Abused Lambs Page 8
If you would like to share your story, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted excerpts may be edited for spelling and context.
I left my husband (who was an elder for many years) several years ago because I felt he was trying to kill me. He had several reasons for wanting me out of the way, including keeping me silent. I went to the elders for help. There was no help to be had. I had physical proof of my allegations and proof of past criminal behavior on the part of my husband but I was told to be quiet or risk being the disfellowshipped one. I finally went to the police who strongly suggested that I not even return home that day. I didn't.
My ex was removed as an elder for a while, "privately reproved", and has since been reinstalled as an elder. He has a new wife. He was never punished for his criminal activities. I am fine. Jehovah has protected me and supported me in every way possible. Perhaps that was the lesson I was to learn. Trust in Jehovah. (not the brothers, not the elders, not the organization) I would not open my door for a Jehovah's Witness ever again. They could very possibly be a dangerous criminal who is being protected by their organization, "so as to not bring reproach".
Thank you for a site where we finally have a voice. God bless you.
All these stories, have one theme in common with mine. ABUSE An turning a blind eye to it will not make it stop. Telling our children and parents to "KEEP SILENT" only opens the door for the violator to continue his /or her crimes undeterred and undetected. Jehovah cannot be reproached by something men do. But the ORGANIZATION can be 'torn' apart which may not be such a terrible thing. What does the Bible state about things done in Secret? That they shall soon be brought to Light. An once they are it doesn't say IGNORE them.
I too, have felt the pain of being raised in an environment of abuse. My mother was a JW was abusive physically, mentally and emotionally. My step father would use the bible verses to his benefit and allow the abuse of beatings to continue. Encourage them by stories and emotionally abuse his children and me who was consider not to be his child due to me coming from a previous marriage. Then he would demand servitude.
For us to SUBMIT to him in all things b/c he was the head of house and the bible stated so. But for a woman ( the weaker vessel, which is not true. We are the GENTLE Sex yes but I would like to see them endure what women do w/out cracking. ) to submit there must be trust and trustworthiness from the spouse. An in a environment like this no wonder relationships destruct, you cannot abuse someone and then expect them to submit to you. JW's are a major contradiction and the ORGANIZATION needs severe changes.
But that is not going to happen unless they are forced to ! Elders should be held accountable for their decisions and their blind eye to the abuses that have occurred and the poor souls who go to them for comfort, protection and safety. ONLY to be betrayed and our lives destroyed. So their lies and cover ups continue on.
I say to you NO! Yes we speak up in forums and finally have gone public to a point. But unless we take these things to their conclusion and make them change their codes of silence ! then we are allowing them to continue to abuse others. An creating more pain for others. THIS CYCLE MUST STOP! An we need to heal ourselves by helping others survive too.
Thank you for allowing me to vent and hopefully encourage others to think for themselves and not what is force fed to them.
I also was a victim of child abuse...and I was brought up within the safety of ... 'THE TRUTH'...(hA!)..I was sexually abused by my stepfather from the age of 4, and he was a 'ministerial servant!'
15yrs later and raped, it finally went to the elders, who put in their records that I was a willing participant...if not: the instigator!!!!! (Can you believe it!!)?.... 3 hours of interrogation, being called a liar, and him finally admitting it, saying: 'well, she wasn't a virgin anyway" (which of course I was until he started interfering with me!)
My mother left him...I didn't go to the police, and the Jehovah's witnesses cut her out for dead...she had to start all over again!!! (I will never forgive them for that).... then.... HE.. got custody of my little brother! What can I say???? 15 years down the track, it turns out he was sexually molested/ violated too!
I am not proud of it, but we went to the police..... It took two years of immense pressure and stress for it to finally get to court, (he got 12 yrs)
What disgusts me the most, is the fact that when it came to what we could and couldn't say in court, for legal reasons: we could not talk about the Jehovah's witnesses or the tribunal 15 yrs earlier (when he admitted to it)
It is SO WRONG!!!! They must report it to the legal justices of the land! If not, they must be held accountable for their sins!!!
I pray so hard for all those young, vulnerable, children out there!!! Where is their safety when their parents are so brainwashed???
23,000+ children within the organization are being molested... And that is only the ones that have been reported to the 'Elders' within the congregations of the Jehovah's Witnesses! The people they look to for guidance!
S J (UK)
I just wanted to congratulate you for your efforts and I hope they pay off.
I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness and was baptised in my mid teens. I felt severe peer pressure to be baptised and commit to ending high school as soon as possible at an age where in the secular world children are not expected to be able to make binding commitments or contracts. As I grew older and became more aware that I did not believe the church doctrines it left me with a difficult choice as leaving the church meant leaving my mother. As the only child of a single parent I had a close relationship with my mother which made it a tragedy for both of us. However I could not be a hypocrite and profess beliefs which I did not have. The church elders pressurised me (at the age of nineteen) to make a definite decision so I disassociated myself. I have since spoken to mother three times in 18 years as she is prohibited from acknowledging me. As she has recently become a grandmother it is a shame as she is missing out on her only grandchild.
At the age of 10 I was molested by the son of a senior elder while visiting their home. He was 21 but mildly handicapped with a mental age maybe 5 years younger. There was no question on my part of reporting the assault, I merely made up excuses not to visit their house. At every church meeting thereafter he would try to put his arm around my shoulders and I would squirm out of the way ignoring the comments from my mother and others that he was merely trying to be 'brotherly'. It was clear to me that even if my mother believed me we would both be ostracised and she had no other life or family.
I think the whole issue of status within the church produces a climate where this abuse can continue even if there wasn't an official policy of 'protect the church at all costs'. Women have limited status, especially those without husbands, so are not likely to be believed and to suffer severe punishment by the church if they 'rock the boat'. Children have even less status. Some status is achieved by boys as they, especially those without fathers, are encouraged to be taken under the wing of elders for direction. The boys concerned undoubtedly feel proud and flattered to receive such attention which is known to be a classic situation that abusers can exploit to abuse with the certainty it will go unreported. Witnesses are encouraged to be outside 'the world' to the extent of always assuming the best of their fellow believers even in situations where unbelievers would regard this as incredibly naive.
My point is that, although I do hope your efforts to change church policy on reported abuse are successful, I am not convinced that that solution will go far enough as I believe most abuse goes unreported in the church and that this situation is deeply rooted in church structure and hierarchy. This is reinforced by the belief that Watchtower policy is always god-sent (despite regular 'new light' changing previous views!), that the elders are always right and that anyone who speaks out against doctrine or senior church members is an apostate (I still remember Franz in the 70s).
I saw the UK programme Panorama last night and was so pleased that this has come out into the open. I have been waiting for years for this.
I was brought up in the Jehovah's Witnesses from birth. My parents were converted before I was born. I am middle child in a family of 5 children, my mother giving birth to 2 sons at 20 yrs old, 2 daughters at 30 yrs old and 1 son at 40 yrs old. I was abused by my brother who is 11 years older than myself. I do not remember a first time, which makes me think it could have happened since I was a baby. I told my parents about it when I was 6 years of age in 1968. They then told everyone, including relatives outside the religion as well as in, that they had problems with me telling lies. No one has believed anything I have ever said to this day. I also saw my brother abuse my younger sister, but she denies it ever happened and has continued to be favourite daughter in the family. I left the religion at 16 years old after a married Elder made advances to me when I had been given to him by my parents for bible studies, as they looked on me as rebellious. I asked to be disfellowshipped as I just couldn't stand it all any longer. I was ignored by my family as well as the other Jehovah's Witnesses after this, so I married at 17 to get away from home.
At 26 years old I had a 5 year old daughter. I divorced my 1st husband who had been violent to us both for 9 years. I still visited my parents and I noticed that the behaviour my older brother showed was now happening with my 15 year old younger brother. At 8 years old, my daughter disclosed that my younger brother had been abusing her and he had threatened to kill her if she told. My 2nd husband and I tried to talk to the Elders, who did nothing, so I went to the police and had my younger brother arrested. All my family went to the police station which had been well rehearsed, saying that he would not do such a thing. My sister even took her 2 boys with her and made them say that he babysits for them and had not done anything to them. My sister even suggested that it must have been me who abused my daughter. It was my daughter's word against my brothers and the police had to let him go. I find it appalling how they read the bible to you and the next minute they are doing all the things they preach are wrong. I find it so hard to trust anyone, I made it my goal to break this line of abuse and protect my children as much as I can. I know that my two brothers are still in the organisation and are in contact with a lot of children, my eldest brother having 4 of his own, who are now grown up and couldn't get away from home quick enough. I do not know if they have been abused as they are all warned to stay away from me and I have no contact.
I have no contact whatsoever with any of my family and my parents are now 70 years old and will die one day not so far away and this all will never ever be resolved. It breaks my heart. Thank you so much for bringing this out in the open. At last I know that I was right all along.
I am 35 years old and was raised as a Witness until I was 13 years old when my Mother finally wised up and left the congregation. My Mother divorced my Father when I was only a year old when she found out he had molested my three cousins and the neighbor kid down the street. The congregation decided to handle things themselves and charges were never brought. My Father spent many years in a mental institute though, whether he was cured or not I will never know. My grandmother, however, labeled my family on my Mothers side as liars and I never got to know my family on my Fathers side. My Father was killed in a car accident many years ago and I went to his Wake and heard about what a wonderful person he was. My Grandmother still did not want to have anything to do with me and I guess my Grandfather went along with her as did my two half brothers. I recently found out that both my grandparents passed away a few years ago, no one bothered to let me know.
This may not seem very bad considering most stories told, but it gets worse. My step father was a Witness as well, and he molested me from the time I was 6 years old to the time I was 16 years old. I was told never to tell, not even my mom knew until I was 16 years old and I told her. I have not seen my Step Father in several years now, but I am told he is a good Witness.
I am 35 years old and I still feel the pain.
I was very interested in finding your site, a couple of days after having seen the UK Panorama programme.
I'm 39, male, and happily gay. I was raised as a JW from 4 to 16 by my mother, within the Bestwood & Arnold congregations in Nottingham . I think that my sexuality has little to do with the JW's per se, but it's interesting to note that my first sexual experiences (when I was 11) were introduced by my older friends, one who was 13 and the main instigator, 14, both of whom were the eldest sons of two of the five elders in the congregation I was part of. A third eldest male of a third elder was also present. The main instigator - Richard - went on to have 13 yr old girlfriends when he was 17. My point being that the Society represses young and sexually experimental people to such a great extent that half of the young male population of the elders of a congregation in a small town were sexually experimenting with each other from early ages. Of the two out of the three elders whose sons were involved, it would be fair to say that their wives always appeared down trodden and subservient. One came to the Thursday night Theocratic Ministry school with a bruise on her eye - and I still remember that from almost 30 yrs ago, when I was 9 or ten or so. On mature reflection - and I've worked within social community care for 15 yrs now - the two elders concerned might have been devout and sincere when it came to the Truth, but were bullies, apologists and/or blind when it came to the well being of their own families; socially inept and misogynistic to the extreme, but that is what the Society allowed them to be then, in the late 70's, and I'm sure still allows them to be today.
Some history here: My mother is a loving mother of 8 children - I was her first born and my youngest sister is approaching 19. I spent most of my school life being different - staying away from christian school Assembly, not celebrating birthdays (surely a wonderful thing to celebrate amongst loved ones!), having no easter eggs, or fireworks on Nov 5th in Britain, and cruelest and most bewildering when you're 5, being sent home from the school's end-of-term Christmas party (for the only reason of 'you're a Jehovah's Witness and your mum doesn't want you to stay') with a colouring book and an orange etc in my goody-bag. Which I opened alone, and not amongst all my schoolmates who were tucking in to trifle and jelly and cake.) My father has always been anti-JW from when I can remember. He once stormed the Sunday afternoon session at our local Kingdom Hall in Arnold to take myself and my sister and brother away. He still is anti, and although I made a conscious decision to leave 'The Truth' when I was 16 - after years of house to house work and being put on a lectern from 10 yrs onwards to give the 'Bible Reading', and also realising that there was no reconciliation between the Truth and who I felt I was, my mother and I are pretty close these days.
So I realised that she'd be pretty upset by the Panorama programme, because I was! She was also very grateful (I phoned her about it an hour or so ago) that my Dad - they're still together - hadn't seen it. (He has a drink problem and has blamed most of their 40 yr marriage together on the 'Truth'). We talked about how it looked, and this Sister of her local congregation for the last 30 yrs is herself shocked. But not surprised, by the fallibility of the present structure of Congregations as avowed by Bethel . Even she now feels that the whole male-dominated structure - sisters are always sisters, never elders - should be looked at.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the sisters could take some leading part within the Society? Because of all this! My mum is wonderful, and at 62, although we've argued in the past and we once didn't speak for a couple of years (when I came out to her and she told me she wished she hadn't given birth to me, and also told me that murder was a lesser crime in Jehovah's eyes than my sexuality) her faith for her god, and her faith in the JW's, is undiminished BUT she accepts that change has to happen. She can love her gay son and now she can begin to appreciate that the patriarchal Society is flawed.
If she can do that, how many others can start to make a Change?
Sorry to ramble on!
with this? I think I am ok
that I don't need counseling but after 12