Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Hephzibah House Abuse Story

On January 8, 2012, I wrote a blog post titled, Tim Dunkin's Hephzibah House Faux Pas, in response to a terrible article by Dunkin himself.  It was, and still is, one of the most read post on Incongruous Circumspection. 

In that post, you'll find links to other first-person survivors of the extreme HH abuse stories, as well as a robust conversation in the comments when one Lucinda, a staunch defender of HH, begins to attack those who are telling their stories.  

Today, one of the commenters posted the following anecdote, in response to Lucinda's claims that abuse simply did not happen at HH.  I have edited out some personal religious opinions for the purpose of this post, but feel free to read the comment in it's entirety.

Are you serious? Ok, so let me get this straight Lucinda. When I was there, I followed their rules to the letter. Always had my [Bible] verses memorized, always completed chores quickly and thoroughly, never mouthed off or argued. 
My one "crime' was that one night I wet the bed because they would not allow me to go to the bathroom. The incident was extremely embarrassing for me, and having to tell them in front of all the other girls, even more so. So they put me in diapers and made it a point to tell all the other girls how nasty I was. Of course this further humiliation and stress added to the fact that they would refuse to let me go to bathroom when I clearly needed to only made things worse. 
There was also the isolation.....speaking partners? Yeah....mine left the week after I got there and for the next 8 months I was not allowed to speak to a single other person there other than staff. I got one phone call with my family the entire time I was there. Once I accidentally made eye contact with another girl. Since that was considered "communication" I was punished by not getting dinner. On top of that I was stood up in front of the entire school and raked over the coals by Naomi, who told me how worthless I was, and that I was possessed by demons and the my parents would never love me because I was so rebellious. 
Yeah, rebellious.....because they forced me to drink more liquid then (sic) I could hold and then refused to let me go to the bathroom. Once when [we] were standing in line waiting for bathroom break, Naomi spotted a drop of water on the floor. It was immediately blamed on me......the fact that I hadn't had an accident was irrelevant, they were convinced I had somehow peed one drop on the floor and so as a punishment I had to scrub the brick floor of the entire building. Alone. and of course on hands and knees. My knees were bruised and blistered for days, but of course they didn't care. 
And all the while, while they were telling my family I was rebellious and disrespectful and refused to follow the rules....outright lies. 
Once while getting ready for church, I didn't move away from the mirror in the dorm fast enough to please Naomi so she grabbed me by the back of my dress and literally threw me down on the floor, But that was also my fault because that extra .5 seconds I was standing there was rebellion. So eventually, they told my parents that I was demon possessed and a hopeless case, that I would never change and they kicked me out. 
The day I left I got called to William's office. I was lectured sternly on what a horrible, wicked person I was and that he prayed that God would save my soul from the fires of hell, but he feared it was too late for me. I was then laid down on the floor and spanked. And by spanked I mean beat so hard and so many strikes that my buttocks were bleeding. Literally bleeding. 
So now how about you go and argue that was NOT abuse. If you truly believe that then I feel for you because you are more brainwashed and ignorant then I ever imagined. 
Furthermore, not only did they blatantly lie to my parents about how I was behaving and that they had NOT spanked me, but my parents took out a load to pay for the full 15 months I was supposed to be there in advance. They never got a dime back. 
As for Patty William's, she was a bitter, angry, hateful woman who specialized in degrading others ( believe[d] calling us whore's (sic) and slut[s] and telling us how lazy we were while all 300 lbs of her perched on her balcony above us was her specialty) ... 
Oh did I mention that when I arrived home I was down to 101 lbs, from the 143 I was when I arrived there. I'm 5'9", so that is dangerously skinny. I also had a massive UTI from being forced to hold my urine for hours. 15 years later I still have nightmares about that place. So go ahead and keep deluding yourself. I feel for you, and pray that you will see the truth.

And that is why I write about this.  Hephzibah House is evil, is still in business, and the state of Indiana refuses to do anything about the alleged abuse.  Religious boarding schools flock to that state because of its complete lack of regulation over them.

Also, read about Ken Copley, the pastor that sexually abused his adopted daughter, and is now happily pastoring a church in Fort Wayne, IN. 


  1. I am so sorry you were so abused at what claims to be a Christian school. It's funny how all those secular places have figured out a way to discipline kids without resorting to physical punishment. And they get the truly tough ones - the ones who will go to juvie prison if this doesn't work out. But then those places utilize true professionals who have actually been trained in psychology who advise staff and meet with the kids. And they employ staff whose entire identities aren't built on their jobs.

    Stories like yours help people like me open our eyes and look around. I'm so sick and sad you went through this but thank you for trying to help others with telling your story.

    1. I meant to make clear I was responding to the commenter but thank you also for sharing their stories here.