She isn't Rachel Hopkins anymore.
Anne A Johnson Davis is shedding the moniker she used in a 1995 Deseret News story about her childhood as a victim of ritualistic satanic abuse and speaking out in a memoir of her life. Davis, now a Lehi mother of three, is stepping into the spotlight again with the publication of her book "Hell Minus One."
"I have had enough healing and closure of my own, I feel I'm in a place where I really feel the call to share what I have to help others find courage," Davis said in an interview Wednesday.
Davis' story is so bizarre, it's hard to believe it actually happened save for the fact that she has signed confessions from her mother and stepfather, a financial settlement and investigators from the Utah Attorney General's Office who vouched for her. From age 3 until she ran away at 17, she said she was sexually abused, tortured, bathed in blood and forced to hurt her siblings in satanic rituals.
"They would tell me, 'Now you're one of us. If you tell anybody, they won't believe you and they'll put you in a mental hospital.' And they threatened to torture me until I was dead," Rachel Hopkins said in 1995.
It was a study by the Utah Attorney General's Office that downplayed ritual abuse that prompted Davis to come forward. At the time, she insisted on a pseudonym and did interviews in silhouette.
"I'm glad that she's come out of the shadows and she's in the sunlight to tell her story so other victims will speak out and know they don't have to be afraid anymore," said Paul Murphy, a spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's Office who interviewed her as a TV reporter back in 1995. He also wrote a blurb on the book's jacket.
Davis still takes issue with the attorney general's report, which came out at a time when ritual abuse was being attacked as indicative of false memory syndrome events and fantasies imagined by patients or planted by unscrupulous therapists.
"I have a hard time believing that many come forward and none of them exist," she said Wednesday.
The Utah Attorney General's Office has no plans to revisit the controversial study, but continues to investigate any reports of ritual abuse.
"We take all child abuse very seriously," Murphy said.
As Hopkins, she said in 1995 that she wasn't interested in writing a book or going on the talk show circuit.
With the publication of "Hell Minus One," Davis is preparing to give lectures in hopes of inspiring other abuse victims.
"I just want other people to know my story so it can be a light," she said.
It wasn't easy to revisit the demons of her childhood. Writing the book took her 7 1/2 years, she said.
"The book had to be a balance of the evil that I suffered, the abuse, aggravated sexual assault and torture crimes, but also a book of triumph over and conquering captivity," she said.
When she ran away from home at 17, Davis said she cut ties with her family and anyone associated with them. She heard her stepfather died a few years ago but has no idea what happened to her mother. She also isn't scared about publishing the family secrets."Secrecy is their greatest weapon," she said. "I don't believe I have anything to be afraid of."
On the Web: http://www.hellminusone.com/
E-mail: [email protected]