“In the early days our party line was ‘Homeschooling is perfect. No regulation needed.’ This line of argumentation was good and helpful during our infancy. We needed to sweep internal problems under the rug so we could focus on external threats.”
~ Thomas Umstattd Jr.
Guys, I have been handling all this pretty well up to this point… but this Thomas Umstattd Jr. article has me just… enraged. I can’t take it. To actually admit that the movement was more important than reporting abuse…I mean, I knew it, but to have the huevos to actually say it is unspeakable. It’s not appalling. It’s worse than that. Words, they fail me. I want to write this as an open letter, but I don’t even know how to get it to them.
I want them to look me in the eye, and tell me face-to-face that their movement was more important than my life.
To act like “sure there were problems but we had to get the movement all good, now that we’re solid we can totally fix those” glosses over a couple of tiny details. That was twenty years ago–the time to fix those problems has long passed. The children are grown. There’s no going back.
That was my childhood. I will never get another one.
Now to hear it was all just a charade to shore up a movement…that nobody really believed in patriarchy, they just let a few wackos spout that to their kids because Homeschooling needed to be established! …I would compare it to a slap in the face, but see, a slap in the face was one of the nicest things that ever happened to me as a child.
I never knew anything but patriarchy. I stayed up at night crying and begging god for forgiveness and to please not kill me for the sin of causing men to stumble. In kindergarten.
There is permanent scarring in my brain from living in constant fear. There is permanent scarring in my abdomen. I will never be ok. I will never have a prom. I will never have a first kiss. I will never get to be a child. To learn that it was all just a political operation has stripped what was left of the hellish nightmare I lived in to fake walls, like a movie set, pushed down to reveal that everyone knew but me. I was only something they used.
All the pain and tears and terror and guilt and depression and harm and hate and other agony?
Just a little thing they used to get their political way.
I was a little child. An innocent little child. I could have been happy. There was no reason I shouldn’t have been. There never was any angry god demanding submission. There was never any devil trying to possess me.
These tools were given to narcissistic people with the capacity for evil in order to get them drunk with power; once they were hooked they were told the only way to maintain their power was to support the movement. They would protest anything, make all the calls, show up to state capitols in droves just to keep their precious fix.
At least crack dealers don’t require child abuse as payment.
I don’t know how to express the rage I’m feeling right now. I was used. My nightmare was all just a game to them. And now the patriarchs go on the radio and laugh about it. Because it’s funny. Because me, little four-year-old me, huddled under a blanket in the dark, terrified and hurt and bleeding and sore and begging god to forgive me for things other people had done, is funny to them.
I’m out of words.
I am so sorry. But they don’t care. All they care about is POWER, POWER, POWER. If children have to live in sexual abuse, like myself, be beaten, and trained to hate themselves, so be it. Man rules, women and children submit. It was pure consistent misery.
Not surprised at all. America was founded by people who wanted to be accountable to no one. So of course that your life is less important than escape from accountability.
Wow, thank you for your powerful post, and for sharing that article. You’re right, it is seriously messed-up. That guy doesn’t just say it was okay that some kids got harmed by abusive homeschooling parents, he also says the kids who grew up and are speaking out now are the biggest threat to homeschooling right now, because they are causing the government to look closer at the movement and start to consider some regulation. And he says that people like him have been “marginalizing” abusive homeschoolers, by which I guess he means that they’ve been saying, “Oh, it’s just a few bad apples,” over and over again, and they need to do a better job. Talk about locking the door after the horse is gone! I think he makes the case for more government regulation right there in a nutshell: If he and the guys like him had been there to protect the kids the government trusted at home alone with their parents in the first place, there wouldn’t be a problem, now would there? Guy sounds like my 15-year old, when he says, “Mom, just TRUST me, I WILL do better this time,” and I always say, “Trust has to be earned.”
As an alum of Homeschooling, and a currently homeschooling dad, I know what it was like being homeschooled in the ’90s. I was fortunate not to live in a patriarchal home, but I saw many that did, and listened to several of the leaders of that movement speak. I am truly sorry for the loss of your childhood and the abuse that you sustained. The patriarchal movement should have been uprooted a generation ago, and has left scars on the homeschool community at large that will never fade away. I thank God that our generation, as we start schooling our children, is taking a significantly different tack on what it means to homeschool. However, we can’t undo what our parents did, we have to play the hand dealt, (mostly by them), to us. I am a strong advocate of the establishment of a non governmental consortium that can provide accountability within the homeschool community, and advocacy for those who can’t speak for themselves. Thank you, HA, for holding the community accountable. You are not the enemy, you are our safety line.
As it was to the mass graves in the GULAG and the Killing Fields of Cambodia.
This movement is one step away from heavy-duty Marxspeak:
“Don’t Ask POLITICAL Questions, Comrade.
Ees POLITICAL Matter.”
I’m so sorry.
No, you can’t get your childhood back.
And yeah, that stuff happened to more kids than anyone wants to know about.
And I’m so sorry it happened to you. I’ve got one in college now, and two still at home, and we play. We have fun. We work stinkin’ hard. We do hard things, and I’m their parent, not their friend, but reading everything and learning and applying and being in relationship with the Father so they (hopefully) see Him in me…We also hurt each other – and then we apologize and try to do better. Somehow, we need to stop trying to project the image of perfection and realizing that there’s only room for One on the throne. And when we know Him, we realize how pathetic we really are, and yet how loved we are as well – and we stop trying so hard to look perfect to the world, and just try to be in relationship with Him and with others.
I’m so sorry for what happened to you at home. I know Him, though, and I know that He means to use it for good – and I’m thinking also that you probably already know that, too.
Prayers for you,
And one more thing, because I also believe God usually uses people to teach those who are fools (myself included – we all have areas of weakness) … I would encourage you to confront your parents when you are strong enough to do so, or if you have, encourage others to do likewise. As long as people ignore sin and keep it in the dark, these things will continue. And they shouldn’t. Because home schooling can be awesome. It SHOULD be awesome.
For all kids.
“These tools were given to narcissistic people with the capacity for evil in order to get them drunk with power; once they were hooked they were told the only way to maintain their power was to support the movement. They would protest anything, make all the calls, show up to state capitols in droves just to keep their precious fix.”
I’ve never thought about it this way. I think you have a point.
Amen. I was right there too, my friend. The scars don’t heal. I now homeschool my own, but god damn I do things differently. I don’t really think government reform is the answer. I advocate peaceful parenting and negotiating with kids and earning their trust. I want to be “the mom they would choose if they had they had the choice.”…because they don’t, and neither did I.