It’s very hard for many in polygamous communities to leave either because they don’t know where to look for help or because they don’t have enough trust to reach out, particularly when help might come with the price tag of joining some other religious group or being involved in promoting hatred. Many in polygamous groups have no friends or relatives outside of their group. It may seem to them that they are completely alone with no one to turn to. The problems of leaving, often without resources, are complex.
I believe Holding Out Help is the first organization to cover all possible bases in making a new life possible. One of the greatest and possibly most urgent needs is legal aid. When a woman may be in a legal marriage and there are children involved, legal services are vital. There will be very few women, leaving polygamist communities with their children, able to come up with the fees asked for by lawyers.
As to other assistance, HELP hasn’t needed to “reinvent the wheel.” Where there are state agencies in existence, which may be able to help, then those resources are being used. From my own personal experience what is really useful is to have this information freely available to individuals or families, saving hours if not weeks of research to find the appropriate agencies.
For me, HELP’s effectiveness lies in the way in which it offers unconditional love and aid to those who may contact them, whether women, teenagers or men. Having complete strangers tell me they didn’t care whether I was Mormon, Jewish, Muslim or atheist – they just wanted to love me, brought warmth and hope into a very bleak period of my life. HELP made the difficult changes that I wanted to make, a reality. Thank you for being willing to reach out.