Oprah Does it Again!

Bless her heart, the Oprah Show on May 26, 2010 again opened up stuff on sexual violence that we wish we could keep our heads in the ground about.  Denial feels good for a time, but the price is outrageous.  Literally.  Medical and social service costs are highly affected by keeping these secrets.  Oprah is courageous and regularly brings sexual violence topics on her show.  So, on May 26, a few days ago, was the story of Jeanne, Amy, Nikki, and Desiree.  These four women share a dark secret and were courageous enough to step out of the shadows of shame and secrecy to start going public. 

At first glance these women don’t seem to have a lot in common.  From Oprah’s website: “Jeanne is a 31-year-old hotel clerk, and Amy is a 26-year-old working mom.  Desiree is an 18-year-old working mom.  Desiree is an 18-year-old who dreams of becoming an FBI agent, and Nikki is a 26-year-old bartender.  Despite their differences, these women are bonded by the horrors they say they have experienced as children.”  They were all born into the same cult; Tony Alamo Christian Ministry (really a cult).  “In the 1980’s, Alamo, a self-proclaimed prophet of God, had thousands of devoted followers in the United States…”  These followers included the four women Oprah had on her show. 

‘ “Ex-followers say that by the late 1990’s Alamo was living in this sprawling compund with more than a dozen women, some of whom he called his “spiritual wives.” ‘  However, these four women were just  girls when they were forced to say their vows. 

“Jeanne ways that when she was 15 years old Alamo, who was 59 years old and her pastor at the time, forced her to become  his spiritual wife and have sex with him…and to submit to his sexual desires.”  As much as I admire the exposure Oprah brings to sexual violence issues, I have repeatedly noticed that rape is call sex.  These girls were raped, not forced to have sex.  Sex is not sex if it is forced, no matter how old one is, married, no matter what.  If it is forced, it is not sex.  This confusion in our language is common.  We need to start calling the kettle black however.  These girls were raped and abused, they did not have sex. 

Desiree says she was only eight when she was made a spiritual wife.  And, again, the website says she was forced to have sex with him.  Again, it was rape, not sex.  Forced sex is an oxymoron

“Nikki says she was 15 years old when she realized Alamo planned to make her his next “wife.”  Nikki escaped the compound and fled before Alamo had the chance to act. ”  The other three women lived as this man’s wives for years.  They endured being raped all this time before they found a way to escape. 

In July 2009 these brave women testified in court against this rapist.  “A jury found Alamo guilty of transporting minors across state lines with the intent to have sex.”  Correctly said, he was guilty of transporting minors across state lines with the intent to rape and abuse them.

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