Hephzibah House Journal

Hephzibah House Journal
Susan Grotte's journal from her experience as a student at Hephzibah House, told in short-story form.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Katherine (Kurrus) Shanks: Survivor!

I was a "student" at Hephzibah for 4 months at which point they told my parents I was demon possessed and a hopeless case, that I would never change. Needless to say they did not return any of the years worth of money my father paid them in advance.

I went in when I was 15.

During the time I was there I was "disciplined" twice by being held face down on the carpet by four adults and beaten with a large wooden paddle until I was bleeding. I was forced to wear diapers.

We did back breaking labor there, scrubbing the brick floors on our hands and knees every day, as well as the huge kitchens and multiple toilet and shower stalls. We were required to do strenuous workouts run by Theresa Dawson every day - military style workouts.

While we were fed plenty of food, none of it was the high calorie food we needed due to the large amount of work we did and I lost nearly 30 pounds in 4 months.

I quit menstruating after the first month. I was constantly humiliated, made to feel like a failure, physically pushed around, told I was hopeless, and once even stood up in front of the entire group of girls and told that until I "straightened up and quit being rebellious" my parents would never love me.

To this day nearly 10 years later I still have nightmares about that place.

Thank you,

Katherine (Kurrus) Shanks