In 2005 my wife and I fled the compound where we had worked for Scientology for many years. After getting out and starting our lives over, we realized that what went on there was not only wrong but that no one was doing anything effective to expose and stop it.
While we were exhilarated to finally be free, and excited to start our lives over with nothing, we also felt a moral obligation to do something about the abuses we knew were being committed on a daily basis behind Scientology's glossy façade.
In 2006 I (Marc) started posting what I knew on the Internet and exposing the real story of what was going on behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology. Very few people were speaking out against Scientology at the time. Those who were speaking out were being heavily harassed by Scientology and their private investigators, as were we. Regardless of the harassment, I continued to speak out and expose anything that I thought would help end the abuses.
We felt we were alone at first, in all honesty we often felt quite like a Target commercial, with a big red bullseye painted on our rear ends waving in the wind. It has not been an easy road, and there were many times we had regrets, concern for our personal safety and that of our family, and where we wondered if we had made the right choice. But so many people have since stood up and added their voices to ours. It has been an incredibly liberating experience, a form of therapy in and of itself, and the moral support we received has been beyond words. To see organizations and groups form, Anonymous, independents, ex Scientologists, you name it, all of whom added their voices to ours, and who have brought Scientology abuses and criminality into mainstream view. Words cannot describe how important this has been to us personally. We could not have done this alone, and we are well aware of this fact.
We have never asked for financial support, nor expected any. We have made every effort to help people leave Scientology, helped them find jobs, provided food, lodging, references, financial advice, whatever we could do, knowing full well what it is to leave with nothing but the clothes on your back and absolutely no idea of where to turn. When we left in January 2005, it was tough. We had no-one to talk to that could understand what we were going through - the adjustment process when one leaves is not an easy path to travel. Learning to live life in the real world has its difficulties when you have no money, no job, no resume, no assets to your name, no credit, etc. There was no network of ex Scientologists, Anonymous and independents to turn to for advice or help in any form. Ex-Sea org members, particularly those from the Base, were kept carefully segregated. That was a big problem OSA had with us from the start: we worked hard and fast to find people who left, connect them to lost friends, join together and support one another. In fact, we held the first official SP party at our house in December 2007, even with private investigators sitting in our drive way. We have been more than happy to provide help to many ex-members recovering from the after effects of Scientology abuse, in any way we could. Over the years, we've spent tens of thousand of dollars helping people leave and get on their feet, and we will continue to help in any way we can.
Some of scientology's abuses that we have helped expose include but are not limited to:
1. "Blow Drills" where ex members are tracked, hunted down and brought back to the Sea Org and punished for attempting to leave.
2. That Sea Org members were being paid less than slave wages in China.
3. That Sea Org members were forced to perform difficult and unpleasant tasks as punishment at the whim of David Miscavige, such as cleaning out dried human excrement ponds at the International Headquarters.
4. That physical violence took place at the International Headquarters and staff members were routinely and regularly punched, slapped, kicked or thrown against walls and floors.
5. That female Sea Org members were routinely forced to undergo abortions, with threats of heavy manual labor, intensive interrogation and extreme segregation until any pregnancy was terminated.
6. That not only were husbands and wives regularly separated but that, at the International Headquarters, members were forced to divorce each other if they worked in different organizations even if the building they worked in was hundreds of feet away.
Scientology spokepersons responded to these claims telling members that we were spreading lies about Scientology and informed our families still involved with Scientology that we were never to be contacted.
We brought lawsuits against the Scientology corporations we worked for in effort to stop and expose the abuses. They spent millions of dollars fighting our cases and attempting to get us to drop the lawsuits.
After several years, the courts issued a ruling that not only confirmed everything we had said but that the Scientology organizations argued that these were part of their doctrine. As a result we lost our lawsuits. The court also noted that, had we used other legal theories such as "assault, battery, false imprisonment or intentional infliction of emotional pain", we might have fared differently in our case.
Scientology has since admitted that every point above that we had said occurred (and which they had labeled as "lies"), DID OCCUR and in fact many of the above facts were included in the court's final decision as FACT.
We have also learned that Sea Org women that become pregnant are now being allowed to have their babies and leave the Sea Org without being pressured to stay or perform hard labor tasks.
We have learned that hundreds of staff all over the United States have since left the Sea Organization and are now being allowed to leave for fear that more lawsuits will be brought against Scientology.
We have also learned that Scientology members have flown all over the world to meet with former staff and have them undeclared or brought back to good standing or have "freeloader" bills cancelled in an effort to keep them in line to attempt to keep them silent.
Although we lost our lawsuits, ultimately we feel that what we have done has forced the Scientology organization to end some of the abuses. We feel we have given future lawsuits a better road map to be able to convict the Scientology organization of its abuses and that we have documented in public record and exposed countless other abuses and acts that are committed daily by related Scientology organizations the world over.
Other than that positive note that society can benefit from, our personal reward is a legal bill in excess of $45,000.
August 22nd of this year, Claire & I are celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary. In February of next year we are expecting our third child. We are living our lives.
We hope that anyone who thinks that we might have helped them in some way would be willing to contribute to our legal fund. If we're able to raise anything above and beyond what we need, we will donate it to the next legal cause aimed at exposing Scientology's crimes and abuse.
Anything will help and we greatly appreciate your donation.
And from the bottom of our hearts, we are incredibly thankful to the thousands who have helped spread the word and who have contributed to exposing Scientology abuses.
Claire & Marc Headley
- Graham Berry
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