Gloriavale escapees thriving in outside world, not giving up on God
April 20, 2015
A family who fled a religious sect are thriving in the outside world, ironically thanks to skills learnt in their former, heavily-structured lifestyle.
Rosanna lived inside Gloriavale on the West Coast of the South Island for 27 years, living a life of submission and fear.
I'd like to be able to talk to my family
Running away with her family, including husband Elijah, Rosanna is figuring out who she is, and how to live on her own terms.
Sunday reporter Janet McIntyre has followed the story of Rosanna's family for years and says it is amazing how well they are doing, 18 months on from their escape.
She says that many of the escapees have taken the work ethic, skills and structure they learned inside Gloriavale and put it into practice.
"They're doing really well, it's an incredibly tough decision to get out, there's been a lot of pain and it takes an awful lot of courage," McIntyre told TV ONE's Breakfast programme this morning, after the story aired on Sunday last night.
Having spent a considerable amount of time with Rosanna, McIntyre says the escapees make it clear they are not giving up on God, and they have had overwhelming support from the church.
And aside from finally getting to indulge in her own personality, escapees must also learn how to live outside the gated compound, where they relied on a fully sustainable lifestyle.
"Rosanna said she didn't know what an eftpos card was, let alone how to use it," McIntyre said.
Since their departure, many others have joined Rosanna and Elijah on the outside, including Rosanna's sister Joy and her husband - but the two women have six siblings and their parents still living in Gloriavale.
The sisters have had to reconcile themselves to the fact they have cut themselves off by leaving.
"Pretty much we're no longer part of the family."
Elijah hopes others will follow them.
"I'd like to see people leave, who want to leave and to break down the barrier between inside and outside. I'd like to be able to talk to my family and still be a family."
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