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‘My earliest memory of being molested was when I was 4 years old. It was Sunday school’

They were terrorized, trapped and even sexually abused. Now, these former members of independent fundamental Baptist churches share how their experiences will affect the rest of their lives.

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Spirit of Fear

For decades, women and children have faced sexual abuse while worshiping at independent fundamental Baptist churches around the country. The network of churches and schools has often covered up the crimes and helped relocate the offenders.


Former independent fundamental Baptist church member Brianna Kenyon says a church member who started out being a father figure began to sexually abuse her. "He basically controlled everything I did," she says.

Former Independent Fundamental Baptist church member Jennifer Waggoner tells her story of being molested at age 4 and how she used to think it was normal.

Former IFB church member Ashley Easter recalls how the church was very cult-like and put her through an exorcism, an intense "will-breaking session" and multiple extreme patriarchal teachings.

Former independent fundamental Baptist church member Michelle Myers tells sex abuse survivors, "Reach out. You are not alone."

Ex-Independent Fundamental Baptist church member Denise Kodi recalls how the victim-blaming of sexual abuse survivors was prominent and widespread.

Former IFB church member Casie McCartha gives her self testimonial of sexual abuse she experienced when she was in the 9th grade.

Audrey Burget, who grew up the daughter of independent fundamental Baptist missionaries in Puerto Rico , tells her story. She says she struggles with self-esteem issues and battles anxiety even today.

Former independent fundamental Baptist church member Katy Hardy tells her story of being sexually molested by the father of the foster family she went to live with in 1978.

Former IFB church member Dawn Price says she was being groomed for molestation from the day she was adopted. "I was just 5 years old looking for someone to love me," she says.

Stuart Hardy was actively involved in the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement for the better part of 25 years. He says one of the church's biggest problems is a lack of accountability.

Former IFB church member Joy Evans Ryder discusses how the charismatic personalities of church leaders make it easier for them to prey on their victims.

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