Tagged in: Latinx survivors

Sochil’s Story

Sochil Martin is an advocate, the founder of the With You Foundation, a mother, and a survivor of a Mexican cult called Light of the World.

The first time that Sochil shared her story was with her husband. At the time of disclosing her abuse, she didn’t know at the moment that she was in a cult. It was when her husband brought to her attention what she was experiencing and that she was a part of a cult.

“It was very difficult to listen to my husband because the church cult was all that I knew. This was my family, this was my history, and this was everything to me. I was born and I was raised into this organization. My aunts, my uncles, my grandparents, and my great grandparents were a part of this organization and this was my world and it was my husband's world as well. When my husband saw the text messages that my leader sent to me, my husband was in awe and wanted to speak to me. He told me that this was not a blessing and I don’t know what they’ve been telling you your whole life, but this is wrong….what they have done to you is wrong.”

In this moment, Sochil believed what her husband told her but it took awhile for Sochil to understand that her aunt, her legal guardian which she considered her mother, did this to her. Sochil also didn’t understand how the apostle, the one who was taking care of her soul, who would guide her to heaven, and who had known Sochil her whole life, would do this to her.

“All the hurt and all the pain that I was going through for so many years, was in fact, real and it wasn’t just me being a rebel with God. It was real and it was being done to me. My husband and I were hurt, and at the time, I was still processing and I didn’t know how to cope with everything…it was really helpful that my husband supported me. He couldn’t understand how other fathers and husbands aren’t there for their wives and daughters. He said that they should believe them and help them, and it broke his heart that husbands and fathers didn’t support the women in their lives.”

Sochil went on a quest to separate from the cult with her husband and her daughter. She responds on the ways in which anti-sexual violence organizations around the nation can keep children and parents safe from cults.

“When I left the cult, I needed a guide. I was all alone and I lived in front of the organization. Many times, the organization went after me, and my husband, to end our lives. We were so vulnerable and we were stuck in situations where people would take advantage of me, my story, and my family. If I had known of an organization, like RAINN, that could have helped my hand during the entire process, I would have been in a much different circumstance. Organizations like RAINN bring a safe haven to survivors...”

“[Furthermore], we also need organizations to bring awareness to cults, and this can be a game changer. We need survivors of cults who speak about these organizations and institutions, and I believe RAINN is doing that and I’m really grateful for that.”

Sochil went on to start her own organization called the With You Foundation and she shares what prompted her to start her own organization.

“I started this organization because I wanted to give survivors what I didn’t have because I had nobody. Also, I am a woman and that is difficult when you want people to listen. When a survivor is sitting down in front of anyone and has to speak of what happened to them, it should be well thought out by agencies and by therapists and that wasn’t done for me. Only a person who has lived through a cult can build an organization that can help survivors. With the With You Foundation, we will connect survivors with agencies, with therapists, law enforcement officials, an attorney, with resources and with those who can sit down with a survivor every step of the way. A survivor, along this process, can choose who they want to connect with along the way as well. In addition, the With You foundation Is focusing on legislation to enforce bills like coercive control in Cults under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 1994 with the I.S. Department of Justice, to focus on re-enforcing laws, and educational programs of Abuse and Mental Health in Public schools in California and Mexico through subject matter experts.”

As Sochil has become a leader in her community, as a woman, a Latina, and a survivor of the Light of the World cult, she also offered advice to individuals who have experienced abuse who are weighing the decision of whether or not to come forward.

“During your healing process, I believe you can fall into a position where you feel stuck, you feel like you are alone, and you wish that others can’t understand you. You may question who’s going to help you and you may feel like you might as well disappear or just give up. But I do believe, where there is a moment of strength, you say that this isn’t only just about me anymore; it’s about others who are in danger from this particular predator. Whoever this predator may be, man or woman as they come in all shapes and sizes, I think that survivors should be given a moment to believe in themselves and know that you are so valuable. You are so powerful, as a person. Having the gift of life and gift of freedom, and physical/mental/spiritual freedom while loving yourself, that is all you need.”

Sochil shares what has been most helpful in her healing.

“Helping other survivors and working really hard with other people, including Joe, to bring a solution to all of this with help from organizations like RAINN has helped. There's something about spreading awareness and getting people to care. Sharing stories of people who were once children, is about finding a way to support and help survivors and human beings who want to put a stop to this. That's the mission; No More. Gen Z should be a generation free from sexual abuse, assault, trafficking, and battering of a child and women. And this has to happen first, with the most vulnerable, because they are the future of tomorrow.”

Sochil has a message for survivors.

“You matter. You are worthy. You are valuable. You are love and you deserve love. You are beautiful and you are incredibly valuable. Always fight for yourself. Yes, fight for others, but first, fight for yourself. Fend for yourself. Love yourself. Become compassionate with yourself. Don’t be mean to yourself. You can be your own worst enemy or you can be your own best friend. Be nice to yourself. Hug yourself. Show yourself patience and understanding. I would love survivors to understand this because this is what I am teaching myself.”

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