I recently listened to the story of a woman who escaped a life in a fundamentalist religious cult. I am always drawn to those who were children in cults, as I find the most comradeship with their stories, often similar to mine.
She is standing at the podium, poised, articulate and dressed in a dark suit. She tells her story slowly, unfolding the pain of the cult survival which drives her passion to grow an organization supporting people just like her. She speaks of her struggles to adapt, the experiences which she will never forget and the scars it has left upon her family.
“My worst day as a free soul is far better than my best day in captivity.”
I have tears as she shares. I am her. She is me. We are the faces of random strangers we pass in the street. We know nothing of their lives, but they could be us. We grew up sequestered from life. Our normalcy was reversed as we learned to become accustomed to being hurt. We were refused a connection with our own authentic being and free will.
Yet, we have survived, and now I sit here so proud of who we have grown to be. I listen as she bravely talks about the work she and her partner have done in just a short fifteen months. They have helped eight cult survivors transition into a life they would otherwise be floundering inside of. Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau work on event fundraisers to garner funding to provide real-time support for cult survivors. I hear the echo of their voices’ repeated passion of being “ON THE GROUND“; understanding crisis, and what is truly needed.
“On the weekend, a couple of us will hop in the car and just drive, you know? They get to experience what it feels like to do what they want to do. They get to connect, and we laugh. We just talk about regular life. That’s how they want to be treated. Accepted. Just like they’re people, because they are.”
Eli Weiss [on supporting cult survivors]
I am watching from the wings as child cult survivors, now adults, are swiftly rising. They are creating storms with their voices and healing as they exhale. They are standing up for themselves. They are refusing to bend.
We must pay attention to what is happening right now within our communities. Every day, children wait for us to notice; for us to speak up. Every day another child wonders if there is someone out there waiting should they become brave enough to run.
Oh, yes, we are here waiting for you with open arms. It is the time of the Experiencer, and we will all rise together through support, open communication and sharing.
Click the logo below to visit Liberation Point and find out more about their organization.
Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.