POSTED AT 7:24 PM EDT
Thursday, Aug 5, 2004
Wives of B.C. polygamists poised to defend lifestyle
Vancouver — The usually cloistered wives in a B.C. polygamous colony are organizing a public relations campaign to defend their lifestyle as the government prepares to investigate decades-old claims of abuse in the community.
45, is a mother of six children and is married to a man who has taken several
wives in the Interior town of
“We're all going to meet on Saturday to decide what we want to say and write a press release,” she said.
Some women who
Rarely do they speak out about their male-dominated society.
“I guess I'm just probably one of the more mouthy ones,” said Ms. Palmer, who adheres to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon splinter group.
“I was just so upset about all the untruths that were being spread. No one is forced to be in our community. It's a free world.”
Ms. Palmer said the sooner the government sends in social workers to confirm her claim, the better.
Debbie Palmer, a
woman who fled
Debbie and Marlene Palmer were married to the same man and used to be close friends. Marlene Palmer said she doesn't understand why Debbie is so critical of her lifestyle, which she claims was very good to her.
“I think the Attorney General's office had probably better organize themselves and get investigating. I think they might as well. If there was some abuse going on I would want to know about it.
“I'm a very liberated woman. I do what I want and I don't like any kind of problems happening with children. Children are the innocent, wonderful people in our society.”
49, who at 15 became the sixth wife of a 55-year-old, said her sister wife
Marlene is being controlled by
“She takes brainwashing to a whole other level. She's been inside that community her entire life.
“She defends her community in a way that is desperate, you hear her ranting and raving about how beautiful it is and that there's no downside to it. That's not realistic. She's desperate to try to preserve her own sanity.”
said she is determined to help and protect women like Marlene. She filed a
complaint with the B.C. Human Right's Tribunal alleging that girls in
She isn't getting
very far though. The tribunal sent her a letter this week asking if she had the
permission of the people of
who now lives in
that women in
Police say they are trying to decide how to approach the investigation and what kind of task force would be most appropriate.
said it is important to bring in cult experts from the
However, the B.C.
Civil Liberties Association has warned that if police try to enforce
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