Abused Lambs Page 5
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In my twenty years of private practice as a licensed therapist in the Bay Area, I worked with many women, especially lesbians, who had been sexually abused as children by elders, sometimes by their own family members. In almost every case the victim, now an adult, was unwilling to prosecute, because of fear of estrangement by her own family. Though most made progress, their recovery was never truly completed, due to the powerful grip the JW still had in their lives. In some cases, the abuse was known by the mother of the child, and certain other elders, but no meaningful action was taken to protect the child, or punish the offender. What seems different about this group of women, as compared to others abused as children, is the intensity of the power and fear the fellowship still has in their lives, years after they have ceased their religious practice.
My mother has been one of Jehovah's Witnesses for many years. I was raised as on e of Jehovah's Witnesses. When I was 15 I was sent to the JW school in located in Arizona. The name of the school is New World Education Center. I was very shy and didn't have friends. The principal of the school (an elder at one time) was married to the 4th grade teacher. This couple decided I needed to receive more affection and they befriended me. They bought me gifts, took me out to eat, to movies, miniature golf, etc. I felt as though I had a friend. My mom thought it was great for me to be with them because my father died when I was three. She thought this couple would be a good example for me. The sexual abuse started when I was 15 and lasted until I was 20. That probably sounds weird because I should have been old enough to know better, but at that time, my mind was confused by this couple's games. They played mind games with me and I was constantly confused and angry.
When I was 20 I finally told my mom what was going on. She reported it to the elders in our congregation. They reported it to this couple's congregation. I went through a meeting with all of the elders explaining the situation. I was crying and very upset. It was horrible for me. The elders said nothing to comfort me. I was told I should not report it to the police because it might bring reproach upon Jehovah's organization. My mom told me that. This couple admitted what I accused them of. They admitted to doing everything. They were put on private reproof. That was it. They were free to do this again to another child. I felt very let down. I might as well not have reported it. I quit going to meetings after this situation. I have not been able to trust the organization since then.
My mother tells me that I should forgive them and that not everybody in the organization is like that. I have felt so alone for so long. Then I found this website and realized I am not the only one. I was very shocked. I think something should be done. But what??
We live in Ocala , Fl. My twin sons were molested by a brother in good standing. He had been a ministerial servant, but had stepped down. The elders were interested in speaking with the boys when this was first reported. They offered us their support. Only one elder has come back to visit to see how we are doing and that was about 2 years ago. They said this is such a shock to them as they have never had to handle such a thing before they just didn't know what to do. It was a terrible thing. And that was that.
The man has not been disfellowshipped or any announcement made because he refuses to talk to the elders. Over the years he had studies with many young boys and still has access to then if he chooses. Many of the adults and elderly in the congregation have expressed doubt about the boys abuse. The boys moved to another state to live with their older brother and his wife. Their own father, (we are divorced) a ministerial servant, tried to persuade the boys to tell the state attorney that it was all a misunderstanding, it did not really happen, they were confused! He told them they needed to protect Jehovah's good name as there is enough bad publicity about witnesses already. This was despicable. And shouldn't Jehovah be able to protect his own good name? The boys have chosen to no longer have a relationship with their father, they are 18 yrs. old now.
One of the twins was also raped by another boy from the kingdom hall, he was two yrs older than my son and about 3 times his size. This was reported also. The boy denied it. He still attends meetings and is in good standing. His sister admitted to me that he was molested by his older step brother when he was about 8 to 10 years old. This is the same story my son told the police the boy told him. The family stood behind their son and denied he could have done this to my son all along knowing he had been abused for years by his older step brother who is now in prison for dealing drugs.
This also went through the elders who did nothing as the boy denied to them he did this. I later found out these were the same elders that knew of the boys abuse at the hands of his stepbrother. If that had been handled correctly my child would have never been raped.
I am telling our story in the hope that it will help you to be more aware of this huge problem and never let your children out of your sight whenever possible, the only place they are really safe is with you. I was told this by the victims advocate. She has seen so much abuse by so many that is now her opinion and I tend to agree with her.
I have been following your story for some time now. As a former Witness, I appreciate all you have been through. Your courage will certainly help others deal with child molesting.
I was brought up in "The Truth" since I was 9 years old (1955). I was a child prodigy, giving a bible reading at a circuit assembly when I was 10, a Vacation Pioneer during my summer breaks, first hour talk at 16, full-time Pioneer after graduating, ministerial servant and all the rest.
I am very strong-willed but I believed the Witness teaching completely. I married at 19 and had 4 children with my wife, also brought up as a Witness. My brother, 7 years younger, married a 15 year old girl and came to find out her stepfather, an Elder in the L. G., California congregation had been having intercourse with her from age 7 - 13. He also had sodomized her brother during this period.
He now resides in Oregon . Although many teenagers knew of this tragedy at the time of its occurrence, he was never removed as an elder. Meanwhile, my brother, his wife and her brother all were disfellowshipped at some point. My wife had a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide. We subsequently divorced after I quit the religion.
My mother, who lives in Oregon called me last year to tell me that the molester was finally removed as an Elder. More than 30 years after he first raped his daughter! My mother, a devoted Witness, remarked how wonderful it is that Jehovah bring justice in his due time! Bizarre that anyone could believe such a deception.
Our family was fortunate to not have suffered at the hands of a child molester, but nonetheless we became involved in the quagmire by helping a little child who was molested.
In contrast to JR Brown's comments about most of the poorly handled incidents happening in the 1980's, the pedophile's return to the congregation related below happened less than one year ago.
In our large metropolitan congregation a teenage boy molested a pre-school child; both children were JW's. The child went to the parents right after the incident and was taken to the hospital for a rape test. The police were contacted. When the Presiding Overseer was telephoned he told the parents he wished they had not called the police. This occurred in a state requiring reporting by clergy therefore this was not good advice.
The boy was arrested, confessed and sentenced to one year in Juvenile Hall. His parents moved to a different hall.
Once the boy was released from detention the situation changed. The parents of the boy desired to return to the original Kingdom Hall, the one the little victim and family attended. Although four different congregations met in the building the elders approved their request to attend with the victim.
The victim's family was shocked to see the pedophile at the same hall and approached the elders about the situation; the victim's family was told that they could change halls.
The mother of the victim reasoned that her child should not be made to feel ashamed, or any way guilty and forced to leave friends in the hall. This did not influence the elders to protect the innocent child.
I have read JR Brown's comments to the effect that parents are not punished for reporting assault to the police. As the nation found it necessary for President Clinton to define basic terms, possibly Mr. Brown would like to define “not punished”. The pedophiles presence in the same hall as the victim seemed designed to intimidate and harass the family.
Thus began our involvement, we were sickened by this matter so we talked to the elders, the circuit overseer, we wrote letters to members of the body of elders, to the circuit overseer, to Watchtower.
We watched as members of the congregation, including the elder's wives ran up and hugged the boy after his incarnation. Did any know why he was gone for a year or that the little victim and her parents had to stand silently by as they hugged the assailant?
How could one congregation support a victim and a pedophile?
Why has not a talk been given warning the congregation about this boy? He is a registered sex offender on probation. The boy's psychiatrist testified to the court that the boy had previously molested two other children. These victims were not named and apparently the boy had not been prosecuted for those assaults. Were the other victims Witness children? Did the elders beforehand know the boy was a molester and dangerous? We were not given these answers.
The boy's parent's have many friends in the congregation with young children, have they been warned we asked? No, we were informed the elders would not be warning them. The boy actually was sitting at the meetings holding an infant daughter of another witness family.
One young family with two children spent much time with the pedophile. The father was warned, and he immediately called the Presiding Overseer and the pedophile's father to verify the story. After speaking to them, he told the victim's father, that he did not wish to choose sides. Choose sides for what? Just know the facts and protect your precious children. What was he told? We don't know but the elders waged a covert dis-information campaign against the innocent family.
We asked do you know the boy's parents are lying about why he was arrested and imprisoned? . The pedophile's father actually called a member of our family and told them that their son had not been convicted of the charge. We found this rather improbable as the State's Sex Offenders website clearly showed he was a registered offender convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a four year child.
We asked do you realize if anyone hears the truth the pedophiles family then slanders the victim by saying the charges were false? Believe it or not the elder's admitted they knew this and had told the pedophiles father he needed to be more truthful. Of course he wasn't. The elder's could have put a stop to the rumor mill and slander against the victim by simply giving a talk on sexual assault.
We personally visited three elders involved the matter at their homes. Even here they continued to stonewall on why they would not give a talk about child molestation, or ask the boy to change halls or make an effort to support the victim. The circuit overseer replied with a little note saying to pray for the families.
Finally our letter must have reached the right people at Watchtower, and two elders were sent to silence us.
One elder, a man we had known for eighteen years, didn't even attempt to pretend this was the biblical. He told us was a “ Company Man. ” We were told not to talk about it to anyone anymore.
The elders actually told us that the two different stories circulating in the congregation were confusing people. Even family members were being divided they said, some believing that the boy was a pedophile, others believing that he was innocent. Most people believed it was a rumor as the elders clearly supported the boy and treated the victim's family with disdain.
I had the impression that because the little victim had not been brought before the Watchtower Inquisitors and the boy had been convicted in the courts of law rather than by a judicial committee they did not have to view him as guilty. He had not confessed to the elders, they were offered the court transcript of his confession but they refused to read it. I have read JR Brown's recent remarks to the effect that the congregation handles sin and the secular authorities handle criminal activity, this must be a new development.
Soon a local needs talk was given. Was the talk on “Protecting your Children” no the talk was on forgiveness. The congregation needed to understand it was mandatory to violate common sense and conscience. Points NOT covered include: Is a four year old capable of an intangible concept like forgiveness, or rather just traumatized by the molester's presence? Will other children be protected from a serial sex offender by covering over the transgression? The body of elders gave no consideration to the trauma heaped on this family, on this innocent child, and they never supported them.
JR Brown has made the statement that seeing a male not be serving in a leadership role would alert members "he obviously lacks spiritual maturity." We find this revolting as the most decent, courageous men we have known in the last few years have refused a leadership role.
After all if you can take good men, husbands, fathers, grandfathers who already know that child molesting is wrong and train them to over ride their conscience what value is a “spiritual education”?
We were angry to be forced to be quiet, sickened that our religious beliefs should be used against us for evil. It seems if the body of elders wishes to engage in unethical behavior that is their decision, but should they attempt to intimidate others to go along with them? We are extremely sad to realize that after nearly thirty years in the organization our concerns do not merit an answer, merely a threat to silence
First of all, thank you! Seeing the "truth" come out on Dateline last night was inspiring. I have often felt so alone concerning this issue. I was 16-years-old when I was disfellowshipped. My first real memory of being molested by my stepfather was when I was 11. But, there were times before that (my step-father has admitted it started when I was 4...I don't remember anything before age 11). I told my mom about the molestations when I was 12. She cried, asked me what I had done to cause it, then realized what she was saying, cried some more, and eventually called the elders. They put him on public reproof because he was repentant. It wasn't reported to the police.
Coincidentally (?), we moved to another city less than a year later, when I was 13. The new congregation wasn't informed of his status as being on public reproof. My Mom would wander the hallway at night...watching him. Trying to make sure he wouldn't do anything else. Sometimes she blamed me. Sometimes she blamed him. We had a lot of "family discussions" late at night, after my younger siblings (2 half brothers and 1 half sister -- who I love like my own children) had gone to bed. I once told him, “If you ever do anything like that to my sister, I will make sure you go to jail.” His response was, “I could never do something like that to my own daughter.” On another evening, my mother asked him, “Do you love T?” He responded, “No.” Just a simple word…but it still haunts my thoughts and dreams. And, although he had stopped molesting me...he would look at me sometimes, sexually...with an aggressiveness that only I saw...he made sure of that.
When I was 13, I got baptized. I thought I was doing it for myself. But, when I got out of the water at Jack Murphy Stadium and looked around for my parents, they were nowhere to be found. I soon found out that they were in an argument and had gone back to the camper (we were camping overnight in the parking lot of the stadium for the convention). I was devastated that they hadn't been there to congratulate me and hug me like all the other parents when I got out of the water. I later found out they were arguing because my mom didn't want him to see me in my bathing suit. I began to have my doubts about my chosen faith that very day.
When I was 15, I fell in love with a boy at my high school. It was my junior year and I soon began to realize that this boy was my best friend. I started to question how a "worldly" person could be my best friend...and the people who were supposed to be my friends were so distant.
That same year, my stepfather made another physical advance. He sat down next to me on the couch in the living room one day. I was reading a book. He touched my foot. I, being the ever-enduring optimist, thought to myself, "Maybe he's finally trying to be a real dad. Maybe this is what real dad's do." (I never really knew my real dad...and I constantly questioned my doubts about my stepfather's repentance.) He said something to me. I don't remember what. He began to slide his hand up my leg toward my thigh. Of course, I knew then his intentions weren't to be a "real" dad. I froze, like a deer in headlights. I didn't move a muscle. I was scared. I was angry. But, I was completely frozen in place. Fortunately, right then, my little sister walked in the room. She was just three years old. He stopped himself, jumped up, and ran out of the room.
A few weeks later he found out about my boyfriend. One of my Jehovah's Witness friends had turned me in. A family meeting was called. My stepfather berated me for hours in front of my siblings. I had just gotten off a 6-month restriction for some things I had written in my diary and some letters I had written to friends. Now I was facing another year or so of being restricted to the house except for school and meetings. So, I did what any normal 16 year old would do -- I ran away from home.
A few weeks later, when my mom found out where I was staying, she called me and told me she didn't want me to come back home. She said she thought I was safer out of the house. But, she insisted that I talk with the elders. She would call me constantly for weeks on end, saying things like, "You can't just walk away from the truth. You have to make a decision. You're either in or you're out. You can't sit on the fence."
During this time, my boyfriend was my rock. He was my best friend. He was the only person who stood by my side, despite all the insanity whirling around me. For a young, quiet, independent 16-year-old girl, he was my everything. I trusted him more than anyone else I had ever known. I slept with him. It felt right. It felt like something worthwhile. It felt meaningful. I had already decided I didn't want to be a Jehovah's Witness anymore. I was very prepared and we used plenty of protection. I needed someone to love me. Just for me. Wholeheartedly. He was all of those things. To this day, I do not regret one moment I spent with him.
I met with the elders a few weeks later, admitted that I had had sex with my boyfriend. I also informed them about the latest attempt my stepfather had made at touching me. They weren't aware of the previous attempts or of the public reproof. I said, even though he hadn't completed a sexual act against me this time, it was clear what his intentions were and I couldn't live at home any longer. Once they had a basic idea of some of the things that had happened to me as a child by his hand, the elders didn't care to discuss the issue about my stepfather anymore. They said they wanted to finish discussing the "topic at hand", which, of course, was my having had sex with my boyfriend. I said I wasn't repentant and was disfellowshipped three days later. Needless to say, I didn't attend that meeting. My stepfather was a ministerial servant and remained one after I left.
9 months passed. I was living with a friend, working full-time in the evenings, and living out my senior year in high school. Eventually, the lady I was staying with wanted her place to herself again. I was only 17 so I couldn't sign a rental agreement. I was struggling to find another place to live. I was a mess emotionally. But, I had a 3.8 GPA and was attending school regularly. I didn't drink. I didn't smoke. I didn't do drugs. But, I had nowhere to go.
At my boyfriend's suggestion, I began to see the on-campus school therapist. I was fairly severely depressed at having lost contact with my family (I missed my younger brothers and sister immensely), having lost my faith in God, having lost all of the friends I had ever known (outside of school), having to worry about where I was going to live, and at having to make such huge decisions about my life at such a young age.
I had no idea my school therapist would be forced to inform Social Services about the molestation when I told her about it. She reported it. Social Services stepped in. When they went to my parent's house, they found my 10-year-old brother babysitting my 3-year-old sister and my 1-year-old brother. They were going to take them away for neglect when my mother returned from her daily requirements of door-to-door work. She was a pioneer. They didn't take the kids away. They determined my parents were competent. Of course, in front of Social Services, my mother made no mention that she didn't want me to live there any more. Everything was peachy-keen and she wanted me to come home and be with my family.
Social Services forced me to move back home (they said if I didn't, I would "go to jail as a runaway"). They set up therapy sessions for my stepfather and I to attend. He went to a meeting with the therapist they assigned and I went to a meeting with the same therapist later the same week. The therapist told me he was very concerned for my safety and he was writing up a report about it. My stepfather didn't allow me to go back to that therapist. He told me he had FIRED him. Social Services never once checkup up on me. And I never heard anything more about the report that was supposedly being written up about my safety, or lack-thereof.. My stepfather then hired a Jehovah's Witness therapist. I went once, realized the guy was a witness, and never went back.
During this time, I am disfellowshipped but being forced to attend meetings. I would sit in the back of the Kingdom Hall. I did not sit with my family. I would drive my own car (which I had purchased on my own), walk in at the beginning of the meeting, and leave just as it ended. This was pure torture. These people who had been my only friends for most of my life, had become blank, emotionless faces. People I had loved and cared about now acted as if I did not exist. They appeared afraid to look at me. Afraid of me...a 16-year-old girl who had simply found someone who loved her. It sounds sappy...but it's the truth. Of course, I had plenty of psychological issues at this point. I craved love like a dog craves his master's attention. But, I wasn't a rebellious kid. I wanted to respect my parents. While I lived in their home, I did what they told me to do...including attending meetings. But, I moved out again at the very first opportunity...3 months later (a few days after my high school graduation). My stepfather did not attend my graduation. We had lived in the same house for three months, but we did not speak to each other (unless he was yelling at me for something).
That summer, I lived with friends, worked many jobs, and signed my first rental agreement the week I turned 18. Interestingly enough, that same year, my family moved again to another city and another congregation. I'm not sure what happened after that point. But, about 5 years later, my mother became a severe alcoholic, left my stepfather and the witnesses, and actually went to jail for 7 months on alcohol related charges. (Fortunately, she is now in recovery and has been sober for over 2 years.) My stepfather left the congregation soon after my mother left him. I hope and pray that no one else has fallen victim to his attentions. He's now dating a girl that he works with. None of my siblings attend meetings anymore. Only one of them knows that their father molested me. My mother told my brother about it in a drunken stupor one night. He hasn't dealt with the news very well. So, I haven't told the other two. Interestingly enough, all of them simply "walked away." None of them were harassed into talking to the elders about their "sins." They're all "sitting on the fence," which is perfectly fine with me. I think the fence gives us a nice vantage point. None of them have been disfellowshipped or disassociated.
I'm 30 now. I put myself through college. At first I didn't think I could go to a "real" college. So, I went to a junior college and received a certificate in Accounting/Bookkeeping and another to be a Nurse's Assistant. I then realized that I could probably get student loans and go to a 4-year school. So, I did. I soon received my AA in General Studies, BA in Literature & Writing, and MS in Forensic Science. I am now happily married and working for a software company as a Technical Writer. I also recently started my own business.
But, I still struggle with faith. I would like to find a religion I can trust. I would like to have an innocent faith in God. But, my heart is deeply scarred. Regardless of that, my only regrets concerning this entire ordeal are at not taking my brother's and sister with me when I left home the last time. This is probably an unrealistic fantasy. But, one I harbor nonetheless. I lost a lot of years with them. They may have been better off with me, even if I was only 17. I will never know for sure. My mother, my siblings, and I are slowly mending our tattered relationships. I do not speak to my stepfather.
So, there's my story. It's not glamorous or beautiful. It's just the truth. It's my truth. Thank you for providing a forum on which to share it. Thank you for being a strong voice for victims. If there is anything I can do to help your cause, don't hesitate to ask.
my parents became witnesses when I was a little over a year old. all of my life I was raised in the truth. the truth is a funny choice for a word.
my half-brother sodomized me and performed and consequently forced me to perform oral sex on him from the time I was 7 until I was 15. my parents suspected because he'd been caught doing it to other kids in the congregation. after he'd been caught the elders in bay city (where we lived) urged my parents to keep it quiet and move to another congregation in another city. I didn't find this out until at the age of 25 I finally told my parents and my family what had happened. it was no surprise to my parents as they'd suspected it all along. I remember very specifically one night at the age of 7 when my mother sat me in her lap and asked me if my brother had been doing bad things to me. I sat in her lap, the lap in which I should have felt the safest and with tears in my eyes denied anything that was happening. I don't why I denied it, I guess because I knew it was wrong and I didn't want to be destroyed and I didn't want my parents to hate me. that evening still haunts me and still moves me to tears.
after years of therapy and learning to love myself, place the proper amount of blame on my parents and cutting off the relationship with this sibling, I think I have moved on. I am not currently a witness. I was baptized at the age of 12 and even served as a regular pioneer, but the truth was never really in my heart. on the day that I was baptized in august of 1982, my half- brother sodomized me in our hotel room after the assembly. I never felt like my baptism mean anything....how could it? I was a child who was taught things of a sexual nature that most adults don't even practice. consequently when I finally found the strength to leave the organization, I never looked back. I have found inner peace and happiness on my own.
i do not blame Jehovah for what happened. I do not my blame my parents totally. people are human, even elders are human and they make mistakes. I think the organization should step up, accept culpability for harboring the secrets and lies and deal with these situations differently in the future by immediately notifying authorities. in my mind, the organization would do better to follow "caesar's laws" as Christ instructed his disciples to do the same. only by swiftly allowing the appropriate legal authorities to take action can the organization clear it's name and Jehovah's name. if these pedophiles are sincerely repentant, they will accept their punishment from the legal authorities and the congregation and then move on. if the congregation chooses to forgive them, then so should we, but people should know so they can protect their children and the children in the congregation. it's not slander if it's true.
i have been able to build a strong relationship with parents and they are very supportive of my life, even though I have chosen not live life as a witness. I know it's hard for them to accept me as a gay adult male, but my dad has always said that Jehovah would want him to love his child as he is, or how he was instructed to be (perhaps as a victim of abuse, my sexual preference was learned, but this I 'll never know, because I had no choice in the matter) and my parents will always treat me as they always have. they are just as proud of me now as they would be if I were an elder or pioneer. I feel lucky because I know most parents would willfully and quickly disown their own children to save face in front of their "brothers and sisters".
i am also fortunate to have friends who are still witnesses that know of my abuse and have chosen to maintain our friendship and not shun me as the congregation would have them do any other non- believer or someone who has left the fold. I respect those I knew as a witness who do not wish to associate with me as well. I would not want anyone to speak to me if they felt it interfered with their relationship with Jehovah, as that is a very special thing.
other than what happened to me abuse-wise, I feel lucky to have grown up with a strong moral and religious background. I think that even though I don't live a lifestyle consistent with the organization and maybe not the lifestyle Jehovah wants for me, I will always be honest and respectful of others. I will always know right from wrong and the things I learned as a witness will always touch every aspect of my life. I pray and know that Jehovah understands the circumstances surrounding my life and that when and if this system ends, he will dispense justice to me and others like me on an appropriate level. I do not fear the end of this system of things. I will always feel love for Jehovah because he is my creator and I will always respect the organization and any witness who chooses to live their life in the preaching work and sharing their faith. I just sincerely hope that the organization does what they should do, what Jehovah would have them do, and that is to turn these molesters over to the appropriate authorities.
i hope my story helps someone, anyone, anywhere in the world.
I saw the story on dateline last night and I was shocked! My mother and I were victims of abuse for 15 years from my father. He was a ministerial servant of a congregation and both physically and verbally abused me and my mother. He also committed adultery, among many other things. My mother went to the elders on many occasions and was told that we were not being good Christians or that it was her fault that she married him. After years of abuse and adultery she divorced him and she is the one who was disfellowshipped. My father is still in good standing and is remarried. He did not attend my wedding last year and has been no part of my life since the divorce.
Those who were once our friends abandoned us once my mother filed for divorce and my father was the one who was thought to be the victim. He is still "the perfect Christian", having been caught cheating on his new wife just this past year by me and smoking by his non-witness sister recently. No one has reported these things because no one will believe me. I believe that my mother is still deeply troubled by this, since her abuser is still in good standing and she is an outcast. I wanted to thank you for letting us know that we are not alone in the cover ups and injustices.
I was abused for years by the son of an elder in our congregation. Finally, at fifteen, I was able to tell my parents what had happened to me. Naturally, my mother took me to the Kingdom Hall to address this issue with the elders, and there I was told that I needed two eye witnesses to the abuse before any consequences would be applied to my molester. Secondly, I was told that if indeed it was true at all, I would need to find forgiveness in my heart, as the bible commands me to do, and to let the Organization deal with this matter internally. My mother and I were upset by this answer, so we went to the authorities, which immediately resulted in our family being ostracized from the congregation. Several months after the legal investigation began, a grown man in his twenties approached me, also a brother in our congregation, and he shared his story of abuse as well.
He was molested at four years old by the same man who victimized me, and to make matters worse, they were caught in the act of oral sex when the father of the abuser came home. At that time a committee meeting was held, and the last the victim's parents heard from the organization was that the molester was remorseful and had repented. Furthermore, they were advised to never talk about it, and being good cult members who were afraid of being disfellowshipped and therefore "dead" in the eyes of God, they remained silent.
THIS is how the same molester was able to victimize over thirty victims over the following ten years. The legal case took five years to finally see court. As more and more victims came out of the wood work, the molester FINALLY stopped calling me a liar, and he confessed to the brothers that indeed he molested me. The elders met with me and prayed to ask God to forgive me for allowing this molestation to occur at two years old.
They prayed to God to forgive me for keeping it a secret for so many years. They prayed to God to forgive my family for our lack of faith and for what they called "bringing reproach upon Jehovah's name" by taking legal action. After saying amen, they announced that the molester was repentant, and it was proven by his confession even though he called me a liar for a year, and that now it was time to put this all behind us and focus more on attending meetings and not continuing to stumble my brothers and sisters.
I was accused of being blood guilty if any of this got around. I cried and cried and told my mother I now wanted to sue the Organization of JW's, because as far as I was concerned, it was their fault I was molested. It was their fault because they walked in on him, and caught him molesting a baby, and they silenced the family and then continued to give him access to children.
This story goes on much longer, but in the end, after FIVE YEARS of persecution by the Kingdom Hall and by my mother, I finally got my day in court. In the end, the judge ruled that the statute of limitations for my case had expired and I could not sue for damages. Criminally, the molester plea bargained and had to register as a sex offender for seven years, BUT he only served three months in county jail, and he only had to pay me $1,000 for therapy. Later, I testified for my younger brother, who also claims he was molested. The courts awarded him $500,000 from the home owners insurance of the molester. In short, this experience nearly ruined my life.
I was filled with so much rage and hatred and self loathing that I became a prostitute and pornographic model in my twenties. I had very strained relations with my mother because she threatened to disown me and refused to testify if I sued the organization. She said she would only prosecute the molester, but not God for what had happened. It has taken my mom until I was nearly thirty before she broke down and realized that her children were prostitutes , and drug addicts, and suicidal because of what she and the Watchtower Tract Society allowed to happen to babies. She realized she also helped the society to molest thousands of others after her own. My mother and I have been working hard on our relationship. We are finally friends and I can talk to her. I have finally learned to deal with my past, and who I have been, and who I am today. I am a Realtor and I have a healthy, long term relationship.... but none of it came easy. My life and emotional development was unfairly burdened, because I was never a child, and my rage and pain was so overwhelming that it caused me to turn against others... and then against myself.
This is not a sad story. I have survived and I am alive and well. I have learned to handle my rage. Somedays it is so strong that I just can't get out of bed. I sleep all day and I stay up all night. Other days I am fine. The bottom line, justice has never been served. Not yet. It wasn't served then and it has never been served upon the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society! I am a grown man now. I am not at the mercy of my mother's cult addiction, or the Organization's urgent need to seek discretion at the threat of divine damnation. I am a man who is in control, and I am angry with the rage of thousands of molested children, and I am finally ready to speak out. I see that now is the time, and I am not going to squander it. I want the world to know. I will watch this site closely, and I am going to see a lawyer, and I am going to call the television stations, and I WILL have my time in court. I will have my answer. Now it's MY turn. No, it's OUR turn. Be angry!
Embrace it proudly. Let it fuel you. Do the right thing. I love you all and you have my sympathy, compassion, and support.
My mother and my aunt experienced a situation with a "brother" in the congregation in the mid 1980's. This offending "brother" still is a member of JW's today, yet nothing has changed as he is still part of the flock of JW's. This offender had invited my mother and aunt to his home to "have a joint bible study" (with his wife included). My mother and aunt accepted unknowingly knowing that this "brother" had unclean intentions in mind. When they arrived at his home they soon realized that his wife was not at home like he told them she would be. He then proceeded to make improper advancements and started behaving suggestively. He attempted to touch my mother and aunt in improper ways, when they (mother & aunt) proceeded to exit the situation as swiftly as possible. Soon after this encounter my mother & aunt approached the elders' and told them what had happened.
The elders' basically just told my mother & aunt to "not make false accusations" against this "brother" therefore protecting the "brother" from any reprimand. As a result my mother & aunt were tormented and disturbed by the fact that this "brother" continued worshipping with the flock as though nothing had happened. The "brother" gave talks of which were directed to my (mother & aunt) about "not making false accusations" knowing very well that he had a serious problem. He used his position to take advantage of vulnerable female members of the congregation. And to this day he is still a member of JW's and nothing has been said or done to him concerning reprimand. He attends the Mcallen, Tx. Kingdom Hall in South Texas - and I'm not sure whether he is an elder now or a ministerial servant.
My mother & aunt never mentioned the situation again because they didn't want to be disfellowshipped from the flock, and outcast from the members of the congregation. I felt I needed to speak up about that encounter because enough is enough, its not right. All the elders' say is "do not make this public to anyone" and "do not make false accusations" according to the bible. That "brother's" name is Abel Rodriguez and his actions have caused pain and betrayal to my mother & aunt - including elder betrayal of the flock.
In 1991 the elders were told by me and my sister that we were sexually abused by our older brother. My mother found out and I told her something needed to be done. She refused to go to the police because it would just bring shame to Jehovah's name. My brother is not a "baptized" member of the church so the elders stated they could not do anything to him. Many times they would welcome him into the kingdom hall with open arms. My mother let him back into our home even after she knew what he had done to us.
My mother would be more hard on us because we were "baptized". I told my mother that I needed help because I was suffering from depression and felt I could burst one day. She told me all I needed to do was read the bible and learn to deal with it. What seems funny to me is how my mother could not deal with the problems in her own family but could wake up every weekend and go preaching and tell people how to deal with theirs.
How can you help other families when you cant help your own? I am no longer going to church and my mother is no longer talking to me. My brother is welcome in her house as if nothing has ever happened. My lifestyle is not that of the religion. The elders told my mother not to speak to me again but she should welcome him because there is still a chance for him to come into the "truth". I am now going to a doctor for help and it is helping me cope with my problems. I hope that in time he will get what he deserves.
Back in 1977 my girlfriend and her sister were attending the local kingdom hall along with their jehovah's witness father. She confided in me that her father had been sexually molesting them for years, I went to the elders and was told that they would take care of it. However, when my girlfriend continued to be subject to this abuse, I went to the elders AGAIN and was told that it would be taken care of. After 3 repeated attempts to have the elders act on this information, they told me, it was none of my business and to leave it alone. I was only a 17yr old kid at the time and wanted to go to DSS. but my family and friends discouraged me from doing so. ( they were also jehovah's witnesses ) I was told to wait on jehovah. NOTHING happened. That's disgusting!!! What a burden to place on a 17yr old. I hope the Legal system gets involved. There are too many victims. The world outside of the Watchtower needs to know what goes on inside. There are too many cover-ups.
I am a 38 year old women. When I was young I was raped repeatedly by my brother who is a Jehovah's Witness. I did not have any specific memories of the abuse until late last year. I have been very ill for 2 1/2 years with what my doctors now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among several other disorders. When I approached my brother in December about the memory flashbacks I was having his reply was "It's no big deal I dealt with this stuff 15 years ago, and well you didn't kick, scream, or tell anyone so I still consider it consensual sex."
My questions to him were something to the effect of "How do you violently rape your sister and call it consentual? What do you intend to do now that I have these memories? I plan on telling anyone who will listen what type of person you really are."
His reply to the last statement was to threaten my life and to tell me to keep my mouth closed or else he would tell people that I actually started everything. This was the reply of my brother that is almost 2 years older than myself and a preaching and teaching Jehovah's Witness. The rest of my immediate family members are also Jehovah's Witnesses except for my father and so I turned to them for help and did not get what I needed.
So being someone who had been raised as a Jehovah's Witness even though I no longer go to the Kingdom Hall on a regular basis I called an Elder of another congregation that I have known since I was a child. He asked if he and another Elder could come to my house and make a Shepherding Call and I said that was fine. When they came into my home I welcomed them thinking that this was the right way to get results, but I was very, very wrong.
I was asked a lot of questions about what I remembered and I told them what I could, although many memories are still trapped and cause me an illness that I pass out from. They spoke to me about the scriptures and I listened intently waiting for them to give me some sort of comfort, instead I was asked if there was anyone who could verify what had happened all those years ago. I said no because I had been abused in my own bedroom in the middle of the night. They told me that the only thing they could do was to write a letter to the Elders of my brothers congregation and that if he deny's it then that the end of what they can do.
I no longer have any faith that anything will happen to my brother in my lifetime. I do although still have a great faith in Jehovah and his knowledge of what has happened to me. I pray daily that all of the pain trapped inside of me goes away, and with a lot of help from therapy I am making some progress in my own life.
I do still have a huge problem knowing that my brother who molested and raped his sister is on the podium on any given meeting night giving a talk to both adults but especially children on any variety of subjects.. It is my true belief that anyone who is suspected of child abuse or incest should not be allowed to teach another human being what their version of what Jehovah's word is.
I will end this by saying that I am very grateful that I am able to have Jehovah God in my life and that through his son Jesus Christ's sacrifice I may be able to keep on living even after this world is done. I am able to have this faith because I do read the bible on my own and I know that Jehovah and Jesus know all.
Thank you for giving me this place to voice not only my pain but also my faith.
I just finished watching the news release on Dateline tonight. It has been a long time in coming. I was born a Jehovah's Witness. My father was the Presiding Overseer for many years. I left the "Truth" for a few years just trying to deal with my childhood. I eventually came back as a married woman (unbelieving husband) and had two children. My sister was disfellowshipped at the age of about 18 for fornication--I found it funny that out of 5 cases she was the only one that was disfellowshipped. The presiding overseer at that time asked her multiple sexually explicit questions; for instance, "Can you explain in detail if you masturbate and how?" At another time my 10 year old girlfriend was asked by the same individual the sexual details of her disfellowshipped mother. This elder eventually lost his position because his wife at the time threatened to go to the police about his physical and sexually acts with herself and their children. He was still allowed to go door to door.
Sorry, I got sidetracked a bit. Let me get to the reason for this e-mail. My husband was sexually and physically abusive to me. I was raped, beaten, threatened to be killed, etc., etc., etc. At one point I was able to get into the car with my two babies and drive the 3 miles to my parents home. I told my mother and father (an elder) that I was going to divorce my husband. There answer to this was "I do not believe that you have grounds to do this?" I was stunned. Here I was standing in front of them barely able to walk, bleeding, and with bruises on my neck where he tried to strangle me to death. I told them I didn't care; the spiritual consequences where between Jehovah and myself. I have now spent the last six years in hiding--he always found me though. The last incident he held me and my children hostage at gunpoint. My ex told our children (4 and 5 years old) that he was going to kill mommy. Even after all of this my father would still take his phone calls and try to witness to this evil man. I have had one bad experience with individuals in different congregation after another. I still have faith and believe in some of the teachings, but I just cannot make myself to support something that is so hypercritical.
I would like to let Bill Bowen (especially Erica Garza) how proud I am for the stand they are taking against these mishaps of justice. I would like Erica to know that she is not alone and has done nothing wrong, but everything right. My heart goes to her and others like her.
Bill you are my hero, I just finished watching the expo about the judicial system in the Jehovah witness organization. I thought I was the only case. To clarify I was not a sexually abused by a member of the church, but I was beaten severely by a member. That member is my father and I was 12 years old when this happen. I remember the elders came to the house and spoke to me and my family, I was severely bruised all over my face and body. Yet they encouraged us to keep this horrendous act under wrap. My father never got expelled from the congregation, and a few years after that I was expelled from a different congregation because I stopped attending church. The only sanction that he got was not being able to make elder. Thank you so much for speaking out for us. Lots of love and God Bless.
My name is C and until I saw Dateline tonight I thought I was alone. I am a 31 year old female who was raised as a Witness the first 14 years of my life. My father (a Witness) and mother (non-believer) divorced when I was 5 and my father remarried a fellow Witness when I was 7. My stepmother had two sons from previous relationships. One son was two years younger than I and the other was eight years older than I. When they married, my stepbrother was a baptized member of the congregation. When I was 7 my stepbrother began molesting me which culminated in rape when I was 8 and he was 16. I told my Dad what had happened that same night. My Dad did not kick my stepbrother out of the house. He did not even bother to wake him. He and another brother in the congregation snuck me out of the house to the nearest emergency room.
My Dad was afraid that I might be pregnant. I was subjected to very painful examinations. A police officer asked me what happened and I told her, but nothing was done. DFACS never entered the picture. I don't know what my Dad said to the officer, but nothing was done. The next day, I was subjected to an "inquisition" conducted by the head elder of the congregation. You see, the stepbrother denied the entire incident. He eventually confessed after telling the elder that I did not scream nor did I fight as he violated me. Everyone else (including my Dad) assumed that my inaction was consent. I was read scripture after scripture on the dangers of becoming a harlot. Both my Dad and the elder counseled me not to tell my Mom because she was a non-believer and would cause trouble for the congregation. My stepbrother was not counseled, he was not disfellowshipped, and my Dad didn't kick him out of the house. I lost everything. I lost my God, my Dad, my Mom, my self-identity, my sense of security, and any self-esteem I could hope to have. My Dad eventually kicked him out almost a year later. The stepbrother had begun to steal and bring stolen items into the house. My Dad was afraid that he would be arrested because the stepbrother was still a minor living in his home. I never got any rape counseling while I lived with my Dad. I moved in with my Mom when I was 14. I was nearly 18 before I even told her what happened. I finally began rape counseling this year. Since the rape I have remained a virgin by choice. To be honest, I haven't trusted any man since the incident. The idea of marriage and children is a joke to me. To this day, I don't hate or blame all Witnesses for what happened to me. I do hold my Dad, the stepbrother, and the other elders responsible for allowing this type of evil to take root and thrive in the congregation. Didn't Jesus say that if anyone were to hurt a child that it would be easier if that person were to be thrown in the sea with a stone tied to their neck? Doesn't the Bible teach us that faith without works is dead? We can say we believe in Jehovah all we want but what good is lip service if we don't act against evil when it literally lives among us? Didn't Jesus say that "not everyone saying to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the kingdom of heaven"? We are no different than "the world" if we harbor and allow this type of behavior. Not to mention the brothers and sisters we stumble within the congregation and the non-believers who are discouraged from even listening to the message. Think of it like this, if we had to stand before Jehovah tomorrow, which one of us would have the audacity to stand before him and say, "I let this happen"? Didn't Jesus say, that "if your eye stumbles you, pluck it out. Better to enter the kingdom of heaven with one eye than to not enter the kingdom of heaven with two"? If we see evil, it is up to us to "pluck it out" and "wait on Jehovah" to guide us in the right action and direction. My heart and true understanding goes out to those who have suffered. I would hate to see the faith divided over the evil of some and the apathy and misplaced support of others.
I am a 48 year old woman who has survived all areas of abuse and violation from a young man I married in my congregation in 1971. He was a son of the presiding elder. His parents neglected to tell me that he had been diagnosed as severely emotionally disturbed. Though, I don't know if that would have stopped me from marrying him, because I wanted out of my situation with my mother and stepfather. Both JW"S, my mother was a full time pioneer and my stepfather was an elder. He was lewd and crude, As a budding teenager in puberty, he would often cop feels off of my little sister and me. He would pinch my breasts and slap my buttocks. He would say lewd things in jest, but we were taught not to make waves and go along with him to keep him happy, because he could be really mean. My mother would take her rage out on us kids at home, but be the social butterfly at the kingdom hall. She let my stepfather do whatever he wanted. They were two different people at home then who they were at the kingdom hall or at social gatherings. I married my husband and lost my first child at seven months right after he kicked me in the stomach and caused me to fall on ice. The abuse got worse as the years went on. I began to go to the elders to get help but instead left feeling guilty that I was not a good enough wife. When I was bruised, people looked the other way at the meetings.His own parents, also an elder and pioneer, left our house one day while their son was on top of me hitting me and smothering me in front of our children who were screaming. They just walked out. It took "worldly people" years later to show me I did not deserve that violence and that there was help for me. After years of begging my mother, my sisters, elders.... Jehovah's people!!!! to help me, it took the love of people whom I was taught were not caring, loving people like Jehovah's people. The light began to slowly dawn. There was much pain and loss, but I did eventually find my freedom. Freedom from abuse... sexual, emotional, physical, mental and SPIRITUAL. Now I really know the truth and a loving, precious heavenly father that showed me the way to real peace and joy and freedom There is so much to this story I have not told because it truly would fill a book, as one day I plan to manifest. I wanted to share that because after seeing your story on dateline, I am now aware how widespread and horrific this situation is! May Jehovah truly bless you immensely for your work!
Hi, I used to be a Jehovah's Witness, so was my husband. A little after we got married he started to be abusive to me and my two children. I had black eyes and bruises and he would kick my children and send them to bed without dinner because they would cry. It got really bad. I would call the elders and they would tell me not to call the police that I had to keep it within the congregation. The elders would say that I would give the witnesses a bad name or bad publicity. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I stayed quiet for a while longer. Until finally one night he took my two year old little girl in the middle of the night, while I was asleep, to this day I don't know what he did to her but her face was bruised and she was in shock. That was it I was not going to take it any more. After that time I got my children and I left him, I left the congregation and I never went back. And of course no one could believe that my husband did what he did. It was like he was two different people, he acted like such a good decent witness but I knew he was a fake and a hypocrite. And the sad part is that the elders let him stay. I believe that the elders are very wrong in keeping witnesses from going to the police. Its just wrong. That is why I question the Jehovah's Witnesses something is just not right. Later I came to find out that my ex husband remarried and he did the same thing to his wife and she left him too. This is a true story from a silentlamb in San Antonio, Texas.