A girl who disappears from her polygamous community could be a
"poofer," slang for a new bride in an arranged
marriage who has been hidden or moved to another state or country (as in,
"poof, she's gone").
Wearing red clothing might offend members of a
fundamentalist group who believe Satan wears that color to imitate Christ.
Sister-wives are women married to the same man at the same time.
Members of one polygamous group say a divorced person has
been "released" from marriage.
These factoids are more than just interesting trivia. They
are part of "The Primer," a new manual designed to help law enforcement
and social services personnel assist victims of domestic violence and child
abuse from polygamous communities.
The Utah Attorney General's Office produced the manual with
help from the Arizona Attorney General's Office, government agencies, nonprofit
groups, fundamentalists who support plural marriage and people who have left
the polygamous lifestyle.
"The Primer" - which was put online
Thursday at http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/polygamy.html
- includes a history of polygamy, a glossary of terms, descriptions of
fundamentalist groups and their practices, training exercises and a list of
Judy Kasten Bell, executive
director of the Utah Domestic Violence Council, one of the groups that worked
on the manual, said it is an important tool for service providers.
"It will help us reach out and respond to calls that
are coming in from polygamous families," she said.
Anne Wilde, a widowed plural wife and member of Principle
Voices of Polygamy, a Utah group that represents polygamous families, agrees
the manual will "build some bridges." The manual has a dual role,
educating agency workers about how to deal with members of the culture and
letting plural wives know the government is willing to help them with
benefits and other services, she said.
"We want them to know there are people in the
government who are willing to help them," said Wilde, whose group helped
develop the guide.
The manual will be updated as more contributors chime in,
said Paul Murphy, a spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's Office.
"We received input from hundreds of people," he
said. "I imagine we'll hear from hundreds more."
Money for the project came out of a $700,000 federal grant to
help domestic violence victims from polygamous and rural communities in Utah