4 hours ago, EmCatlyn said:
You got me down the Willis rabbit hole with this question. Thanks for some fascinating reading. (I was vaguely aware of the family and the story, but never looked closely.)
My best guess for why some people are readier to understand why Brenda Willis didn’t leave is that she didn’t, while with Anna there is still the hope that she will. In other words, Brenda’s choice was in the past, so condemning her seemed cruel when she was obviously suffering. With Anna we are responding in the present: she can still leave.
This, but I think in this case there is also the fact that it's not Anna's first rodeo. With the historic sexual assaults of his sisters, the Ashley Madison incident, and now the CSA images on his computer, she has had three highly public scandals and for all except the latest he has admitted that he did it. What she knew about his teenage behaviour is still a grey area but it's obviously something the whole family knows how to justify. The Ashley Madison/Danica Dillon stuff must have taken her to pieces but hmm yeah I get why she might have chosen to stay. This time... how many strikes do you need? Really?
Mind you, I also totally get why a woman in this position "can't" leave. Coercive control is hard for anyone to break free from and tbh their entire cults are one great big theatre of coercive control. Plus they have no education; no skills or training; no money that isn't controlled by the husband; in both cases their entire identity and livelihood is tied up in a family business that requires them to be a unit... in such a situation nobody wants to believe that their spouse is a monster and they might genuinely not be capable of getting their head around it. I cannot personally imagine staying with a man who sexually abused our children, let alone continuing to enable the children's abuse, but then I have my own income, monetisable skills, an equal relationship, the confidence to stand up for myself, and the knowledge that marriage does not have to be forever. It's horrific but once you're trapped it only gets harder to leave.