A few years back there was an outcry in the British Homeschooling community over the possibility that the Pearls' might visit the U.K. and spread their abusive parenting practices. In response, Rebekah Pearl Anast wrote a form letter that she sent out to many bloggers saying how great her childhood was. This morning I started to moderate my blog and discovered I had been sent that same form letter.
I have several thoughts about this letter. One of the reasons that I feel comfortable in writing about Rebekah, who I believe was horribly abused as a child, is that she has put herself out as the defender of her parents. Here is a woman who has had options in life. At one point, she did get away from her family's control. So, I don't believe for an instance that she is unaware of how abusive her family is.
I will admit also that there are parts of her letter that strikes me as odd. She points out that Gabe Anast is her only lover. There is no reason for her to make such a statement in the letter. Nor does it add anything of value to her point. To be honest, I do not care how many sexual partners another person has had and unless, we are having a conversation about it, I don't want to know. That seems like very intimate information to give out to strangers.
Also, Rebekah claims to be the happiest person that she knows. Unless she is psychic there is no way that she can know who is happy or not. There is also the fact that as a child, she has been told to always be cheerful. How can we trust what she claims to feel when we know that she was whipped for not showing joy?(see To Train Up A Child) Her claims to be the happiest person that she knows is so extreme that I wonder if the opposite isn't true and she is trying desperately to cover up her unhappiness.
Another odd point in the letter is how Rebekah clearly contradicts herself. In one paragraph she writes that she was never spanked, but then she continues to describe her thankfulness that the rod was used against her. I was never injured in body or spirit by the training I received. I was never “struck” in anger. I did receive non-injurious spankings on my fully clothed backside with a willow switch when I had clearly transgressed a known “law” of the house. These spankings did not leave bruises or abrasions, or emotional distress. Notice the plural use of the word spanking. So, she did receive more then one spanking. Either she is a horrible liar or Rebekah has some weird definition of corporal punishment that the rest of us do not share.
Because of my childhood, I feel empathy for Rebekah. My own mother was mentally and emotionally abusive but she combined her cruelty with moments of kindness and generosity. I am certain that lots of abused children have a very confusing relationship with their parents. Parental cruelty is often sporadic and twisted in with claims of love and even attempts by the abusing parent to win their child's affections. Its not always easy admitting that you were an abused child. I know. I have been there.
But when my mother turned her abuse toward my children, I had to cut contact with her. Protecting my children was more important then my denials about my mother's actions. I include my own story to make a point. Rebekah Pearl Anast's childhood sounds like the religious version of my own. She probably has some of the same scars that I do.
On the slight chance that she ever reads this blog I would like to talk directly to her. Rebekah, your parents' advice is responsible for creating a adversarial relationship between parent and child that can lead to abuse. By defending them you are as culpable for their actions as they are. When innocent children are hurt, you need to stand up and admit that the myth that your family has tried to create is not true.
Rebekah, it doesn't matter what your parents tell you, or Gabe. You have to live with your own conscious. Every time a child is whipped or their spirit is broken, you are partially responsible because you have not spoken out but have tried to hide the truth. Anyone reading the first part of this series can tell that you had a rotten childhood. A woman as obviously intelligent as you can not be unaware that she had an abusive childhood. I had to stand up to my mother to protect innocent children, now you need to do the same thing. Grow a set of ovaries and be a woman.