In 1987 my parents had been in a cult called "the Twelve Tribes" for two years. My mom gave birth to me without the assistance of any doctors, anesthetics, nurses, or hospital beds. It is forbidden to go to hospitals or have a normal life in our cult. Yoneq, our leader, had made these things forbidden to all members so that they would have no contact with the outside world. That ensured the cult leader there would be no interference with his brainwashing process. It took my mom five long, painful days to give birth to me because of cult law.
A cult is a group that has a leader(s) that has almost complete control over all their members. The group usually does strange rituals or worships strange things. Some groups may sacrifice women, sheep, or kids as a part of their cultic way of life.
As time passed I was growing up with weird rituals and the teachings of our leader, Yoneq. I remember having to go to a ritual every Saturday night called "the Breaking of the Bread." All the kids would be read a story from the Bible and then sent to bed with the night watchmen. The adults would all go into one room of the house to eat and drink the blood and body of Christ. They did this to pay their respects to Yahshua and remember the sacrifices He made for them.
My parents began to teach me what they had been taught by the cult, all the sick ritualistic habits of everyday cult life. When the horn blew we had to drop what we were doing and run into the desert where we would be safe from the Satan worshipers. They would teach us how to keep from committing sins. Sins were being unsubmissive or being too provocative. Teaching us these lessons was so that when the time came I would be able to jump up, like everyone else, and fly with Yahshua without being weighed down by my sins. I was taught that the outside world was evil and filled with Satan worshipers. I was taught that my purpose in life was to wash men's clothes, get married, and have kids. I was to always to obey the three authority figures in my life: my husband/father, Yahshua, and Yoneq, the cult's leader, who was God's messenger. From an early age I understood, because of the many beatings I endured, that men were honored and women should be obedient in whatever way they were asked to be. Understanding this made me a very submissive and trusting girl. I questioned very little authority appointed to me.
As I got older, my parents no longer took care of me as much. I began to be left in the care of various cult members. Most kids began to get handed over to others around age 9 so that everyone could help with the brainwashing process. One day my sister and I were left in the care of a man named Aquilla, (Ricky Kendricks ) and his wife Prisca. They had two daughters and a son. We were all about 6 or 7 at the time.
The day began like any other normal Sunday in the cult. Everyone slept in on that day because that was the day God rested after creating the earth. My sister, a few other kids, and I were dropped off in Aquilla's room for the day so that our parents could have their family night, otherwise known as some alone time for adults. We began the afternoon by taking a stroll around a city park in St. Joseph, Missouri. It was a perfect sunny, warm day. Everyone was in the park enjoying nature, even a group of exotic dancers. They were practicing a routine in a secluded part of the park. Skin attracts a lot of attention, and of course Aquilla lead our whole group straight over to the dancers. We were all very young and the show of flesh was very inappropriate for us. After an hour of gawking at the spectacle, we all finally made our way back to the houses. Once inside the house the children were made to feel guilty about watching the satanic skin fest; as if the kids had a choice in the matter. We were told that we would receive punishment for our sins.
My sister, his daughter, and I were escorted to Aquilla's room. We were told to take off all our clothes, even our underwear. Aquilla got an oiled bamboo rod and then he started to touch our butts with his hands. All three of us thought that there was nothing wrong with this because we were always getting punished. Even though no one had touched us in this manner we thought of punishment as a normal thing.
Although we didn't like what was happening, we had no idea that we were experiencing sexual abuse. He began to spank us with the rod leaving big welts on our bottoms and thighs. We cried, but we were used to this kind of torture. This was the way of the cult. The children of the cult must have been beaten at least once everyday in a similar fashion for anything an adult thought was bad. After the welting, Aquilla (Ricky Kendricks) proceeded to use the rod to violate our bodies in the worst way imaginable. I remember feeling weird and being in a lot of pain. The pain was from the beating, the guilt, and the 7-inch rod that was inserted into my private parts. After he was done he told us all a phrase that I will never forget, "Now we can be FRIENDS." I never told my parents about this event until years later when we had escaped the cult. When it happened I said nothing because it wasn't necessarily unusual for me to get punished. I was worried that they would be upset at Aquilla, that would lead to me getting further punishment from him.
This sort of abuse happened twenty-four, seven in "The Twelve Tribes." Many more stories of physical, sexual, and mental abuse were reported to my family after we left the cult. A sexual abuse case is a common occurrence in some cults because of the people that are in it. Many cults are set up so that women are not equal. This way men can demand to get laid and it happens.
My family finally left the cult in 1996, after many more disturbing events that have scarred me for life. It has taken many therapy sessions and life lessons to get to where I can write about my experiences in this way. I have even begun to accept that I was sexually abused! I now accept my situation and I am facing problems with my sexual and authoritarian relationships. I am beginning to understand why I cannot have healthy relationships or why I tend to use sex as an escape when I'm feeling depressed.. This also means that I understand why I clash with every person who has authority over me. The reason is, I am still fighting Aquilla subconsciously. This experience has affected me in many areas and the most severe of those areas is school. I moved from middle school to home school because everyone in my school was calling me a slut, horror, and a ho. I wasn't even sexually active yet, but they called me these names because I subconsciously carried myself in a sexually inviting manner. My therapists have explained that this manner in which I carry myself is a result of being abused and needing to fight back. This and many other experiences brought my self-esteem down. They made me depressed which in turn led me to sex. So, over time, I have learned to have high self esteem instead of judging myself as other people perceive me. Slowly I am mending my relationship problems. I still have years of work ahead of me.
Most cults prey on women or men with low esteem because they are the most impressionate. These are people who are always searching for someone else to provide a remedy for them. People with high esteem do not wait for others to tell them what works, they look inside themselves for the answers, they believe in themselves. To avoid getting trapped in a cult women should work on having high self esteem. This way when cult recruiters try to approach you on the street you will have a good sense of what you really need and what is good for you. If women have high esteem they will avoid cults that prey on victims with low self esteem.