Torah Bontrager ~ 06/09/18 ~ Cosmos Connection ~ Hosts Janet Kira Lessin & Theresa J. Morris
Torah Bontrager ~ 06/09/18 ~ Cosmos Connection ~ Hosts Janet Kira Lessin & Theresa J. Morris ~ Producer Thomas Becker ~ 6 to 8 PM Eastern Time ~ Studio B.
Listen live or via archives later at www.revolution.radio
Torah Bontrager, raised Old Order Amish, grew up with no electricity and cars and speaks English as a second language. She literally escaped in the middle of the night at age 15, with only what she could carry: the clothes on her back and $170 in her pocket. She’s a writing mentor, the author of An Amish Girl in Manhattan: Escaping at Age 15, Breaking All the Rules, and Feeling Safe Again (a memoir), and the first, and so far only, Amish person to graduate from the Ivy League.
Torah is a recurring sexual assault survivor, a world traveler, a plane pilot, and the worst employee on the planet (luckily she figured out how to become a financially sustainable entrepreneur). Her story has been featured on MTV, Tim Ferriss’ blog, Forbes.com, and HuffPost.
Twenty-plus years after her daring escape, Torah is finally coming forward to share her story with the entire world. A story about a childhood that was so abusive that she had no choice but to figure out a way to leave or kill herself. . . . A story about recurring rape over the course of a year, inflicted by the very uncles who had helped her escape and promised shelter and safety from her parents. . . . A story about living in fear, terrorized by threats of death if she ever reported the assaults. . . . A fear that brought her silence for 13 long years. . . .
Torah’s journey of growth and self-empowerment took her through nearly 30 countries, a 3-year break from college, and a philosophy degree for answers about why bad things happen to good people. In the process, she learned to take back her voice and feel safe again, despite C-PTSD (post-traumatic stress from childhood trauma), Stockholm syndrome, and attacks on her life. She had given up everything—family, security, community—in the hopes that one day her dreams might come true.
Today Torah works with entrepreneurs and leaders to make the world and workplace lawsuit-free and safe for women, 33% of whom are sexual assault survivors. Through her writing workshops and webinars, she also helps individuals figure out how to uncover and share their traumatic stories, so they can be the change that they want to see in the world. Download her FREE guides “12 Ways to Make Women Feel Safe at Work” at www.TorahBontrager.com/12Ways or “The 12-Minute Writing Process” at www.TorahBontrager.com/12Min.
And she hosts an iTunes + YouTube podcast the Amish Entrepreneur Show, collecting 1,111 stories of sexual assault survivors—from all walks of life—for worldwide release. Most recently, she became the founder of The Amish Heritage Foundation, the first organization in the 300+ years of Amish history that advocates for Amish (and Anabaptist) people without a religious price tag, promotes compassionate secular values and nonsectarian harmony, and empowers those who leave the Church.
Through projects like these, the culture of ignoring sexual assault and women fearing for their safety and security is no longer possible. “The survivors of trauma do not have time for karma to come around,” Torah says. “We need justice now.
Self-care is key to Torah’s daily routine for remaining sane amidst the heavy work of trauma. She loves gardening and cooking and feeds herself and her parakeet babies a non-GMO diet.
An Amish Girl in Manhattan: Escaping at Age 15, Breaking All the Rules, and Feeling Safe Again is the true story of Torah whose Amish childhood was so crushing that she literally escaped in the middle of the night at age 15, without telling anyone goodbye. She left the only world she had ever known, crash-landing into one that didn’t speak her language, wear her clothes, and understand her problems. She gave
up everything—family, security, community—in the hopes that one day her dreams might come true.
Torah began her new life with only what she could carry: the clothes on her back and $170 in her pocket. Her journey for answers about why her parents didn’t love her and why bad things happened to good people took her through nearly 30 countries, a 3year break from college, and an Ivy League philosophy degree. Her parents had been so abusive that she had had no choice but to figure out a way to leave or kill herself. Her uncles had raped her repeatedly over the course of a year, the same uncles who had helped her escape and promised shelter and safety. She lived in fear, terrorized by threats of death if she ever reported the assaults, a fear that brought her silence for 13 long years and kept her imprisoned in flashbacks.
New York City embraced Torah and gave her a home. At long last, she learned to take back her voice and feel safe again––despite C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress), Stockholm syndrome, and attacks on her life for speaking out. If you think you’re stuck or trapped, read this to know that you’re not crazy or alone, become accepting of your PTSD, and understand the trauma recovery process. Some wounds will never heal but it’s possible to love yourself and create meaning for your life.
An Amish Girl is story-driven, transporting the reader into Torah’s worlds pre- and post-escape. Each chapter can be read stand-alone and anachronistically, so busy people and those with ADHD can benefit without having to read the entire book.
“Torah’s tale is one of immense trials followed by towering triumphs. . . . Less a book and more a confession from a close friend. She brings to light a serious subject in Amish communities that are overlooked in favor of stereotypical depictions of Amish people and culture. This is done through her strong sense of storytelling, such that you devour her sentences and can’t wait to see her next project. I don’t re-read often, but this is a book with chapters and sections that I will go back to just to remind myself that if Torah can get through what she has, then I can, too.” – Brian Young, Navajo Writer + Filmmaker
“For those of you who feel trapped because of a job or self-imposed obligations as an entrepreneur, [Torah’s story] will put things in perspective. How do you escape your environment if you’re unable to control it? If almost no one on the outside realizes what’s happening?” – Tim Ferriss, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, Tools of Titans, and other bestsellers”