Former Hephzibah House Students Continue to Raise Abuse Awareness

Former Hephzibah House students continued to raise awareness of their allegations of abuse at the home for troubled teens in Winona Lake, IN, on Friday, Oct. 17. Using the medium of the internet, about 80 former students have reconnected and shared their stories. Many are attempting to speak out and stop the school from continuing practices former students feel are both physically and mentally abusive.

To aid in that goal, a task force of former students and concerned citizens has been formed. Presently, institutions such as Hephzibah House are not under any type of governmental regulation and have no accountability for their actions. They are virtually free to do as they wish as long as they can spin a convincing tale to parents and church supporters. Those who are ignorant of the mechanics and mind-games of abuse are unable to see through the machinations of master manipulators who have been doing this for decades, and the publicity spin sounds perfect if you don’t know better. However, once you have seen the inside of the system, you can see the buzz words for what they are and it is very obvious.

For example, there is one incident in this story which should make every reader of the article a believer. I will quote the article directly.

It’s a story Gabriella Fleury says she knows all too well. She says the treatment she endured made her feel violated.

“A man came in, he was never introduced us. We weren’t put in a gown and given a proper exam. We were in dresses. Our dresses were forced up and we had to undergo a physical, invasive vaginal exam right there at the facility,” she recalled.

This is a school full of teenaged girls. This is not a medical facility. There are no doctors or nurses present. In the incident mentioned, there is no medical exam taking place in the context. This is just a moment when a man walks into a room (where, obviously a girl and another staff member are present during some sort of interview), and the girl is forced to have a vaginal exam, apparently without adequate explanation. This is at the very least a physically abusive incident because it takes place outside any medical context, and I would say that for a teenager who is a virgin it is a sexually abusive one! There is no context under which this incident is acceptable, period. It is absolutely abusive.

Perhaps you want to think it is an isolated incident; ill-advised. And maybe the director of the school would say that they have thought better of such a practice and would never do such a thing now. Here is a greater truth. The attitude and heart that would allow such treatment of the girls is a heart of disrespect. It is a heart that thinks of these girls as worthless things that need to be beaten into shape because they are disgusting trash.

If you read more about how these girls were treated, this is, in fact, the attitude with which they were treated across the board. The setting of the entire institution was one of dehumanization and humiliation, extreme and frequent punishment, with reward for complete and absolute compliance, and sacrifice of all personality and humanity. If you can still find the founder’s writings about parenting and his attitude toward the formation of children’s character (once people began to find it online he removed it; I wish I had copied it when I first found and read it) you will find that is his attitude toward children in general. This is not a man I would trust to raise a dog, much less have the molding of my troubled teenager. In fact, he might be arrested for treating a dog the way he treats children. The ASPCA would certainly be picketing at his doorstep.

In case readers cannot tell, on this issue I am by no means unbiased. I know without a single doubt this institution is abusive. I wish these former students all success and hope they never give up as long as there is a single girl in residence at Hephzibah House.


7 Responses

  1. Danni, I am with you – in support of these girls. This situation makes me very angry. There are a handful of people I would like to put in a room together and see which one survives. This man is one of them. He is sick and has no business being allowed anywhere near teens of any kind, let alone so called troubled teens.

  2. Thank you Danni, you can access most of Williams articles on my website I loved this article and appreciate the support.
    Susan Grotte Hephzibah student from Feb.1981-July1983

  3. I find it hard to believe there are so many positive testimonies on this web site( ) if there is so much abuse at Hephzibah House. Have you done your research, or have you just believed every word spoken by these former anti-HH girls? Beware, if you are backing a group of Girls who are stretching their hands against God’s people who are sincerely trying to do what is right. If you call yourself a believer, you had better be careful!
    I am all for making sure there is not abuse in these facilities, but this should be done under the authority of the Local church…NOT the government…do we really want all Christian facilities being under Government control? That means they would not even be able to require their students to go to church. Do a little research on Government run programs…you talk about abuse and horrible conditions. Beware when good is called evil and Evil is called Good.

    • How easy it is to for you to judge us and say we are not telling the truth. Why is it so hard to believe that there are many people that USE the name of GOd to run a ‘business’ and that is exactly what kind of place that is….a business. The Williams have lived high off the donations that have been given to HH for the girls for years on end.

      I am disgusted that one could hear stories like these from so many different girls and so many different time frames and still not believe. Even God has said in the BIble that people will use his name falsely for their own benefit.

      I was a former student from HH and have endured the humiliation and beating(for no good reason). I was an all A/B student and helped with the house and watching my baby twin sisters. I was sent to the home b/c we went to a new church when I was 14 and my dad conformed to theri rules in a mtter of a week. The things I had done all my life were all of a sudden wrong…what would you expect a teenager to do. Any church that forces members to conform is a cult and false institution. God wants His word to be taught but it is up to each individual to decide what they believe in.
      I have had so many problems since I have left HH and am finally realizing how to deal with it better. It is a shame that you would disregard our stories as untrue just b/c an evil man tries to say we are lying. Of course he would..he would lose his money if you believed us. One day he will face God for what he has done.

  4. Consider this possibility – how likely is it that the wesite for the organization would include detracting testimonials? As the girls involved in this issue will testify, they have all been solicited for their own positive testimonies to be used for the school.

    I have been deeply involved in this type of organization myself. I know how extremely deceptive it is to those inside it and just how easy it is for such an organization to acquire these testimonials. I know these testimonials for exactly what they are.

    In fact, I have done my own research. This is why I have made the statements I have made. If I had not researched the situation I would have merely reported the event and left judgment up to readers.

    If Christian facilities cannot function in a godly manner they will bring upon themselves the very government control they so desperately want to avoid. If they cannot and refuse to self-regulate they will earn the rulers God knows they deserve – that is a Scriptural principle.

    Beware when good is called evil and evil is called good. This is exactly what I am seeing done in this home for girls.

    — Danni

  5. Well said, Danni.

  6. I Wander!

    I sat in church more than 20 years ago now when the man who was in charge of HH came to our church and school. I knew nothing of HH at the time. I was in a very fundamental Baptist Church at the time.
    What the leader of HH said during that week he spoke at my church left me without a doubt in my mind he was abusing those girls. Did you read that, what the LEADER of HH said during that week….?
    The next year I went to a fundamental college in the south, one of my closest friends was a former HH girl. The stories she used to tell would curl your ears.
    Oh, and by the way, he was never invited back to our church because the pastor also thought he was abusive after listening to a week of this man’s (I use the term lightly) rants against not only girls in HH but woman in general.

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