“In this assignment, let’s write a letter to our defendant/s. There may be one. There may be many. The Defendants are the people who should stand trial for hurting us as children. Write this letter in the voice of you as a child, saying what you want to say to them now.” The Artist’s Way
Dear Abusers in Sam Fife’s Move of God Cult:
I wish you cared about how much you hurt me. Sometimes I sit in contemplation trying to bring out understanding of how you people can be so wicked, sadistic and cold.
Why don’t you think you did anything wrong? Do you know you were wrong and you’re too scared to admit the truth? Why? You don’t want to be judged? But you deserve to be judged.
What do you think your God’s final ruling will be when you stand in front of him? I am confused sometimes when you say “what is done to the least of us you do to God.” Why do you beat God? Why do you molest him? Why do you tell him that he is nothing but sin? Why do you say he is worthless? Why do you withhold his meals to make him comply? Do you think God will love you for what you do to him?
Maybe I’m not the least among you just because I’m a kid. What does the least among you mean to you?
I never trust you to keep me safe because I am never safe. My heart beats really hard when I’m scared of getting in trouble. Sometimes I think I’m floating halfway in the air and halfway in my body.
Mom, sometimes I look at you, and I think you are pretty. But sometimes you feel scary. I wish I could tell you that I only see demons in mean people. It’s in their eyes. Do you know that’s where evil can never hide, Mama? That’s why evil people wear sunglasses a lot, unless they have eye problems, maybe.
Do days feel this long to all the people in the world? They feel like forever to me. Mom, and how come we never get to talk to our Dad? Why do you hate him so much? Does he really not want us like you say? And please don’t marry Leis off to that man from India. He smells weird and then I’ll be all alone and you will make ME do all the cleaning in the cabin.
Mom, Brother Ray did a lot of dirty things to my body when we were living in the Tabernacle. And I am more than a sinner now. I can never tell you because then you will hate me for being a whore of Babylon. I didn’t know that little kids could be whores, but maybe I am what everyone says girls are.
I want to tell you all, how long this will follow me. It will tear apart my teenage years, leaving me void of an identity. It will send me to jail. It will make me choose boyfriends who abuse me. It will take all of my trust. I will trust the wrong people so many times I will stop trusting anyone at all. I will have months of not leaving the house. I will fail my children. I will have night terrors. I will have flashbacks of your torture. I will meet others like me, and I will despise your existence more. I will attack my own body with food and cigarettes.
I will dig my way out of your rubble. And I will find the real me. I will cease continuing your abuse by abusing myself. You will stop owning me. And then I will find you. I will spend lifetimes following you, haunting you, and I will tell all of your secrets. I will destroy your core and rip open your lies. I will survive.
I think you hate me because you can’t break me.
I have more to say, and I will keep writing you letters. And you will listen. Maybe we should tie you all to chairs, beating the truth out of you like you tried to beat fake demons out of us kids. Isn’t that what the Bible says? An eye for an eye?
Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and other publications. She is a also a poet and hostess of the podcast Survivor Voices Show.