A woman who escaped from an infamous sex cult as a teenager is sharing her chilling story to help encourage other victims to come forward.
Dawn Watson, from the US, grew up in the notorious and international sect, The Children of God but dreamed of escaping from the abuse she endured.
During her time in the cult she was taught how to have sex at a young age, forced to perform sex acts on ‘uncles’ and shown images of naked women nailed to crucifixes.
Teenage girls and women were also forced to engage in ‘flirty fishing’ which involved being sent outside of the community to solicit themselves to raise money for the commune.
Hollywood actors Rose McGowan, who became embroiled in the recent sexual harassment scandal surrounding movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and Joaquin Phoenix were also once members of the cult.
Determined to not live under these rules, Dawn managed to escape from the Children of God – now known as Family International, when she was 13. But her journey to recovery has been a long one, marked with painful memories that have taken far longer to be set free from.
Now 29, Dawn told Barcroft TV: ‘As you learned to brush your teeth as children, we learned to have sex: “This is what you have to do this is how it happens”.’
‘We learnt God is love and the way to express God’s love is through sexuality. I never knew anything different from that.’