The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


Leave a comment

What Were You Wearing?

There are a few chapters in my book Fly, Fly Away that have been kicking my creative butt for far too long. Disseminating over 17 years of trauma to the mind, body, heart and spirit takes a lot of work to dig through. It is my intent to write my story as a novel, rather than a biography. Showing, rather than just telling draws on a completely different level of creativity. Here I share just a bit about a sexual assault in high-school and the big aha that came out of it.

In his supposed brilliance as a leader, the principal reported the incident to the local police, thinking that perhaps a legal threat would help me clean up my act and straighten my wayward ways. To my frightful demise, my parents were involved, they were the last people I wanted to have know about this.

A police officer, along with my parents, were called to the school after school hours. The uniformed officer met with my parents and I separate from Dan and his family. They had heard of Dan from his home precinct, but he was new to this part of the valley. The officer, my parents and I sat at a picnic table at the front of the main high-school building.

“I understand you had an altercation with a boy at school today,” he began as he pulled out his notebook, “Tell me, what were you wearing?”

“What was I wearing? What does that have to do with anything?” I blurted, shocked at the absurdity of his question.

“Well, you know that boys don’t act the way this young man did unless they feel provoked. We’ve found that when girls act or dress in a way that makes boys think they have permission that boys sometimes get over-excited. You must have done something to warrant his behavior. I’m asking you again, what were you wearing?”  

Now I finally got it! I finally understood what my father had said all those years ago about how girls wearing pants made boys think things. And I finally understood why in Girl’s Class they put so much emphasis on modesty, keeping our bodies covered, and not adorning ourselves. While it wasn’t said in so many words it became apparent that girls were held responsible for boy’s irresponsible behavior. My baby-blue long sleeved, modest neckline sweater with sweet little yellow and pink flowers was apparently too much for Dan to resist and he had to rip it off me. I knew I had done nothing to deserve what Dan had done to me. Why couldn’t this officer understand?

“Well, what were you wearing?”

“I was wearing my favorite sweater. It was light-blue with long sleeves and a high-neck and it had little flowers on it. It’s wasn’t even a tight sweater and now it’s ruined. I’m a nice girl, I promise.”

“Did you taunt him in some way, flirt with him or give me him a tease? You know how girls are.”

“No, I wouldn’t ever do that. I hate him. I hate his guts!”

 “Well, you must have done something to provoke this young man. I will meet with him next. You are free to go.”

What became really clear after looking back at this and other incidences of assault by boys at school, was the long-held belief that girls are the cause of boys sins. Is is such a long-held, unconscious belief that it goes all the way back to the story of Adam and Eve.

It is time for us as humanity to grow up, see the ridiculousness in the belief that women are the cause of the fall of men, and hold ourselves each accountable for our own actions, rather than placing blame elsewhere.

Until next time, Be Fearless & Free!

Victoria Reynolds Signature


Leave a comment

Laying On Of Hands

I’m still working on the final edits of my book Fly, Fly Away.  Every time I pick it up and start working on it I have to relive the memories that came with it.

Why am I writing this book?  The answer is two-fold. People ask me all the time what it was like growing up the way that I did.  This book goes into detail about life in the cult, how we lived, what we believe, and why we believed, and it shares the trauma to my mind, body, heart and spirit that resulted from it.  That’s the surface reason for writing my story.  The deeper and bigger purpose for it is to help others work through their own pain story.

We all have a pain story, it’s simply a matter of processing the story and how we use it to empower ourselves and others.

Here is today’s snippet:

As I grew, life become increasingly complicated and more complex, and I became more exposed to the reality of the way things were. I knew that men had the priesthood power to lay their hands on me to heal my sorrows and mend my wounds, but I had not concept of how to resolve how I felt when they hit me, hurt me and touched me. I had always been told that the only place I would be safe from the temptations of Satan was in the company of men with the priesthood. Yet the company of men became the least safe place for me. Men began to take notice of me, no longer in my own home but throughout the community as well. I had been told from a very young age that my body was a private temple, but it became apparent to me that not everyone understood or agreed with what that meant. The laying on of hands that men were endowed with as part of their priesthood rightfulness was intended to be used in performing miracles and bring healing to their families. For me it took on an entirely different meaning altogether.

Unfortunately, men in the community seemed to think that little girl’s were personal property and I was constantly having to protect myself from their wandering hands and eyes, not always successfully.  The end result was a my own life over death choice, a choice I made by running away from home.

When I left there was no help to turn to and no resources. I had no choice to figure it out on my own and self-therapy.  That self-therapy is now what I teach to others as I help them process their own pain story.

Now there are resources for those who leave and a new one just came into my awareness.  This new non-profit organization is the work-of heart of several young women who left polygamist cults like mine and are dedicated to helping others who are finding courage to leave or who have been exiled. Check it out at www.HopeAfterPolygamy.org.  I’m so proud of these young women and the work they are doing to make the transition as painless and powerful as possible.

Until next time, be Fearless and Free!

logo-signature

 


Leave a comment

The Difference between Spiritual Abuse and Religious Abuse

What is the difference between spiritual abuse and religious abuse?

Many people go through life believing that religion and spirituality are the same.  Religion has claimed ownership of the word “faith” as though it is synonymous with dogma.  In reality, religion and spirituality are two completely different experiences. They can, and do, exist without each other.  In this awareness we can recognize that spiritual abuse and religious abuse are separate experiences.

Religious abuse is attributed to abuse that affects individuals physically.  It is generally recognized as physical or sexual abuse that is justified by religious dogma or exercised by religious opportunists.  Religious abuse is connected to human rights abuses. It affects the physical reality of those who are abused as well as those who are perpetuating the abuse.  The physical and emotional trauma caused by religious abuse requires a lifetime of understanding, healing and acceptance.

Spiritual abuse is much more subtle and more difficult to detect than religious abuse.  Similar to emotional abuse, it leaves no physical scars, yet causes a lifetime of fear, depression, mistrust and lack of fulfillment.  Spiritual abuse is found within the religious and organizational beliefs, rather than physical actions.  Spiritual abuse prevents individuals from achieving a true connection to God and accessing genuine spirituality. Through the fear-based teachings of religion, many are unable to access their own true divine worth and potential.  Unlike religious abuse, which affects the physical experience of those affected by the abuse, spiritual abuse causes trauma to the soul.  It affects our life experience, as well as our perception of our eternal experience.  Unlike religious abuse, most individuals who are perpetuating spiritual abuse are completely unaware of the role that they are playing, because they themselves are affected by the abuse.

We cannot truly heal spiritual abuse and religious abuse with the same beliefs that abused us. Recovering from spiritual abuse requires that we first recognize its existence and where it stems from. Learning how to diagnose the fears that have controlled our lives and how to work through them, can be a long and painful process.  Yet that process is well worth the effort.  It requires that we recognize our fears, understand them, and learn to love them.  The process then becomes a tremendously rewarding and liberating experience.  It brings us to understand our true divine worth, our true connection to ourselves and a deeper knowing of Spirit. It brings an inner peace and joy that truly is heaven on earth.