Daughter recalls Exclusive Brethren father beating her brother and explains her decision to forgive

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LadyKiwi
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:16 am

Daughter recalls Exclusive Brethren father beating her brother and explains her decision to forgive

Post by LadyKiwi » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:06 am

Daughter recalls Exclusive Brethren father beating her brother and explains her decision to forgive
Sam Kilmister
15:03, Nov 21 2018

She would count how many times her Exclusive Brethren father hit her brother and hide away from Dad's prying eyes as he watched her get dressed.

But despite years of torment, she loves her father.

Fifteen years on, Amy* describes the fear and confusion of growing up under the same roof as her father, who beat, raped and abused her younger brother, and raped her mother.

The man, who is connected to the secretive Exclusive Brethren church, was sentenced last month in the Palmerston North District Court to 18 years behind bars. He still denies sexually abusing his son.

All members of the family have name suppression to ensure the victims cannot be identified.

Amy said her father constantly dished out punishment beyond what was reasonable, but she never knew of the sexual assaults, which began in the bathroom when her brother was younger than 5.

He would be taken into the shower and made to touch his father inappropriately. It soon escalated into rape, and her brother was made to perform other painful sex acts.

As a child, Amy's mother would often crawl into her bed late at night, sobbing, after her father raped her. He was jailed for that offence too.

Although the sexual assaults on her brother were well hidden, she recalls sitting in their small, three-bedroom home as a child, cringing whenever her father struck his son.

"It was a small house. During the court trial the defence tried to play out the house was big, but it wasn't. You could hear everything.

"I don't remember ever being assaulted, physically or sexually. But he used to watch me get dressed. I would shut my door, put my drawers across, shut my curtains, shut my windows, just to get dressed."

The attacks became taboo subjects and Amy's brother and mother never spoke of the sexual assaults inflicted upon them until they went to trial.

Amy was only 9 when she, her mother and four siblings, one of whom was conceived through marital rape, ran away from home and the church.

Six years later, she met with her father to forgive him.

"I chose to do that because, in all honesty, I can say I love my dad. Choosing to forgive him frees me to live my life.

"I hate what he did to our family... but he is my biological father and if that's all I can say I love him for then that's OK. I said: 'I chose to forgive you because I want to live my life'. It was hard, but it was the right thing to do."

Despite forgiving her father, she was startled he pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence through two trials.

Amy said the church was a cult, separating itself from people on the outside and punishing its members by excluding them.

She was taught as a child that God was a dictator and followers must abide by his rules.

She was heartbroken her two children would never meet their uncles and grandparents because of the "rules within the cult".

"I strongly believe our past doesn't shape us, our choices do. I know I have the choice to make a better life for me and my children."

* Amy is not the daughter's real name, which is protected for legal reasons.

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