An ex-member raised in French 12 Tribes shares his plight -18 June 2015
Transcript of interview by Bruno Robaly for The Pyrenees Republic newspaper published on 18 June 2015
Transcripted and translated by RC
Original interview video is to be found: here
BR: You stayed in the sect in Sus from 1995 till 2006. How did you integrate this group when you were just 2 years old?
Bob: My whole family went in and never left until 2006.
BR: What is it that stroke you the most among this community when you were a child?
Bob: For sure the correction
BR: But there was a school?
Bob: Yes, a school at home, run by the people there and mainly based on the Bible.
BR: And a lot of work in the fields and in the workshops?
Bob: Certainly, no matter what our age was, we worked wherever the need was.
BR: What type of work did you do while still a child?
Bob: I worked in the fields, I worked with goats, with chickens, in the shoe-shop, I worked also preparing the mate products and other things they sell at the markets, a bit everywhere.
BR: You were not only in Sus but also travelled to other “tribes”, where were you?
Bob: Yes, I was in Spain, in Germany, in other households in France, for example back then we had a house in Heimsbrunn, Alsace.
BR: And you say you were beaten sometime with…
Bob: …with palm branches, I was savagely beaten which resulted in me not being able to dress myself nor lay on by back for more than 2 weeks. And the marks are not only physical but in my spirit also.
BR: With your brother, when you were only 13 years old, you decide to leave and part of the family follows. How did all happen?
Bob: It was very hard. We had to have a lot of courage, and overcome the fear of the outside. Everything external to the community is seen as the devil, so it is a fear you have to surmount.
BR: And you got help?
Bob: Yes I had a wonderful female friend who help me and taught me everything, because I knew nothing. I didn’t know how to speak…nothing. I didn’t understand anything of how things work around me. And little by little she showed me everything.
BR: And today, you have rebuilt your life, you are happy?
BR: Yes, I have been deprived of so much that today, everyday I live fully my freedom, my happiness. I have built everything, I have a great occupation which I enjoy, and I am happy. I have many friends, I do enduro, I travel and I am fully happy.
BR: And today you speak out also to warn the public?
Bob: Yes , absolutely. No matter where and how you meet them, be very careful with these people. They might be very kind, they might be very warm, they might be very friendly, they might welcome you with open arms and big smiles. They might be attractive because they are different. But at the end of the day, if you end up there it is as the rule says: For one day or forever. And if you go there and stay, one day it could be too late for you, they would have fooled you without you realizing. And they are skilled, very skilled at it, they have been practising for over 40 years and so they are masters at it.