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More and more people are leaving Gloriaville, the West Coast Christian community that has been around for more than 50 years.
The matter was investigated by the police, charitable services, Oranga Tamariki and Worksafe. Former members bring a civil action against the community, trustees, and shareholders.
There are many cases of alleged sexual abuse before criminal courts. Its founder was imprisoned for sexual crimes.
* Gloriaville: Everyday Life, the Dark Side and the Unknown Future Clearer
*Second senior member leaves secret group Glorival due to management concerns
* Gloriaville Lever Begins Civil Proceedings of the Supreme Court against the Leaders
* Happened to ‘uncover’ Gloriaville’s biggest secrets, says trust general manager
* Gloria Vale child allegedly sexually abused after months of authorities ignoring ‘help request’
But leaving is not so easy when you learn to fear and hate the outside world.
Today the detailsSharon Brittkley talks to Liz Gregory, who runs the Gloriaville Leavers Support Fund in Timaru.
She says the time of crisis has come, and the group has launched an emergency social care appeal as more and more have left the service.
“We call it the big wave, and it hasn’t stopped in eight years,” she says.
And she needs help in her efforts to resettle community members, who often flee without bringing anything with them.
“They literally come in like refugees with very little personal belongings or money. We are talking about every detail of a person’s life that needs to be prepared from scratch.”
Hundreds of people still live and work on the property.
“They were locked up by mental brainwashing, vowed to cut him off when they were 18 and they knew nothing better,” she says. But now there is a third generation of members born in the sect, and they are curious about the outside world as their world approaches.
“As Gloriavel grew tighter and narrower, cut off from the world, and isolated, he became more and more strict, like the communist regime within our country,” Gregory says. This isolation also helped keep stories of sexual abuse quiet.
Gregory says that as more people leave and discover that the people on the outside aren’t bad and bad, the stories come back inside.
Ironically, many people now know about the group of those who quit, because for almost three years “night and day” their leader used to attack them.
In the past few months while Gloriavel has been undergoing screening, residents have been more daring in their efforts to get out.
It takes about five weeks to get it up and running, with everything from accessing the bank account to getting a phone number and email address.
“Culture shock is huge for them. They are incredibly overwhelmed with all the decisions they have to make.” Some come back – but they rarely stay.
Gregory says there are different schools of thought about what will happen to Glorival.
“At the end of the day, how do you change the way you think? How have you changed an ideology for fifty years? I think change is coming… (but) I think it will be a slow, painful, painful change. I think it will be a civil war within Gloriaville that destabilizes the place.”
the details Today also speaks to Melanie Reed, the investigative editor at Newsroom, who snuck into Gloriavale 23 years ago as an undercover journalist for TV3.
She says the road back will be difficult for those who have left the community – and they will need a lot of support.