Two US women who were forced to marry a controlling apocalyptic cult leader when they were teenagers have spoken out about the traumatic experience.
Pebbles Rodriguez and Amy Eddy were just 12 and 14-years-old when they were married off to 62-year-old cult leader Tony Alamo, who led the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Arkansas.
Speaking to PEOPLE ahead of the documentary People Magazine Investigates: Cults, the women recounted growing up in the compound with their mothers, who joined before they were born.
“I think I was around 11 or 12 when my mum had told me the only person you’re ever going to marry is Tony Alamo,” 34-year-old Eddy says in the documentary.
“I don’t know exactly why Tony chose me to be a bride,” Rodriguez, 32, shares.
“I can surmise many things, I was extremely, extremely young looking. I think he liked the fact that I looked like a child.”
The women say they were regularly beaten, starved and raped while living as child brides.
“I was terrified that if I didn’t do what I was supposed to do when he told me to do it — no matter what it was — I’m going to hell,” Eddy told PEOPLE.
Alamo first began preaching in the 1960s in Los Angeles, initially spreading a message of peace and salvation with his wife Susan. Years later, after Susan’s death, Alamo went on to construct himself as a prophet of God and promoted polygamy and marrying young girls.
As news.com.au reports, disturbing audio in the documentary includes Alamo’s assertion that “puberty is consent”.
“When a woman reaches puberty, she, according to God, is able to be married,” he is reported as saying in the clip.
Rodriguez and Eddy were finally rescued from the cult in 2008 when Alamo was charged with 10 counts of interstate transportation of minors for illicit sexual purposes. In 2017, he died in federal prison at age 82.
Today, Rodriguez and Eddy still suffer panic attacks and post-traumatic stress after their horror upbringing.
“I don’t think it will ever be easy," Rodriguez admits. “There are things that are out of my control, like recurring nightmares. There is nothing I can do to make it go away, but I try my hardest.”
People Magazine Investigates: Cults premieres on June 4 (9 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire.