brought that upon herself I cannot feel any pity for her. I know a lot of single women in the Family who had child after child mostly from married men.
If nothing else they could have just not has sex when they were ovulating.
(reply to this comment)
From rainy
Sunday, January 20, 2008, 17:25

About the single mother: She was older FGA, and felt that one thing she could contribute to this world was lots of children. (Yeah, I know! The idiocy of it!) But I have to say she was a good mother and loved her kids dearly, they were her world. As much as I disagree with absolutely everything about having a slew of children and raising them in a cult just to keep you company and fulfil your sense of worth, the feminist part of me bristles in anger when I see the woman laughed at and judged for her life choices while the men who contributed to those children sit around with nobody laughing at them. She was raising all of those children entirely on her own. Where were the dads? All living nearby, but with no more interaction with their own children than if they'd been somebody else's kids. Anyway, it's all fucked up, completely and entirely, but the hypocrisy is what really made me angry.(reply to this comment
From rainy
Sunday, January 20, 2008, 15:15

Exactly. I felt very betrayed by everyone there. My mother would have laid into them if she'd been there. But I don't think they'd have said it if she'd been there. She was well known for speaking her mind. The other girl with me was the daughter of the two adults in the room, but I think they were so used to compromising in front of the lawyers or just so happy it was over...I honestly don't know what was wrong with them.(reply to this comment
From x-acto
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 19:58


You hit the nail square on the head.

Of course, those particular lawyers did not do it as a way to decide whether to champion scumbags, but just to confirm who they were using to get fame and money.(reply to this comment

From from my experience..
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 13:31

although i do not know this particular mother........not many woman, except Karen Zerby or another in high leadership, (who used birth control BTW) could have said 'no' or 'I think I'll wait to have sex until I have finished ovulating'. That was the main doctrine--sharing partners-be they underage or not-- and having as many babies as possible. Any one deviating from that in a problematic way i.e spoiling the barrel- would have been attached from all angles, or kicked out, had their thoughts been revealed to another member or in and OHR.

Once recruited into the group, you are overworked, traumatized - which leads to DID, manipulated, and exploited in order to serve the agenda of the leader – and, importantly, rarely to serve the stated agenda for which the they joined. I am sure she didn't join to continually have babies from uncommited irresponsible men. And I am sure she 'believed' the whole every parent is everyones parent, philosophy.

They are stuck. There is a battering, bullying kind of dynamic that takes place in cults, and it traps and frightens people, confuses them, silences their critical abilities and often creates an extreme obedience. Trusting relationships inside or outside the organisation are destroyed, isolation is institutionalised, and the conversation among people in the group (and between the group and the rest of the world) is reduced to the single dull hammering of the group’s dogma. (What other woman or man for that matter stood up for her and made the father take responsibility? Probably, none!)

I would say she was 'helped' considerably by the cult leaders and social peer pressure- in 'bringing that on herself'

The sad thing is that only through rebellion can one be truly free. There were so many people who 'towed the line' (followed Bergs teaching to a tee" that committed and allowed the worst abuses, yet in TF's mind- a good member.

The people leadership accused, punished and humiliated for being 'out of the spirit' were often the ones with strength of character and were using every last breath to 'rebel' !

Just my two cents!

(reply to this comment
From cheeks
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 14:31

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
To a certain extent I am sure you are right. However, I was in a lot of homes where single women were not expected to share if they didn't want to. Most of these women were not victims they chose to join. They chose to have all those children because it was the thing that made them feel important or made them feel whole and productive. Most women in the Family gaged their self worth on whether on not they had a baby on their hip. Once I turned 18, I was asked to share lots of times by the sheps of the home, and I said no. You could say no.(reply to this comment
From born under a bad sign
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 19:45


What a difference a few years makes. When I was 12 you could not say no. Wish I were born later, as you had the good sense to do.

FYI, I am not taking the side of the FG who responded to you above, in case you are wondering.(reply to this comment

From cheeks
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 21:06

I remember those days I was young but not naive, I certainly remember what happened to those who were older than me by a few years. But by and large after the late eighties early nineties more and more single moms were choosing not to share. Many of them lived in couple homes where there were few single men and the pressure lessened. Then it was up to the married men to ask if the single womans needs were being met, and many single women chose not to share. There were still many who continued to screw anything that moved and they were the ones for the most part,who had child after child.
As for the FGA who responded to my response, why don't you leave your site name, what are you ashamed of?(reply to this comment
From not FGA
Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 04:46

I am SGA

Don't really feel like using my real name, sorry.

(reply to this comment
From cheeks
Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 09:37

Wuss.(reply to this comment
From fair enough..
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 14:55

I am not surprised as Berg thought that about woman and expressed as much in his writings. Cult members are compelled to take on/mirror the personality of the leader/guru.

(reply to this comment
From Jailbird
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 11:30

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?)

Sad to say if the cult women weren't bipolar when they went in, they were pretty messed up by the time they spent any time in there after the FF'ing days.

Still, I suppose they had a choice.

(reply to this comment

From Big Sister
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 13:42

I have thought a lot about this since I still wonder what made my sister join a cult when she was 19. My sister doesn't have any serious mental illness but was diagnosed with some learning disabilities related to understanding social cues.
That would have made it easier for her to get sucked in, in the first place.

I remember her telling me about FFing when she was pregnant; asking me if I thought I was ok...she was uncomfortable doing it but couldn't protect herself.
It's sad. And I wish I could have helped her better.

It now appears to me that while she certainly had some responsibility for her choice, she is also a victim of the cult. Both.

(reply to this comment
from solemn
Monday, January 14, 2008 - 14:35


You are talking about lawyers here.................... Lawyers.

(reply to this comment)

From afflick
Monday, January 14, 2008, 18:57

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

So? The guys at my law school are some of the most sexist individuals I have ever met. Not a single sexual assault case can be studied in class without some a**hole casually suggesting that the girl deserved it. I can practically set my watch to the ignorant comments these priveleged few spill out in the course of a day.

I don't know if law attracts the this type of bottom-feeder or it comes from the ultra-inflated sense of self-importance that comes with spending twelve hour days in the office, but most lawyers are a**holes.(reply to this comment

From solemn
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 08:53


My thoughts on this were "What do you expect from a lawyer?". They didn't take the case to promote justice, they did it for their percentage of the money.

(reply to this comment

From Jailbird
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 10:19

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

To me the post is more about a young woman's journey of self-discovery, highlighted by poignant moments, where one reflects on truth as they understod it up until that point.

But yes, most if not all the lawyers I've met in practice are pretty questionable individuals.

(reply to this comment

From Ah, 1L year....
Monday, January 14, 2008, 21:24

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(

They act like that because of the good reaction they get out of you everytime they do(reply to this comment

From Rosie O'Donnell
Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 00:09

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(
I know, it still gets me every time as well...I can't help it. (reply to this comment
from shikaka
Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 22:23

(reply to this comment)
from I understand
Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 20:40

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?)

Thank you for this.

The attourneys representing the cult in England and Australia, and everywhere else, were pretty disgusted with the group, especially when cult leadership had to share the dirty details of what actually happened.

The high profile nature of the cases gave them much wanted publicity. But they cared little for those they were representing and were positvely disgusted by what they knew about cult leadership.

As a man, I have my pain, shame and anger for what happened to my sisters, my friends, my mother, and myself. I have always been ashamed of and angered by the objectification and blatant degradation of women which we were socialized into as impressionable youth. Men act out their pain in different ways. But even as a young child and youth, I rejected the notion of "sharing," "ff-ing," etc., I remember being dealt with by shepherds for having "unrevolutionary attitudes," when it came to sex, sharing and ffing.

Part of me has always blocked out what really happened, that our mothers were turned out as prostitutes for the financial gain which was and is enjoyed by very few at the top. While their bodies, souls and those of their children bear forever the marks, shame and the stigma of such ruthless use of the most vulnerable, who are now aging destitute in many cases, those still in, in many cases destitute of the affection of those whom they brought into the world, Zerby, Kelly and few others enjoy every financial security, every pyshical comfort, ever needed item of healthcare, paid for by the bodies of young women and girls. When put in the most honest and starkest of terms, the truth is something which can only engender shame of what they (our parents) were.

We are not they. It is my hope that the flashbacks, thoughts of shame, the shakes of emotion, can and will be replaced with pride, love, understanding, compassion of and towards one's self.

May you be proud of who you are. May a life of honor be yours. I'm reminded of the quote from the movie, "Billie Eliott", I believe:

"Sometimes and ordinary life is an extraordinary accomplishment."

(reply to this comment)

From You Said it!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 19:49


Could not have put it better:

"Sometimes an ordinary life is an extraordinary accomplishment."

Fuhgeddabout the journalists and other jerks who say this story has no heroes.

Hell, sometimes just living a LIFE is an extraordinary accomplishment!(reply to this comment

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