Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 7 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Girls Taken From Polygamist Ranch: Kidnap or Rescue?

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   7 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mary Shaw
Become a Fan
  (20 fans)
In recent days, law enforcement agents have raided a compound belonging to the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) -- Warren Jeffs' operation -- and removed nearly 200 girls and women from the premises.

I was discussing it with a neighbor, who told me that this amounted to kidnapping. "These girls were forcibly removed from their homes," he explained. "The girls had done nothing wrong, yet they must feel like they're being punished -- being ripped from their homes, from their families."

Well, that's one way of looking at it, but a very simplistic one. The situation inside the compound was anything but simplistic, as chronicled in the memoirs of a few rare escapees.

In normal society, when it is discovered that a child is being abused at the hands of her parents, the authorities intervene, if the child is lucky, and the child is removed from the abusive environment.

The recent activity at the FLDS compound is no different. The authorities simply removed those girls and women from an abusive environment.

Some are probably too young to realize that they are being rescued, and all must be very frightened by the abrupt change of course that their lives have taken. But such is probably the case for just about anyone who is rescued from a dangerous home life.

While I don't personally have a problem with polygamy, if it's between consenting adults, girls who are raised in the FLDS are not willing participants. They are forced, when very young, to marry whomever the church leaders deem appropriate.

Imagine being a young girl forced to marry a man old enough to be your father -- or perhaps even old enough to be your grandfather. You are treated like breeding stock. Your purpose in life is to have lots of children and to obey your husband. Those are your keys to heaven. That is how you are measured.

You have no control over your own life, your own body, or your own children. All the decisions are made by your husband and by the church leaders on behalf of "God".

You are powerless. You have to ask permission to make even the smallest of decisions.

The only decision you can make, the only power you can gain, is to win your husband's favor through sex and thereby perhaps have some minimal influence on things. And, of course, this leads to backstabbing and rivalry amongst wives.

And then there is the abuse by husbands, other wives, and the community.

No one will help you. No one will listen.

Imagine the effects that kind of life must have on a girl's self-esteem.

These girls are prisoners. They are trapped in this cult with no way out. They are, essentially, slaves.

They are brainwashed and told that the outside world is "evil", so that they won't dare try to escape. Besides, to reject or even question these practices, they are told, is to defy the very word of God. Do so and you're hellbound.

It is hard to believe that this is happening in the 21st century, but then I live near Pennsylvania's Amish country. But at least Amish children are given a choice.

The girls and women of the FLDS have no choice. All they have is their cruel duty.

If I am ever treated that way at home, would someone please "kidnap" me?
Rate It | View Ratings

Mary Shaw Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

No Excuse for Racial Profiling

No, Dan, America is Not a Christian Nation

They Still Cling to Guns and Religion

Racism Then and Now

Tea Party Talking Points, Translated

The Myth of the Christian Right

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend