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Freedom on The Witness Stand

by | Jun 27, 2019 | Bill Gothard, Lawsuit, Scandalous Grace

Six months ago I faced my former cult leader from a witness stand in a courtroom. It became one of the most powerful moments of my journey so far.

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book “Scandalous Grace”.

“I walked up to the witness stand with a confidence that was foreign to me. I’d been taught my entire life be ashamed of my curves and womanly stride, and to do my best to hide them. But that day all thoughts of modestly flew out the window and and I had never felt more defiant in my life as I walked up to that witness stand with my head held high and curvaceous hips intentionally swaying.

After being sworn in I turned to look at my former cult leader and locked eyes with him. They remained unwavering as I slowly groped for the chair next to me and eased my way down into it.

This was my moment.

I was staring straight into my fear. Into the eyes that had once captivated me. Seven years before those eyes had held me like a pin to a butterfly; I would flutter, but couldn’t move. But today I didn’t flutter in star-struck awe or in a flustered fear. Today an unshakable confidence channeled out of me. Today I roared.

My eyes remained locked to his for at least 30 seconds. The defense attorney had already asked his first question but I completely ignored him and remained focused on my former captor. Nothing else in the room existed but I and him. My breath stayed calm and my heart beat like a steady drum. Seven years prior I would’ve been shaking. But today I stood firm.

As we continued to stare each other down, I suddenly felt the last chain that he held on me snap.

I smiled at him.

Not a warm, gentle smile. But a fierce smile. A smile of irrepressible in-domination. A smile of victory. A smile of freedom.

At that moment I knew. This man held me no more. I was free.”



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About the Author

Emily Elizabeth Anderson is a Christian blogger and rising activist for people who have experienced abuse within a Christian environment.

After growing up in a fundamentalist cult for 23 years and experiencing childhood domestic violence, Emily began her journey to recovery in 2015 and eventually found Jesus to be her ultimate healer. She soon turned her passion for writing into a blog and her story has since been featured on several media outlets including NPR.

She married her best friend, Joshua, in 2020 and together they are passionate about educating on the realities of trauma survival and recovery, as well as supporting survivors they meet through their online community.

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