A friend of mine recently had a phone conversation during which her mom confessed to struggling with how to deal with her coworkers. The gist of her words were “They are all your age. I don’t know how to motivate them to work because I beat you regularly to keep you motivated. We work in public and I can’t beat them like I did you.”
I will pause while you go vomit.
This mother was not speaking of beating her children like a southern grandpa speaks of “beating” his kids. There was no twinkle in her eye as she exaggerated the occasional spanking into “regular beatings.” No, this woman was deadly serious and completely not apologetic as she verbalized that she beat her children.
My friend went on to explain that every time they left the house her mother would say “Remember, we are a happy family.” and “You are not being abused.”
She remembers siting in church and listening to sermons that encouraged the beatings that she received. Her father was a pastor for a while. For a time they traveled the nation preaching about how to have a godly family. They home schooled. They made ALL of their food from scratch. ALL of it.
From the outside the looked like a family straight out of Little House on the Prairie.
On the inside, the children were beaten regularly. They were coached on what to say if social services appeared at the door. It is highly likely that the move from a somewhat “normal” life in Virginia to isolation on a farm in Michigan was to get away from suspicious grandparents.
My friend and her five siblings deal with the effects of their abuse every day. In comes out in choices that most of society does not understand. It comes out in poor health. It comes out fear of other Believers and a complete inability to set foot inside a church.
And it comes out in a superhuman form of inner strength.
As my friend and her siblings suffer, their mother has continued on with the “American dream.” College and a job in the field of her passion (American history, not sadistic torture), a large house, a new car. She continues the facade of being a “normal, healthy” church member. She was a complete martyr when her youngest daughter became pregnant before high school graduation – a deliberate attempt at emancipation and freedom from the abuse at home.
She will never be held accountable for her actions. Never.
The children are grown and gone. The physical evidence has long passed. No court would uphold any form of charges the children might bring.
There has been an outcry among home educators about the appearance of Homeschoolers Anonymous, Recovering Grace, Homeschooling’s Invisible Children, and other apparently anti-homeschooling blogs and webpages. The contributors have been labeled “bitter,” discounted as an annoying minority, and some have been completely tossed to the side since they admit to walking away from the faith in which they were raised.
The truth is that these webpages are the only recourse that these adult children have. They are the only way to bring to light the injustices of their childhood. They are the only way to warn the world of what may be behind the smiling faces of families that appear “normal.”
Maybe one day someone will be able to link the struggles that my friend, her siblings, and so many others suffer with the abuses of their childhoods. Maybe one day these parents will stand before an earthly judge and be held accountable for the hurt and suffering they caused. Maybe.
Until that day, the victims will continue to blow the whistle – because that is all they can do.
Before you start sending me hate mail, please wait until tomorrow’s post titled “Homeschooling is not the problem.”