Author, Speaker, Educator, Advocate
Lizzie (also known as Lizzy) Hershberger was raised in an Amish Community in Minnesota. After coming forward about systemic abuse in her church, Lizzy became recognized as an expert on the Amish culture, as well as a trained advocate, panelist, speaker and Amish language interpreter, helps victims going through the legal process.
Her groundbreaking memoir, Behind Blue Curtains, records this pursuit of justice and healing, and is available now on Amazon.
Lizzie is the co-founder of Voices of Hope Givers, a support network helping people find their voices. She also volunteers with Victim Services and other groups to improve the lives of women and children. Before escaping her Amish community, also known as “jumping the fence,” Lizzie was a hired maid for local families and an Amish school teacher. She still lives near the Amish community she grew up in with her family and lots of horses.
In 2018, Lizzie testified as an expert witness on the Amish for a wastewater case that resulted in substantial environmental improvements. Additionally. she has testified in trials as an expert witness, in one case helping bring an Iowa man to justice with 45 years in prison.
Lizzie’s story has made international news, been featured in Cosmopolitan, Rochester Woman Magazine, and on multimedia platforms, including podcasts.
A True Crime Memoir of an Amish Woman's Survival, Escape, and Pursuit of Justice
When Lizzy Hershberger turns fourteen, her schooling ends at eighth grade, and she has no choice but to leave home to work as an unpaid maid for another family. To avoid being rejected by her ultra-conservative Swartzentruber Amish family and community, Lizzy is forced to abandon her dreams because they are “too worldly.” After being raped by an Amish deacon over two dozen times, Lizzy makes her first attempt at “jumping the fence” to pursue a non-Amish lifestyle. But without any modern life experience or education, Lizzy must decide whether the risks of this unpredictable and dangerous world are worth losing the ties to her Amish friends and family forever. Almost thirty years later, after she has created a new life for herself, her small community is rocked by disturbing sexual assault allegations. Lizzy must decide whether to keep silent for her newly-created family’s sake or come forward against the church to advocate for the Amish children she left behind. In 2019, Lizzy Hershberger successfully brought her abuser to justice in an extraordinarily rare case addressing sexual abuse in the Amish church. She faced death threats and intense pressure to stop telling her story. Lizzy refused to back down, and she forged ahead to spark a national movement bringing awareness to the prevalence of sexual assault in isolated communities protected by religious liberties. This gripping true crime memoir reveals the truth behind one of America’s most revered and secretive religious sects—hidden behind the blue curtains of the Amish lifestyle.
THE AMISH KEEP TO THEMSELVES. AND THEY’RE HIDING A HORRIFYING SECRET
A year of reporting—an exclusive partnership between Cosmo and Type Investigations—reveals a culture of incest, rape, and abuse.
Sarah McClure | Cosmopolitan | January 14, 2020