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“Turning Tragedies into Triumphs:  Stories & Conversations with Torah Bontrager” is a weekly podcast that features amazing and courageous individuals who have come forward to share their stories with the world.  The conversations between two fellow survivors take place over a virtual dining room table in a safe, judgment-free zone where we not only learn about accounts often never publicly disclosed before, but we also learn a little bit more about Torah along the way.

A companion show to her memoir An Amish Girl in Manhattan, Torah created the podcast to emphasize that trauma (of all colors, shapes, and sizes-- not only sexual) knows no boundaries and that her story of repeat sexual assault, abandonment, parental rejection, identity crises, disastrously failed romantic relationships and trust issues are heartbreakingly universal in our national and global cultures. 

Watch the episodes to be inspired and to know that you're not alone and that you don’t have to be extraordinary to be Extraordinary.  New episodes air each Wednesday. 

Please ask us questions and leave comments.  We will read all of them.  We want this to be an interactive show and build a strong community of support both online and offline.  Every four or five episodes, we will do a special "Question and Answer" segment where we pick from what's been submitted.  The more you comment/ask, the higher your chances of getting answered via the special. 

INVITATION CALL:  If you would like to share your story with the world, please contact us at  No story is insignificant.  The seemingly smallest things that happened to us as children can have a lifetime negative impact if left unaddressed.  This podcast and community is designed for you to feel safe, speak out in your own words and experience non-judgment and unconditional love from a human-hood of strong women, men and other/no-genders.

May 1, 2017

Jeselle Hadley-Bacon is a chef, clean foods advocate and sexual abuse survivor.  This final installment ends on a remarkably positive note.  Despite the terrible atrocities and darkness of her childhood and young adult years (recounted in the prior episodes), Jeselle found love and is now guided by a philosophy that’s about personal freedom.  Her husband introduced her to other ways of thinking, such as Rumi.  Jeselle believes that those who commit crimes should pay for their actions now, but if that doesn’t happen for any reason, the universe will balance the scales.  Karma will come around.   

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.


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.


PSA (PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT) connected to Jeselle’s Episode 14:  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.



  • Jeselle’s views on forgiveness and God
  • How Jeselle’s husband helped her personal growth  


  1. Healthy Jesey (Jeselle’s clean foods startup): 
  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):; 877-739-3895;  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):
  5. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):; 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 S1Ep14: Jeselle Hadley-Bacon on How Sexual Assault Is Handled By the Church:  An Amish Bishop Ben Girod Accuses Her of Seducing Her Stepfather and “Fornicating” and “Committing Adultery with a Married Man” for the Amish “blame the victims; protect the perpetrators” attitude toward sexual assault