*trigger warning for sexual violence

The first time I heard the story I was 5, I was getting ready for bed in Sapporo Japan. I had been separated from my parents and lived with my group of about 5 children in an upper bedroom in the commune. I am putting on my socks one night when my teacher walks in, holding up a red book with in gold letters on the front.
“Look what we got!The faster you get in bed the more I can read to you”. …

She was breathtaking

A white pantsuit, blonde hair, red lipstick, her mouth singing along to Feliz Navidad, the song I was dancing to. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and missed my cue to go to the left. One of the other dancers bumped into me “move over ” I rushed over to my new spot and lifted my skirt in time with the beat, but I was watching her. Her white suit had gold buttons on it and her shoulders pointed far out to the side. She was with a friend who was equally beautiful, with wild curly…

San Diego commune, 2006

“Angel help me, Michale is hitting on me and I really don’t want to have sex with him! I know he’s going to ask me, but I only want to have sex with Nick”

It’s my friend Nina, it’s 6 pm and we have spent the day touring wineries with three siblings visiting from a commune in Italy, one woman and her two brothers, one of which was Michale.

“Okay, is nick coming over tonight?”

“Yes, I told him what’s happening but he won’t be here till 9!”

She is frantic and rightfully so. She had…

The method itself is simple. The difficulty is in the application.

It’s a 3 step approach which goes:

  1. Ask
  2. Observe
  3. Decide.

This is the method I used to walk myself through the chaos of unconsciousness that was my mind.

I had never been allowed to think for myself, and like any child raised in an abusive household I believed whatever I needed to believe to avoid punishment.

This lead me to believing heaven was in the moon, Noah’s three sons were all different races, the end of the world was here, and reading children sex cartoons at 5 was normal.

It’s my birthday today, I am turning 10! Two numbers instead of one, finally! Since there are 100 people in the home we usually celebrate with our signs. There is a celebration every month for all the Capricorns, or all the Aries and we’ve already celebrated all the Gemini’s but, since this is a special birthday I’ve been getting gifts! My mom got special permission to take me out of my class and we went on a walk to a store where she bought me ice-cream! …

San Diego, 2005

“I need to talk to you.”

The words struck fear into my heart. That phrase always preceded punishment but I didn’t know (as usual) what I had done wrong.

It didn’t help that the woman saying the words was Maggie, the wife of the leader of the commune. But not any leader, the main leader, of the main commune in our trio of homes. She carried her most recent child on her hip as she strode away, assuming the severity of her tone would make me follow her.

It did, I stopped mid sweep of the pantry…

“I’m saying, when men put so much expectation and emotional responsibility on women to act a certain way, it’s unfair. Especially in the work place,”

I was in the middle of a heated discussion with a male acquaintance who had said he was going to write a book. The book would be for women in leadership rolls at work. It would teach them, he said, to control their feminine wiles, then use them to entice the men at work to work harder.

His idea was that if women are going be in the work place, they should be inspiring men…

San Diego, 2005.


The word burst on screen, shouted by a chorus of children voices. It followed the Jingle of “In the Family we…” Each consecutive dot showing up on screen to the tone of a countdown, then a word appeared of something we did in The Family.

The Children of God has changed it’s name many times. It’s re-brand to “The Family” was initiated after the name The Children of God became associated with pedophilia and prostitution. They figured a simple rebrand ought to fix the PR problem.

Once leadership decided children would be their new focus, they…

Osaka, 1997

It’s a hot and humid day. They have sent me to pass out posters and beg for money again.

The process is always the same, every weekend they pick the most manageable kids and relegate us to “witnessing teams”. The criteria for being on these teams is very low, it requires not running away.

Being 12 years old and a rigid rule follower, I have no plans to run away. I am on a witnessing team comprising of 6 people. Besides me there is Gracia, a single mom and the adult in charge. …

*Trigger warning for abuse survivors

Circa: 1991.

I am 6 yrs old and have spent all day working on my costume. We are having a costume party tonight and we can be any character we want, so I chose to be the Holy Spirit. I'm told there is a Trinity of Jesus, his dad God, and his mom, the Holy spirit. The Holy spirit is the only girl so I’ve decided to be her. Her costume is three paper hearts. She has a heart on each nipple and one between her legs.

I’ve seen a lot of drawings of her…

Angel DeSantis

I grew up in an apocalyptic cult. I tell those stories.

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