Expert: Many women of polygamy brainwashed, abused

KTAR News, Phoenix/April 17, 2008

We've all seen the polygamist women taken from a Texas compound. Their words have been described as docile, submissive and frightening.

A cult expert says it's no secret why the women appear beaten down. It's because they are.

It's hard to believe that this goes on in modern day America.

"They've lived in relative isolation. There has not been any real threat to them" from law enforcement, says cult expert Rick Ross.

He says the threat from their husbands is very real. "The polygamist women endure horrific abuse - psychological abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse."

And polygamist women live with the threat that if they leave the life and their husband. They will be [condemned to an afterlife] suspended in darkness "alone for eternity. This is a horrible threat and many of them are terrified of that."

Ross says when they leave, "They can be declared an apostate, cut off from everyone and everything they know, all their family, all their friends."

And if they choose to leave polygamy, Ross says it can take years to deprogram them[selves] from the only life they've ever known.

"They know no other life. They're not like the typical cult member that had a history before being involved in the group."

Ross says there has been an unwritten law to leave polygamists alone. That's no longer the case. "With the increasing report of horrific child abuse that exists within some of these communities, the authorities finally took action."

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