TOOELE, Utah -- Rebecca Musser, who helped bring polygamous FLDS leaders to justice, spoke Saturday at an event for women’s health in Tooele.
Musser was the keynote speaker at the 9th Annual Healthy Woman Event. She has appeared on national talk shows and her book, The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice, is sold out in stored across the country. It is hard to believe, just a few years ago she considered herself a slave.
“Twelve years ago right now, I was owned for time and all eternity. My life right now never could have happened for what I understood then, and it didn`t happen by accident,” Musser said.
Musser is known as the witness who wore red, the 19th wife who played a pivotal role in putting 11 FLDS leaders behind bars. She was a Salt Lake girl, taken to Colorado City when she was 16.
At age 19, Musser was forced to marry 85-year-old FLDS prophet Rulon Jeffs, the father of Warren Jeffs. The two were married for seven years until he died.
“At the time that he died in 2002, I`d had enough. This man was supposed to be god in mortality and for me there was nothing holy about that,” Musser said.
She said the elder Jeffs abused her sexually and the home was under guard. Musser escaped the FLDS compound a few days before she was to be forced to remarry Warren Jeffs.
Musser said getting used to mainstream society was a long, difficult road of therapy and education. After speaking with women from all over the world, Musser said it became clear her struggles weren`t unique to FLDS women and her story could help women everywhere.
On Saturday, Musser traveled to Tooele High School where she spoke to an auditorium full of women about her story and lessons learned.
“We are all more alike than we realize. Even though I grew up in the FLDS and other women that I talk to from main stream society, from all around the globe, we experience emotions, we experience pain, we experience abuse. The details might be difference but that abuse is the same,” Musser said. “The really exciting part is the path out of that abuse is the same.”
Musser continues to tour the country speaking on behalf of oppressed women. She started a non-profit organization, ClaimRED, which works to help survivors of abuse.