Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Predators Prey

V.P. Weirwille was a predator. I never fully realized the impact of this until the other day when I received an e-mail from a former member of The Way whose friend had obviously been a victim of "the Doctor's" sexual abuse.

She had been a vivacious and totally committed believer. She sincerely followed VP's teachings and was a shining example to her brothers and sisters. She worshipped "The Doctor", lit up in his presence and enthusiastically obeyed everything he said.

Then, one day, everything changed. She announced to her spiritual family that she had to leave, giving no explanation. She and her husband met with VP and she couldn't even look him in the eye. Her light was gone. She gave no reason for her sudden escape - just that she had to go. VP told her to work on her marriage, just as he had told me to do. She left instead, never to be heard of again.

What happened? I can only extrapolate from what was said to me but I think I know. I remember being that intrepid, vivacious believer until The Doctor got his hands on me. Then he twisted my sincerity into slavery and forced me to do things to him I would never do, much less imagine. He locked me in his lockbox and I was helpless to escape.
This woman fled and it's haunted her ever since, ruined her life, I'd say. Now she is a recluse, with no connections to family or friends or her past.

It could all be in my imagination. But I know the signs. And the story awakened my memory to a darker time in my life when I had nowhere to turn. I was one of the fortunate ones. I escaped. Some were not so lucky. The Way is strewn with casualties of women who were prey to Wierwille, Martindale and other "men of God." Some killed themselves, some disappeared. There but for the grace of God, go I.

I was always taught that predators preyed on the weak. But after hearing this story, I realize that's not true. Men like Wierwille prey on the strong - on the most sincere and devoted of followers because these are the most easy to manipulate. We are the most vulnerable because we loved most freely. Yes, we were young and we were naive but that does not mean we were weak. One has to be strong to keep a lockbox, even when it becomes a prison.

This sad story reminded me of the evil of such men as Weirwille. I know of other believers who still don't believe him capable of such abuse. They don't believe him capable of rape or cold-hearted manipulation. VP will always be their "man of God." Let the detractors believe what they will. For myself, I know what I experienced and I know what is true.

Thankfully it is all in the past, but every so often, something happens that reminds me of what I lived through. Of being a victim. Then I must pick myself up out of the despair and anger and remind myself of my strength. I am not weak, I wasn't then either. A beautiful flower is only plucked in its prime. I and other survivors like me need remember that it was our beauty and vulnerability that caused us to be "picked." I am trying to recapture some of that beauty, allowing it to shine with the strength that underlies it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for speaking the truth
even though I know it hurts.

Billy said...

I have two thoughts on why you didn't realize the full impact before. One relates to your "Trauma and Recovery" blog post from earlier this year. Maybe your experiences are so "old hat" to you that you see the impact more when you hear an account of someone else's abuse experience with VPW.

But more importantly I think, you have done pretty well (by your own account) on your recovery. Here you hear from someone else who hasn't, for reasons we (or at least I) don't know, but which certainly have nothing to do with someone being a better person than the other.

It's kind of a catch-22 I guess. Only someone such as yourself who has had a degree of recovery can gather the strength to tell of your experience such as you have. Yet I think we all need to know that there are others who have had abuse experiences, in this case strikingly similar to yours, whose lives have been ruined, or at least who have not recovered at this point in time. Their story is part of your story, or is it the other way around, or both?

Carol V. Hall said...

My story is strikingly similar to yours, Kristen. I am presently writing about it, thanks to you and others who are outraged by what occurred in The Way. I have been devouring books on such abuses: Trauma and Recovery; Captive Minds, Captive Hearts; The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse; Take Back Your Life; and most recently, God's Brothel; which is an account of 18 women who escaped from polygamy. I was interested in this book because I think it would be powerful to put together a book such as this to further expose the evils in The Way, especially the sexual abuse. Thank you Kristen, for continuing to speak the realities of abuse so that others can be healed and come forward to speak their reality.

jeff said...

I am very thankful for you and the others who have had the strength and courage to share no matter the manner or medium Kristen!

I hope it lends courage and hope to others who have doubtlessly been quiet for perhaps decades.

As I fully consider the character and deception of predators such as Wierwille it is certainly no surprise that they still endeavor to keep those that are prey for the sake of sexual abuse or even just their money, under their cloak of deception through manipulating the victims' best instincts even.

While these turds doubtlessly talk badly about you behind your back in order to keep all their fish in the net I hope none of us who should know better ever let them do so publicly.