Lee is a retired Social Counselor with twenty years experience in private practice, specializing in trauma counseling, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addictions, homelessness and cult/spiritual abuse issues.
She was a member of large faith based destructive group for 22 years before leaving in 1985. Lee was the founder of the Centre for Incest Healing in Montreal and former Coordinator of the Compulsive Coping Behavior Program in Winnipeg. Since her retirement, Lee has assisted survivors of cultic groups, moderated on discussion forums, and written extensively online to help survivors of various kinds of abuse.
Questions for Lee:
1. What is your experience with coercion?
"I don't know if there is a type of abuse I haven't experience over long periods of time. Physical (as a child), sexual (in childhood. in my marriage, by a doctor, and from strangers), emotional/psychological as both a child and an adult), neglect (child), financial (in my marriage), political (living in a French-dominated regime), spiritual (in religion), torture as a child), false imprisonment (as a teen). What's left? While neither husband ever hit me, they made threats. Almost 38 years my life was spent in abusive/coercive environments. The impact on me took years to work through in therapy."
2. Why are you a co-founder for Stronger After?
"I know the impact of abuses on people. I know how alone people feel and how scared they are. Even of getting help. This program is a bridge for them from abusive coercive environments to a beginning of understanding how the past experiences may still be having an negative impact on them. They didn't do anything wrong so there is no shame in beginning the journey to autonomy so it stops the cycle of abuse in their lives and in the lives of any children they may have."
3. What would you say to people breaking away from coercion?
"I know it is scary to go to the very people you were warned were dangerous. You will learn that you are a lot stronger than you think you are and that you can learn to live without any kind of abuse in your life. You will learn to stop living in fear and how to take control of your life as you work towards personal freedom and empowerment. And that is a great way to live."