Hope For A Better Tomorrow: Matthew Gorzik’s Story
Hello, my name is Matthew Gorzik.
I’m a 19 year old from Missouri, recently liberated from my parents and my homeschool. I was taught via the curriculum offered by Alpha Omega Academy, a YEC-oriented set of curricula which taught the wrong things and didn’t even teach them well. I learned that Pi = 3, that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that the *only* way fossils could possibly exist is if a great flood happened. It also tended to use History class as indoctrination, and tried to teach 9 and 10 year olds that they should only vote for Christians in elections because ‘otherwise, we’d have to live by Man’s law, and not God’s.’ All of this, of course, paled in comparison to the largest problem this caused.
I was completely isolated from civilization for most of my life, with the exception of the internet.
My parents were extremely sheltering, to the point that they demonized things like public school. Because of this, I only knew my family. I knew some of my extended family, but only got to see them on a monthly basis. Otherwise? I didn’t know a single person that I did not share a blood relation with.
And my family? They were not nice people.
My father was emotionally abusive, constantly reminding you that everything you had was his, that he could take it away at any time. He would threaten to kick me out of the house for speaking against him, and would openly say to my mother that I was lucky that he didn’t slap me into submission. My mother, of course, was a parent of the same vein. She would use my father as a mouthpiece when she didn’t want to get her own hands dirty, and would basically lie you into doing what she wanted. If the lies didn’t work, she would basically say “I’m the parent. I run barter town. You don’t get to question me, you get to do what I tell you to.” Failure to comply would result in having things taken away from you, or being slapped if you didn’t apologize for daring to question her authority.
I lived in the belief that this was normal.
I lived thinking it was normal to obey your parents without question. I lived thinking it was normal for someone of my age to not even be considered a person in their own home, thinking that it was normal for a parent to be nothing but a fear-monger to the child, demanding respect and complete obedience under threat of physical abuse or being kicked out. It drove me to a deep depression for a time, to the point that I considered myself completely without worth.
Then the internet found me, so to speak.
I had been online for a few years at this point. I had made friends – good friends. Friends that still stick with me to this day. They helped me realize that life wasn’t meant to be full of fear, and they helped me find a voice for myself. They helped me find my own personality – something that I would be completely lacking without their influence. I didn’t realize, though, the true extent to which they would help me. I found a forum for a site devoted to poking fun at the overtly religious and downright insane people of the internet. My boyfriend poked me into showing them some of my schoolwork, and telling them about my family.
They did not like what they heard.
My family situation, and their anger about it, escalated to the point that they banded together, raising $1,000 for a rescue operation. One of the members of that forum literally drove out to MO with a friend and picked me up in the morning without my parents even noticing until I called, I even got out with most of my belongings. We then drove for three days straight into Salem, OR.
Nowadays? I’m living with the family of the member that saved me. They have done more for me than anyone could possibly know, and they have been more of a family to me than my own. I’m going to a community college – trying to get my GED – and they’re doing everything they can to help me make up for lost time.
Where my life before was left empty — and I wondered if I would ever amount to anything more than just another person forgotten by time — my life is now filled with hope. Hope for a better tomorrow and, with the fact that the word is getting out about this kind of behaviour, hope that nobody will ever have to suffer my yesterday.