Testimony: at 16, she fled her family member of Jehovah's Witnesses to build a new life
The story of Pamela Perdegas sends shivers down your spine. It is that of a child raised by parents who are Jehovah's Witnesses. She lived her childhood as a prisoner in a world where physical and psychological violence was part of everyday life. In her biographical account, Save My Skin, she recounts her nightmare until she decides to run away and start over.< /strong>
Too little is known about Jehovah's Witnesses, presumably because they are an ultraconservative group whose doors remain closed.
For the most part, we have already heard of them, because they have already come knocking on our door one Sunday morning and read us an introductory verse from the Bible, accompanied by their children, with the aim of indoctrinate us.
In her book, Pamela Perdegas lifts the veil on a whole section of the universe of Jehovah's Witnesses, those who venerate one God, who is called Jehovah, and who await the end of the world for over 100 years.
“Door-to-door is what I hated the most,” recalls Pamela, having to follow her parents since she was a baby.
Growing up, it had become more embarrassing, especially since one day she bumped into a classmate who obviously didn't know she was a Jehovah's Witness.
- < strong>Listen to the interview with Pamela Perdegas on the Sophie Durocher show broadcast via QUB radio:
“I wanted to keep it a secret, as I didn't agree, but I had to and my whole family's life revolved around it,” says Pamela, now in her mid-twenties. p>
The embarrassment quickly mixed with the shame, even if it had nothing to do with it. Fortunately, she could console herself, because her mother bought her the best clothes.
“We were always well dressed for these events, both door-to-door and meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses she says.
Door-to-door was added to the life that was different from that of others, where she grew up, on the North Shore of Montreal.
“We couldn't celebrate Christmas like other families, or even birthdays,” she says.
It was around the age of seven that she realized that her life was different from other at school, not having the right to a birthday cake. He was also forbidden from watching Harry Potter movies or drawing pumpkins on Halloween because it is associated with witchcraft.
As a teenager, it is impossible to date boys. “I had to do it on the sly and always lie to my parents to see my boyfriend,” she adds. Even her cousin who was her confidante betrayed her.
Victim of violence
In addition to the differences, the deprivations of going out and the ban on use the Internet, Pamela suffered physical abuse from her father.
“My father beat me with a spoon and whipped me with a leather belt,” she laments, adding that she often thought of protecting herself by putting toilet paper under her pants to lessen the blows, anticipating punishments.
“It happened every time you didn't respect something that was forbidden, like seeing a boy. You can only do that if you're considering marriage, but at 14 I didn't want to think about it. »
Abuse, taboos, but also her science teacher who undid her forever inculcated theory on Adam and Eve, Pamela then wanted to rebel and flee her family.
Without money or phone, she will learn to flee thanks to the help of the DPJ, at the age of 16.
Her backpack was ready and hidden in her room with a coin to telephone her contact at the DPJ, since a public telephone.
The journey will not be easy, life in a host family is not pleasant, there will be more than one, and at 18 , she will flee her foster family.
There will also be a very difficult hearing in court. “My father twisted the truth to the judge,” she says.
Now at 27, Pamela has a stable life away from Jehovah's Witnesses. She has no regrets and has built a new life for herself, although she would like to make peace with her parents and family, who no longer speak to her.
She has a good working in sales and living with her husband while building plans for the future.
She hopes her story will serve as a reference to inspire others struggling with similar issues.< /p>
Cover of the book “Save My Skin, Lose Everything To Escape Jehovah's Witnesses” by Pamela Perdegas
Save My Skin: Lose everything to escape from Jehovah's Witnesses