A woman who was born into a polygamous community in the United States has recounted for a B.C. court a childhood full of physical and sexual abuse that she says still scars her today.

Rena Mackert sat in the courtroom as her video affidavit was played as part of a constitutional reference case into Canada's polygamy laws.

In the video, Mackert describes her life growing up in the Salt Lake City area in a family that eventually grew to include four of her fathers' wives and 31 children.

She says her father began sexually abusing her when she was three years old, and the sexual and physical abuse continued until about a year until she was married at 17.

Mackert says she blamed herself for the sexual abuse because she was taught women were responsible for men's sexual urges, and she was expelled from the community in her 20s when she came forward about the abuse.

Mackert says it's impossible to separate polygamy from the abuse that she suffered, and she tells the B.C. Supreme Court judge who will weigh Canada's ban on polygamy that it should stay illegal.