Introduction, Aline Terpstra, 2 April 2021
These excerpts are about some of the deliveries Esther experienced in the cult. In very luxurious ambiances and in barns. As in other fragments, the same parts of the personality are not always speaking. This can be seen in the use of language. This sometimes makes reading a little more difficult, as a reader let me know, but it seems more important to me that these testimonies are authentic. The unimaginable horrors that were inflicted on the giving birth Esther and her children are not isolated incidents. It concerns Esther. But Esther is certainly not the only woman who has been subjected to these kinds of atrocities. All over the world people are telling about these kinds of births in the context of a cult. One other testimony is the recent testimony of the girl Lisa, for whom the path to justice was cut off at a premature stage.
Esther's desire, and mine, is that sharing her testimonies in such a vulnerable way will offer her protection (see introduction page) and also be a crowbar in the road to justice and liberation for victims of ritual abuse.
Esther's own story, by Esther
Childbirth 15 years
Abroad, we are in a luxury resort and the ambiance is relaxed. We have been swimming a lot and have been eating and drinking a lot. After all the meetings, dull talking and things I don't always understand, partly because of the language, we have to get ready for the evening. Getting ready for the evening means taking a shower, putting on nice clothes, making up, being ready for anything they want and being of service. I have not been feeling well all day. I had a stomach ache. I knew I was pregnant, but I didn't think about it. Denial was my strongest weapon and as long as I could deny it, I could also easily forget about it after giving birth. I had had a medical check-up the day before with the doctor who was in the complex. I did not know him. He spoke English though and with my school English I could have a conversation. He asked me how I felt, if I had lost any blood and other medical issues. I knew that pregnancy was important to these people, otherwise there was no doctor who would take time for me without almost killing me.
I already knew a little bit about the ins and outs of pregnancy. I had already given birth to several girls and adult women, girls of whom I did not see that they were pregnant, but just looked chubby. Women who were already a bit saggy from other pregnancies, everything came along.
I used to be a skinny person, but now I was healthier. I had more bosom, a small swollen belly, as if I had eaten too much and my upper legs and hips had become a bit wider. But then again, I am a developing teenager, loved snacking because I had always been hungry during these months, so the fact that I gained weight was not strange to me and to the people around me. Another part was spitting in my face. Not that I knew that, but now with processing it all comes to the surface. If even someone thought I was pregnant, I got punished for it. A simple remark was enough to give them a reason to torture me or to promise that they would kill my baby. That they would do that anyway I did not take into consideration. I just did what I was told, that felt to me like the best chance of getting help from them. My gullibility, call it naivety has always been very much alive. If you don't have to think about it, if you don't have to think about serious consequences, there is a lot less fear.
The memory below is the continuation of the above piece and previously written down by another part. Therefore I leave the way of writing as she did:
Laughing, drinking cigars, the smell of cognac (I think), sitting on me, hands all over me and inside me and leave me alone again. So alone. And so overwhelmed. So contrary. Overmantled, delivered defenseless and not daring to run away, door locked, man at the door. Looks angry. Scared of the wages. Pain which comes and goes. I have to leave but I can't, I can't have pain and everything goes wrong. I have to leave with pain I can't think, it has to stop. I eat what they throw at me, maybe it will help. I'll drink that glass. Strong. Helps for a while but then the pain comes back. Helpless pain.
They're panting. They're moaning. They're busy with themselves and I'm just trying to control the pain, but I can't. The pain is so overwhelming. The pain is so intense and so fierce that every minute I want to doze off and flee into my head but I can't. As if I am rigid of adrenaline all the sounds, smells, pricks and feelings come in even stronger. Time after time I go crazy but not completely and I get pulled into the sea of stimuli to go crazy. Crazy of the pain that every punch gives. From inside it feels fuller than full, there is no more room and I think that everything from below smells open. A fat man pushes his belly in my face and I gasp for breath. He gets this far down my throat and keeps it there. I try to turn my head away but he holds me hair while I try to get a huge pain sgeut away but have no lugt for it. When he pulls it out again I gasp for breath but before I can take the next sip it is already in my throat again.
The two men standing next to me are busy with themselves and yell things like fuck her harder, she can take it, that dirty slut. The words don't do anything to me they come and go just like the enormous pain creeps over me like a high wave and suddenly I feel that I have to poop. The man behind me has to go, he has to go I think, but I can't go anywhere. They only get wilder and do everything harder because of that I panic and far I feel something drop inside. I just want to push it out and when I can breathe I sgreew to get a blow in my wanted and his thing in my throat again. Their thrusts even harder but my body squeezes even more. I can't stop it it's there and no matter what I do nothing helps. I feel the child wanting to come out. I have felt this before I know what is happening and what has to happen and no matter what they do I push it out. But it is in there, it can't get out, I feel it touching each other but I can't think about what is happening inside it has to get out and it hurts so bad, so much. The clatter of his legs against my legs feels like a penetrating bang every time he touches me and when he tries harder the banging is worse.
I'm starting to get all crazy and the guy who's working there is getting very selfish and aggressive and after 3 times doing his thing very hard I hear a sound like egg shells being crushed between concrete blocks. He looks up, does it 2 more times and then stops and leaves. Automatically I push and the child lies between my legs. The child is lying between my legs. I let myself fall backwards and the man I am lying on tells me all excited how great it felt. But what a mess when he pushes me off him and looks in his crotch.
The guy who pushes zig off me grabs the leveloze body, puts it better between my legs and tries to get it between those legs. He doesn't succeed, he gets frustrated and another guy says wait. A knife opens it up and he goes crazy. It's all over here.
A doctor comes for me. The placenta comes and I collapse. I start to cry and to my surprise it is completely ignored. Some people are walking around me but it escapes me very much. Everything goes past me, I feel I am floating in another space outside myself and my body is completely lost. Search. Not around. Pain is gone and I float as if it is a wonderful wind with which I let myself be carried.
Suddenly the door opens. Three kids come in, one boy and two girls and I flip. As if I get a slap in the face, I have to wake up. Someone says come here. I almost fall down when I get up and walk. I'm as limp as a dishcloth and sometimes I black out. But I manage. You see, this is Lize and he laughingly tells the others that this is my own daughter. You know how to enjoy yourself, and her too. He points at her and I know what they want. I look at her and want to say all kinds of things to her, but I can't. I don't want to. Then I put us both in danger. I'm sorry, I don't want to do this. I can't do this. I'm Sorry. I'll wear it for you, but I can't say anything. I'll stick my fingers in her little body and show them what they want. I get a vibrator pushed into my hands and I use it. Like a robot, numb and they love it. The show they put on is their show and when they grab her I can go back to my corner. They don't even notice. Sometimes I watch and sometimes I don't. I don't care. My feelings are gone and tomorrow I might wake up in my bed. Or not. All is well. I lie on the floor, watch what they do and fall asleep.
The next moment I wake up and they're still with them. I watch, but it doesn't come in, it doesn't matter because it's not there, I'm just floating and staring, and everything that happens is far away and not with me. An image that moves without knowing what is actually happening. Yet I do know, but I cannot grasp it.
Childbirth 16 years
We're at dinner. My mother puts the pans on the table and my brother comes running. My father takes his time before he sits down, it all takes forever and I feel rushed. I don't really know why I feel so rushed, but I have little patience today.
I have a pain in my stomach and for a moment I think, let me eat quickly, then I can throw it out again and my stomach can calm down. I spit more often, I think I am too fat and if I spit I have less calories in my body and maybe I will be less fat. That is my thought. Sometimes I get a bit fat on and off, especially my belly and bosom and I really hate that. A lot of men like this, so I don't.
Lately I had gained some weight, which made me spit more. After a few months my stomach always became more sensitive because of all the spitting up and it was actually time to cut down on it, but sometimes I only got fatter and I couldn't do that. Then my will to lose weight was greater than the complaints I was getting. This was also the case now, so I know my belly problems were caused by this. I was about a size 34 and always hoisted myself in tight clothes, but during these periods, I wore clothes with elastic, more jogging pants, dungarees, etc, then it was more comfortable and nobody could see that I was getting fat.
I don't remember what we ate this day, I only know that it took so long and I only got more and more of a stomach ache. My impatience only increased and I became more irritable, which did not please my family members. They also became more irritated. After dinner, while clearing the table, I suddenly collapsed. My stomach has become worse and it happens to me every time the pain kicks in. My mother says I have to go to my room and when she calls I have to be ready. Suddenly I realise that I do not have stomach problems at all, but contractions. That I am going into labour and that is why I had gained weight. Panic sets in and I switch to a part that can react very robotically and where emotions disappear. Everything goes on autopilot and I seem to function very well. The pain is vaguely present somewhere in the background and I know what to do with every contraction that comes.
Suddenly my mother calls out. I have to go to the yard, which is the driveway at the back of our house and there is Uncle 1 waiting for me. As if I know exactly what is expected of me, I get into his car. So lady, you are quick this time, he says. We drive off and stop at doctor S. He does an internal examination of me and says nothing. When I get dressed he walks into the consulting room and talks to my uncle. I can't understand them, they are talking so softly on purpose. We get back into the car and drive to the barn of one of the group members.
There are 2 girls and a boy and 3 men and 2 women already present and talking to each other. I feel all eyes looking at me as I step in and right at that moment I get a huge contraction. I collapse and as soon as I do, I am embarrassed 10 colours around. I'm not supposed to let on that I'm in pain, but it seems like I'm in a lot more pain than other times. It's hard for me to get over it and it keeps overwhelming me. We sit in a circle and even though the contractions are coming faster and faster, and Dr. S and someone else come in as well, I can follow what is happening quite well. The children who are there have to repeat words and a session that normally takes place with the large group is re-enacted. For a moment I am afraid that I am the one who is going to be murdered, because often women who have given birth are murdered afterwards. But during the touching, doctor S remarks that I am dilating faster and faster. That is useful for the next time, he says and I notice that it takes away a bit of the fear.
I have no idea how many weeks I am pregnant or what will happen next. My body is telling me it wants the baby out and I'm going along with that. I just want it out, everything in me is trying to get it out. I naturally start to push and doctor S lets it all happen. He doesn't double check and just lets me go and occasionally looks between my legs. Because I don't get a lot of criticism, I feel pretty confident and after a while, which still takes forever, I feel the baby drop more and more. Later on, the head stands for a short while and then it comes out in one movement. I look, but do not grab it. I know that is not allowed. It is not mine, it does not belong to me, I only pushed it out and now I am finished. I feel my mind distancing itself from that human creature, even though it doesn't look fully human.
The baby is very small, no bigger than 25cm I think. It is dark reddish purple in colour and the proportions of the head with the body and the arms are out of proportion. The eyes are bulgy and thick. I see it trying to cry, but there is no real sound. After not many minutes, the movements become less and then it lies still.
The children who are there watch it attentively and look almost happy. They are sitting on their knees near my legs and for a moment I want to shout, it is not yours, but mine. How I would love to pick it up and hold it. Just to feel it, before it gets cold and has to go. Just to feel how the skin feels and to smell how his head smells. Its. I had already seen that it was a boy, but now at the thought of holding him, I realized even more that it was a boy. It feels like a chance to see him so well and that is why I get the thought of wanting to hold him and it gets more and more intense.
If it was a girl, she'd have been picked up and raped a long time ago. They usually want to rape them to death. But a boy is different. Suddenly I am in labour again and doctor S notices it. He cuts the umbilical cord and gives the baby to uncle 1. You guys go on ahead, he says while giving it to me and he looks between my legs. I can't hear what else he says. I see my baby disappear behind my uncle's back. He is standing in front of it and I can't see anything anymore and all the sounds pass me by. My thoughts are with the moment I saw him and saw him go.
Hey deaf, Dr. S is yelling. Push I said. I listen immediately and push the placenta out in 2 times. And now get lost, they tell me. I take a thick bandage from the bag next to me and sit down on a piece of cardboard. I have to wait for uncle 1, because he has to take me home again. But uncle 1 is still with the group. I'm not allowed to see it, but I think I see a little leg of my child which he lets move towards the girl. I try so hard to catch a glimpse of him, but I can't. I don't see what he's doing.
Uncle 1 gets up and I expect him to let me freshen up and take me home, but to my surprise he says, come and see your son. Then you can still love him and say goodbye. Like a dog that's been given a piece of sausage, I fall for my uncle's words. I almost get excited, my heart at least makes a jump and I walk to the circle where they are sitting. I feel very wobbly on my legs, but I hold on and as soon as I see what they've been doing, I crash to the floor. My baby I see cut into pieces in the middle of their circle. The head is off the torso, and from the torso the legs and arms have been removed. The legs are in the buttocks of 1 girl and the arms with the other girl and the little boy has to move the arms back and forth. They teach the boy to rape the girl with the limbs of my child. I stare, I look and I go out into the depths of my soul.
The following weeks I recover quickly and I try harder than ever. Who knows, they might never do something like that again.
Childbirth 20 years
I always got pregnant very easily and in retrospect there are very few years when I wasn't pregnant. People were used to me wearing wide clothes and not going swimming or doing other things that would have made it more noticeable. I had a very slim figure, which also kept the pregnancy pounds off. If I thought I was getting too fat, I would lose weight, and if I was way too thin, I would wear wider clothes, so that others would not comment on it and I could be happy about it.
From the age of 11 I developed an eating disorder which meant that I could eat well when others were around, spit it out later and when I was alone I didn't eat at all, sometimes not for days. When people expressed their worries, I would have binges and the worries would soon be over. I was 20 years old and still got a remark, when I went to a swimming pool in a bathing suit. You are not pregnant again, said a family member. I nodded no, please not. I had just turned 20, was the mother of a toddler and was trying to build a normal life.
After that moment I didn't think about the subject anymore, a kind of unconscious denial, but now in hindsight everything falls back into place. I was pregnant and other parts inside me knew that all too well, so reason enough to let it go for me. to keep it a secret. If I acknowledged that I was pregnant, it was no longer a secret, and the group therefore had a problem. No one ever confirmed in real life that I was pregnant. Sometimes there were suspicions, which I paid dearly for, but my camouflage of not getting fat, eating a lot, wearing wide clothes and avoiding sports and other things that would make it noticeable helped. Also, the fact that few years went by that I wasn't pregnant helped to create a 'normal' image of a pregnant body that shouldn't be visibly pregnant.
I gave birth at Christmas to a baby less than 30 weeks old. Its skin was still reddish purple, but fully formed. It also cried for a while. I saw them throw it into the fire. It made a very nasty sound for a second and then it was quiet. The little body scorched and changed and I kept watching. My little boy, 2 years after I was allowed to hold my other little boy in my arms and take him home, he was lying in the fire. Sacrificed to a god that only destroyed my life and destroyed children's lives. Every year at Christmas I see the eyes and the body burn before my eyes. An image I will never lose, but also never want to lose.
Birth 30 years
It was Christmas Eve. I had already been to the doctor in the morning. He measured my blood pressure, felt how much dilation I had and mentioned that it wasn't really starting. He did not mind, I will give you a hand he said and he opened his pants. Sperm promoted the dilation he said, so a medical intervention okay? I nodded. After this he gave me 2 pills and the times I had to take them. I set an alarm clock, so I would be there and would know what had to happen and took the pills faithfully. Maybe weird, but I didn't think about not taking them. I just had to.
By the time I had to take the 2nd one, I started having hard bellies and before I went to the meeting, I went to see the doctor. They gave me a shot in my leg. The hard contractions became contractions and I could no longer drive. I called uncle 1 and had him pick me up. Nice going girl, he said. There were a lot of people at the meeting and also a lot of children this time. I would do this, so Sandra would be left alone. One more delivery and one more visit to the group and then I would only do sex work, that was the deal. I thought it was a good deal. Clear and like I wanted it.
The last time Sandra was here she completely collapsed and she wasn't going to make it through with this life, so this was the solution. I gave birth on the stone, at the front of the room after another teenage girl had also given birth. The baby was already in the mountain in the fire and people were euphoric. I went along with the atmosphere, gave birth as if it didn't matter very much and let it take it. I only made 1 mistake, I looked. I saw that it was a little boy, I shouldn't have seen that.
I could not hear the sound then, I was dumbfounded and deaf, but now I still hear the crying, all week long. The little voice makes a big impression and does something deep inside of me. It makes me want pain, to go away, to numb. Pills, maybe syringes and violent sex with a group would soothe this now. This is how I would normally deal with it.