Almost exactly a year ago ABC News reported that Flora Jessop had managed to rescue her sister Ruby and Ruby’s six children from Colorado City and the FLDS. The linked report is annoying because it autoplays, but it’s worth it for the content.
It’s all there, just as it is in the Learning Channel episode, right down to the intimidation by theocops in grey SUVs.
Flora Jessop had been trying to get Ruby Jessop out for twelve years. The Arizona Attorney General stands in front of the cameras and says that women are held hostage by the FLDS.
If you have a copy of Under the Banner of Heaven handy, check out pp 49-50. Krakauer describes the nightmare situation of Ruby Jessop and Flora Jessop’s attempts to rescue her. The publication date on the book is 2003. Two thousand fucking three – eleven years ago.
The way Krakauer segues into Ruby’s case is via Elizabeth Smart, and his point is that both of them were kidnapped and imprisoned by a Mormon Fundamentalist man.
Jessop in extremely relieved that Elizabeth Smart was discovered alive and thinks the outpouring of support Elizabeth has received is wonderful. But in Jessop’s view it underscores the disturbing absence of support for another young victim of polygamy – her sister, Ruby Jessop – whose predicament she first brought to the attention of government officials more than a year before Elizabeth was abducted.
Ruby was fourteen years old when she was observed innocently kissing a boy she fancied in Colorado City, For this unforgivable sin she was immediately forced to marry an older member of her extended family, whom she despised, in a fundamentalist ceremony presided over by Warren Jeffs. Like Elizabeth, Ruby was raped immediately after the wedding ceremony – so brutally that she spent her “wedding night” hemorrhaging copious amounts of blood. [Under the Banner of Heaven pp 49-50]
And there she was held, against her will, for twelve years.
From the ABC report:
Until recently, Flora Jessop said she didn’t know if she would ever see her sister again.
Ruby Jessop was forced into an arranged marriage with her step-brother when she was 14 years old, according to her sister and the Arizona attorney general.
“Twelve years ago, I got a call from my sister who has 14 years old and had been placed in an arranged marriage,” Flora Jessop told ABCNews.com. “She had managed to get away and I gave her a promise that I would do everything I could to keep her safe. Then, before I could get to her and get her help, she disappeared and was taken back into the group.”
Jessop, now 26, managed to flee from a radical faction of the Mormon church called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as FLDS, earlier this month. She was then able to gain temporary custody of her six children, who range from 2 to 10 years old.
Our own little Taliban.
The attorney general’s office has not provided details on how Jessop escaped or got temporary custody of her children, but said the escape was aided by $420,000 Horne made available. He said the money went towards more deputies working in Colorado City, an FLDS stronghold. The deputies were “instrumental” in helping Jessop and her children leave safely, Horne said.
Horne emphasized the need for more funding at a news conference, saying that the current funds will run out in six months.
That partially answers the questions we were asking the other day about why Flora Jessop has to do all this rescue work on her own.
“Ruby is one of thousands that have been trapped and abused and held under the regime of Warren Jeffs and she is just so happy to be out and her children are excited and able to go to a school for the first time,” Flora Jessop said. “To watch them play with toys and learn to become children has just been amazing.”
That’s not Afghanistan, it’s not Somalia, it’s not the Swat Valley. It’s Arizona, USA.