My dear friend Coral Theill’s life on the east coast has become physically and financially untenable, and she needs our help to transition to a safer life on the west coast. Coral is fully disabled and has lived below the poverty level for the last 20 years.
The fundraiser will assist her with moving costs and food as well as temporary housing until she can move into a small apartment.
Coral has been living on the east coast for the past 16 years where she been a volunteer and advocate for our wounded warriors as well as a contributing writer for Leatherneck Magazine, “Short Rations for Marines,” and “RECLAMATION: A Survivor’s Anthology.”
Coral also sells her beeswax candles and keepsakes at art shows and farmer’s markets. www.coralanikatheill.com/candles
But Coral is not as young as she once was. It’s difficult for her to stand in parking lots in the heat and cold for long hours. Meanwhile, increasingly inhospitable east coast winters rob her of her meager income during the winter months.
Coral’s move will allow her to continue her volunteer work with trauma survivors and wounded warriors. The milder climate will help Coral recover her physical health and will allow her small business to continue producing vital revenue during the winter months.
I met Coral in September of 2020 while she was working fervently to derail Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. Coral was expressing publicly and passionately the abuse she’d endured at the hand of the People of Praise cult. She was sounding the alarm that Barrett had been a prominent member of the same organization. *Coral Anika Theill's LETTER TO THE SENATE & JUDICIARY COMMITTEE https://www.coralanikatheill.com/single-post/coral-anika-theill-s-letter-to-the-senate-judiciary-committee-judge-amy-coney-barrett
Coral’s experiences at the hands of her tormentors, including members of the People of Praise, are heinous enough to disturb even the most seasoned social worker. The atrocities include serial rape, kidnapping, domestic assault, involuntary servitude, ritual humiliation, denial of medical care, financial exploitation, social ostracism, psychological torture, and disinheritance.
For Coral, all of that immeasurable suffering pales in comparison to the agony she has endured as a result of her court-mandated separation and emotional alienation from her eight children.
Coral finally escaped that tortuous nightmare in 1996. But her audacity to reach for freedom came at great cost. Coral’s ex-husband, his family and supporters worked collectively to financially and socially isolate her, demolishing her life so thoroughly that Coral legally changed her name, and entered an address protection program for safety.
During her 20-year abusive marriage, Coral was not allowed to work outside of the home before her desperate escape, and when she did break free, she found herself utterly alone and penniless, with few marketable skills. The torture had finally come to an end, but left in its wake a legacy of physical, psychological, and financial trauma.
There is no language sufficient to express the extent of the physical and psychological suffering Coral has endured in the name of religion. The only thing that’s more shocking than Coral’s experience is that she survived it.
I was drawn to Coral's story with both fascination and outrage. I was grateful and humbled when she accepted our invitation to appear as a guest on our show, The Radical Secular Podcast. We found her to be unbroken, unbowed, and unapologetic. She shared her story with courage and conviction and each grotesque new revelation pushed our jaws ever closer to the floor.
My interview with Coral titled, Raped for God: The People of Praise, aired on February 15, 2021. https://www.coralanikatheill.com/single-post/interview-raped-for-god-patriarchy-the-people-of-praise-secular-radical-podcast
We launched The Radical Secular Podcast in part to explore and expose the sorts of destructive hierarchies which animate Coral’s story. Our conversations with Coral have hardened our resolve to sound the alarm about creeping theocracy, and they have reminded us to count our comparative blessings.
The frightening implications of Christian fundamentalism’s infiltration of the highest court in the land motivated Coral to publish this new 2021 edition of her memoir, BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark https://www.amazon.com/Bonshe%C3%A1-Making-Coral-Anika-Theill/dp/1475981813/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Every person who begins reading this defiant chronicle of Coral’s experience under the lash of Christian fundamentalism will emerge deeply concerned for the future of justice, equality, and freedom, including religious freedom, under the United States Constitution.
Against all odds, Coral has built a life for herself, and she’s rebuilt her identity into the courageous, wise, empathetic woman whom I’m proud to call my dear friend.
But the systems of theocracy and patriarchy that enslaved Coral for so long have taken their bitter toll. Coral is barely able to keep her head above water financially, and has many times found herself living out of her car during freezing winters. Trump era policies which target and punish the poor have further taxed Coral’s meager resources.
We often ask ourselves what we can do to help those in need. We watch events unfold in our social media feeds and we lament that there’s nothing we can do to make a difference.
Here’s our chance. Here’s our chance to directly improve the life of a wonderful, courageous woman who’s been abused in unspeakable ways by the systems of patriarchy and theocracy we all oppose.
Please join me in supporting Coral in this next chapter of her incredible life.
Christophe Difo, J.D.
Read more about Coral's life: www.coralanikatheill.com
Coral’s published works address abuse and trauma recovery and most recently, wounded Marines and Montford Point Marines. Her writings have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines and service members recovering from PTS and TBI. Coral’s positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, professors and authors.
"I choose to not participate in the silence that protects perpetrators and isolates survivors." - Coral Anika Theill, BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark