In 2004, at 20 years old, I married Devlin, a leader of a cult. I had no idea the nightmare I would live through. It would be 17+ years before I would be free.
I lived like a slave. The cult taught that women should obey their husbands in ALL things and divorce would send us to hell. They controlled what we ate, what we wore, what we believed, required our money, and decided who we could associate with. It was a sin to put olive oil on a baked potato, a sin to snack, a sin to eat chocolate. Every aspect of life was scrutinized.
Devlin moved me and our three children to a shed in the woods where he kept us for 2-1/2 years before I was able to break free from his control. The shed had no water or electricity. My children and I bathed in the creek. We ate dandelions in the field when we ran out of food, as he would leave for 2 to 3 weeks at a time and leave us with little to no resources. We went to the bathroom in a five gallon bucket.
Yes it sounds insane… because it was insane.
I was only 88 pounds when I got free. The cult still functions. He still runs free.
I am trying to be free too, though. Trying to learn how to live in a world that was shut out for almost 2 decades. Trying to learn to live with PTSD. Trying to free my children’s minds. I wrote a book about our experiences called Prisoners in the Shed (by Bella Hope Shiloh). It was part of my healing process.
Freedom is not free. It always costs something. But I think its worth the effort.