SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) – Ruby Jessop is no longer letting her past control her future.
At 14, she was forced to marry her step-brother in Hilldale, Utah. The ceremony was officiated by Warren Jeffs in 2001. She had her first of six children two years later.
After over a decade of trying to be free, the 26-year-old escaped last month in Colorado City, Arizona.
Suzette Bateman knows Jessop well. The two became close through relatives.
Bateman left the FLDS compound in Colorado City, Arizona last year with some of her children. She isn’t surprised Jessop wanted to leave.
“It’s like they’re snuffing the life out of everybody,” Bateman said, referring to male leaders. “It’s like you have hands on your neck and you just can’t do anything.”
Bateman said she was not deemed worthy to be a part of the United Order. Her husband was baptized into the group, but a revelation soon revoked his status. She decided it was time to leave.
Bateman was living in a plural marriage with 42 children, 14 of which were her own.
She transitioned into a Salt Lake valley home with assistance from the organization “Holding Out HELP
.” The group is committed to helping polygamous families.
The organization is currently collecting donations to take to Colorado City after a local supermarket shut down. They have been taking food and supplies to families in bulk since November. Click here
to make a donation.
Kerri Webber, a spokeswoman for the organization, said about 70 percent of people they work with have reported being physically, mentally or sexually abused. They try to help people get back on their feet and introduce them to the daily tasks of life.
Bateman said “Holding Out HELP
” made her realize there is a good life outside the compound walls. She is living in a host home provided by the organization.
Bateman is proud that she and her children have “found themselves” in a world outside the one they knew. She wants the same for Jessop.
Jessop has temporary custody of her six children. If the court grants joint custody, the children will visit their father in the compound and live with their Jessop in the outside world. Bateman said that life can be very hard.
“I just hope they’ll stay with her,” Bateman said. “That is what they need.”
She added she is happy to see someone else has made it out.
“God will bless you no matter where you are,” she said. “God is everywhere.”
The Bateman family will be featured on 20/20 special airing Saturday on ABC 4.