Survivor Stories


"A cult is a group of people who organize around a strong authority figure. Cults, like many other groups, attempt to expand their influence for the purposes of power or money. However, to achieve these ends, destructive cults employ a potent mixture of influence techniques and deception to attain psychological control over members and new recruits. This fundamental level of control is known alternatively as 'brainwashing,' 'thought reform,' or 'mind control.' A successful induction by a destructive cult displaces a person's former identity and replaces it with a new one. That new identity may not be one that the person would have freely chosen under her own volition." --Steve Hassan


The following survivor accounts were obtained using a questionnaire format.

The following notice was posted at the top of all questionnaires:

Notice: Answer the following questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. Feel free to answer “Not sure” if unsure about any question. Please understand that information you provide may be used as sources in various projects. You are under no obligation to participate. YOU MAY CHOOSE TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS. By choosing to participate and submitting this questionnaire, you are giving permission for the use of the information.



SARAH'S STORY
                 
1.        What is your name? (Only give what you’re comfortable giving, i.e. Full name, first name, initials, first initial and last name. If you choose to use your full name, please include maiden name in addition to your current, legal name.)
            Sarah (Bradberry) Cooley  

2.        Time spent (give dates to best of your ability) in The Home:
            May 15, 2004 -July 3, 2005

3.        Which location?
            Pace, FL

4.         What was The Home called when you were there/what name was the institution going by during the time of your stay? (i.e. Rebekah Home for Girls, New Beginnings Rebekah Academy, New Beginnings Girls Academy, New Beginnings Ministries. Multiple answers may be necessary.)
             New Beginnings Girls Academy


5.         Who were the head directors at the time?
             Bill "Brother Mac" McNamara and Jennifer "Mrs. Mac" McNamara

6.         How old were you?
             I was 17 when I got there, 18 when I left.

7.        Please describe reasons/circumstances for which you were sent to The Home: (i.e. trouble with the law, issues at home or school, etc.)
            I had quit going to school about 4 months prior to being sent there and was hanging out with a rough crowd. I was supposed to be doing this homeschool program that my mom got me enrolled in but I never did it. I was gone all the time with my friends and had started to experiment with drugs and alcohol and didn’t really care about where my life was going. There was one incident where I got in trouble with the law and I think that pretty much was the breaking point for my mom. She knew that I needed help and that she couldn’t give it to me because I would not listen to her anymore. So she decided to send me to New Beginnings to finish high school and get my life straightened out.

8.        Please describe instances of abuse you EXPERIENCED at The Home, if any:
            I personally was never physically abused while there. There was mental abuse that went on all the time. Scare tactics were used, and we were yelled at all the time and called “whores” and various other names. If they thought that we weren’t "right with God" then they would put us on Discipline (a major punishment) for no reason other than that. We had to be happy all the time and feel like we were being helped by them, if we weren’t then we would be "openly rebuked," called names, and denied privileges.


9.        Please describe instances of abuse you WITNESSED at The Home, if any.
          There was a little girl with serious mental health problems. She was about 12 when she came in and was on a bunch of medication for her problems that she truly needed. They took her off all meds and said they could help her better than the medicine. She always looked like she didn’t know what was going on and she didn’t understand why they were treating her the way they did. I remember one time where myself and other girls and staff members were made to stay up with her until about 4 in the morning and force her to stand in a circle of masking tape on the floor. If she got out of the circle or didn’t comply then we had to push her back in. If she kept misbehaving then we had to put her into an ice cold shower with all her clothes on while she screamed. She was always in trouble and yelled at for no reason at all. You could tell that there was something wrong with her and that was not the place she needed to be. She couldn’t even talk that well and we could barely ever understand what she was saying sometimes. They pretty much just treated her like crap and blamed her for it because she wasn’t “right with God" according to them. It was awful and I felt very bad for her.
          There were two girls that I graduated with who were forced to get a tan before graduation. They were told that they were too “white” and that was a sin because being white was something that “gothic” people did. They wanted to talk to their parents about it but the directors would not let them tell them. They were made to stay outside during practically the whole time we were in school for, I'd guess, 6 hours a day with tanning oil all over them while we could see them out the window. I remember looking out there and feeling bad for them because they did not want to get a tan but they had no choice. They tanned until they were burnt and their knees were purple and they had huge blisters. The tanning did not stop until a few days before graduation.
           I remember one incident where we were at church and we stayed there after the service was over and Brother Mac had all the girls stand up one by one and the rest of the girls got to raise their hands and vote if that person was “negative” or “positive." The people who were “negative” got punished. They gave them 4 sheets of toilet paper when they used the bathroom, took away all condiments from their food, and had to drink only water with meals and made them stand at their bunk beds with their nose touching the bar at the end every night until 11pm, (an hour and a half to two hours after Lights Out,) and they also took away all extra privileges. They were told that they weren’t right with God and rebuked often. The people who were considered “positive” got nothing. We just had to watch the “negative” people suffer. It was messed up.
           If someone tried to run away or just couldn’t take it anymore and didn’t obey their rules, the directors would have other girls in the home sit on them or hold them down. They would be locked in the dorm for days, even weeks, and had to be constantly watched by the more "trusted" girls They pretty much did whatever it took to restrain them. Some of them just got fed up and refused to do anything because they were tired of being treated like crap and after so long they got to go home or got sent to other homes.
           In the dorm, we were always rushed to be ready on time, trying to make our way through 20 other girls to get ready. It was stressful. We  had to iron our clothes and they could not have any wrinkles in them or we would get in trouble. We were timed when we ironed and that resulted in us rushing to get it done and trying not to have any wrinkles and we would burn ourselves often. If we burned ourselves a lot, we would get in trouble for that also (they'd say we were hurting ourselves on purpose) and they would take away our curling irons/flat irons, and someone else would have to iron for us and that would result in them being late and getting in trouble. There was always something to get in trouble for. It would be the stupidest thing like looking around in line or  just talking or something stupid like that. It was hard not to get in trouble. It was horrible and everyone was always scared, even some of the staff.


10.      Do you feel that you witnessed or experienced any discrimination for race, faith, or any other characteristic or persuasion? If so, please explain.
          I remember people being insulted for their sexuality. If they were gay they were called "faggots" and told they were going to hell.


11.      What was your overall impression of The Home? Do you believe that it helped you? 
            My overall impression of the home is that it was a mentally and physically abusive facility. It was a complete waste of time and money. It put me in a place where I really was not happy (but had to pretend to be) and I tried to do everything that they wanted me to so I could hurry up and get out of there. The rules were crazy and extreme and nothing the average person would think is right. Nobody deserves to be treated like that and almost all of us would have been happier in jail. At least we could have thought for ourselves and kept our own beliefs. We weren’t even allowed to talk. When someone just nit picks and looks at every single fault someone has then there is going to be problems. No one is perfect and that is definitely what they expect you to be, which is humanly impossible. I do not believe that it helped me at all. If anything it made me worse than before I was sent there. I now suffer from panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, and many others girls that went there also suffer from various kinds of disorders as well.

12.       What is your opinion of the quality of education you received while in The Home?
            I would say that the education we received while in the home was very poor. It was the A.C.E. (Accelerated Christian Education) curriculum and you had to do these workbooks called PACEs and teach yourself. There were no real or qualified teachers and no really one cared if you learned anything or not. Some of the girls (including myself) and some who weren’t doing well in school would be called outside to work all day during school hours and never really made up any work for the time they missed.

13.       How old are you now?
             24

14.       What was it like being released into the “real world” after your time in The Home?
            It was pretty awkward. None of my friends recognized me because I had lost 60 pounds while in there. It was strange to be “normal” again and it took a while to get used to it.

15.       What is your current profession?
             I am a stay-at-home mom.
      
16.      What affect did The Home have on your faith, if any?
            It really didn’t change what I believed (even though you had to believe exactly what they believed while in there to get by) but it definitely made me sick of being yelled at all the time about things that don’t make sense, always being made to feel like you are “wrong” and a bad person, and need to "get right."



 BROOKE'S STORY


1.       What is your name? (Only give what you’re comfortable giving, i.e. Full name, first name, initials, first initial and last name. If you choose to use your full name, please include maiden name in addition to your current, legal name.)
           Brooke Chase

2.       Time spent (give dates to best of your ability) in The Home:
           February 7, 2005 - December 2, 2006  -  a total of 22 months

3.       Which location?
           Pace, FL

4.       What was The Home called when you were there/what name was the institution going by during the time of your stay? (i.e. Rebekah Home for Girls, New Beginnings Rebekah Academy, New Beginnings Girls Academy, New Beginnings Ministries. Multiple answers may be necessary.)
           New Beginnings Girls Academy

5.       Who were the head directors at the time?
           Bill and Jennifer McNamara

6.       How old were you?
          When I went in I was 15. I left 3 months before i turned 18.

7.       Please describe reasons/circumstances for which you were sent to The Home: (i.e. trouble with the law, issues at home or school, etc.)
          Well, I had never really had a relationship with my mom even since i was a young child. I was a total daddy's girl no matter what bad things he did in his life. My dad was a heroin addict for awhile in his life and an alcoholic up until he was sent to prison when I was around 8 or so I would guess, but I loved him and he was the only person I felt unconditional love from.
          My relationship got even worse with my mom as I got older. I have always had some depression issues, since I was about 10. I can remember thinking about suicide, (my mother did not and still doesnt believe that depression can be a legitimate problem for some,) but I never tried anything because I loved my dad so much, and I couldnt imagine being away from him or hurting him like that.
          When I was 12, I spent a few weeks living with my dad because I just couldnt handle living with my mother anymore, but i had to go back with her because my dad needed to go back to working. A couple weeks later he took a job driving beat trucks. 2am-2pm shifts everyday for some good quick money. He was killed in a car accident on the afternoon of October 8, 2001 on his way home from working.
          When my Grams called us with the news, I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. My reason for living was taken away from me. I remember just feeling dead, crying, wanting to be alone. One thing I remember from that day is my mom telling me, "If you don't stop crying, I'm going to beat you." That ruined anything we did have  and I will probably never forget those words.
          My mother forced my sister and I to look at his bruised and broken body that they had to cut out of the car. That broke me and hardened me.
          I was was a different kid after that. I didn't care about anything - school, life, God, my family - nothing. I started self-injuring when I was probably 14, mostly doing so on my upper arms so I could hide it from everybody. But one day my mom came home and I forgot to wear a shirt with sleeves. She just yelled at me for it. She didn't understand that was something I was doing for some kind of release. I did it because I felt like I needed a reason to cry, to release my pain... So instead of cutting my arms, from then on, I stuck to cutting my stomach and thighs..
          When I was 15 I swallowed a full bottle of pills - just trying to end my pain... I threw them up and never told anybody.
          A few months later, a couple of days before the anniversary of my dad's death, I got into a fight with my mom and took a bottle and a half of pills again. My mom walked in on me lying on the bathroom floor a couple hours after, yelling at me to get up to go to church. I didn't throw up anything this time. She didn't believe me when I told her I had taken pills, until I wasn't getting up. I finally was able to get up for her to take me to the hospital. She stopped at church on the way to the hospital and made me sit in the hall for awhile, then she took me to ER and got my stomach pumped. I had to spend the next 36 hours up in the psychiatric hospital on an emergency hold. Not fun, but i just lied my way through it to be able to leave. I guess that's what finally got my mom to understand that I wasn't alright anymore. I just needed to be able to talk to someone to learn to deal with my loss and pain, and I needed a good environment where i felt loved. (I hadn't felt like that since I was with my dad.) Instead I ended up at New Beginnings.

8.       Please describe instances of abuse you EXPERIENCED at The Home, if any:
          I would say that I was emotionally abused. I would say that myself, along with others, were also medically neglected. I myself was sick for 3 months before they brought me in and got put on antibiotics. I broke my finger and was not taken to the hospital. They claimed that I just "jammed it" (whatever that means) and it healed incorrectly. Another time, my hand got cut badly while working outside, by one of the other girls with the tree trimmers we frequently had to use. Another time, myself and another girl were carrying a wooden bed up to second story dorm and it dropped back on my hand and bent my whole wrist back. I still have a lump in my wrist from that. We did a lot of hard labor and all of the times I mentioned they neglected to give proper medical treatment.

9.       Please describe instances of abuse you WITNESSED at The Home, if any.
          I witnessed Brother Mac emotionally/mentally abuse so many. He'd use what he knew to hurt and break us girls down. A lot of us still have emotional problems years after leaving that place. I witnessed an unnamed girl getting 'licks', myself and another girl were brought in to hold her down if they determined it to be necessary.

10.      Do you feel that you witnessed or experienced any discrimination because of race, faith, or any other characteristic or persuasion? If so, please explain.
           As a Christian, people are normally taught not to judge others,  that God is the only one who can judge us. There we were judged for everything: how we looked, acted, our pasts, etc.

11.      What was your overall impression of The Home? Do you believe that it helped you?
            I don't believe that the people there know the difference between helping and hurting the girls they claim to be taking in to help. They use everything they know about the girls to emotionally abuse them - to break them down - until they give in to living and acting a certain way. The only thing 'the Home' helped me with is being able to endure any kind of pain that is brought to me in life. I don't believe that makes it good.

12.      What is your opinion of the quality of education you received while in The Home?
           A.C.E., otherwise known as Accelerated Christian Education, in my opinion, is not a good quality education. It is, as many girls have found out, an unaccredited home school -type curriculum, causing many of us to have to do get our GEDs  after leaving New Beginnings. Simply teaching us about God doesn't constitute an education. This is the same curriculum my mother had started me on in the 5th grade, in which I learned nothing new until 'their' version of the 7th grade, and by then I was bored with it. A.C.E. does not always challenge you or teach you what you need to learn or what you should be learning. Also note that New Beginnings "teachers" were not real, qualified teachers at all.

13.      How old are you now?
           21

14.      What was it like being released into the "real world" after your time in The Home?
           I was excited to be free from what I refer to as "prison" to those who know me, but I no longer felt like I had a family. My family was what I held onto in my heart while enduring New Beginnings, and when I got out I didn't really have them back. We were like strangers. I didn't know how to feel or act around them and I could tell they felt the same way. I had absolutely no confidence. At New Beginnings, we weren't allowed to even look up while walking in line and I walked staring at my feet for a couple of years after I got out. I didn't feel like a person anymore. I had no idea who I was anymore, and I had no life skills, education, friends or family. I completely lost those years of life that set you up for everything you need for real life, for the rest of your life.

15.       What is your current profession?
            I currently have 3 jobs: Front Desk Clerk/Night Auditor at a hotel that I have been working at for 3. 5 years, Night Auditor at another hotel, and Desk Attendant at a laundry facility.

16.      What affect did The Home have on your faith, if any?
            I grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, the same kind of ideals that the Home follows and the same as the church that was the Home's "home church" in Milton, FL. When I got out of the Home I tried to stay 'good', stay in church ,being the good little girl my mom wanted, but I couldn't take being that person. I was angry and I'd had God pushed on me so much that I wanted nothing to do with God or church or anything good anymore. I have only recently started going back to church after spending a lot of time running as far from God as I could. I felt sure that church was where I needed to be to get my life back to where I could feel proud of myself again. I have learned that you can't push religion on people like they did to us there. It was all about God, the Bible, and church, 24 hours a day - 7 days a week.  Pushing it like that does not help people have a relationship with God. It just makes them want nothing to do with Him. People have to be able to make choices, and deciding one's faith in God is a very big choice  and one we were not allowed to make for ourselves at New Beginnings.



JAMIE'S STORY

1.       What is your name?
          Jamie Schmude

2.       Time spent (give dates to best of your ability) in The Home:
          November 26, 2002 to November 25, 2003

3.       Which location?
          Pace, Florida

4.       What was The Home called when you were there/what name was the institution going by during the time of your stay?
           New Beginnings Girls Academy

5.       Who were the head directors at the time?
           Bill and Jennifer McNamara

6.       How old were you?
          15 years old. I turned 16 while in the Home.

7.       Please describe reasons/circumstances for which you were sent to The Home:
          I was sent to the Home because my parents found out that I was drinking and having sex. I was accused of sneaking out of the house, and I had a lot of issues with my stepmother due to her parents falling ill. She basically forced my father to send me to the home after being sent to a mental hospital, after being sent to a homeless shelter for teenagers which I ran away from, and she made him choose her and my baby sister over me.

8.       Please describe instances of abuse you EXPERIENCED at The Home, if any:
          In Odem, Texas, at a church, I had refused to stand with my nose on the wall. I sat down on the floor and refused to stand up, so the Director, Bill McNamara, requested that some Helpers bring me to the trailer out back so he could talk to me. When he said I would be receiving licks, I pulled away from the staff and tried to resist, at which time the Director called all the Helpers into the trailer to hold me down. While held down, Mrs. McNamara took the rod off of the mini blinds, and proceeded to whip my lower back, butt, and back of my legs.
         
As for mental abuse: from the time I arrived to the time I left, I was subjected daily to mental abuse. There isn’t enough time in the day to begin to explain every situation.

9.       Please describe instances of abuse you WITNESSED at The Home, if any.
         A girl was forced to stay up after all of us went to bed, and was made to do strenuous exercises. The poor girl screamed and cried as she was forced to do "wall sits," jumping jacks, "kills," and various other painful exercises. The poor little girl was 12 years old and about 80 pounds soaking wet.


10.      Do you feel that you witnessed or experienced any discrimination because of race, faith, or any other characteristic or persuasion? If so, please explain.
         I was raised Baptist, so I was used to much of their belief system, (i.e. long skirts, loose shirts, etc.) But we were not forced to memorize most of the bible while in church to keep from looking at or communicating with the other church members. We were forced to attend some kind of “chapel” service every night excluding Sundays and Wednesdays, as we attended regular church services. Black girls were not allowed to be close to other black girls, and girls who looked similar in appearance were not allowed to be close either.


11.      What was your overall impression of The Home? Do you believe that it helped you?
          My impression of the home was horrible. It was as if the Director believed that he was God. It did not help me at all. When I was released back into society, I had no idea how to get a job, or pay bills, or have any sense of what the real world was like as an adult with responsibilities. I got kicked out of my parents' home shortly after arriving home because my parents couldn’t deal with me anymore. I was 17, with no job, no car, and nowhere to go.

12.      What is your opinion of the quality of education you received while in The Home?
          The quality of education was good in my opinion. The only issue with the curriculum there is that most states do not accept the credits, so most of us had to start where we left off before going to the home, or get our GEDs.

13.      How old are you now?
           I am 24 years old.

14.      What was it like being released into the “real world” after your time in The Home?
          As I explained above, I had no sense of responsibility. I had no idea how to pay bills, how to write a resume, and had no clue how to control my anger and my emotions. For an entire year, we had to be quiet. We weren’t allowed to talk or show any emotion at all. We were basically human robots, doing exactly as we were told.

15.      What is your current profession?
          I am the Customer Relations Manager at a car dealership.

16.      What affect did The Home have on your faith, if any?
          I do not attend church at all, nor do I plan to. I have not picked up a Bible since I dropped out of my private high school, (which used the same curriculum as the home.)



AMANDA C's STORY

1.       What is your name? (Only give what you’re comfortable giving, i.e. Full name, first name, initials, first initial and last name. If you choose to use your full name, please include maiden name in addition to your current, legal name.)
          My legal name is Amanda Clayton – Although my mother sent me there and put all the paper work under my step-fathers last name (Hunt) and that is what most of the girls knew me as. This was so that CPS and my real father would have a harder time finding where I was to avoid me being taken from the home due to our family’s ongoing problems.


2.       Time spent (give dates to best of your ability) in The Home: 
          It was the week before Mothers day weekend in April 2003 when I was taken to NBGA. I was there for almost exactly a year, leaving in April 2004.

3.       Which location?
          Pace, Florida

4.       What was The Home called when you were there/what name was the institution going by during the time of your stay? (i.e. Rebekah Home for Girls, New Beginnings Rebekah Academy, New Beginnings Girls Academy, New Beginnings Ministries. Multiple answers may be necessary.)
          It was called New Beginnings Girls Academy when I was there.  

5.       Who were the head directors at the time?
          Bro. McNamara (aka Brother Mac) & Mrs. McNamara (aka Mrs. Mac)

6.       How old were you?
          I was 15 when I went in to the home and I turned 16 there. I remember my 16th birthday unlike most. It was by far the worst birthday of my life, if not the one of the worst days of my life altogether. We were in Mission, Texas on one of the tours and we were sleeping in this building filled with bunk beds with no sheets and plastic mattresses. It was so hot, had to be over 100 degrees, and I just remember sticking to this mattress all night long. That morning of my 16th birthday Bro. Mac told me that my grandfather had cancer and was going to die and it was my entire fault because I was wicked. I think it was at that point where I completely shut God out all together from my heart because I became so numb and so cold to everything. I knew that my only purpose at this point was survival.


7.       Please describe reasons/circumstances for which you were sent to The Home: (i.e. trouble with the law, issues at home or school, etc.)
          I was 15 years old and I was trying pot and alcohol, nothing out of the ordinary for most teens of that age. I live in Baltimore, MD and to be honest most of my friends were sniffing coke and doing ecstasy. I really didn’t have any interest in any of that. I had a boyfriend and we lost our virginity together and my mother found out and freaked about that. To be honest, I always was a head strong person even when I was young. And, yes, I thought I knew what was best for my life, but I was not completely “out of control." My mom & I were constantly fighting because of the church we were going to and she put on this happy family facade that couldn’t be any further from the truth. CPS was investigating my family and was about to remove me from her home before I was sent to NBGA. After I came home from NBGA, I moved out and my 2 other sisters were removed from my mother’s house.


8.       Please describe instances of abuse you EXPERIENCED at The Home, if any:
         The abuse I experienced in the home was emotional and psychological more than anything else. I was told that my family didn’t love me. I was told my Grandfather was going to die of cancer (which he really did have) because of me. I was called a "slut," and degraded in every way possible. I was not made to feel loved but instead abandoned and alone. After day in and day out of this treatment and ridicule and realizing that you had no one to run to you are drained of everything you once were and you completely lose yourself altogether. My mind and body were under so much stress that I didn’t have my period the entire time I was at New Beginnings Girls Academy. I wasn’t allowed to have real conversations with my mother due to the fact that the Macs would monitor phone calls and we would get in trouble for saying anything out of line – anything that they didn’t want our parents to know.

          I personally was never hit by a staff member but the scars I received while being in that home took years to get past and heal from.


9.       Please describe instances of abuse you WITNESSED at The Home, if any.
          I witnessed girls being held down by any means necessary by other girls - ordered by the Macs. I saw girls ridiculed for their weight daily. When it’s not like we ate junk food. We all ate the same thing – 3x a day and had to finish everything on our plate. I saw girls being ridiculed for being too skinny or too pale. All this making fun and comments were said and done directly by Brother & Mrs. Mac themselves. I saw once-strong girls broken down and empty. I try and explain the abuse that went on in that home but to be honest it is indescribable. The brainwashing to hate yourself and who you are - the constant yelling and screaming about how you and the rest of your family are going to hell. All that on top of EVERY freedom (talking, looking out a window, showering, going to the bathroom) was stripped from you and controlled. You no longer had control over anything you did and you did as you were told to make things go as easy as they possibly could for you, because you didn’t even want to think about things getting any worse.

10.      Do you feel that you witnessed or experienced any discrimination because of race, faith, or any other characteristic or persuasion? If so, please explain.
           Constantly. Like I stated before, the constant taunting of girls being too fat or too skinny, or too anything that didn’t fit their liking was a daily routine of constant abuse upon these girls.
           I also remember the night pretty vividly in Dorm One when Brother Mac told us that black people were “cursed people." I just remember being so disgusted that he said the Bible said it. He went on and on about it for at least a ½ an hour and right in front of the black girls in the home without any rhyme or reason to it. The man was completely heartless throughout his entire rant. Speaking down to them, stating things like their family and heritage were all cursed before God. I knew that God had no part in this home that would preach about these things and do such things.

11.      What was your overall impression of The Home? Do you believe that it helped you?
           The home didn’t do anything good for me. I went back to the same dysfunctional family I left a year earlier. My mother now realizes how much a mistake sending me away was and how if anything it made things fall apart worse. I moved out when I was 17 and took care of myself ever since. The home that promised my mother to bring me closer to God and her. If anything, it pushed me away from both of them. After leaving the home I struggled with the feeling of abandonment and depression because my mother just sent me off somewhere  where she had no idea what was happening instead of dealing with OUR problems and overcoming them and growing closer by them. I was trying to make sense of that entire year that at that point all seemed like a very vivid nightmare that couldn’t have possibly happened. I couldn’t differentiate between “their God” and “mine” so I didn’t deal with God at all. I had and still struggle with anger issues and my temper was worst coming home then it ever was before because I felt like I hated the fact that I was a victim to what they put me through and I should have fought back more than I did for my freedoms and rights. Overall, I look at the home as an experience in my life that was very difficult in many ways but I overcame it and am a better person for not allowing it to stop me from becoming the person I want to be.


12.      What is your opinion of the quality of education you received while in The Home?
           The education there, though ACE, was completely ridiculous. I mean it is a non-credited system and was just used to say that we were being schooled. It was a facade like the rest of the home.

13.      How old are you now?
            I am now 23 years old.

14.      What was it like being released into the “real world” after your time in The Home?
           It was like I had been emptied of everything I once was and once believed in and was sent back out into the wild and was expected to just pick myself up and re-adapt to “real life." I pretty much felt very alone and angry and blank to say the least.
          Like I said, I moved out of my mother’s house almost immediately after coming home from NBGA. I went back to drinking, drugs, everything I had done before but more than normal because I was self-medicating my confusion, abandonment issues, and depression. I eventually dealt with things my own way and overcame my hatred for the home and bitterness over the entire situation. I worked full time and put myself though school. I am now a 23 year old mother of a handsome 3 ½ year old little boy and I work 2 jobs and am a functional member of society. I am not on drugs and I drink on occasion but do not have a drinking problem.  I look at that year as something I overcame and survived. Nothing more and nothing less. I don’t live in the past but I know that places like this have no right to be open to feed off of families in need and tear them apart even more.

15.      What is your current profession?
           I am a processor at a title company and I waitress at a little Italian restaurant 2-3 nights a week as well.  


16.      What affect did The Home have on your faith, if any?
          I was saved before I went to the home. I never doubted my salvation while I was at the home despite being made to feel that I should since I was so “wicked and bad." The only thing the home did was make my heart hard towards God and I lost the relationship I had already had with him. Before I was sent to NBGA I prayed every night. Yes. I wasn’t doing everything God wanted me to do but I was praying God would help me find my way and guide me through everything that me and my family were going though. Despite being a teenager that lived in this day and age I still looked at God as my refuge and I knew he loved me. When I went to NBGA I was taught that the God I ran to was a God to fear and to run from. I was made to feel like God didn’t want me because I was evil which was opposite of what I grew up learning: that God loved you unconditionally. I found it almost impossible to believe that the God I loved and who at times was my only friend was behind such a place of pain and suffering, and if He was, I didn’t want anything to do with Him. My heart grew so cold and hard over that year because it had to due to the constant day to day emotional and psychological abuse that, even if I wanted to have a relationship with God, I couldn’t at that point. I didn’t know how to do anything at that point but to simply survive it the best way I could. I didn’t have room for anything else.
          When I came home I didn’t pray or read my Bible because it all reminded me of that awful year and my nightmares were enough of a reminder. And even once I overcame everything that I felt about the home - the anger, and depression - I still wouldn’t pray because I felt like God didn’t want to talk to me because I wasn’t living my life the way He would want me to. Even though I knew their teachings to be wrong they were beat into my head so badly that they were now a part of me and my thinking even when I didn’t want them to be. Over the past year (now mind you I have been out of the home going on 7 years now) I am just now starting to get my relationship back with God. I have been going to church and praying. But I still find it hard to pray because of all the damage that has been done to my relationship with God due to the home. I am not angry at God for me being there or angry at Him at all for that matter. But I still question whose “God” am I talking to? Theirs – the God that hates me and is a scary dictator that is ready to punish me? Or mine - the one that loves me and wants to guide me and be in my life. My brain and heart in that home was a lot like a hard drive: afterward I cleaned it up and I put things over it but regardless of whatever I do, if I look hard enough it will always be there, because it is impossible to completely remove it.


CAT'S STORY



1.       What is your name?
          Cathleen Corrigan     

2.       Time spent (give dates to best of your ability) in The Home:
          About a year and a half:  March 2001- August 2002

3.       Which location?
          Corpus Christi, Texas | Devils Elbow, Missouri | Pace, Florida

4.       What was The Home called when you were there/what name was the institution going by during the time of your stay? (i.e. Rebekah Home for Girls, New Beginnings Rebekah Academy, New Beginnings Girls Academy, New Beginnings Ministries. Multiple answers may be necessary.)
         Rebekah Home for Girls,  New Beginnings Rebekah Academy, New Beginnings Girls Academy


5.       Who were the head directors at the time?
          William (Bill) and Jennifer McNamara

6.       How old were you?
          15 (upon entering)  16 (upon leaving)

7.       Please describe reasons/circumstances for which you were sent to The Home: (i.e. trouble with the law, issues at home or school, etc.)
          My parents thought it was necessary to send me because they thought my bad attitude and disrespect was getting out of control.

8.        Please describe instances of abuse you EXPERIENCED at The Home, if any:
           About a month after I first entered the Home, I got a yeast infection. When I asked for medicine for it, they told me it would clear up on it’s own. A month later, I still had it, and it had gotten pretty bad. They still insisted that it would go away on its own and that medicine wasn’t necessary. About two and a half months into having the infection I started getting extremely uncomfortable pains in my stomach and also when I would use the restroom. I was called into the office to speak with Bill and Jennifer Mac, and I was told that faking illnesses was not going to get me any special treatment or a ticket home, and that - if I wasn’t faking it  - then I wouldn’t have this problem if I would take better care of my hygiene and that I would be put on "Redshirt" if I didn’t start taking proper showers etc. 2 weeks after this meeting with the Macs the problem was still there. One day I walked out of my room with out permission, risking the chance of being put on Redshirt or any consequences. I knocked on the office door and told them that something really needed to be done because there was no reason I should be having these pains. I was taken into the “Medicine Room” by Mrs. Mac and Ms. Nancy (a member of the staff at the time) and was told to take off my clothes and prove I had a yeast infection, which I did. Ms. Nancy told Mrs. Mac “We might need to take her to a doctor, because that looks like that is a pretty serious infection." A week later I was taken to the doctor by Ms. Nancy. Unsurprisingly, the doctor said that I had a severe yeast infection that should have never gotten this bad, and it wouldn’t have if I had been given any basic over the counter yeast infection medications when it first started. He prescribed me some medicine for it. I was glad and relieved to know it would finally be resolved. UNFORTUNATELY, I guess the Macs came to the conclusion that I didn’t need the medicine the doctor prescribed; they told me that it wasn’t necessary to take, and I was given Monistat to use for 1 night. It didn’t help clear it up, and I had to just deal with it for five and a half months until it finally cleared up on it’s own.  


9.        Please describe instances of abuse you WITNESSED at The Home, if any.
           The only physical abuse I can clearly recall witnessing was when myself and several other girls on “Helper” were called into the Macs living room in their house in Pace, Florida and we were given orders to hold a girl down while Brother Mac shoved vitamins (at least that’s what we were told that the pills were) in her mouth because she was refusing to eat any food.

10.      Do you feel that you witnessed or experienced any discrimination for race, faith, or any other characteristic or persuasion? If so, please explain.
            I was raised in a Pentecostal church all my life, and the Macs told me that the Pentecostal denomination was "of the Devil," and that I had demons inside of me that needed to be cast out, and that the only way that would happen would be if I claimed Baptist beliefs. I decided the only way to get them off my back would be to “claim to be Baptist” which after a while I did. After that, Brother Mac would always randomly come up to me and say things like, “Doesn’t it feel good to have those demons gone from inside of you?”


11.      What was your overall impression of The Home? Do you believe that it helped you?
           Personally, it did not help me. I don’t feel that shoving religion, etc. down one's throat the way they did was right.

12.      What is your opinion of the quality of education you received while in The Home?
            I had been in a ACE school all of my life, and was almost 2 grades ahead of where I was supposed to be when I entered the home. But the year and a half I was in the home, I only completed 1 PACE. I would act like I was doing schoolwork, but they really didn’t check on it to see if I really was, so I never furthered my education AT ALL while I was there. Also, after we moved the home in Missouri, I was one of the Helpers, and I guess you could say I was “favored" more than some. I was allowed to help out in the school building - answering the other students' questions and what not. This privilege gave me access to the cards they used to mark down which tests we had completed and the scores, so often times I would forge my card to make it look like I had completed certain PACEs when in actuality I had not.

13.      How old are you now?
           25  

14.      What was it like being released into the “real world” after your time in The Home?
           It was kind of a shock at first, because I had been COMPLETELY cut off from any outside interaction for over a year.

15.      What is your current profession?
           Stay-at-home mom.

16.      What affect did The Home have on your faith, if any?
           Before the Home, I was in church every Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night. After I left the home I had no desire to be in church at all.
 


BRITTANY'S STORY

                 
1.        What is your name? (Only give what you’re comfortable giving, i.e. Full name, first name, initials, first initial and last name. If you choose to use your full name, please include maiden name in addition to your current, legal name.)
           Brittany Campbell

2.        Time spent (give dates to best of your ability) in The Home:
           January 10, 2001-January 10, 2002 (went home to my hometown in Idaho for four months and sent back to finish high school) May 13, 2002-May 18, 2005

3.        Which location?
           Corpus Christi, Texas | Devils Elbow, Missouri | Pace, Florida

4.        What was The Home called when you were there/what name was the institution going by during the time of your stay? (i.e. Rebekah Home for Girls, New Beginnings Rebekah Academy, New Beginnings Girls Academy, New Beginnings Ministries. Multiple answers may be necessary.)
           Rebekah Home for Girls | New Beginnings Rebekah Academy | New Beginnings Girls Academy

5.        Who were the head directors at the time?
           Bill and Jennifer McNamara

6.        How old were you?
           15 through 19

7.        Please describe reasons/circumstances for which you were sent to The Home: (i.e. trouble with the law, issues at home or school, etc.)
           I was, by definition, a "troubled teen." My teachers in school constantly ranted and raved about how bright and fiercely creative I was, but I only got good grades in classes I genuinely enjoyed, even though I fully understood the material we were learning in all of the classes. I couldn’t see past a lot of my personal problems well enough to care about my report card, although I was in a lot of honors classes. I had grown up in and out of the foster care system. My dad was incarcerated on a long-term sentence for the majority of my childhood. My mom had major issues at the time. These circumstances led my older sister to gain custody of me when I was 14. She was a recent convert to Christianity – an Independent Fundamental Baptist. I was not interested in Christian ideals and was very strong-willed, which led to a lot of trouble in her household. We fought endlessly. I felt that she had changed into a different person when she became Independent Baptist, and did not see it as a good thing or anything I wanted to be involved in. I felt that she didn’t have a great deal of compassion for the things I was dealing with as a child who’d had a very tumultuous childhood and that she was trying to make me into something that I wasn’t. I fought her the whole way. As an Independent Baptist, she didn’t put any stock in counseling or therapy, which is probably what I needed most. About a year before I was sent to the home, I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol and was romantically interested in other girls, (although at the time I had a boyfriend,) all of which were intolerable things in her household. I was deeply interested in music and art that she found unacceptable, too. My frustration with my entire crazy life led to major depression, and I had moved in with my sister, in 1998 - the summer I turned 13, right around the time that was really starting to show. This behavior reached its peak when I was 14, the same year that my sister officially gained custody of me in court. She tired of trying to help me in her way and sent me back to live with my very troubled mother, in Olympia, Washington, just before I turned 15. Maybe she intended to teach me a lesson by sending me back to my mom, perhaps to try to show me how good I had things at her house. It made all my problems a lot worse. I moved out of my mom’s house shortly after my sister dropped me off with her, a fact unknown to my sister at the time, with my mom’s consent. Weeks later, my mom reported me as a runaway when I hadn’t contacted her in a while. I’d been living with friends, going to high school, and just trying to survive. The police came to my school to get me and were very upset to find out that my mom had actually helped me remove my belongings from her house weeks earlier. I begged them not to send me back to my mom’s house and that situation. After a little digging, they discovered that my sister was my legal guardian and I was ordered to return to my sister’s house back in Idaho. Back at my sister’s place, the reality set in that I had no freedoms again (I wasn’t allowed contact with friends outside of school, and she didn’t approve of my style of writing, something I did for a creative outlet in effort to have healthy coping mechanisms, my room was searched frequently for contraband like rock-and-roll CDs.) So the fighting continued at her place. I refused to accept her faith and way of life. A few months later, she sent me to New Beginnings.
           I have to say, I don't blame my sister for sending me. She was young and was doing what she believed was right for me at the time. As I said, I had a lot of problems. My family was an absolute wreck. I truly believe that, had my sister truly known of the abuse that occurred at New Beginnings, she would have acted differently. Because of the nature of the Home, she didn't know and I was unable to explain it to her fully for a considerable amount of time. 

8.        Please describe instances of abuse you EXPERIENCED at The Home, if any:
           The abuse was nothing short of daily physical and psychological torture. I did receive Licks while at the Home, which Brother Mac insisted on “supervising.” The reason I got Licks was because I had still refused to accept their “faith” and additionally had self-injured and had gotten an infection, which forced me to confess and ask for antiseptic. I refused to stand up and bend over, especially in front of him. I said something to the effect of, “Oh, you get to watch too? Fat f***ing pervert.” So Brother Mac called 12 Helpers in to restrain me, but they looked like they were so reluctant to do it. I didn’t want to fight the other girls, so I just complied and received my Licks with 14 people in the room. Brother Mac had a centered view, right behind me.
           I was on Redshirt for about a month, in April/May of 2001. I had to stand with my nose on a white wall in a sweltering hot room for hours upon hours. I was supervised while standing there for  that (approximate) month. I was not allowed to close my eyes. I was not allowed to move. My hands had to remain at my sides and my feet flat on the floor. Basically they take away all stimulation until you break down inside many times over. There were more than 20 of us Redshirts at the time, and every hour or so one of us would just fall backward onto the floor from the dizziness. It was mental hell. It was torture.
           I had my constitutional rights completely stripped from me from the day that I walked in that door until the day that I left forever. The directors control everything, even the other adult staff and "junior staff." They were extremely manipulative people, to say the very least.
           I attended a Bible institute off-campus for the last 2 years. After a couple attempts to leave without making waves, I finally succeeded in May of 2005 but only after much opposition. The directors told me that my family and home church pastor were not "right with God," that they had cast-off and abandoned me there, that I was incapable of surviving outside the Home, and that God had put Mr. McNamara in authority over me to tell me what God's will was and that God's will was not for me to leave. By that time, I'd had it and had begun 'deprogramming' and just wanted to get away and never look back. I left Florida, dropped out of Bible institute, and moved back to Idaho.



9.        Please describe instances of abuse you WITNESSED at The Home, if any.
           Over the (approximate) four and a half years that I was there, I saw so much. It’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve seen girls held down and beaten with rods (not just on the buttocks.) The Directors use girls in the Home and Junior Staff to restrain the girls so that they can keep accusations to a minimum. This hurts the girls’ ability to trust each other and deepens those feelings of isolation. Some girls experience deep, guilty feelings because of being made to do what they were told, holding other girls down and helping the Directors, but we all did what we did out of fear. We did what we had to do to survive. This place is truly a cult. We were all subjected to psychological abuse daily. The anxiety was just driven higher and higher every day. I saw girls beaten with whatever items were readily on hand, tackled, thrown into pools. I saw girls starve themselves for days in hopes that they'd be sent home. I saw girls pull off “Shawshank Redemption” worthy escapes. One slit her wrists. Another bit holes the diameter of pennies almost completely through her cheeks. I saw so many exhausted to the point of disassociation. One threw herself head first off a toilet in a 4x5 foot stall to try to kill herself, leaving a huge gash in her face. I saw a girl try to stab another girl with a fork for no explained reason – just to be sent somewhere else.  I saw a girl try to murder - literally MURDER - another girl just to go to jail rather than stay at New Beginnings. She stabbed her Buddy in the ear with a pencil and the stunned room full of girls tried to pull her off of the girl she was attempting to kill while she tried like hell to twist and shove the pencil deeper into her ear canal. I’ve heard Brother Mac say "n*gger" more than once. I’ve heard of secret sexual abuse. (Our survivor group is still waiting on statements from girls who have claimed that this happened to them at New Beginnings.) I was there when girls were taken off important medications because these people think they’re some kind of “experts,” when really they have no qualifications to speak of. To my knowledge, Bill McNamara didn’t even graduate high school and frequently talks about his sketchy past. One girl had major epilepsy and was taken off her medication and had a seizure (of course) in one of the bathroom stalls and was badly hurt. She looked like she’d been thrown into a sack and dragged behind a car. I saw a Helper slam a girl’s head through a wall, leaving a huge concave dent in the wall, and the Helper got patted on the back for her loyalty to God thereafter. I saw girls who were naturally white as sheets forced to lay out in the sun for 3+ hours a day every day until their skin split and bled. I’ve heard the Directors call girls “fat,” “heifer,” “faggot,” “monkey,” “retarded,” “slut,” “whore,” and the list goes on. Brother Mac came into the dorm a couple of different times in the middle of the night and accused girls of masturbating because he said he could - in his words - "smell it." Although we’ve tried to push for it, it’s next to impossible to get the Home thoroughly investigated because of the way they use the “private faith-based” loophole.

10.       Do you feel that you witnessed or experienced any discrimination because of race, faith, or any other characteristic or persuasion? If so, please explain.
            See answer to question number 9.

11.       What was your overall impression of The Home? Do you believe that it helped you?
            Not in the way that it was meant to. I learned how to survive through Hell, for what that’s worth. My inner strength depleted for a very long time. After I finally got out, I began to heal and now I believe that my potential is limitless, and I want to use it as much as possible to stop all this from happening to more children. These children are treated with less dignity than prisoners of war and people in the prison system. Their rights are completely overlooked. The United States needs some serious reformation when it comes to the troubled child industry. Changes have to be made. I was a citizen of the US and made to endure things I read about in books about the Holocaust. It sounds dramatic, but it’s not far-fetched. You’d have to have been there to understand, unfortunately, because these places aren’t adequately overseen or truly held accountable. Mind-control, thought-reform, brainwashing, scaremongering, and blatant abuse are all just part of the daily lives of children in these kinds of programs.

12.       What is your opinion of the quality of education you received while in The Home?
             I believe that it was poor. It may be effective for some people who use the curriculum, but not at the Home. They didn’t prioritize education. As it states on their website, their “first emphasis is each student’s spiritual needs.” That’s their first emphasis, along with hard, laborious work. They save money by working some of those children to the bone without compensation. It’s like slavery. Except some girls do it willingly just to break up the maddening routine. But there’s no doubt that they violate child labor laws, whether some of the girls want to go outside and breathe the fresh air between the tasks or not.

13.       How old are you now?
            25 (2011)

14.       What was it like being released into the “real world” after your time in The Home?
            I don’t feel like I really understood what had happened to me. I escaped a real-life cult. I began “deprogramming” about a year before I even left New Beginnings. I tried to leave many times, but partially due to the fact that I was unable to save money and partially due to the fact that they’d really convinced me that I had no one to run to on the outside, I had a very difficult time leaving. Once I left, I felt almost agoraphobic. A psychologist may have even classified me as such, but I wasn’t able to talk to anyone (not even a psychologist) about my experiences. It harmed my life a lot. It took me a long time to feel fully “myself” and productive and alive. I’ve been out for five years. I wish that I could get that time back, because I could have a degree in anything by now. I’ve always been intelligent enough to achieve anything I put my mind toward, but when you feel spatially disoriented, overwhelmed, and more anxious than you can even begin to explain any time you leave a “comfort zone,” it’s very difficult to achieve much. I felt like I’d been locked in a time capsule. I felt institutionalized. I didn’t even feel human for a very long time. Organizing things for our survivor group has helped me to cope and has rejuvenated a lot of my faith in myself. I’m able to apply my intellect, insight and creative energy toward this cause and that has helped me remember how tremendously energetic I can be. This year, I hope to go back to school to get a degree in writing, which has always been my greatest passion. There’s a part of me that is still (and perhaps always will be) hesitant and anxious, but I know myself and know that, once I get started with anything that I apply myself to, nothing is able to stop me. I’ve always pursued a great deal, intellectually, on my own.

15.       What is your current profession?
           As of 2011, I work at a restaurant, full-time+ hours a week to make ends meet. In addition to that, and I don’t get paid for this work, but I’m an avid researcher on the subject of unregulated homes. I try to provide as much information as possible to child advocacy sites and network like crazy to find opportunities to raise awareness about NBGA and places like it. In my free-time, I still write and paint. I’m also working on a memoir of my life with some focus on my time in New Beginnings. As much as I’ve told in this questionnaire, this is only a small fraction of the story. People need to know our stories.

16.       What affect did The Home have on your faith, if any?
            I’m very interested in science and various philosophies and theories as subjects. I respect people of all faiths, given that they are good-hearted people, and my interests extend respectfully to different cultures and beliefs. I’ve read the Bible through more than five times and have nothing against Christianity itself, but I think that certain sects of it can be very damaging to followers and those who come into contact with those followers. I’ve learned that first hand. (That is the only way that the Home has affected my faith: it showed me how dark things, which people automatically assume must be good, can be on the inside. It made me more aware that people   - all people, and certainly isolated groups - should be held accountable for their actions when it comes to dealing with children.) I've made up my own mind regarding my personal beliefs. The Home, even though they tried to control what I believed and how I thought, could not ultimately have any affect on that at all. I do know with certainty that the human soul can't be caged or suppressed. At least not forever.




HOLLY'S STORY


1. What is your name?
Holly Heatherly

2. Time spent (give dates to best of your ability) in The Home:
May 2000- July 2002

3. Which location?
Corpus Christi, TX. Devil’s Elbow, MO. Pace, FL.

4. What was The Home called when you were there/what name was the institution going by during the time of your stay? (i.e. Rebekah Home for Girls, New Beginnings Rebekah Academy, New Beginnings Girls Academy, New Beginnings Ministries. Multiple answers may be necessary.)
All of the above, as far as I can remember.

5. Who were the head directors at the time?
Bro. Bill and Jennifer McNamara. Bro. Wiley and Faye Cameron weren’t themselves “running” the home in Corpus Christi, but they definitely advised the McNamaras and the other families in charge of the other homes on the compound.

6. How old were you?
I was there from the age of 13 until I was 15.

7. Please describe reasons/circumstances for which you were sent to The Home: (i.e. trouble with the law, issues at home or school, etc.)
I was a confused little girl, to begin with. I was confused with who I was sexually, physically and emotionally from a young age. My mom (who was a bad alcoholic during the years after my parent’s divorce) had gotten her custody privileges revoked. I became very bitter that she made so many empty promises and, essentially, abandoned me in pursuit of her love for alcohol. My dad remarried when I was 6, and my stepmother and I had never been friendly. I felt like the whole world was against me. I acted out with words and actions. I never committed any crimes or ran away; I never even considered it. I never tried drugs or alcohol or ran with bad kids—I actually was an outcast without any real friends to speak of.
I wasn’t innocent, but I think, even now, that sending me to Texas (and everywhere else I was sent prior to and after Rebekah/NBGA) was an extreme measure. They tried to take me to therapists, counselors, anger management, psychiatrists and psychologists. Nothing seemed to "work." Prior to being sent to Rebekah/ NBGA, I was sent to West Sedona, AZ. I was expelled from there for not obeying the rules and not doing well in school. The school there was basically a live-in public school for kids with learning and behavioral disorders which was supervised by the equivalent of camp counselors. I had never been to a public school, always private, and didn’t know how to behave around them. They could pretty much talk me into anything, considering that I was only 12 and 13 when I was there, and hanging out with kids ages 12-18 on a daily basis, in and out of classes. I liked being there, but I didn’t know how to behave myself. When I came home, my parents locked me in my room for a week, maybe it was 2, with no entertainment of any sort besides puzzles. They brought me out of my room for breakfast (which I usually ate in my room) and told me I was going to be visiting a “nice Christian place” that had a swimming pool and exercise area. I love to swim, so I was hopeful about this place. My dad gave me a new jumper and shoes to wear on the plane ride the next day. I was excited because I thought that ANYTHING was better than being locked in my room! How wrong I was…

8. Please describe instances of abuse you EXPERIENCED at The Home, if any:
Bro. Mac was extremely verbally abusive. The helpers could be told to do anything he wanted them to do. I remember once in MO I was wrestled to the ground and my sweatshirt (that my mom had sent me from Montreal) was ripped off of me because I was wearing the blue sweatshirt with a black skirt, which was goth.
One time, while on a singing tour, another girl and I planned on running away. We were found out and beaten with curtain rods.
Anytime you were on “red shirt” or discipline, you could expect the regular abuse that came with it. Strenuous calisthenics after other girls had gone to bed and before they woke up, standing up with your nose against the wall or bed all day with short breaks (if they remembered to give them to you). Keeping your head down with no eye contact with anyone, sermons directed at you and your personal transgressions, doing ALL the laps, “minutes” (of wall sits or arm circles) that the other girls who had demerits had to do. We would have to put our arms in the air for any given amount of time and be given demerits for putting one down or resting. You could receive demerits without even realizing it. I remember girls who didn’t like me (or other girls) who were “helpers” writing me up for things I never did, just because they had been given the power.
If I (or any other girl) became sick, we were not sent to the doctor. We would go through the medicine line and be given Vitamin C or a Tylenol. If we came through too many “Med Calls” in a row, they would accuse you of trying to get out of work or Bible Memo, depending on what was going on at the time or accused of faking illness. No matter what, you had an "ulterior motive" for being sick.

9. Please describe instances of abuse you WITNESSED at The Home, if any.
I have seen Bro. Mac call girls “whores”, “bitches”, “reprobates”—just because they didn’t agree with him, so he would attack them during sermons and get in their faces. Go as far as to point them out and blame them for their families wrongdoings saying things like “You’re mother is a drug addicted prostitute because you had an abortion while you were living in SIN!!” What kind of a thing is that to lay on a child? I remember a girl being “Spanked” brutally in the bathroom of the dorm in MO. I have repressed a lot of things from the two years I was there. I assume that because I can’t remember many things from my time there clearly.

10. Do you feel that you witnessed or experienced any discrimination because of race, faith, or any other characteristic or persuasion? If so, please explain.
I feel that if Bro. Mac could find a crack in your personal fortress that he could use to “get to you”, he would. Whether it be your race, your FORMER beliefs (since you could only believe the way they do while there), or anything you had done prior to being there. He would make direct quotes from girls’ files, which was personal information. It never happened to me personally as I came into the home white, “Christian”, and had never been on the streets or anything like that. Bro. Mac would call us pigs if we got up for seconds at meal time, after offering them to you.

11. What was your overall impression of The Home? Do you believe that it helped you?
Thinking about that place and seeing pictures from there puts a knot in my stomach. I have dreams, to this day, that I am trapped there and can’t leave. I didn’t come to the home with any religious beliefs or convictions, but I did leave with some. I left with the conviction that God hated me. Or maybe there was no God. I honestly didn’t care either way, as long as I was out of there and away from those people. Nothing about that place is “love” or “compassion” or “understanding”. Its all about “penitence”, “humiliation”, and “power”.
Bro. Mac is a "former" criminal, as is his wife, from what he told us. He doesn’t care about the girls there, he cares about the money that is being sent or donated. I was taught nothing about life, how to be a “Christian” out in the real world, how to find a nice Christian man, etc. All I was taught was that I was bad before, and I would never be right with God unless I obeyed Bro. Mac and his wife with a smile (but not too much of a smile, or you were faking).
They monitored our phone calls. I remember one time I started to say something about being on “red shirt” and Ms. Mac cuts in and says to zip it or my phone call would be cut off. My dad didn’t hear her say that and was confused about why I switched subjects after a moment of silence.
Another time I began to talk about the discipline I had received and she cut off my phone call. I could hear my dad saying “Hello? Hello??” but he couldn’t hear me. I received licks and cried the rest of the night. They told my dad that I was being negative, and of course, he didn’t think anything of it, since that wasn’t anything new.
I think they used what your parents knew to be true of you against them. Parents don’t ask questions, they just assume that because they are paying these people, they must be honest, God-fearing, honest Christians…

12. What is your opinion of the quality of education you received while in The Home?
When I returned home, my credits weren’t recognized by my new school. The curriculum was set up so you taught, graded, and motivated yourself. The “monitors” were either other students who were in the upper level PACEs and had finished their work early or the ladies who worked in the home—NOT ACTUAL TEACHERS.

13. How old are you now?
I am 24 years old.

14. What was it like being released into the “real world” after your time in The Home?
Confusing. Socially awkward after not being able to look at or talk to other girls, and especially not boys. After New Beginnings, I attended two other “homes” that were similar to NBGA. I was there until my mom finally was able to speak with me at the age of 18 and pulled me out of there. About 6 years of confusion and not having an identity or say in what happened to me left me mentally exhausted and bitter. I have a hard time forming relationships and accepting that everyone I know grew up with at least one parent, had friends in high school, went to the Prom, etc.
I want to share stories from my life, but have none worth sharing before 18 years of age. No one wants to hear about being beaten up for no reason in one of the homes, or hiding a package of crackers in a hole in the ground because I was being fed a small bowl of watered down chicken noodle soup and 4 saltines (in another home). I have told a few people stories that I carry from those years, I get mixed reactions, but it isn’t a light thing to lay on people, so I can’t blame them.
After coming to live with my mom, I had to adjust to things that people don’t really comprehend. Like being able to use EIGHT sheets of toilet paper, if I felt like it. Going to the refrigerator for a snack (which is STILL kind of weird to me!), looking someone in the eye when I talk to them (because we always had to look down and rarely talked to people), regular social skills (responding to pressure, having casual conversations, time management), or learning what love really means.

15. What is your current profession?
I am a “salesperson” at Arby’s and in training to become a Medical Assistant

16. What affect did The Home have on your faith, if any?
I have no faith. I live every day for myself. I tried to live for God while there, but could not seem to do enough to “make God smile down on me”. As far as Bro. Mac was concerned, you weren’t wholly right with God until you had committed your life in service to him and the homes. While I was in the different homes, I was exposed to a lot of hellfire and brimstone preaching. I wasn’t allowed to explore my own faith or feelings, because I was being molded into what they wanted. The complete lack of freedom in faith only made me buck against it more. They made “faith” revolting to me.