Physically Abused by JW

by Stewart75 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • onesong

    This is in response to Blondie citing the Paul Berry case. It is an example that there's always 2 sides to a story.

    I know Paul Berry very well. We were friends and he worked for my families construction co. We were next door neighbors for about three years. I was shoveling my driveway when the police pulled up and made the initial arrest.

    Now please understand that I'm not trying to defend anyone, for I'm aware that I don't know and will never know the whole truth.

    But from what I observed Paul was a loving and caring father. One of his daughters lived with him while he was my neighbor (another one visited on weekends) and both of them displayed an open, natural and loving relationship with him. I never saw any trace of fear or hestation in the girls towards Paul. They were often at my house visiting w/o their father and always spoke very lovingly of him.

    Sarah, the girls mother, was always bitter and evasive.(Even while being a pioneer) She turned apostate.(Which is very strange for me to look back on now from this side of the fence) In the process of her leaving, her oldest daughter left with her.(Which is Paul's step-daughter,neither of the two previously mentioned girls) The accusations they brought up were from events that had supposedly taken place when the whole family was still together.(I want to say maybe 6 yrs. prior to the arrest)

    Now in the position I was in (as well as many in the cong.) it was hard not to side with Paul. Understanding the history of these people and the path that Sarah and her daughter had chosen it truly seemed as though they were simply angry , bitter people looking to lash out at someone, anyone. Even the story that they presented thru the trial had many discrepancies.

    Unfortunately , Paul for some reason didn't take the whole thing very seriously. He had a terrible lawyer.( Almost every witness the defense presented, the judge thru out because they were not properly prepped) He kept telling Paul not to worry because their story would never hold up. Paul was even in field service the day before the sentencing and wasn't a bit worried.He thought for sure he would be acquitted and the whole thing would finally be over.

    Another part of this whole thing is that my father was one of the elders who had worked with the family. They were having all sorts of marital problems ect. and the elders were trying to help. I know all of the elders on the committee (the ones now part of the law suit) very well. And while yes they are part of a cult and have even had to expell and shun me , I know that they are good , kind men. All of them, not just my father. I personally don't believe they had any idea as to the events of abuse that were supposedly taking place. I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams, them knowing these things were taking place and trying to keep it under wraps and allowing Paul to be in good standing in the cong. and later appointing him as a servant.

    In the midst of the trial Sarah was asked why she didn't report the abuse until years later. She replied that she was not aware of it until her daughter brought it up recently. So she admitted that she didn't even know what was going on at the time and now she's claiming that she had told the elders and they were covering it up. Her own testimony contradicts her current accusations.

    It's long and complicated but the bottom line I'm trying to get to is that we shouldn't be to quick to jump on every story against the Witnesses.

    There are liars in and out.

  • carla

    So Berry was a great guy because YOU didn't see the abuse? Tell me, how many men rape and abuse children with witnesses present? Can you site one case?

    How many times have there been serial killers where the neighbors all say, ' gosh, I can't believe it! he's such a nice guy and so good with kids too!'

    Wake up.

  • Saoirse

    1. I was physically and emotionally abused by my mother. 
    2. My mother was told to stay with my father who abused all of us. 
    3. I have two friends that were encouraged to stay with extremely abusive husbands - one was even almost killed by her husband. 
    4. I have 3 friends that were molested by JW elders and a niece that was molested by a JW in good standing.
    5. My husband knew a woman that used to beat the living crap out of her adopted kids in the back room at the kingdom hall. He said the entire congregation could hear the beating taking place but no one would do anything about it.
    6. I recently found out that a longtime family friend of ours has beat his wife on several occasions - one time even throwing her against the wall and choking her. He's a JW in good standing.
    7. My brother's friend tried to choke his wife. She had sense enough to leave him and got DFed for it.

    That's all the ones I know about personally. I suspect many more but I don't have proof.

  • kid-A

    I dont think anyone is suggesting that there are statistically more child molesters in the JWs than in any other religion or organization. It happens everywhere.

    The problem is the way that the watchtower handles these cases, i.e. the "2 witness" policy. Also, the witnesses have established unqualified, untrained and uneducated "Elders" to handle these cases and serve the role of child psychologist, police and judge and jury. They have established a mini 'legal' system within their organization that acts ABOVE the law.

    This is wrong, it is illegal and violates the constitutions of most western democracies. Religions DO NOT have the legal authority to preside over felony abuse cases. This is where the problem begins in the "organization".

  • onesong

    Carla, I'm not saying that Berry didn't do what he was convicted of. I said I don't know the truth.

    What I was trying to get across is the fact that the story you're presented with thru the media is quite different from the story that I experienced being part of it.

    I tried to make it clear that I'm not defending anyone just attempting to shed more light on the story.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    onesong, let me share a bit of history for you.

    my father (never a JW and had been separated from my mother who later became a JW) was sexually abusing me when I was 8 years old. He worked very hard to create an image of being the loving father whose wife had deserted him and 2 of her children. People felt sorry for him. I used to listen to him talk about what a terrible wife she was and how much he loved her and missed her. People bought this hook line and sinker. I knew it was a lie but I also knew better than to tell anyone. My father told me he would kill me if anyone found out about the abuse. So he painted a picture of being the wonderful daughter and I supported the claim by acting like the loving daughter.

    30 years later I was talking to an old friend. We used to go visit them and my father used to give him the "how much he loved my mother " line. During those 30 years my mother divorced my father and my friend's mother divorced her husband and my father and her mother wound up marrying each other. So now my old friend was not my step-sister.

    About a year before I left the JW (around 1984) I went to confront my father about his sexual abuse of me. His comment was "If you think I'm going to apologize, you're crazy" He thought he had every right to sexually abuse me. My immediate thought was that given the chance he would do it again.

    I called all my siblings and told him to never leave children alone with him. I also called my old friend and told her about the abuse and to never leave her children alone with him and to warn her siblings. She was stunned. She just couldn't image he would do that. She told me that she sometimes leaves her children with her mother. I warned her again and she said she just could not imagine it.

    Then I told her about an incident that happened in her house. My father was visiting her family. At some point he took me into the bathroom and sexually abused me in her bathroom with people just a few steps away. I knew better than to make noise. Once I told her this she said she actually remembered this and thought it was weird (which is probably why she remembered it) but she never would have dreamed that he was having sex with me on the other side of the door.

    Sexual predators know how to project an image. I have worked with women whose abusers were ministers, clergy, one was a supreme court judge, teachers as well as laborers. No one would have suspect that the men who were pillars of the community were abusing their children behind closed doors.

  • onesong

    Thank you for sharing Lady Lee. I truly am sorry that you've had such painful things happen to you and it takes great courage to talk about it.I appreciate your candor and willingness to help me.

    I am well aware that situations like this happen all the time. I had a girlfriend who had a very similar experience.

    I just think that sometimes our anger or hatred or whatever that we feel towards the Org. can cause us to jump on a bandwagon of judgement on situations that we don't fully know about. We can end up looking like the fanatics if we're not careful.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    I just think that sometimes our anger or hatred or whatever that we feel towards the Org. can cause us to jump on a bandwagon of judgement on situations that we don't fully know about. We can end up looking like the fanatics if we're not careful

    I do agree. I have been a long time on this board and read a lot of stories. There are many many posters on this board. And I agree some a angry, very angry. And believe me I understand their anger.

    A point about victims/survivors to keep in mind is that if anything victims/survivors tend to minimize the degree of abuse and damage done by the abuses they suffered especially if the abuser was a parent. A basic survival mechanism is to protect the person who is physically caring for you. Even when that parent is hurting you the child sees the parent as the source of survival. They also tend to take on the shame and responsibility of the abuser who accepts no guilt, shame or responsiblity for their actions.

    I have found that for the most part people here are angry about 2 things

    1. the person they relied on the most in life abused them. They have a justifiable anger.
    2. the WTS through the elders has added more abuse in the form of a secondary or systemic trauma. This too is justifiable.

    In each case the Bible was often used to maintain silence and control. I doubt God would approve.

  • jgnat

    I agree that an abuser can come in any religious stripe. What I look for is, does the organization support and protect the abuser over the weak and vulnerable, those who cannot speak for themselves? Then it is a cruel organization.

    The Watchtower society, with it's emphasis on a perfect "public" face and unrelenting wrath on anyone who would bring "disgrace" on "Jehovah's Organization", have a lot to answer for. I would much more admire a humble organization that admits it did wrong, and takes the hits (membership, contributions).

  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    I was raped by both parents, my grandfather and at least one of their friends. The abuse stopped when I was 5. When I was in my 20's, I confronted my parents (who for quite a long time never denied what happened). In fact, the last time I spoke with him was in front of two elders. My father said, "I am not so naive as to know nothing happened." He is still a ministerial servant in good standing. When my mother died, I was forbidden to attend the funeral and the elder giving the talk left my name out deliberately.

    I was soon confronted with the 2 eyewitness rule. This monstrous rule demands that a child must have 2 adults, preferably Jehovah's Witnesses in good standing, (since it's well known non-Witnesses are liars) stand and watch the child being bruatlized. These 2 eyewitnesses cannot interfere as that would mean there is no child abuse. These 2 eyewitnesses are under no obligation or directive from the Witnesses to report what they see, unless they are required to by law.

    If the child cannot present 2 eyewitnesses, they are assumed to be lying and the entire matter is "left in Jehovah's hands".

    This is what I was told. When my aunt and grandmother (non-Witnesses) agree to testify before the elders, I was told their testimony does not count since they were worldly and "worldly people can lie". Finally the circuit overseer told me to "shut up" or he would see to it personally I was disfellowshipped.

    I was told I was the only one who had a problem with Jehovah's organization, yet at that exact same time there was a child being molested by an elder's son. The matter was covered over completely and not even reported to the police.

    On another board, I have met dozens of abuse victims from Australia, Canada, the Phillipines, Europe and the U.S. The stories are very, very similar. Abuse victims are ordered, intimidated into not reporting, disfellowshipped and isolated if they do.

    There are liars in and out.

    Not every child who screams 'rape' is a liar. Some of us can only wish we were lying.


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