Last Sunday night, I got a call from one of my post QF/CP buddies–we’re both the oldest from big homeschooling families with some unhealthy dynamics, and we both left that world when we got married (which torqued both of our fathers, for different, but similar reasons). She and I have been discussing with some of our post-QF/CP peers the needs of new adults trying to get out of borderline abusive or codependent or controlling family situations.

“Hännah,” she said. “I need advice.”

And then she spilled a story about her family’s downward spiral into isolation, fear, and control (increasing after she left and got married as a reaction against how “bad” she turned out), about how her sister “Jennifer” was demeaned by daily screaming from her mom, Bible-based lectures from her dad on why her interest in being vegan and an animal rights activist were rebellious and wrong. Despite many requests to be allowed to make herself vegan food, she was never given permission to even make herself a salad. She wasn’t allowed to touch fruit or vegetables unless given permission, which sometimes meant that food would rot in the fridge even though she wanted to eat it. Jennifer’s parents also threatened her pets, telling her that if she did not eat meat for dinner, she would wake up the next morning to find one of them gone.

The final crushing moment came last weekend, after her high school graduation, when she wasn’t singing in church (out of self-consciousness) and so, in a fit of anger, her parents removed all of her access to the outside world, taking away the power cord to her computer and her cell phone charger. She managed to get a few calls out, begging for help, with the battery power left on her phone.

She called her sister, and asked her to come get her out.

Her sister called me. “What should I do?”

But we knew there was really only one option, and so she and her husband put in 28 hours of driving in three days and went to rescue Jennifer. They got her out after a confrontation with her parents that required police backup, and cost Jennifer her three pets, her graduation gift iPad, her computer, her art supplies, her summer clothes, and her life savings of nearly $3,000.

Jennifer plans to become a concept artist for computer games, and wants to start college classes in the fall in order to pursue her art, but she will need a computer and art supplies and a number of other essentials to start life over in a new state with little to her name.

So, dear readers, I’ve never done this before, but I think this is a worthwhile cause. Would you be willing to chip in $10-15 to help raise $500 for Jennifer’s new laptop?

Update: Use the button below! Comment with your email address below, and I’ll email you my PayPal address and get the fund directly to her–and I’ll tell you how much we raise sometime next week!

I’m also putting together a care package for her, so if you want to write her a note of encouragement (Jesus jukes need not apply) or send her a gift card for clothes or art supplies, let me know and I’ll send you the details on how to make that happen.

Thanks, everyone, for all your support. It means so much for those getting out to know that they’re not crazy or alone, and that good human relationships should not involve conditional love or manipulation.

Jennifer is a pseudonym. Names have been changed to protect identities.


22 Comments

  1. Elisabeth Lore
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink
  2. Ruth Anderson
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink
  3. John Kycek
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  4. Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    edcyzewski at gmail.

  5. Erin
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    erinkimminau at gmail

  6. Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Lanahobbs at gmail

  7. Katie
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  8. Katie
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Pretty sure I can. mcintyre.katharine@gmail.com

  9. Jason Ramboz
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I would love to contribute: jramboz at gmail

  10. Jen
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Horrifying! I donated because education is definitely a way out. I also hope Jennifer’s sister will help her find a good therapist…. because what she endured is called ABUSE.

  11. Franklin Bacon
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Did I miss what age this person is? It is not possible to help underage persons, but it should be illegal for parents to hold a person of age, against her will.

    • Posted May 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Jennifer turned 18 recently and graduated high school the weekend of the rescue.

  12. Debra Baker
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Please let me know if she needs a safe house Plus what medium of art does she favor? PM me if she needs shelter and I’ll tell you where I live I will provide references if needed.

    • Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      She has a safe house with someone close to her – no worries!

      • Debra Baker
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. Praying for her to heal emotionally and start her live as a free woman. Imagine the world open up to you! Thanks for being there.

  13. Posted May 29, 2013 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    My own story is almost exactly like yours. I also lost my savings account and many other things when I left my parents’ house last summer with the help of many friends. I could not have done it on my own. And now I hope to give back to you in some small way as help was given to me. It will get better, I promise. In time, the hurt will heal, though the battlescars, like my own, will remain. I send you many, many hugs and blessings and peace. I pray healing for you, my sister in freedom.

  14. forgedimagination
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I would like to send her a gift card. forgedimagination@gmail.com

  15. Cassie Chang
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I would like to send her a note of encouragement: cassiechang.taf at gmail

  16. Saraquill
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Ruggclan @ gmail dot com

  17. Posted June 1, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I’ve been out of town and missed this post. Literally made my stomach hurt because these stories are too common. A network needs to be in place for these people. Thank you, Hannah for your heart and all those who gave.

  18. camo
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi ‘Jennifer’. Just thought I’d let you know that you’re a beautiful person and you will achieve all your dreams. Love from a second year student in Kent, England. Blessings

  19. Julien Brightside
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I am glad to hear that she got away, but I wonder how she is doing today.

6 Trackbacks

  1. By Update on Jennifer | Wine and Marble on May 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    […] Today something amazing happened. We raised $490 (so far) for Jennifer. […]

  2. […] note: The following call for help is written by Hännah Ettinger, who blogs at Wine & Marble. “Jennifer” is a […]

  3. […] something you want to do to help immediately, you could read “Jennifer’s” story here (she is the little sister of a friend of mine, name changed for privacy) and pitch in for some of […]

  4. […] if there is something you want to do to help immediately, you could read “Jennifer’s” story here (she is the little sister of a friend of mine, name changed for privacy) and pitch in for some of […]

  5. […] if there is something you want to do to help immediately, you could read “Jennifer’s” story here (she is the little sister of a friend of mine, name changed for privacy) and pitch in for some of […]

  6. By Call For Help: Sarah’s Story | H . A on August 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    […] from Hännah: I’ve used my blog to share the story of a friend’s sister after she got kicked out of her QF family home for being vegan, and you wonderful people chipped in to raise $10,000 for her to replace her clothes, art […]