'Stolen Innocence': Story of a teenage bride - Los Angeles Times
She left the FLDS at age eighteen and she currently resides with her two children and her husband, Lamont. I can still smell the Dutch-oven roast on the table the night Dad announced we were getting a new mother. Even though there were already two mothers in our house, receiving a third was cause for celebration. I was nine years old and a little bit confused, but mostly I was excited because everyone else at the dinner table was acting so happy for our father.
It didn't seem at all unusual that we would have a third mother—or that our family would continue to grow. Sure, our home already had two mothers and almost a dozen kids, but many of the children I knew had far more than that in their families. It seemed to make sense that we would get another mother. It was just that time.
For one thing, we weren't supposed to play with other kids in the neighborhood, and we usually kept the curtains in the house drawn to protect our privacy and the secret life we led. Unlike most of the neighborhoodkids, we didn't get on the yellow school buses and go to public schools.
Instead, we went to a special place, Alta Academy—a huge, unassuming white brick house that had been converted into a school for members of the FLDS. We also dressed differently from everyone else, wearing long church undergarments that covered our entire body and stretched from the neck to the ankles and the wrists. On top of these, the girls and women wore frilly long pioneer-style dresses year-round, which made it hard to play in the backyard and even harder to stay comfortable in the summer heat.
Whereas most kids would go out in shorts and a T-shirt, we didn't own either, and even if we did, we would not have been allowed to wear them.
At the time, I didn't really know why everything had to be so different; all I knew was that I had to "keep sweet" and not complain. We were God's chosen people—and when Judgment Day came, we would be the only ones allowed into heaven. Judgment Day was known to the FLDS people as the day the destruction of the Lord would sweep across the earth, bringing fire, storms, and death in its wake. The wicked would all be destroyed and when it seemed like none would survive, the Lord would lift the worthiest people—us—off the earth while the devastation passed beneath us.
Then we would be set back down and would build Zion, a place without sadness or pain. We would reside there with God and enjoy a thousand years of peace. For him, and indeed for our whole family, receiving a third wife was a major blessing and an important milestone on the long road to eternal salvation. The idea of having more than one wife had become an integral part of the Mormon religion after Joseph Smith founded it in , but the Mormon Church officially abandoned the practice of polygamy in , in part, so that Utah could gain statehood. Still, some of its members continued to practice in secret at the risk of being excommunicated.
By , some of the men who'd been expelled from the Mormon Church formed their own breakaway sect, first known as "The Work" and decades later as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They viewed plural marriage as a central tenet—and the only way to attain eternal salvation. One of its central teachings is the idea of celestial marriage, in which a man must have a minimum of three wives to gain admittance to the highest of the three levels of heaven.
That Dad was getting a third wife meant that he had begun to secure a place in the Celestial Kingdom for himself and his family. Eleven of Dad's twenty-two children were still living at our home in Salt Lake City, Utah, when he broke the news that Saturday evening in October Many of my older siblings were married and had moved out to start lives of their own.
Behind these images are real, vulnerable kids who are sexually victimized and victimized further through the distribution of their images. Child pornography is defined in three stages: production, distribution and downloading of abusive material. All aspects of the creation and use of child pornography are criminal.
Commercial child pornography, when users pay to have access to or to be able to download abusive material, is one of the fastest growing Internet crimes with an estimated annual revenue of 3 billion dollars. Two trends have emerged in online child sexual exploitation in recent years: firstly, the increasing prevalence of home-produced abusive material as well as live video streaming of children being forced to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam. This rapidly growing new form of child pornography allows the user to direct and make online requests for particular sexual activities to be carried out on the victim in real time.
Secondly, predators are taking sophisticated security measures to share files directly between users instead of downloading them from a website. P2P is most frequently used for sharing images of very young children or of images portraying violence against children. Child pornography and online exploitation of children is a transnational organized crime. The Philippines and Mexico are ranked as the top source countries producing and distributing child pornography, but it is a crime that is sourced, produced and procured the world over.
An online child sex ring that was broken this month managed a network involving roughly child victims in 39 US states and five countries. Most were boys between the ages of 13 and United Nations and the U.
Federal Bureau of Investigation estimate that there are , predators across the globe connected to the Internet at any given moment. As with all transnational organized crimes, there are a number of challenges to combating online child exploitation, and the framework of the responses differs depending on whether it is a commercial or non-commercial transaction. The first and predominate challenge is one which is true to all cybercrimes : to penetrate through the layers of identity protection to identify the true perpetrators.
The Internet remains an under-regulated zone. There is a paucity legislation which specifies the obligations of Internet Service Providers ISP such as the use of proxy servers and payment sites that do not maintain transaction records. The second is targeting leveraging international cooperation mechanisms to obtain information on groups operating outside of a specific national jurisdiction. This is further exacerbated by the fact that many countries have insufficient or legislation to efficiently combat child pornography, which plays in the hands of criminal groups.