My Story of Sexual Assault

Today I’d like to share a highly vulnerable story with you in the hopes of getting one very important message across:  You are NEVER at fault for your sexual assault.  EVER.
Shortly before I met my husband, I met another man through online dating. He was from out of state and so the first few months of our relationship were solely long-distance. After countless phone calls...
Read more...

The Modest Files Podcast -- Part Two

Part Two of my interview with The Modesty Files podcast is live! 
In part one I explained how I got involved with my cult and my personal experience with the cult leader, Bill Gothard.
In this final episode things gets a bit more raw. I briefly explain how I got involved in a lawsuit against Gothard, how I found my way...
Read more...

The Modesty Files: A New Podcast on Toxic Fundamentalism

I woke up just a touch nervous today. This morning a podcast episode has been released where I talk quite frankly about the messy details of my trauma story. 
A few months ago I received an email from a group of three sisters who run a new podcast called The Modesty Files. They found Thriving Forward on a whim while doing research on the Christian Fundamentalists culture and they began to read my story.
Read more...

Called To Peace Ministries

Living in a marriage with domestic violence is terrifying; wondering how to protect your children is even more frightening. Many women choose to stay, believing that it’s better to attempt to hold on the marriage for the sake of the children. They believe the stress of divorce would be worse.  
That is usually not the case, however...
Read more...

Justice At Last -- Finding Freedom in Divorce

We’ve been preparing for the today for months. Actually, 40 years is probably more accurate. And finally, it is finished. 
After abandoning my mother six years ago and leaving her financially destitute, bruised, and broken, my father finally decided to file for divorce last year. Once it was made clear my parents were headed to trial, I was asked if I would be willing to testify against my father.
After growing up with domestic violence...
Read more...

The Body Holds Trauma

The body holds trauma.
This past week I’ve dealt with an unexpected flare up of my chronic illness.  I’ve also dealt with a frightening stream of relentless nightmares and last night a rare panic attack appeared out of no where.
After the panic attack told my husband I couldn’t figure out why my body had gone haywire this week.  He asked, “Is there anything significant about this time of the year?”  And then it hit me.  This week is the 9th anniversary of my brief stay at the cult headquarters. The week that forever changed my life.
Though this happens every year...
Read more...

When Victims Take The Blame

My heart has been heavy this week. In February 2019 during a live interview with NRP, I took a public stand against a wolf in my family and community. Over a year and one half later, I am *still* being attacked and ostracized by some people for “trash talking” this individual.  
Read more...

Lawsuit Update: It Is Finished!!!

1,604 Days
That’s how many days I have been fighting in a court for legal justice against my ex cult leader, Bill Gothard.
One thousand, six hundred and four long, exhausting, treacherous, grief-filled, gut-wrenching, heart-stopping, healing, redemptive, beautiful, victorious days.
In January 2019 I at last sat in the witness stand of a Chicago court room and told my story before a judge.  Bill Gothard had filed sanctions
Read more...

The High Cost of Speaking Out

One year ago today I gathered every ounce of courage I had and did something that would forever change my writing and public story. I went live on NPR and for the very first time, publicly named my second sexual abuser — my father. 
Until that day I had been very open with my story about my former cult leader and his abuse against me, but I had not yet been ready to share the details of the abuse I had endured within my very home.  Prior to my interview...
Read more...

"Why Didn't You Walk Away?"

As I have started sharing my story with more and more people of how I was raised in a cult and eventually finding my way out, I inevitably get asked quite a few follow-up questions. 
One of the most common questions I receive, after finding out that my cult did not consist of a secluded compound where all the families lived together, is “How were you controlled if you weren’t physically being imprisoned?  Why didn’t you just walk away?“
You don’t have to be physically confined to be imprisoned.  There is another way...
Read more...
 
Read Older Updates