Slavery Lurking in MN and ND Towns - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Slavery Lurking in MN and ND Towns

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A sickening trend has hit marriages in North Dakota and Minnesota, one that is forcing women and men into sadistic slavery.

Tonight, a woman shares her intimate story of the torture she endured, her daring decision to escape and the normalcy she has tried to create. Her name, appearance and location have been concealed for her protection.

"The lady who called me that day, she reminded me, 'you're a mother first. Would you rather be a dead one, or would you rather be alive," Jane Doe said as she sat in the shadows of her living room.

Standing at that crossroads between the rock and the hard place, Jane found a decision she had to make. But, after 23 years of marriage to a man turned monster, decisions were a freedom she could only imagine.

"I had disabilities and she had a sad childhood," Jane takes us back to where it all began. "I think they pick out weaker people to fulfill their fantasies. And that's about it," she said. "To fulfill their fantasies."

Jane may never understand why it happened, but hidden away on the Internet she found how. The web site she directed Valley News Live to cannot be Googled. The site is disguised as BDSM lifestyle page, but contains much more malicious content.

B.E.S.T. slavery is an acronym for behavior, emotions, self-image and thoughts. These are the elements of a person's life a 'master' aims to control in his 'slave.' The philosophy is inspired by Alfred Adler, Austrian psychologist, who is quoted as saying, "to be human is to feel inferior."
Jane's husband followed the teachings and practiced the guidelines these web sites preach, until he became her master.

"I had to kneel on horrible things, boards with nails in them, boards with stick pins in the," she explains as she lifts her sleeves and pant legs to show the scars. Her body became the canvas of his aggression, as he molded her into submission.

"I've been in laundry bags. I've been in dog cages. I've been tied to a tree and left out in the cold in winter."

Fingers had been ripped out, shoulders displaced, spine damaged, knees burned by blowtorch. Jane says it was all done in the hopes of proving her love for her husband. She wanted badly to meet his friends and their wives, believing life might be bearable that way. 

"Unfortunately, they would be within the same group."

Jane quickly realized the isolation in which she was living is being repeated in homes across the valley.

"It's in Fargo," she said. "It's big in Fargo. There are certain restaurants we go to."

She describes wife swapping communities in our lake getaways, our small farming towns and our bustling cities. But, groups of advocates are working across both states to stop the hurt of abused women, men and children every where.

Chris Johnson, Executive Director of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, says domestic violence is "fairly prevalent across the United States, in little tiny towns and large metro areas."

Advocates with Some Place Safe in Otter Tail County say enslavement cases can be the toughest to prosecute, and proving non-consent is often near impossible.

"Once it goes the legal route, then it really is on the legal system to determine whether or not they're going to take action," Johnson said.

Now, go back to that special day, when Jane's phone rang and on the other line came words she needed to hear.

"Lady, get out of there. Your kids are in school. Walk if you have to," the words spilled out of the receiver.

One February day, Jane reached out to those rocks and hard things surrounding her, lifted herself up on badly broken legs and open wounds and flew far, far away.

Jane doesn't consider herself free. "No. But, I am not afraid. I am not afraid any more."

Today, she's hiding where you'd least expect her, in a quaint home an advocacy group helped her find.

"The friends, the normal friends I always hoped to have are right here. Small town America. A small town that held me fugitive at one time. A different small town that keeps me in safe harbor," Jane says with strength growing with each word.

Her new world spins around that fateful choice. The choice only she could make.

"An alive mother is better than a dead one."

This Jane Doe wants others living in similar situations to know, there are ways out. Safe houses are set up across Minnesota, so secret the advocates who send people there don't even know where they are.

To find help, call the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center at (701)293-7273. Some Place Safe serves Otter Tail County (218) 739-8436. Call the Minnesota Domestic Crisis Line at 1-866-223-1111. 


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