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“the Amish Entrepreneur Show with Torah Bontrager” is a weekly seasonal podcast on re-branding the Amish and establishing a new generation of Amish leaders so we can get heard and add our contribution to the world.  The way we explore and execute on this is by bringing on to the show leaders in all areas of industry who can advise us on how to evolve, specifically through the vehicles of entrepreneurship and academia.  
 
The theme of last season, the pilot run, was turning tragedies into triumphs.  This season's theme is branding and education.  
 
What everyone on this show has in common is a story of trauma, hardship, or other challenges.  And last but not least, the underlying silent goal is to collect 1,111 stories of trauma, specifically sexual assault.  I believe that that number of voices speaking out is all that is needed to permanently drastically reduce the rate of sexual assault worldwide.

Apr 20, 2017

Jeselle Hadley-Bacon is a chef, clean foods advocate and sexual abuse survivor.  Jeselle shares the story of the first time that she disclosed her sexual assault to a group of Amish women in a confidential setting.  That confidentiality was violated by one of the women, a daughter of the bishop Ben Girod.  Girod then announced publicly to all the church men that “Jeselle has admitted to repeatedly fornicating and committing adultery with a married man”.  Watch the episode for how this story ends.  

Jeselle also talks about how her baptism into the Amish church was denied four times because the church didn’t want an outsider to join and the lengths that church members went to to deny her application for baptism (e.g., they accused her of being possessed by the devil).

Jeselle is one of the rare converts into the Amish church—but has since left.  She moved to the Ovid, MI Amish community shortly after Torah escaped from that same community (Torah’s non-practicing Amish parents Henry and Ida Bontrager still live in Ovid).  

Today Jeselle focuses her energy on balancing her body and life through gut health, clean foods, and positive living.  She is sharing her journey as well as information, recipes and a community both locally in her home area and also via her “Healthy Jesey" Facebook page.  She welcomes anyone who is interested to connect with her.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  In solidarity with #SAAM, we have placed their teal ribbon on this month’s episodes.  Teal is the official color of SAAM.  The teal ribbon is the symbol of sexual violence prevention.  Please read the episode synopsis for more information about #SAAM and how you can help and/or be helped as a survivor.

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PSA (PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT):  This is the same Ovid, Michigan community Torah escaped from but Ben Girod now lives in Idaho.  Everyone reading/watching this should be warned that Ben Girod actively condones rape and is a predator.  

He is a textbook sociopath/psychopath and claims to—literally—be receiving emails from God.  He has resigned from the Old Order Amish church and runs a right-wing, fundamentalist, proselyting church in Idaho.  He claims to be the reincarnation of Moses from the Bible.  He also claims that the Amish are the “lost tribe of Israel” and he has made a trip(s) to Israel claiming to speak on behalf of all the Amish, something he has neither the right nor authority to do.

 

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How sexual abuse is handled within the Amish:  it doesn’t get reported or talked about because you’re supposed to submit to those in authority (and if the perpetrator is older, which is likely, than reporting them would be deemed an act of not being submission, or being insubordinate)  
  • “God is with you through everything” and “Look at the suffering the martyrs went through” are common responses IF a rape or any other sexual assault is brought up
  • The standard response to rape is “Don’t tell anyone”.  Even mothers will tell their raped and/or molested daughters that
  • You need to submit and sacrifice yourself, self-sacrifice.  The Amish attitude is “if our martyred ancestors were boiled alive in oil for their faith during the Protestant Reformation, then surely you can endure being raped repeatedly”.
  • The Martyrs Mirror to the Amish is similar to the Lives of the Saints to the Catholics.
  • The Amish mentality of suffering:  the more you suffer for your faith (which includes enduring rape/sexual assault and not reporting it), the higher your chances of getting into heaven.  

LINKS AND RESOURCES FOR THIS EPISODE:

  1. Healthy Jesey (Jeselle’s clean foods startup):  www.facebook.com/JeseyBs 
  2. Email Jeselle:  (jesey.bacon @ yahoo .com)
  3. Sexual Assault Awareness Month (for info about SAAM, sexual assault on college campuses, and their work. The NSVRC/SAAM team is available for interviews and is a resource for reporting on sexual violence):  www.nsvrc.org/saam/about; 877-739-3895; resources@nsvrc.org.  Call/email for help.
  4. Grief Recovery Method (for physical and emotional losses, to find grief support groups and for a free ebook for info on the various kinds of grief):  www.griefrecoverymethod.com
  5. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):  www.rainn.org; 800-656-HOPE; live chat.  Get help 24/7.  Free and confidential.   Call/chat if you’ve been violated.
  6. See S1Ep12: Jeselle Hadley-Bacon on the Long-Term Affects of Sexual Assault, Feeling Like “Damaged Goods”, Tainting the Amish Bloodline and “Turning the Other Cheek” to Sexual Perpetrators for the Amish family that were genuinely loving toward Jeselle
  7. See S1Ep10: Elam Zook on Finding His Way, Himself, and His Purpose; the Lesbian Mother Who Helped Him Own His Amish Identity; and Why “Ex-Amish” Is a Problematic Term for how one’s purpose in life isn’t always something we plan or even can plan; sometimes amazing things just happen for us and we only realize what our purpose is after the fact