Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Conclusion
HA notes: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Mary” is a pseudonym. The following series is an original non-fiction story that spans 33 pages of single-spaced sentences. It will be divided into 10 parts. The story begins during the author’s early childhood and goes up to the present. At each stage the author writes according to the age she is at.
Trigger warnings: various parts of this story contain descriptions of graphic, often sadistic, physical abuse of children, apologisms for religious abuse, deprivation of food, as well as references to rape.
Conclusion: My Parents Were Not The “Fringe”
I am “Mary” and I would like to follow up my story with this.
Reading so many things and other peoples’ stories, I feel that there are some things I should make very clear for any homeschoolers or homeschool supporters as well as any skeptics who would otherwise want to discredit my story or claim that my parents were the “fringe lunatics.”
If you didn’t figure it out reading my story, I am the 2nd oldest of eight children and the oldest girl. I was 12 and 15 when my two youngest brothers were born and as a result, we have more of a mother/son relationship than a sister/brother relationship. They are the two still with my parents and have yet to be involved with the rest of us in the exposing of and healing from our past. All the rest of my siblings however, have all read my story and confirmed it with their memories and their own stories. That is six of us that all agree on what happened. It makes me angry that I even feel like I have to defend the accuracy of my story and that people would think that I would actually make this stuff up.
As for my parents, I can assure you that they were not the “fringe” in homeschooling. My dad has an amazing job and they are very well off financially. Dad served as the president of the home schooling organization in our state for quite a few years. They have volunteered at church since I was little, helped out in AWANA, taught Sunday school, kept the nursery, volunteered at other church events, helped organize and plan the homeschool conference in our state every year, volunteered in debate, teach Good News Clubs, host homeschool events in their home and generally keep their reputation about as squeaky clean as is possible.
Mom rarely took us out to the store or anywhere other then the random homeschool field trip during school hours, for fear that someone might notice something. If she did end up having too, we were required to stay in the van (which had heavily tinted windows) while she went inside alone. There were many times we were stuck in our brown van (I specify color to say that it soaked up heat like crazy) during the middle of the summer and we lived in a state that got well into the upper 90’s and lower 100’s. We were not allowed to open the windows because she didn’t want anyone in the parking lot to hear us.
At church we were the model family. My siblings and I lived in utter terror of what would happen to us if we dared misbehave or say anything that they deemed inappropriate while at church or anywhere else out. Nearly a weekly lecture that we received on the way to church was that anything that happened in our household was not to be talked about and was not anyone else’s business. On Sundays, when we had been made to stay up the entire night before, they would force us to drink coffee so that no one would notice how tired we were. Grandparents lived a state away and we only saw them a couple of times a year so they didn’t see us enough to really have to ability to notice anything. Also, we were all so ashamed of our punishments and what happened that it totally mortified us to think about admitting to our grandparents how “bad” we were and how we were punished.
As far as friends go, most of us didn’t have any. My sister “Abby” and I were really the only ones that did and one of them moved away when we were young and any interaction with the other one was very heavily monitored. She was welcome to come to our house some of the time but anytime we made plans to go to her house, mom would always figure out a way to cancel it without it looking too suspicious.
My parents did a masterful job of covering up and to this day are revered and treated as role models by church members that I grew up around. There have been a few people that have believed me and my siblings, but the vast majority of them are convinced that my siblings and I are making everything up to purposely ruin our parents’ lives and are convinced that all of us older ones are living in rebellion and have rejected God and everything else we have been taught. When I did report my parents to DSS last year, they did a masterful job of dragging my name through the mud and making the general reaction from others to be pitying my parents for having such an evil daughter. When two of my sisters and I met with the social worker about my parents, I gave them my story that you just read and “Abby” gave hers (which is just as horrible, only I think maybe a little worse because she tried to kill herself a few times and has fought two eating disorders).
I will never understand why they did not remove my brothers from the home.
In my opinion the system is very broken.
So here I sit. I have been blamed for our families’ problems, pretty much cut off from contact with my very beloved brothers because they are still with my parents. I am trying desperately to figure out how in the world to be a good mother to my own two precious treasures. I am dealing with major medical and emotional problems that are a direct result of the abuse I endured. And I am financially struggling because my husband has had major difficulty finding work and we have to pay for all the medical issues. And I am struggling with the constant fear that something might happen to my husband — making him unable to provide for our family and knowing that I could never do it as I have no degree (this is not a groundless fear as my husband has already had a ruptured disk in his back and still has major back issues and heart disease runs in his family).
This is why I shared my story with HA.
I want to support them and I want my voice heard.
I am so very tired of being the bad guy in my family’s sphere of influence. I know that may never change but at least others may believe me.
End of series.