What every Mom needs to know about the Texas polygamist case.
Today in Moms Are Talking About, we told you the latest in the Texas polygamy case. But every time we hear a news report about this situation, we can't help but worry for those kids. What kind of effect is being ripped from their mothers' arms having on them? Mom•Logic spoke with cult expert Rick Ross on how this this is likely to affect the children.
What's going through their minds
"Keep in mind that these children are being plunged into what they consider a different planet," says Ross, who often works with children who have escaped or been removed from cults or sects such as this one. "These kids are bewildered, confused, and fearful because they have never ventured out of the control of
"They've been taught since earliest childhood that the outside world is evil and dangerous. That's the conundrum. Everyone they know and love is in the compound. They often don't know one single person in the outside world. Yet, they're being horrifically abused within the compound, and have been for years. This is by far the most difficult case of kids being removed from a cult that I have ever seen, and I've been working in the field since 1982."
Their unique challenges
"These children have no meaningful ties to any outside community, have never gone to public school, and have no friends outside the group. The younger children, in my experience, will be easier to work with.
"The older kids will have more difficulties. After all, they are more intensely indoctrinated, and have been in the group for a longer period of time. The pull for those older kids to return to the group will be strong. There's an incredible loyalty there. Some of the kids I've counseled have gone back to the cult, because that's where the family members they loved and missed were."
What they've been through
Abuse for these kids often starts early, according to Ross. They aren't given toys. They're forced to work at age 5 or 6. Once they hit puberty, the abuse becomes even more acute.
"Girls are married or pregnant at 13 or 14. At this age, boys are often thrown out because the older men don't want competition. These young men are called "lost boys" because they often end up on the streets, sad casualties of this
What the mothers are thinking
The mothers in the group are abused as well. Ross says although this particular organization, FLDS, is almost a century old and has assets of over $200 million, the women have zero power.
"The women in particular have it very bad," he says. "They have so little room to have a life of their own. They can't choose how to dress, how to wear their hair. They aren't allowed to wear makeup or pants. They're like cloned prototypical personalities who live in fear of the men. This is beyond Stepford Wives."
The women are so brainwashed, he says, most of them even abandoned their own children. "139 mothers came out, presumably to be with their kids when authorities raided the compound.
But it was later believed they were just following orders from the men, making sure the kids didn't speak against the group to the authorities. When all the mothers were given the choice to go to a safehouse with their children or to go back to the compound, 133 women went back--only six stayed."
It's so hard to imagine how a mother could leave her own children. But then again, these mothers also allow their children to be sexually abused and married off at 13. "These women's priority is male authority," Ross concludes.
"I'm sure they love their children, but they are willing to cooperate with mandated sexual abuse of chlildren. They don't see it that way. It's likely that they themselves were child brides, their mothers were, as were their grandmothers. They see it as holy and sacred--but it's sexual abuse and exploitation,
What would you like to say to these polygamist Moms, given the opportunity?