Who Is Christina Babin? New Details About The 'Children Of God' Cult Survivor Who's Finally Speaking Out

Photo: today show
Who Is Christina Babin? New Details About The 'Children Of God' Cult Survivor Who's Finally Speaking Out

For quite some time, most people have known the dangers of cults. They use fear to exploit its members vulnerabilities, and prey on their spirituality to ultimately rewire brains and exert control. It’s a scary place to be, and while members don’t usually realize they’ve been brainwashed, there are a number of former members who have found the courage to speak up against the atrocities they’ve faced.

Who is Christina Babin? She’s a former member of the Children of God sect/cult, and is speaking out about the abuse she faced as a child and adult.

The Children of God cult was founded in 1968 by David Brandt Berg, a minister who spent the 60s traveling to churches in California before opening a coffee shop. By 1969, he had more than 50 members in his “family,” and over eight months, grew to 200 people. He set up communes all over the world.

Photo: The Mega Agency

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The “religion” spread the word of "God" (and Berg), but eventually, female members were encouraged to have sexual relations with potential members to lure them into the group. And it was this shift that changed Babin’s life forever.

Now 44 years old, Babin was indoctrinated at a young age when her mother joined the cult in the 1970s. Just a baby at that time, her older brother was two, and Babin had six additional siblings who were dragged into the lifestyle. By the time she was 11 years old, she was sexually assaulted by a married couple in the group after Berg said that sex with children was “ordained by God.”

Photo: The Mega Agency

People Magazine Investigates: Cults interviewed Babin about her experiences. “We were told we were slaves. We didn’t belong to anyone but the cult; we didn’t own anything. We didn’t even own ourselves... I felt bad about myself that I didn’t like it. I thought there was something wrong with my heart and my soul. That I wasn’t right with God... We were told that sex was how to show God’s love,” she revealed.

She left the cult in her early twenties, but the trauma still haunts her. Because not only was she subject to sexual abuse, she was also physically abused.

According to her, she and her brother were sent to beg in the streets in an effort by the “church” to give its members an idea of what the outside world was like. At 12 years old, Babin and her brother were sent to Japan for one month without their mother, which eventually turned into two years.

She was forced to read the bible for hours a day and experienced “punishment exercise regimes.” During this time, she was raped twice and sent to different communes. “We were isolated from the wider world but told they were the ones living the wrong lives — that our way was the right way,” she said of her lifestyle.

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When she was 15, Babin was sent to a “camp” in the Philippines, where she was subject to daily violence. “The minute I got there I was taken into solitary confinement and asked about any worldly thoughts I’d had. I admitted I’d listened to music when out begging and owned a leather jacket. They admonished me and burned the jacket. One of the guards, who called ­herself Mary Malaysia and later Aunty Joan, was vicious. If you so much as smiled she’d beat you,” Babin recalled.

Photo: The Mega Agency

In an op-ed in Marie Claire from April 2018, Babin wrote about what life was like when she was a child, and the extreme violence she faced every single day:

“Whatever country we lived in, and we moved a lot, the strict routines and degree of violence we experienced were the same. Every night, I fell asleep in the desperate hope of not wetting the bed. Clearly a sign of how disturbed a child is, it was considered by the cult as demon possession and could be beaten out of you. Physical punishment was the only real constant I knew. There was no limit to how far the adults in charge would go; one boy frowned instead of smiling and was thrashed. I saw children thrown through windows, and even babies were beaten.

Such abuse was followed up by hugs  totally disorientating for a small child. We were told the punishment was because the organisers loved us and it was for the good of our soul. We were made to thank them. I learned to cope by taking whatever ownership I could. I remember staring at an adult abusing a friend and thinking, ‘I’ll remember this’. It was a small thing, but all I had. All this abuse existed behind closed doors, and the conspiracy of silence and our ingrained fear of the outside world stopped the truth about what was going on from being discovered by authorities for decades.”

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In the piece, Babin also described how the church’s policy switched suddenly when she was just eight years old. Soon, young girls went out and slept with men to “convert them,” which Babin referred to as prostitution:

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“And so the sexual abuse began. I was violated in this way from the age of 12 too many times than I care to remember, but sex was encouraged with children who were far younger. Even being isolated from TV or outside contact, deep down, I still knew it was wrong. All the children did. We also knew it wasn’t right to see adults having sex in front of us, yet were powerless to stop it.”

Eventually, Babin found the courage to leave the Children of God sect:

“I know it’s hard for people to understand why I didn’t run when I had the chance; why, when I met my husband in the cult at 19 and he begged me to leave with him, I refused. But I was terrified of the outside world. I had taught myself to read but had no education, no idea how to speak to anyone and was scared after a lifetime of propaganda. I was living in mental chains.

Freedom finally came when I was 20 and he convinced me to visit his family at their home. There I saw them sit and eat, laugh and hug. I remember watching them, waiting for the beatings to start, but they never did.

Six months later, on our next visit, I made the decision never to return to the Church of God. I was 21. I’m now 43, have four children and my family live normal lives. I’m angry about the years I spent in captivity, but have carved out a bright future. My revenge has been to raise intelligent, independent kids. Through my book, I’m hoping to tell victims that they don’t have to be defined by what’s happened to them. My life filled with joy, hope and love. I am a survivor.”

Photo: The Mega Agency

And now that she’s speaking up against these atrocities, she has a message for others: “I still think about it. It will always be with me. But there is healing and there is hope. I choose each day to move forward with my life. That’s really the message here: no matter what you’ve been through, you can get through it.”

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.