Seventy-Eight year old Mattie R. James was nicknamed Lollipop by her father as a child since she was his feisty, tiny sweetheart. Growing up as an only child, Lollipop always dreamed of having many children and grandchildren. She grew up and graduated from college as a nurse before marrying and having four children. In 1971, she unwittingly joined what's termed as a "High Control" group at age 30 along with the rest of her family. The High Control group convinced Lollipop and her husband that the end of the world would come in 1975. During the next 48 years with two more children and several grandchildren, Lollipop came to see the devastating effects of the groups policies on the most vulnerable among them. Her husband became abusive as he attained more power in the group that had kept secret the rules by which the men govern their congregations and women. After the spousal abuse progressed, Lollipop separated from her husband at 66, moved in with her daughter who also left the High Control group and was finalizing a divorce when her husband had a hemorrhagic stroke. Lollipop halted the divorce and took her husband in where she lived with her daughter to nurse him back to health over the next 3 years. He had to learn to walk, talk, feed himself and perform daily activities. When he had recovered, their children in the High Control group reminded him of their shunning rules against people who left the organization. Shortly thereafter, the abusive behavior resumed which lead to him moving in with his children who remained in the High Control Group. Her husband continued to pay Lollipop a partial amount of what she would have received in a divorce as a condition of their separation. At age 75, she learned of the global, pervasive child sex abuse in the High Control group after viewing the hearing at the Australian Royal Commission on Child Sex Abuse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ9DqHB5dUA.In and shared the information with her children in the High Control group. In this particular High Control group, there is punishment if one listens to reports on the organization from sources outside of the group. What happened next is the shunning from many of Lollipop's adult children and grandchildren when she got the courage to leave the group. Shunning generally brings on depression, self criticism, a sense of deep loss, failure and feelings of being stuck for the person being shunned. Later, Lollipop fell physically ill and missed the children and grandchildren who treated her as if she had died, which are the shunning rules of the High Control group. They offered her respite in a visit to heal and give her daughter/caretaker a break. Tragically, while she was visiting, they decided to keep her against her will and force her to return to the abusive husband and coercive group. By grace and inner strength, Lollipop escaped and survived even after they cut off what small income she had coming from the abusive husband. The goal in cutting her income was to put her in a position so the daughter caring for her would become overwhelmed with medical bills and fall destitute. After a difficult recovery, Lollipop has dedicated her life to help others survivors who leave High Control groups. She believes no one should be forced or coerced into High Control groups by the traumatic experience of shunning, withholding income/resources or through emotional abuse. We have named this effort after her-The Lollipop Initiative.
According to Dr. Marlene Winell, " Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is a function of both the chronic abuses of harmful High Control groups and the impact of severing one’s connection with one’s faith and faith community. It can be compared to a combination of PTSD and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD). The trauma of breaking away from this kind of High Control group, especially after sex abuse can be long-lasting and crippling for victims.
Many are cast off from their families, faith, and social circles; they experience homelessness, hunger, educational
challenges and difficulty with career placement.
The end result is a mass amount of sex abuse survivors that can no longer function well in society. They struggle with
psychological difficulties, physiological issues, and basic needs of daily living. Suicide rates are extremely high among
this population that has seemingly been forgotten until now. Now is the time to not only acknowledge these abuse
victims, but to actively support them by equipping them with the skills and resources necessary to implement these life
We offer help to victims and their loved ones with as many counseling sessions are necessary with no need of providing
proof of financial hardship or proof of sexual abuse. The results have been incredible. We have prevented suicides, enabled release from abusive spouses, helped individuals remain sober and avoid drugs abuse, regain custody of their
children and cope with the traumatic effects of shunning. We have empowered men and women to speak their truth, report their abuse and prevented sexual predators
from working with vulnerable populations. Best of all, people are living happy productive lives as husbands, wives,
fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, students and professionals.
Leaving a High Control group can be both emotionally and physically draining. A characteristic of a High Control group is to enact consequences when you leave. Often times, this comes in the form of cutting off resources or shunning, like Lollipop's story above. This can leave teenagers, the elderly and single mothers homeless, jobless and and hungry. DCMO helps these survivors jump start a new life with our 3-day, 2-night Kaleidoscope Empowerment/Survival Retreat. Simultaneously, we identify the resources in your community to help you survive and then flourish. We are orchestrating a collaborative so all needs can be met for the survivors and their families.
If you are in need of assistance or would like to learn more, hit the button below. Some are stable after leaving High Control groups and would like to assist others. In that case, please register to volunteer. For those who want to help but don't have the time, please just hit the donate button and give.
#Warpaintcampaign. Many exiting High Control groups have experienced sex abuse and shunning for leaving the group. Fighting For Me, a member of this collaborative, provides free counseling to victims of sex abuse in the United States.
California based Fighting For Me, Inc. and Stop Child Abuse Advocates for Reform and Safety (SCAARS) in collaboration with Don’t Count Me Out, Inc. and supportive service
providers offer long term support to men, women and children who have suffered as a result of exiting High Control
groups. The Collaborative offers counseling services and referrals to vetted agencies for financial, employment,
education, transportation, health and wellness, childcare, parenting, skill development, benefits, relief, material
support and legal support. SCAARS more specifically lobbies for victims of child sex abuse in High Control groups.
As a sexual abuse survivor myself who suffered years of molestation at the hands of my Jehovah
Witness father, I am uniquely qualified to help other survivors. My father and I both reported his
abuse me to our congregation elders for five years and not one of the church authorities reported it
to the police. The results were devastating. My father went on to drug me and rape me
My pain now has a purpose. I founded the nationwide non-profit organization Fighting For Me,
Inc. in 2012 to offer men, women and children affected by sexual abuse free professional
Professional counseling is essential to help people move past their past but they also need help in all areas of their life.
We cannot as a nation expect a child or adult who has suffered this great trauma to be able to pick up all the pieces of
themselves and live productive lives without helping them heal and move forward.
Amanda Zarate, Executive Director of Fighting for Me (middle)
SCAARS is a non-profit corporation, 501C-4, which seeks to improve the laws pertaining to child abuse, mandatory reporting, the applicable statutes of limitations, as well as court outcomes in the judicial process.
SCAARS is the result of determined individuals who have dedicated their time to reforming policies which place children in danger. Whether due to High Control group indoctrination or institutional policies which endanger children, our goal is to make our world a safer place for children. DCMO and Fighting For Me partner with SCAARS to ensure the survivors of High Control groups get the supportive services they and their families need to survive. Contact SCAARS at scaars.org
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