A woman who escaped from an infamous sex cult as a teenager has made some audacious revelations about the sect to help encourage other victims to come forward.
Dawn Watson, from the United States, grew up in the notorious and international sect, The Children of God. During her time in the cult, she was taught how to have sex at a young age, forced to perform sex acts on ‘uncles’ and shown images of naked women nailed to crucifixes.
Determined to not live under these rules, Watson managed to escape from the place – now known as Family International, when she was 13. But her journey to recovery has been a long one, marked with painful memories that have taken far longer to heal.
Now 29, the young woman stated that “as others learned to brush their teeth as children, they learned to have sex. We learned that God is love and the way to express God’s love is through sexuality. I never knew anything different from that.
“I think that no one will truly understand, unless you have lived it, what abuse is. And abuse I say in all forms. Abused sexually, abused emotionally and abused spiritually.
“My alone time was something I cherished a lot. I think that was my escape.”
The Children of God began in 1968 and was founded by David Brandt Berg in Huntington, California. By 1972, there were 130 communities of full-time members scattered throughout the world – including Brazil where Watson was raised.
Purporting himself to be a man of God who wanted to start up a network of global communities of like-minded individuals, Berg had a troubled history.
Hollywood actors Rose McGowan and Joaquin Phoenix have both shared details of their own early childhood experiences in the sect.