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'Parents found sister filming herself. She did it to cope with homeschooled purity culture.' UPDATED

'Parents found sister filming herself. She did it to cope with homeschooled purity culture.' UPDATED

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Standing up for your sibling when you're living in a strict or repressive home can take major guts.

In a popular post on the OpenChristian subreddit, a teen shared her concerns for her sister. She wrote:

"Parents stumbled across my (F19) sister (F17) filming herself. She did it to cope with being homeschooled and raised on purity."

I'm writing about this here because I don't want to ask anyone who knows us in real life. But, long story short, my parents walked in on my sister filming herself, and she's been punished a lot for it. They've been having talks that involve a lot of yelling/cursing, and she's also lost her phone and freedom to hang out too.

They also said that they might rescind their offer to help with college, and they've also told one of our youth group leaders too. Whenever one of us does something wrong, my parents will address it in a family talk even when we have nothing to do with it. So, when it initially happened, they addressed it with me present.

However, after talking to my sister afterward, she explained why she did it, and I honestly felt bad that they addressed it at all. We were both homeschooled for all of our life, and most of our social interaction came from church and the homeschool group that they had. She said that she never felt like she fit in, and she had been bullied in recent years too whenever they would have get-togethers.

My parents also spoke to us about purity, and we weren't allowed to have any friends that were boys or watch certain shows/sitcoms that involved dating at all. She has often doubted her social abilities, but those concerns were often dismissed whenever she'd bring them up.

She doubts herself a lot, and she said that that's why she created the Instagram account (not her main) that features her dressing/posing for certain requests. She has a TikTok too that they don't know about, but they questioned her Instagram when dad unlocked the door from the outside and walked in on her.

She said it helped her cope with not thinking she was pretty, and she didn't think she'd ever get married or have a boyfriend because she's too socially inept. She also said she felt important/wanted whenever she'd get requests, but she's been shamed for it since. I don't know what will happen with our youth leader knowing, but she is really depressed and humiliated.

I think it'd be best if she could talk to someone, but our parents would probably never support anyone outside of the church, and I think the way they're handling it is only making things worse. Is there anything I can do to help my sister's condition or convince them to let her talk to an actual counselor?

She's been skipping meals for the past few days, and it's because of how they're humiliating her and telling people who have nothing to do with it, simply because they think she "failed purity." Is it possible for me to take her to talk to someone without her parent's consent as she's still a minor?

The internet had a lot of empathy and advice.

SatinLatin wrote:

"Is it possible for me to take her to talk to someone without her parent's consent as she's still a minor?"

Yes. You are a legal adult which covers that base. Counselors are well aware that children sometimes can't tell their parents they're talking to someone outside the family unit. Be aware that what your parents are doing to her is emotionally ab*sive, and you might have to tell the counselor not to report it to authorities.

Normally I would support such an intervention but I don't think your sister is in a place where she could handle the fallout. In the medium to long term, you're going to have to wait until she is 18 then work on getting the heck out of that household and, I'm sorry to say, that entire community. This is a discussion for another time.

Don't worry about that for now. I'm so glad you're sticking up for your sister, and please do stay by her side in this as her support. Absolutely get her to talk to a professional (ideally a woman, as I think your sister might feel she can open up more) and be the person she can talk to outside of therapy hours. You're a brilliant sibling.

I'm assuming you're American (the general rule on Reddit is to assume American until proven otherwise, lol), and I'm not, so I'm hoping another commenter can help you on the practical side of things. I don't know about US resources or structures for getting a counsellor, and know even less about how it would work with health insurance etc.

But I have had quite the emotional journey myself over my life so feel free to DM me if you need help in what to say to her in order to support her. I'll do my best. This bit in particular:

"She's been skipping meals for the past few days"

It's too early to tell but eating disorders are not uncommon amongst young women and she certainly has the markers that can lead to one: lack of control over her life, feelings of inadequacy and unattractiveness. I've walked that road. Eating disorders are serious. Thanks for coming to this sub to reach out. God bless you. Like I said my inbox is open, and I'll be praying for you both.

OP responded:

We do live in the US, and I hope she'd be open to talking to someone outside of the church. She hasn't said that she's wanted to yet, and she's been open with me, but I hope that she would be open to it because it could really help with the fears my parents installed about her "ruining her future career" because she showed her face online and didn't listen to them.

That's where most of her fear is right now.

They told her that jobs could find it with background checks specifically and that what goes online is never deleted

Her other fear was blackmail from her parents if she tries to move out because they kept screenshots of her Instagram and possibly showed it/kept it for reference when talking to the youth pastor or other homeschool parents. I don't know for sure if they showed it for sure, but they did keep copies of it. So, maybe a counselor could provide help on how to navigate that potential situation.

[deleted] wrote:

I agree with the other commenter, and to put emphasis on this is completely the parents fault for being so over controlling. You are an amazing sibling for taking the charge on helping her, keep at it, even if it seems fruitless.

She needs to understand her life isn't ruined, Jesus always forgives, everything will be fine.. once yall are out of that house, until then it'll probably be a rocky road, but you being there for her will help a lot.

OP responded:

I really hope so. She's open to talking to me, but still is down about everything. We're not sure if they're gonna have her talk to someone at church, but it seems likely with them telling other homeschool parents from our church's group and the youth pastor, but nothing set in stone yet.

The_Archer2121 wrote:

Continue to be there for her. Helping her find a therapist is a good idea. However, if your sister is still on your parents’ insurance, there’s a chance they may find out your sister is seeing someone.

If you have your own insurance and you pay for the sessions through it that shouldn’t be a problem. And I would not do BetterHelp. They are not staffed with licensed therapists. An actual local licensed therapist is a safer, better bet.

I do think she needs to be spoken to about the dangers of what she’s doing. Not in a judgmental terrible way like your parents though. But about the dangers of online predators. And the possible legal ramifications. As one poster said should those any of those pics be of your sister in her underwear, she could possibly be charged with creation and possession of CP.

OP responded:

I really didn't think about it that way, and having her talk to someone to explain it would probably be best if she's open to it. I can try to explain it too, but right now, her parents are the ones who probably put their fearful version in her mind, but hopefully she'd be open to continuing to talk to me or talking to someone else who's a professional.

somegenerichandle wrote:

I'm so sorry. The talk of purity and this secret IG account leads me to believe that your sister believes women's worth is in their appearance and relationship status. I guess I would have her read something that counters this, such as Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth.

But that's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are a lot of other persuasive media to help her understand that her worth is more than if she can attract a partner.

OP responded:

When I had the purity talks, I was under the impression that "failing" meant losing your virginity before you were married, since they are against having s*x before marriage. So, I was surprised when they said she "failed" for posting photos of her posing in certain dresses/undergarments and never once n*ked according to her.

My parents said that there was a boy's version of the purity program that we used too. But the version we used was about not dressing immodestly to tempt boys into lusting because that's, according to my parents and not a part of the book.

The reason why assault happens because they are basically "inviting it by how they dress," and they usually echo that when they see it on the news or commercials where someone isn't dressed "appropriately."

Two years later, OP shared an update.

There were a few things that kept me from doing an update sooner, but I think now's a good time since I'm no longer living with them. I'm 21 now and staying with a roommate (my sister is 19 now), but my sister's still there until she can afford to move out. I offered to have her move in with me, but she declined when I offered a few times.

I asked if she'd like me to bring her to a therapist (or help her find one online that I'd pay for) after my first post, but she declined again. She was going through a lot at the time, and I want to clarify my first post better because I was beating around the bush.

She made a separate Instagram for mostly bikini photos/videos, and she said she felt "important/less guilty about her body" whenever someone DM'd her a request or complemented her. According to her, she never did anything n*ked.

But the comments would make her feel better whenever she was doubting her image or feeling guilty about pleasuring herself (because her parents told her that m*sturbating was unpure, so she would use the account for confidence and validation).

She also began eating again shortly after my original post, but she recently told me that she still has a lot of guilt whenever it comes to anything sex related, but she's open to therapy once she can afford it.

She currently works part-time retail, but hours aren't consistent and they don't provide medical to part-time employees in her job (some weeks are 20ish hours, others are less than 10; she's looking for a second job).

Regarding the youth leader they told, there was luckily no follow-up or conversation with him and my sister, so that was a positive that she wanted to avoid The reason I remembered to update was because we talked about it recently, and she said the most hurtful thing was her parents keeping screenshots from her Instagram when they found it, and she hates knowing they have it.

A few commenters suggested asking if she'd like to pursue it way back, but she said she didn't want to burn bridges back then (and still didn't want to because she "got over it"). She's also not sure when she'll be ready to start dating with her guilt, but she wants to try therapy once she can afford it. I offered to pay for therapy, but she wanted to do it on her own terms.

She ended up deleting the Instagram our parents found, but later moved to 0nlyf*ns to find her confidence again (after she became eighteen). She said she has a free account at the moment, but that she wants to try paid once she moves out I'm actively trying to help her land something in my office job (something she said to keep her posted about).

She said that purity made her feel bad about her body, but that the Instagram/0nlyfans did the opposite. It gave her confidence and removed some guilt about herself, and I told her to not feel guilty about it if she is able to find some revenue in it someday.

I don't look down on it, and she said she'd be in a worse place mentally without the Onlyf*ns after what happened with our parents, but I hope that therapy can help her overcome her doubt so that she'll be able to date someone if she wishes someday​​​​​​.

The internet was fully invested in the update.

Ancient-Rough-8340 wrote:

My mother found out my brother was exchanging pictures with his long distance girlfriend. Both homeschooled, raised in purity culture, not allowed to date so doing it secretly. She took the girl's photos and sent them to her parents (good job, now you've distributed CP) to shame her. She is absolutely baffled as to why we don't speak to her now.

Fatigue-Error wrote:

I’m just horrified and terrified for OP’s sister’s future.

HoundstoothReader wrote:

Yeah, I see nothing hopeful in the sister’s comments about seeking external validation. I suspect things are going to get much worse for her before they get better (if they do).​​​​​​

FairZucchini13 wrote:

So, I have a little bit of push back on this as a former escort. Confidence through validation is not inherently a bad thing but can be when its the only way you can feel validated. However, it can be a starting point to loving your body. Being an escort gave me tons of self confidence and made me make peace with features I thought were bad.

Like I said, it can not be the only source though. A lot of it will be deconstructing bad thought patterns ingrained in youth. It is also what launched my exploration into mental health and stability for myself.

KProbs713 wrote:

My concern is that she will be extremely vulnerable to bad actors seeking to take advantage of her. With no practice setting boundaries and an authoritarian upbringing she could fall into the trap of doing things she's not truly comfortable with because she's never felt the right to say "no".

Kimmi_page wrote:

The damage purity culture has done to so many people is systemic and heartbreaking.

Hopefully, both OP and her sister are able to move on to futures radically different than what their parents have prescribed them.

Sources: Reddit
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