Child's Death Sheds Light on Biblical Disciplinary Teachings


"These groups know what the outside world thinks of them and that some of it is considered abuse, but they consider it Biblical," said Joyce. "They consider it Biblical. But they think this is going against my world and my church, so they put with things."

Fletcher is now a 36-year-old mother and lives in Hawaii, but she is in therapy reserved for soldiers of war because of the ritualized trauma.

"My father found a great position," she said. "Most people bend over. I would lie on the bed on my stomach and he would put my face in the pillow so no one would hear me scream. Our hands were underneath our stomach."

Years later, when her father became pastor, he brought the rod and pillow in to demonstrate it to his parishioners.ABC's "20/20" called her father for comment last year, but he refused.

Fletcher's sister, Jocelyn Zichterman, was also abused. They two became activists, and their group,Freedom From Abuse, reaches out to other "survivors" who were indoctrinated into the faith and now want out.

One survivor, Tina Anderson, made headlines when she was raped and impregnated by fellow parishioner at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, N.H., in 1997 when she was only 14.

Anderson was forced to confess to her pregnancy congregation and was then sent to live with another IFB family in Colorado where she was homeschooled, kept from other teens and eventually put her daughter for adoption.

Anderson's rapist, Ernest Willis, 51, was convicted earlier this year and is now in prison.

Fletcher said they she can never forget the Christian beatings. At its worse when she was 12, she was "swatted" for not properly vacuuming the "fuzzies" underneath the bedroom night stand. Her father chased her around a locked room with a belt, grabbing her hair and beating her endlessly.

"That night I remember looking at my bottom and not seeing any skin color or flesh at all," said Fletcher.

Sometimes the welts would break open and bleed, but her parents never took her to the doctor.

For years, Fletcher thought her upbringing was "normal," but after getting her first job in a hospital emergency room, she realized it was child abuse.

"We had always been told to forgive and forget and it was a real awakening," said Fletcher.

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