Outside Sect, Life is Tough

Free from polygamous compounds, escaped women often turn to drugs and alcohol
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2008 6:00 PM CDT
Sporting long prairie-style dresses, girls play separately from the boys at a private school in Hildale, Utah.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
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(Newser) – Even for those women who escape the forced marriages and controlling patriarchy of polygamous sects like the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, life isn’t easy. Many turn to drugs and alcohol to escape the mental burden, CNN reports. And some never leave because they’re programmed to think “it's not only physically dangerous … you're also risking your soul.”

One escapee and experienced rescuer put it this way: “When you're held down and can't have any freedoms, they go the opposite way when they get out: drinking, drugs, sex. They're going to hell anyway; they just jump headfirst in." For some, the risk is worth it. “The pain got so bad in heaven,” one said, “that I was willing to damn myself to hell to escape it." (Read more FLDS stories.)