Psychiatric Impact of Organized and Ritual Child Sexual Abuse, Spain police bust ‘Black magic’ prostitution ring, North Korea: Sexual abuse of women ‘common
November 1, 2018 § Leave a comment
– Psychiatric Impact of Organized and Ritual Child Sexual Abuse: Cross-Sectional Findings from Individuals Who Report Being Victimized
– Spain police bust ‘black magic’ prostitution ring in Murcia
– North Korea: Sexual abuse of women ‘common’, report claims
Psychiatric Impact of Organized and Ritual Child Sexual Abuse: Cross-Sectional Findings from Individuals Who Report Being Victimized
Johanna Schröder, Susanne Nick, Hertha Richter-Appelt and Peer Briken
Institute for Sex Research and Forensic Psychiatry, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2417; doi: 10.3390/ijerph15112417
Abstract: Organized and ritual child sexual abuse (ORA) is often rooted in the child’s own family. Empirical evidence on possible associations between ORA and trauma-related symptoms in those who report this kind of extreme and prolonged violence is rare. The aim of our study was to explore socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of the individuals reporting ORA experiences, and to investigate protective as well as promotive factors in the link between ORA and trauma-related symptom severity. Within the framework of a project of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in Germany, we recruited 165 adults who identified themselves as ORA victims via abuse- and trauma-specific networks and mailing lists, and they completed an anonymous online survey. We used variance analyses to examine correlations between several variables in the ORA context and PTSD symptoms (PCL-5) as well as somatoform dissociation (SDQ-5). Results revealed a high psychic strain combined with an adverse health care situation in individuals who report experiences with ORA. Ideological strategies used by perpetrators as well as Dissociative Identity Disorders experienced by those affected are associated with more severe symptoms (η2p = 0.11; η2p = 0.15), while an exit out of the ORA structures is associated with milder symptoms (η2p = 0.11). Efforts are needed to improve health care services for individuals who experience severe and complex psychiatric disorders due to ORA in their childhood.
Child sexual abuse (CSA), once thought to be rare, is nowadays accepted as a frequent reality that occurs across a range of cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds worldwide and encompasses many types of sexually abusive acts towards children, including sexual assault, incest, the production and use of child pornography, as well as commercial sexual exploitation . Sexual child abuse involving a network of perpetrators acting repeatedly and jointly on multiple victims is defined as ‘organized abuse’ . Organized abuse that follows a (pseudo-) ideological strategy (e.g., symbols or group activities with religious, magical, or supernatural connotations) in order to frighten and intimidate the children or to force the victims to participate whilst simultaneously accomplishing the perpetrators’ exculpation is referred to as ‘ritual abuse’ [3,4]. Salter further describes ritual abuse as ideological framing in organized CSA contexts, functioning as strategical practices through which abusive groups indoctrinate the victims into a violently misogynistic worldview in order to control them . In other words, ritual abuse occurs when a religious, political, or spiritual authority uses its position of power and the sovereignty to interpret the respective belief system to manipulate and dominate its followers. Since the 1980s, evidence of organized and ritual abuse (ORA) has been consolidated due to studies documenting psychological harm amongst children and adults disclosing such experiences ….
ORA, defined as organized child sexual abuse where a (pseudo-)ideological (i.e., ritual) content serves as legitimization for violence, is a complex and polarizing issue in mental health care contexts as well as in research. At present, the uncovering and reprocessing of ORA is a problem that remains to be solved in Germany, as well as internationally. Given the paucity of research in this field, we believe that this study contributes to closing this evidence gap, as it presents empirical data on reported practices of ORA and its impact on trauma-related symptom severity in self-identified victims, in which reported ideological/ritual strategies by the perpetrators and an exit out of the ORA structures play a major role. A key policy priority should therefore be to intensify efforts on the understanding of ORA-related structures, as well as the complex clinical presentation of those affected. Services like information websites and exit programs should be developed by experts in the field in order to contribute to generating appropriate treatment services for this group of clients. Mental health professionals and centers specialized in the treatment of severely traumatized clients with CPTSD and dissociative disorders would contribute to a better support of clients who report such trauma histories. The therapeutic process of detachment from perpetrator networks is intense, and supporters of individuals who experience ORA face special difficulties, like, for example, dissociative personality states. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that constant professional supervision is provided to them by professionals who understand the spectrum of possibilities and pitfalls in the treatment….
Spain police bust ‘black magic’ prostitution ring in Murcia
Spanish police say they have rescued 15 transgender Brazilians from forced prostitution in the city of Murcia.
The victims were beaten, forced to use and sell drugs, and often kept locked inside a flat, officials say.
They are also said to have been threatened with the use of black magic if they did not comply.
Objects related to the ritual-filled Santería religion were found in the flat. Thirteen suspects were detained for allegedly running the ring.
The authorities say the ring was headed by Brazilian who worked with associates to recruit vulnerable young people in Brazil….
North Korea: Sexual abuse of women ‘common’, report claims
North Korean officials commit sexual abuse against women with near total impunity, a report has claimed.
Human Rights Watch added that it is so common it has become part of ordinary life.
The report is based on interviews with 62 North Koreans who fled the country. They gave detailed accounts of rape and sexual abuse.
HRW said it revealed a culture of open, unaddressed abuse, particularly from men in positions of power.
Oh Jung-hee, a former trader in her 40s told Human Rights Watch (HRW): “They consider us [sex] toys. We are at the mercy of men.”
“Sometimes, out of nowhere, you cry at night and don’t know why.”
Gathering information from inside the secretive state is extremely difficult and reports like this are rare.
‘My life was in his hands’
According to HRW some women expressed that sexual abuse had become so normalised that they did not think it was “unusual” – with some saying it had become accepted as part of everyday life….
The perpetrators include high-ranking party officials, prison facility guards, police and soldiers.
Interviewees told HRW that when an official “picked” a woman, she would have little choice but to comply….
It added that forced abortion, rape and sexual violence had been carried out in prisons or in detention….
Rotherham child sexual abuse: Gang of seven guilty, Church defectors reveal video of ritualistic violence
October 30, 2018 § Leave a comment
– Rotherham child sexual abuse: Gang of seven guilty
Rotherham child sexual abuse: Gang of seven guilty
29 October 2018
Seven men have been found guilty of grooming and exploiting young girls, including one who was sexually abused by “at least 100 Asian men” before the age of 16.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how the men targeted and exploited the teenagers before subjecting them to acts of a “degrading and violent nature”.
They abused five young girls over a seven year period in Rotherham.
The gang were convicted of offences including rape and indecent assault.
One girl described being bitten and raped by two of the men in Sherwood Forest while “high as a kite” on drugs….
The convictions are the latest to come out of Operation Stovewood, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, which has identified more than 1,500 victims….
During a trial lasting more than eight weeks the jury heard the men, who are all of British Pakistani heritage, preyed on the girls’ vulnerability before they were sexually assaulted and passed on to other men.
Prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC said the girls had been “lured by the excitement of friendship with older Asian youths” but were then “targeted, sexualised and in some instances subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature”.
She said: “None of them had the maturity to understand that they were being groomed and exploited, often believing that sex of some kind was a necessary price for friendship.”….
Operation Stovewood is the largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual exploitation in the UK.
It began in 2014 after a report found at least 1,400 children in Rotherham were the victims of abuse between 1997 and 2013.
It is run by the NCA, which is working with 296 alleged victims, has identified 151 suspects and is running 22 ongoing investigations.
More than 150 officers work on the operation and there are plans to recruit another 100….
It has led to 14 convictions so far, and 24 more people have been charged with offences.
The court head the men used alcohol, drugs, threats and violence to control the girls….
Defectors say former church pastor is a ‘cult leader,’ but her son fights back
By Joshua Berlinger and Yoonjung Seo, CNN Mon October 29, 2018
Church defectors reveal video of ritualistic violence
Seoul, South Korea (CNN)Standing in front of her parish in a bright yellow jacket, Shin Ok-joo holds back tears. Her voice takes on a tone of both anger and sadness.
“How could you behave like this?” she asks her congregation in a video purportedly filmed in South Korea in April last year at the Grace Road Church, where Shin serves as pastor. Soft weeping from people seated in pews intensifies into a chorus of sobs. “Am I your toy? Did I tell you I was your toy? You crazy one!”
Shin leaves her pulpit but remains on the raised platform above her congregation as she approaches a group of people with their heads bowed. With her left hand, she grabs a worshiper in a brown coat by her hair and, with her free hand, slaps the person across the face. The slaps continue, and the crying from the audience grows louder. Shin’s emotion is apparent on her face.
After four slaps, the congregant falls to the floor. Shin picks up the woman by the hair and shakes her head violently. By this point, the audience’s screams are loud, raw and visceral. Shin yells at her, but what she says is inaudible due to the sobbing.
According to Grace Road, this is an example of what the church calls “threshing,” a ritual involving church members being slapped and hit as a form of repentance in accordance with Shin’s interpretation of the Bible. It symbolizes separating sin from the human body in the same way that grains are removed from crops by threshing.
The woman at the receiving end of Shin’s blows had just returned from Fiji, where about 400 members of the church have moved to set up shop. Shin preaches that Fiji is the land chosen by God to be the center of the world and the ideal place to survive an impending great famine, and the church has made significant investments in the country.
Video of this incident was supplied to CNN by Daniel Kim, Shin’s son, in an attempt to counter allegations from former congregants of violence against its members.
The footage from Kim was sent a day after three former members of the church revealed 20 minutes worth of footage of particularly violent threshing incidents at a news conference in Seoul Wednesday.
“Shin is a cult leader and the Grace Road Church is a cult,” Lee Soon-deok, one of the former members, told the media Wednesday.
“She tells people that she is the only one to rely on, that people can only be saved by her. Shin is an evil woman.”
Former church members contend that the threshing ritual is assault — and South Korean prosecutors have moved to punish Shin for it. She was arrested in July and remains behind bars awaiting trial, charged with forced confinement and physical assault. At the time of Shin’s arrest, South Korean authorities said many of congregants in Fiji appeared to have been stripped of their passports upon arrival by senior members of the church….
Lawyers release the names of 212 alleged priest sex offenders in Bay Area, Kenyan widows are fighting against sexual ‘cleansing’, Memoir ‘The Burn Zone’ former cult member tells all
October 24, 2018 § Leave a comment
– Lawyers release the names of 212 alleged priest sex offenders in Bay Area
– These Kenyan widows are fighting against sexual ‘cleansing’
– In memoir ‘The Burn Zone,’ former cult member tells all
Lawyers release the names of 212 alleged priest sex offenders in Bay Area
By: Lisa Fernandez , Cristina Rendon Oct 23 2018
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – As dioceses around the country are disclosing names of priests accused of misconduct, a law firm on Tuesday released a report containing the names of 212 Catholic Clergy members accused of sexual misconduct in the Bay Area.
The report, compiled by lawyers from Jeff Anderson and Associates based in St. Paul, Minn., accuses 135 offenders from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, 95 from the Diocese of Oakland and 33 from the Diocese of San Jose. A total of 130 of these priests are dead….
Anderson and his team are seeking to compel Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, Bishop Patrick McGrath in San Jose and Bishop Michael Barber in Oakland to release the names of all clergy accused of sexual misconduct in all three dioceses and request the federal court to release files that show the participation and complicity of top church officials in the handling of clergy sexual abuse cases. There are at least 133 priests who are alive, but whose whereabouts are not immediately known to the public, the lawyers said.
KTVU reached out to all the dioceses on Tuesday. Oakland Diocese spokeswoman Helen Osman said in an email that Barber announced earlier this month that he would release a full list of credibly accused clergy within 45 days. “We have nothing to hide,” Barber said at the time….
Dioceses across California and the U.S. have been disclosing names as part of an effort by church leaders to reassure parishioners following a stunning August report by Pennsylvania authorities.
The report detailed extensive efforts to cover up decades of abuse involving clergy and children.
These Kenyan widows are fighting against sexual ‘cleansing’
Across Women’s Lives GlobalPost October 23, 2018 By Louise Donovan
and Hannah O’Neill
When Esther Atema’s husband died, she was treated like dirt. People suddenly looked at her funny — villagers shouted, “Witch!” as she walked past. The local boys in Siaya County, southwest Kenya, would get drunk and chase her down the road. If they caught her, they’d beat her to a pulp.
At 35 years old, she had become a widow. And, in some rural parts of Kenya, widowhood means you’re of little value. Culturally, widows are considered impure, and tradition dictates that they must be cleaned — or “cleansed” — of their partners’ death. The aim is to chase away the demons; the ritual requires women to have sex — either with a relative or stranger.
Sure enough, one year after his death, Atema’s late husband’s family forced her to go through the cleansing process….
The order can vary slightly but the ceremony typically goes like this: You begin by having sex on the floor. In the morning, you burn your clothes and the sack you slept on, and the man shaves the widow’s hair. Sometimes, it happens outside, in front of the house — where the whole neighborhood can see. Together, you slaughter a chicken (a staple in the diet here), which you cook and eat. The ceremony lasts three days but can be drawn out for up to seven.
“I felt humiliated,” said Atema. “But I was told my children would die if I didn’t go through with it.”
If you refuse to be cleansed, you’re shunned from society. Women, like Atema, believe their children will be harmed, and that going uncleansed will block any chance of future marriage. But in a society rife with HIV and AIDS, despite improvements, accepting means you run the risk of disease — using a condom doesn’t complete the ritual properly so people go without.
After the cleansing, the widow is traditionally inherited, whereby she marries another man (usually a brother-in-law). Yet, she still has no rights — and millions of widows across Africa are kicked out of their homes by their in-laws, robbed of their property and made vulnerable to rape.
“Why don’t women have a choice?” said Atema, now 40. “You don’t know who this person is; they could hurt or kill you. No one checks if they’re HIV-free.”….
Ritual cleansing has been reported in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The stigma stems, says Karen Brewer of Widows Rights International, from the notion that men are stronger than women.
“If a man dies, it can’t just be because he’s old,” she said. “The woman must have done witchcraft against him. It’s superstition but people who are educated in these communities realize things can be done differently.”
One of those people is Roseline Orwa. She’s among a growing number of widows’ rights activists in Kenya pushing for change. In the fishing village where she grew up, on the windy shores of Lake Victoria, she heads up a women’s group that is fighting the practice.
By 32, Orwa had been divorced and widowed. Educated in Nairobi and economically independent with her own textiles business, she refused to be cleansed or inherited and escaped the usual stigma that stalks widows’ lives….
In 2015, she helped outlaw widow cleansing in the country under a domestic offenses bill, though few in rural areas know it exists (or they do and adhere to the tradition anyway, out of fear of being ostracized). So, today, the practice still persists in rural Kenya. Having firsthand experience of widowhood puts Orwa in a unique position — she’s able to understand the challenges that many women around her face. At the same time, she’s powerful enough to do something about it.
“I will not allow you to come into my house at night and rape me in the name of cleansing,” she said. “Why do we tell women: Don’t do anything, sit pretty and wait until we molest you, until we make you lose your dignity and value?”…..
In memoir ‘The Burn Zone,’ former cult member tells all
Andrew Travers October 8, 2018
Snowmass Village resident Renee Linnell’s new memoir “The Burn Zone” recounts her experience being brainwashed and joining a cult.
Late in her new memoir, “The Burn Zone,” Renee Linnell recounts a night out where she dances on a bar, meets a guy and tells him immediately that she had been in a cult for the past seven years.
He responds, “You are the most interesting person I’ve ever met!”….
But after attending what she thought was a meditation seminar in 2006 in California, led by a charismatic guru in a business suit, Linnell was slowly brainwashed and sucked into a Tantric Buddhist cult. Seven years later — suffering under the emotional, financial and sexual abuse of the University of Mysticism cult’s two leaders — she’d lost her money, burned everything she owned, cut herself off from her family and friends and found herself in a form of domestic slavery in New York.
As she woke up to the fact that she was a cult member, Linnell broke free and began a long process of healing. That process brought her to Colorado, where she settled in Snowmass Village and began writing what would become “The Burn Zone.”….
The book’s roots were in Linnell’s journals, where she sought catharsis by writing out her story and purging her emotions.
“I felt I had to get it out of me,” she recalled. “There was a lot of shame around the fact that I had let myself get brainwashed and let myself get in such a bad business relationship and lose so much money. And when I was healing, I got fat for the first time in my life. So I was just this fat, broken, lost, confused and broken person who had totally ruined her life.”
But as she started opening up to new friends about what had happened to her, they encouraged her to write a book. She realized then that she’d already begun writing it.
As a culture, we don’t afford people who have been brainwashed and joined cults the same compassion that we offer victims of other forms of abuse. Linnell, too, had such prejudices until it happened to her. She hopes that her book can help de-stigmatize victims and also help readers see warning signs themselves.
“I had this belief that people who join cults are crazy,” she said. “And when you’ve never been in one, you think, ‘The signs are obvious and why would you do that?’ You read these things about people committing mass suicide or whatever. I know from experience that it happens so slowly, so insidiously.”
She compares the brainwashing process in a cult to being in any toxic relationship, where a partner builds another up and makes them feel loved and cherished, then dismantles their support system and introduces increasingly abusive behavior.
Linnell hopes other victims will follow her and open up about their pasts….
Nevada’s famous pimp expected to win election despite death – multiple allegations of sexual assault, Casa Isla abuse case
October 18, 2018 § Leave a comment
– Nevada’s famous pimp expected to win election despite death “stunts that included helping several women “auction” their virginity…multiple allegations of sexual assault against him…If Hof wins on Nov. 6, county officials will nominate another Republican to fill the vacancy”
– After delays, trial set for November in Casa Isla abuse case “eight staff members at a Department of Youth Services facility were arrested for allegedly beating adolescent boys who were detained there….where boys were allegedly beaten, sexually assaulted and given alcohol and pornography “
Nevada’s famous pimp expected to win election despite death
The Associated Press MICHELLE L. PRICE Oct 17th 2018
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s most famous pimp tried to bring the state’s legal brothel industry into the mainstream by mingling with celebrities, showcasing his business on HBO and staging outlandish publicity stunts.
Dennis Hof’s fame made him an attention-grabbing figure in an otherwise quiet industry. And, despite being found dead on Tuesday, he’s poised to win an election to the state Legislature in less than three weeks.
Hof, who starred in the HBO reality series “Cathouse,” marketed himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican in his race for a heavily GOP Assembly district that includes wide stretches of desert where nuclear bombs were once tested.
His body was found at his Love Ranch brothel outside Las Vegas following a weekend of parties celebrating his 72nd birthday. Guests included porn actor Ron Jeremy, “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss, former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and a mix of local politicians and friends….
While waging a no-holds-barred campaign, Hof’s incendiary style drew fans and well-known supporters such as Trump adviser Roger Stone and Arpaio. But it also brought scrutiny to Hof’s businesses and alienated him from the state’s GOP establishment.
Nevada is the only state to allow legal prostitution, which occurs at about 20 licensed brothels in mostly rural areas.
Most brothel owners keep a low profile, offering few interviews and buying only subtle advertising. But Hof had a penchant for splashy billboards and stunts that included helping several women “auction” their virginity….
If Hof wins on Nov. 6, county officials will nominate another Republican to fill the vacancy….
Billing himself as “the Trump of Pahrump,” Hof wrote a memoir in 2015 titled “The Art of the Pimp,” akin to Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal.” After winning the primary, he credited the president with paving the way by proving a candidate could upend establishment politics and win.
Trump “was the Christopher Columbus for me,” Hof told The Associated Press. “He found the way and I jumped on it.”
Hof, who was born in Phoenix in 1946, owned several gas stations and other small businesses before moving to Nevada in the 1970s.
He had two daughters, who are both adults and were estranged from him for years, Muth said. Hof also had an ex-wife, but Muth did not know her whereabouts or details about her.
In 1992, Hof bought his first brothel and eventually grew his empire to six, including an Area 51-themed brothel. He began selling some of the properties this year as he faced regulatory problems in southern Nevada and a push to outlaw licensed bordellos in the two counties where he operated.
Hof said he was downsizing to focus on politics, which he called “a dirty business.” He said the anti-brothel push, the regulatory problems and multiple allegations of sexual assault against him were politically motivated.
Three of the allegations from prostitutes never resulted in charges. Few details have been released about a fourth allegation that the Nevada Department of Public Safety was investigating. It was made in September by a woman who reported at a hospital that Hof had raped her.
Hof denied all of the accusations….
After delays, trial set for November in Casa Isla abuse case
By Shira Schoenberg
BOSTON — More than three years ago, eight staff members at a Department of Youth Services facility were arrested for allegedly beating adolescent boys who were detained there.
The criminal case is expected to go to trial in Suffolk Superior Court in November.
Attorneys involved in the case say the delays were mostly a matter of logistics, a huge amount of evidence and dealing with motions. The trial is expected to shed light on the environment at the Casa Isla detention facility in Boston, where boys were allegedly beaten, sexually assaulted and given alcohol and pornography, according to court documents.
“The defendants, staff members who were responsible for taking care of and protecting the residents in their care, instilled a culture of fear at the Casa Isla program in order to make the residents comply with the program’s rules and not cause more work for the defendants,” wrote Assistant District Attorney Sarah Stancato McEvoy in a filing asking for permission to introduce evidence not tied directly to specific assault allegations.
Victims of the abuse and their family members have separately filed three lawsuits against the state; Volunteers of America of Massachusetts, which had a state contract to run Casa Isla; and individual staff members.
Casa Isla was a youth detention facility for boys committed by the courts to the custody of the state Department of Youth Services. It housed approximately 100 adolescent boys each year until it was closed in 2014 amid an investigation into the alleged abuse…. https://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/10/after_delays_trial_set_for_nov.html
Ex-Jehovah’s Witness abuse survivor, Woman who escaped a polygamous cult – Warren Jeffs Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
October 17, 2018 Comments Off on Ex-Jehovah’s Witness abuse survivor, Woman who escaped a polygamous cult – Warren Jeffs Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
– Ex-Jehovah’s Witness, abuse survivor launches nonprofit
A woman who said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted throughout her childhood by a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Fortuna
– The woman who escaped a polygamous cult – and turned its HQ into a refuge
Briell Decker was 18 when she became the 65th wife of US cult leader Warren Jeffs.
Ex-Jehovah’s Witness, abuse survivor launches nonprofit
By Shomik Mukherjee October 11, 2018
A woman who said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted throughout her childhood by a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Fortuna, an experience she recounted in a televised documentary in May, has now launched a nonprofit organization to help fellow survivors of sexual abuse.
Romy Maple has registered SAFE 707 — which stands for Sexual Assault Fighters Elite — as an official nonprofit. She hopes to become a certified life coach in order to aid fellow survivors, especially those who have left behind religious organizations and are at risk, she said, of simply joining another one upon leaving.
“Once you leave a cult, you might walk away but you’re still not free,” she said. Leaving everything behind often leaves individuals without spiritual independence, she said, which further leads some to give into the same type of emotional blackmail elsewhere.
In May, Maple appeared prominently in an A&E documentary series, “Cults and Extreme Belief,” hosted by journalist Elizabeth Vargas.
A&E stated it contacted Jehovah’s Witnesses, which declined to comment on the allegations, but provided producers a copy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ position on child protection.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and view it as a crime. We recognize that the authorities are responsible for addressing such crimes,” the policy states. “The elders do not shield any perpetrator of child abuse from the authorities.”….
Shortly after the documentary episode focusing on Jehovah’s Witnesses aired on A&E, Maple shared her story with the Times-Standard.
She said she was drugged and raped for much of her childhood by an individual who, like her, was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Fortuna. At the age of 11, she said, she tried alerting elders in the congregation to the repeated abuse, but all ignored her. For years afterward, she said, she struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings of loneliness.
The alleged incidents happened far longer ago than the statute of limitations for rape. A few weeks ago, Maple said, she confronted her alleged abuser, offering him forgiveness and asking for an apology. She said she didn’t receive one.
Maple currently lives in Fortuna. The town still carries a culture of silence, she said. She often drives by the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she said, and wonders if children in there are still being abused….
Maple will soon embark on a days-long retreat, which she hopes will further help in her healing. Her ultimate goal, she said, is to help those who are in danger of “cult-hopping.”
“If you don’t have the training or education, you’re going to fall back into the same type of vibration,” she said. “That’s what you’re primed for.”….
The woman who escaped a polygamous cult – and turned its HQ into a refuge
Briell Decker was 18 when she became the 65th wife of US cult leader Warren Jeffs. Can she help heal the town his FLDS sect ruled for generations?
Alex Hannaford Sat 13 Oct 2018
Briell Decker carefully removed the screws from the corners of the window and began pounding on the glass until it started to come loose. Hearing the noise, her sister-in-law, who had been in the lounge area of their trailer home, came in and took the screwdriver away. But it was too late: Decker had already unscrewed one side of the pane; as soon as she was alone again, she opened the window, climbed out into the street and ran away. She was escaping her brother, his wife, and the fundamentalist Mormon cult they all belonged to. Decker had been forced to marry its leader, Warren Jeffs, aged 18.
Six years later, Decker sits on the back porch of the $1.2m mansion where she once lived with Jeffs. “I knew I wasn’t going to give up, whether I made it out or not,” she says of her escape. “Nothing was going to stop me.”
Everything has changed since then. Jeffs is seven years into a life sentence for sexual assault. Decker has made a life for herself, and recently remarried. The town in which she lives has started to open itself up to people outside the cult for the first time in 90 years, and to welcome back excommunicated members.
For three generations, the twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona – collectively known as Short Creek – have been home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as FLDS, a religious sect that split from the Mormon church in 1930; its members wanted to continue to practise polygamy. The church teaches that having multiple wives (each of whom is assigned to a man) is ordained by God. Women wear long-sleeved prairie dresses that stretch down to the ankles, and pin their hair in a bun.
Now the walls around Short Creek’s houses, real and figurative, are coming down. Decker has turned the 44-room mansion where Jeffs and his wives lived into a refuge for other women fleeing the same church. “Even though it was his house, it feels good,” she says.
Jeffs, a tall, slim man with dark eyes, has been president and prophet of FLDS since 2002, continuing to run the cult from his prison cell. Soon after he assumed the leadership, he began splitting families apart, taking young girls as his own brides, and excommunicating members, mainly young men, from the church. He banned socialising, as well as contact with the outside world. In 2011, he began a life sentence for sexually assaulting two girls aged 12 and 14, whom he described as his “spiritual wives”. Jeffs, now 62, has wed around 80 women and children over the years, though the state doesn’t recognise these marriages. Decker was wife number 65.
It has taken a long time for change to come to Short Creek, as the community starts to reckon with its leader’s legacy. There are still about 10,000 active members of the church in the region, most of them in Short Creek. But there are signs that others have moved on: last November, Hildale elected its first ever female, non-FLDS, mayor. A few months ago, a new police chief – an outsider with no ties to the community – was sworn in after a jury ruled that the previous force, made up entirely of church members, was guilty of religious discrimination…..
Child abuse inquiry says orphanages were places of ‘threat and abuse’, Spiritual Leader Raped 2 Women During Ceremonies
October 12, 2018 § Leave a comment