I Left the Amish 13 Years ago. I Self Published my Memoir and I am in the Last Year of Nursing School. AMA!
I was not born Amish. I was held in captivity by mother and stepfather until I was almost 19 years old. My stepfather forced my family to dress and live like the Amish. My sister and I escaped our abusive home by agreeing to join the Amish. Three years after joining the Amish I became the maid for the bishop's family and for the next 6 months, I was sexually abused by the bishop. I went against Amish church customs and reported him to the police but he escaped into Canada. In 2017 ( 12 years later) the bishop was finally sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting almost all of his 11 children.
The bishop had brought his family back to the USA and in 2016 the three oldest daughters went to a neighbor lady for help. The neighbor called CPS and they called in law enforcement. The detective assigned to the case was reading my memoir at the time and when one of the children mentioned they had lived in Canada for awhile he figured out that the man he was investigating was the bishop from the book he was reading. I was put in contact with the children and their social worker. Eventually raising awareness did make a difference. The Social worker told me that my memoir helped her understand how to communicate with the children and gave her insight into Amish beliefs. The children told me that they were wavering on prosecuting their dad until they discovered my memoir. Sadly, our entire church had known what kind of man the bishop was but did not report him to the police. Going to the police is severely frowned upon among the Amish.
I wrote my memoir Tears of the Silenced (self published) to raise awareness about the need to report suspected child abuse and the difficulties I faced when reporting the Amish bishop. In the three years since I published Tears of the Silenced I have received emails from all over the world ( England, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Denmark and Holland). Most are from child abuse and sexual assault survivors and many grew up in very strict Christian churches. They are from both men and women and each story is heartbreaking. I try to answer each email and offer what comfort or help that I can. Most of them tell me I am the first person they have ever told their stories to.
I hope to encourage all abuse survivors to speak out and tell their stories. It is very painful to do so but it can raise awareness and possibly save others from being abused by the abuser(s). There is much awareness needed about sexual abuse in very conservative churches. Many victims are too scared to come forward because they fear being ostracised from the church. Also, child abuse is an issue that never gets enough attention. Somehow we need to encourage the general public to report suspected cases of child abuse. After I left the Amish many people from the town where I lived as a child apologized for not helping my sister and me. They told me that they knew we were being abused and wanted to call CPS many times but our religious garb threw them off and they did not know what to do.
I had a 2nd or 3rd-grade education when I left the Amish. Today, 13 years later, I am in the last year of nursing school and an author. (My memoir is self published but has sold approx 100,000 ebooks, has 2089 reviews and has been on the Amazon Kindle Store Top 100 list three times. ) I want to encourage all abuse victims to follow their dreams, do not let allow your abuser win. What they did to you was not your fault! I recently started a new subreddit r/BreakTheSilence for abuse survivors to tell their stories and support each other.
My Amazon Author Page has pictures of me when I was 16 years old and still at home with my mother and stepfather. These pictures were taken so that social services would not come out and check up on us. My mother told them it was against our religion to have government officials in our house. They did not question her and took the pictures instead. Note how my stepfather is holding onto our arms in the third picture.
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