RNZ – Former Gloriavale woman describes culture of bullying, mockery
By Jean Edwards – RNZ – 05/09/2022
A former Gloriavale member has described an ingrained culture of bullying and mocking at the West Coast Christian community, where powerful and controlling leaders punished women.
Mother-of-11 Virginia Courage told the Employment Court Gloriavale’s founder Hopeful Christian was a bully who ridiculed the way she looked when she was pregnant.
She and five other women – Serenity Pilgrim, Anna Courage, Rose Standtrue, Crystal Loyal and Pearl Valor – are seeking a ruling they were employees, not volunteers, working in slave-like conditions at the commune.
Gloriavale’s leaders strongly contest the women’s claims and deny they were ever employees.
Courage said bullying was so prevalent at Gloriavale people became desensitised to it.