Justice is No Lady: Chapter 3 ~ Company of the Faithful

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse. by Tess Willoughby At Regent University, I had lots of role models. Sweet-tempered women were submitting to their husbands, keeping their student apartments immaculate, and having babies right and left. I learned to buy wheat berries from the local co-op and grind them to bake bread. We were Stepford Wives, only hugely, proudly fertile. We grew herbs. We read books on natural childbirth. We prayed for God to make us more meek and submissive. And we prayed for our dear darling hubbies over at the Christian law school who were going to usher in a new American Revolution and turn this country around. “Shh! Quiet! … [Read more...]

10 things that happen when you leave the Quiverful/Patriarchal movement

by Ima Wakenow The following is a list of things that come to your awareness about the QF/P life once you are out of it for quite sometime.  This is just a partial list of realizations that most of the women who escaped have had in the years following their liberation. 1. You realize you weren’t the only one. This one is huge and that is why I list it first.  Inside the QF/P movement you are told you are wrong for having doubts.  Wrong for being disgruntled.  Wrong for having desires.  Eventually you find that you can not sustain a life of self sacrifice never attending to your own essential needs.  You may question everything you feel since you were told you can not trust your … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady: Chapter 2 ~ First Prison Break

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse. by Tess Willoughby 1993 was a rough year. It was the year that Nate was fired from his engineering job in Tazewell, Virginia, and first started thinking about studying the law. It was the year when we went to a conference and met a pastor who advocated corporal punishment for wives, and Nate took to his teachings like a duck to water. It was the year I had Jack, who was conceived a few months after Daniel’s birth. Most notably, 1993 marked my first attempt at a separation from Nate. Daniel had been born at home. Nate and I were part of the Christian separatist movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s, rooted in … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady: Chapter 1 ~ Twisted Communion

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse. by Tess Willoughby On my wedding day, I embraced a new religion.  I marched up the aisle on my father’s arm, in a white lace gown with monstrous leg-o-mutton sleeves—very fitting for a lamb going to the slaughter. No bride was ever more madly in love, or more giddily romantic, or more enraptured with her white church wedding.  It was my greatest accomplishment; it was my reward from God for being virtuous and pure. Saying vows that I wrote myself, I outdid every right-wing, anti-feminist bride on earth. I promised to obey and submit and never speak a word against my husband until either I was dead or he … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 6: Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit of Happiness.

by Kiery When we arrived, my boyfriend’s family and pastor took me in and became my adopted family. They ministered to me and loved me, and generally instilled the confidence in myself, in God, and in family that I had lost. When we announced the news of my engagement, my family started writing my pastor and generally trying to sabotage my wedding by not sending my dress or supporting me in any way. To give me my dress would the same as giving money to a homeless drunk in their eyes. My in-laws and my boyfriend paid for everything, and we used the church for free. It was a (perfect) small wedding. My grandparents came and I walked the aisle alone. I liked this because, it was me, making … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady ~ Prologue: Final Break

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse. by Tess Willoughby July 12, 2000.  I woke up with one thought in my head.  I am going to die. I don’t know where this conviction came from, unless it was the cracked ribs.  It hurt to move; it hurt to breathe.  I was also dizzy.  I had awakened dizzy for five months straight, ever since Maggie was born.  I never went anywhere without a cup of crushed ice to chew on.  This, too, had lasted for five months.  Maggie—exclusively breast-fed—looked puny and pallid. I knew Nate was going to kill me unless I did something to save myself.  I guess I should explain that Nate didn’t crack my ribs.  They had … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 5: Waking Up

by Kiery A failure, that’s what I was, a giant failure. I couldn’t be the daughter my parents wanted me to be. I had tasted freedom, and I felt like I deserved it. I couldn’t go back to being the second mom after being told I was an adult. Adults can’t take their children’s adulthood away, can they? The 6 months between the split and my 18th birthday were the darkest days of my life. I was horribly depressed, I hardly ate, I contemplated cutting and suicide on more than one occasion. Honestly, if it weren’t for the friends I had made before and my boyfriend’s pastor stepping up and reaching me when I cried for help, I don’t know where I would be. I was mad at God, mad at my … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 4: Growing Up

by Kiery The thing about training is that eventually, you grow up and exercise what you were taught. I was taught to think for myself, to stand up regardless of pressure, and in the end, that’s what I did. The last half of my 16th year my parents spent drilling into me that I was a capable adult and ready for marriage. I went to visit my boyfriend after christmas and I think my parents fully expected a proposal even though (despite me being 16) we’d only been together since September. I was nervous, naturally. A hasty marriage was being pushed by my family  while his were much less hurried. I was scared, because at 16, I interpreted this as there being something wrong...maybe they … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 3: Critical Thinking

by Kiery Many people tell me I’m brave, they can’t believe how strong I am. Ten years of playing “mommy 2” isn’t overly common in the outside world. People at church would often tell me how lucky my parents were to have me and say “I bet you help out a lot, huh?” and I would nod and say “yes” while scanning the room to keep tabs on my siblings. “You guys are so blessed!” They would exclaim to my parents, “I don’t know how you do it.” My parents would nod in agreement while other families noted how well behaved we were. It seemed people either wanted to have our faith or detested us. They would aspire to become like my family, or think we were crazy lunatics. … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 2: Maintaining Appearances

by Kiery In time, I would begin to envision myself as a fair rose hidden inside metal armor. Afraid to grow, afraid to feel, staying inside a metal cage meant to protect. As far as appearances went though, you’d never know I felt that way. I don’t think my own family knew how I felt, when it comes down to it. Appearances were very important - we always had to look perfect, the house had to be spotless, when we were moving we had to be all happy about it (even if we weren’t), that way people wouldn’t think there was something wrong. The worst thing that could happen would be for someone to wonder if there was something wrong/ someone wasn’t “happy”. I joined a speech club … [Read more...]


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