I'm deeply honored and am excited that Becca's Tea Blog decided to repost the recent item that I wrote for Spiritual Sounding Board (SSB) concerning Lourdes Torres-Manteufel. It explains the Second Generation Adult (SGA) phenomenon within high demand groups and families, especially the constraints that SGAs face when exiting high pressure situations. There has been little written about it among former followers of the Quiverfull/Patriarchy Movement, though the community knows much of the constraints and limitations. They also face the friction that they encounter when relating to those who were or still are part of the first generation followers.
I am thrilled to see this aspect of understanding “totalist” groups discussed, all in the hope that it will help people feel validated and will aid in their recovery from the trauma of growing up as an SGA.
I found Becca Irene's post to be much like holding up what I'd written in a mirror. I offer for you the reflection that she wrote in her summary of the making of the SGA. And thanks to Julie Anne Smith for featuring the series of posts at SSB. May all of these messages travel far and wide to bind up the wounded and set at liberty those who are so bruised.
From Becca's Tea Blog's reflection of Lourdes, Lifeboats and Bounded Choice: Part III (Growing Up in a Totalist Institution) ~~ The original appears HERE at SSB:
This excellent post by Cindy K explains how Second Generation Adults (SGAs) in ‘total institutions’ (such as the Christian homeschooling movement) do not have a ‘Realistic Right of Exit’. SGAs do not have the opportunity to experience the psychological, educational, and social development necessary to thrive in the outside world.
I find this concept – SGAs not having a ‘realistic right of exit’ – fascinating because it is something both SGAs and their perpetrators can, and do, agree with.
SGAs know how challenging it is to survive outside the ‘total institution’ – for many it is in fact impossible and literally their only opportunity for survival is to stay within the abusive community.
The perpetrators, however – (Christian) homeschool leaders, homeschool convention speakers, homeschool support groups, homeschool pastors, and even homeschool parents, openly discuss how essential it is to condition SGAs one has power over (i.e. daughters, sons) to not leave the movement, and to not permit SGAs to develop skills that could lead to ‘independence’ (another word they openly despise).
When a ‘Quivering Daughter’ / SGA leaves the fundamentalist movement, she is a victim of severe, long term trauma. But our culture has failed to provide a social safety net for these survivors, who are not yet officially recognized as survivors of domestic abuse or human trafficking, and whose perpetrators are rarely even prosecuted, let alone convicted, of any crime. And yet, not only did their perpetrators remove the SGA’s realistic right of exit *in effect*, they also did so knowingly, purposely, and with intent.
As we continue to raise awareness of the SGA homeschooler problem, it is my hope that access to social and legal resources will be opened to survivors.
(It's my hope, too! Thank you, Becca!)
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[In reference to patriarchal groups and the difficulties that women face, Mytton states] "One writer called it the “realistic right of exits.” When we leave, we actually don't have what we need to survive outside. And yet when we leave, we should have the right – the right to choose to leave. Either choosing to leave the religion or choosing to leave the culture. Or if they're entwined, you're leaving both."