Another neighbor reports on Amish life

A comment by Socio-gen, something something…

I grew up in northeastern PA in an area that had a small Amish population (about 80 families — or 18-ish depending on whether one counted households or kin relationships). My experience was pretty similar to yours [isavaldyr’s].

Most of the families were dairy farmers, with the poorer men working “outside” jobs in construction. The wives and daughters often ran roadside vegetable and baked good stands, in addition to all the housekeeping and child-rearing — all made more difficult and labor-intensive by their refusal to use modern technology. Few Amish women had any schooling past the 6th grade.

The amount of abuse that Amish women and girls experienced (then and now), and the degree to which it’s simply accepted by everyone in the Amish community as an expected, normal, day-to-day experience is sickening.

Trigger Warning for a description of abuse: I still remember seeing the girl who sold baked goods on the corner being whipped by her father (with a buggy whip) for failing to sell as much as he’d expected. I was crying and begging my grandmother to stop the car and help. . . I was only 7 or 8 and didn’t understand any of her explanation of why we couldn’t interfere. Someone is being hurt, what do you mean we can’t do anything?! I’m still brought to tears by that memory and the sick sense of horror and utter helplessness. And I remember how disillusioned I was, realizing that adults could not be counted on to act to protect someone in danger.

From that day on, my grandmother would go to the stand on Saturday evenings and buy whatever was left so that Dora would not be hurt. It was the only form of protection she could offer (and which Dora would accept).

What Amish life is really like, by an eyewitness

A comment by isavaldyr on Big Amish Brother. Life among the Amish.

I grew up in a very rural part of Ohio less than a mile from some Amish families. My parents, who were (and are) avid gardeners, had dealings with them related to seeds, produce and simple woodcraft–stakes for tomato plants, things like that. It’s not uncommon for the Amish to have small businesses. Sawmills (only gas-powered machines of course–being connected to an electrical grid is too worldly) and things like that. Less entrepreneurial Amish men often fall into the same niche that Mexican illegal immigrants do in many other places, providing cheap labor for things like home renovations, since Amish will work for less than an “English” roofer or sider and won’t sue you if they get hurt on the job. [Read more…]

Big Amish Brother

Have you seen “Breaking Amish”? It’s pretty fascinating – in how horrible the Amish life is.

It’s not just in all the deprivation (no school past 8th grade for you!) and rules (as one rebel says, “you can wear this but not that…”) – it’s the revolting coldness of “shunning.” If you step out, you’re done. You can never go home, you can never see your family again. Period.

And then there’s the surveillance – there’s the dreaded bishop’s wife, always watching and reporting. There’s the dreaded bishop, who can throw you out for any infraction. [Read more…]

Forgive but prosecute

From Janet Heimlich’s Religious Child Maltreatment website, a post about the abuse of forgiveness.

But the practice of forgiveness can be abused, and nowhere is this more apparent than in cases of religious child maltreatment. All too often, pious adults who learn that a child has been abused fail to do the right thing. That is, instead of reporting the incident or getting the victim counseling, they urge the child to forgive the perpetrator. [Read more…]