9 of 15
Elissa's sister, Teressa, also escaped from a polygamist compound and testified with Elissa in the trial against Jeffs. Although they grew up together, Elissa and Teressa had different experiences. When Teressa was 14 years old, she was sent to Bountiful, Canada, to work in a logging mill. Teressa says she worked at the mill until she got married at 17. Eventually, she was able to escape with her children. "I was extremely unhappy being there, but the biggest drive for me to leave was my three kids," she says. "I didn't want my two girls going through what my sister did. I didn't want them getting married at a young age, and I wanted them to have the education that kids don't get there."
Along with her freedom came a new lifestyle that Teressa says she and her children had to adjust to. "It's like taking someone from Mars and sticking them in the real world and say, 'Okay, live,'" Teresa says. Some of the adjustments Teressa made can clearly be seen, like her new hairstyle. "Cutting one's hair is huge," Lisa says. "Once a woman cuts her hair, she is no longer welcomed back in the community."