Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Samuel

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Samuel was born into a religious organisation, which he describes as a cult, that subjected him to sexual, physical and mental abuse.

He says the organisation focused selectively on parts of the Bible concerning discipline and, in his opinion, took this to the extreme. He describes life as ‘harsh’ for him and the other children in the religious group.

Punishments were frequent and extreme, with severe beatings and violence. They were delivered by Samuel’s parents, and anyone else in a position of leadership.

He feels there was an underlying sexual element to everything the elders in the group did. The elders would beat children with canes, and sometimes rape them.

When he was a teenager, Samuel was made to live away from his parents in quarters with single men. He says the organisation was keen to recruit people who were marginalised in society.

One Saturday night, some new recruits had been brought back to stay overnight in the house where Samuel was living. Many of them were ‘straight off the street’.

He recalls that he woke up to find one recruit touching him under his quilt. He did not know what to do and was terrified. He got back to sleep but was woken again by the same man. He pushed the hand away and summoned the courage to run out of the house.

Samuel ran to his parents’ house, told them what had happened, and they informed the more senior members of the organisation.

Samuel wanted to call the police, but it was decided by the organisation that ‘we should forgive’ the recruit. They allowed him to leave, and nothing more was said or done.

Samuel says his sister was abused by one of the elders of the group, who was later sent to prison for the abuse. But he believes this person is now back with the organisation, where he lives with his own children and other families.

Years later, Samuel reported the abuse in the organisation to his local police.

Because of jurisdictional issues, the investigation was passed on to another police force, who he believes mishandled the case.

He thinks there are further allegations of widespread child sexual abuse in this organisation but neither the police nor the local authority is dealing with this appropriately. He continues to push for action.

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