About

Who?

My name is Victoria Anne Prunty and my personal story is not your average polygamy story. I was an adult who grew up in the mainstream Mormon Church and entered polygamy at the age of twenty-six, so being forced into polygamy as a child did not occur. My experiences were based on the belief that I needed to follow my husband. Similar to other women who go through domestic violence, it took me several years before I left polygamy for good.

In many ways, my childhood was idyllic due to LDS relatives who took me in when my parents were divorced from the age of seven to my teenage years. In other ways, it was painful being separated from my biological parents and siblings, and never fully being accepted into a family. In my pursuit for happiness, and wanting to be a part of an eternal family, I believe my religious upbringing played an enormous factor in many of my (good & bad) decisions, including living polygamy.

What?

I have never been able to walk completely away from my past, the depths of my pain of when I lived in Utah can only be described as traumatic.  Throughout my past, people have tried to tell my story because I was unable to find the words myself. I am now taking my narrative back, piece by piece, in whatever form it takes, as I restore of my self-worth.  I hope this site will help others, as well.

Where?

As a former Utahn, polygamy is part of a larger social problem.  Due to a lack of separation between church and state,  abusers have been able to gain sympathy and support from local public officials, and the media.

I recently wrote an editorial for the “Salt Lake Tribune” explaining how frustrated it was seeing a bus in my state (California) advertising “Utah – Life Elevated.”  It was when I was living in a rock cave in Moab, Utah that my husband prepared me for polygamy.

Sac bus

Life elevated for who?  Men?

When?

In 1996, when I first went public telling my story, it was cathartic.  Afterwards, 20/20 got a hold of my story, and two producers came out to Salt Lake City to interview me.  I shared the truth about my story, and the horrors of polygamy.  Apparently, that wasn’t sensational enough.  Somewhere back in New York on the cutting room floor is my story.    film reel

Instead, John Staussel  interviewed a polygamist family living in Manti, and in the end polygamy was captured with the images of beautiful plural wives doting over their patriarch. A couple years later, in 1998, I helped form a group to help victims of polygamy called Tapestry Against Polygamy.  It was the first non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to helping victims of polygamy and educating the public about its harms.  We received world-wide recognition, including the National Courage Award from the National Organization for Women.

Half a decade later, the state of Utah created an organization to support plural wives and polygamists called the “Safety Net.” Since then polygamy has found its way on prime time television (Big Love), reality television (Sister Wives, My Fives Wives, My Three Wives), and daytime talk shows (Oprah Winfrey), all of which portrayed polygamy as a victimless crime among consenting adults. During that very time, we now know that polygamous prophets and patriarchs in many locations were abusing, exploiting, and molesting women and children.  This abuse continues.

Ironically, while Utah and the media were polishing the public version of polygamy as “just another lifestyle,” a Supreme Court Justice in Canada outlawed polygamy after writing that the abuse in polygamy was so rampant, there was “no such thing as good polygamy.” Even without overt abuse, he said, polygamy itself was “inherently harmful.”

In the meantime, Utah decriminalized polygamy and made it a safe haven for predators.

Utah – Life Elevated?  Not if you’re a victim of polygamy.

Why?

Timing is important.

I left Utah in 2007, and this is the first time it has felt appropriate to tell unrevealed parts of my story.

People say, “But, no one took anything from you! You happily gave it away!” “You should be grateful you lived polygamy—it’s ‘BIG LOVE’— it ‘MULTIPLIES!’ ” Or, the proverbial, “Move on, and get over it!”

In Mormonism, Joseph Smith’s first wife Emma was told she would be “destroyed” if she didn’t go along with her husband taking virgins. Psychological abuse is painfully subtle, especially for those putting their faith in a husband, and religious leader.

I believe that as a first wife my free-choice was taken from me due to religious coercion, deception and manipulation. Usually, when something is taken from another person, she or he can be pro-active; go to law enforcement, take some form of legal or civil-action, ask for restitution–often an apology is good enough.  Mormon polygamy doesn’t give women a choice — unless, it is with the threat of losing their children and being destroyed.

The United Nations declared polygamy a human rights violation, and the  Supreme Court in Reynolds v. United States upheld the law against polygamy holding that “religious duty was not a suitable defense to a criminal indictment.”

Today the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is helping protect  polygamy.

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

As far as former family members who might be angered by me disclosing information about them to the public—I have always been truthful, and will continue only disclosing the truth, to the best of my knowledge. If I write anything that is not accurate, I hope my former family members will let me know, so I can make corrections.

I try and protect the innocent in my story by redacting names, etc.. Whereas, in the past, I have protected my former family members by using anonymous names it has only come back to bite me in the end.

During the Supreme Court hearing in British Columbia my former sister-wife, Mary Batchelor, testified that I didn’t use her real name in “God’s Brothel” written by Andrea Emmett-Moore, because it wasn’t the truth, and because my former family members would sue.  That is not true.  (I was being overly nice).

Another former polygamist husband sued me for false claims and lost, yet I have never told my side of the story, and the truth behind these things.  That is why I will have a “document” section – to show the facts and let the facts speak for themselves.

This is a work in progress!

 

4 Responses to About

  1. Sylvia Mahr says:

    Vicky, I’m so glad that you are doing this blog. Claiming your story and putting it in your own words is such a healing thing to do. I’ve always admired the conviction and passion you’ve shown to the world regarding the reality of polygamy.

    • Vicky says:

      Thanks for your kind words, and support Sylvia. I read a couple days ago — “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” (Brene Brown). This seems like safe place to keep healthy boundaries, and express myself. I’ll let you know how it goes : ).

  2. This is remarkably good, Vicky! You summarized the whole issue so clearly. It takes more courage to do this than people realize, I am just so proud of you I want to burst my buttons! All these years hurtful misrepresentations about you have gone unchecked, and I applaud you for taking the driver’s seat on your own life legacy! You are an extraordinary, smart, funny woman with a heart for the wounded and a passion for justice. Thank you for being such a good friend to me, and so many other survivors. I am proud to call you my “time-shifted sister wife!”

    • admin says:

      Thank-you Christine for your love & support. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude. A time-shift was good! I’m so glad we did not have to share the same man at the same time, and I can still consider you a sister.

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