Stories Of Wife Abuse In The Organization!

by new boy 25 Replies latest jw experiences

  • MissingLink

    I just heard an update on one of these. Not only was he beating her, he also forced her to make a lesbian sex video with another woman. He said he was sorry to the elders and avoided punishment - I think the elders just didn't want anyone to know about this story, so they covered it up.

    She had enough and decided that the lesbian thing was actually for her. How nuts is this!?

  • AndersonsInfo

    I’ve told parts of this story before, but it needs repeating:

    In January 1992, I assisted WT Writing Dept. senior staff writer, Eric Beveridge, to put together some cover-series articles which appeared in the July 8, 1992 Awake!. The title on the cover: "Women Deserving of Respect." The reason for the articles was this: While on vacation in 1991, I was told by some JW women of their mistreatment by their husbands and also by men in the congregation. So when I went back to Bethel I told Awake! Editor, Harry Peloyan what I had heard. After he assigned Eric to write the story, Eric conducted interviews with women in Bethel asking about the mistreatment of women in the organization. He was shocked to hear what these women told him. He said he had no idea this went on within the organization and also in Bethel. I still have my letters to Eric regarding my views, which, by the way, he asked for. Perhaps, one of these days, I'll put the letters on my website,

    An extraordinary thing happened after the publication of the July 8, 1992 Awake! when many letters from JW women were received by Watchtower and the letters contained experience after experience of wife-abuse. And it was sickening to realize that over 75% of the letters had no signatures because the women who wrote them were afraid, and rightly so, that the Service Dept. would send their letters to the congregations they attended and they would be in for more beatings from their abusive husbands.

    Here's a unique experience involving a Service Dept. staffer: Around 1991, in California, a story about one young JW made it into her town’s newspapers. She had been married for about a year and regularly beaten by her JW husband. Every time she told the elders, she heard: "Make your husband happier." "Cook foods he enjoys," or "Be a better cook," or "Be a better wife." Finally, one night, she fled her home when she was thrown against a glass coffee table and it split in half. Someone directed her to a woman's shelter. It was there she learned that she was an abused wife! She actually didn't know that's what she was. She thought the beatings were all her fault and she deserved them.

    This young woman never went back home again but eventually became a volunteer worker helping abused women. A woman reporter picked up the story and called the Service Department to ask about the organization's viewpoint of wife beating. She spoke to Merton Campbell. She quoted him in the newspaper explaining why a husband beats his wife: "It takes two to tango!" Merton said. In other words, in the case of wife beating, it's the fault of both. This view of wife beating was typical of Merton. (He once told me the child sexual abuse accusations within the organization were part of a fad!) About a month later, a JW visitor to Bethel from California, in my presence, asked Merton why would he say, “It takes two to tango!”? He denied saying it and told us in no uncertain terms the reporter was a liar. He was so ill of ease and it was apparent he was trying to get away from us. Later the visitor called the reporter to tell her that Campbell denied he ever said such a thing, and the reporter said she had him on tape saying it.

    I know for a certainty that the only reason the Society's 1980s policy discouraging elders from telling women to go back to their wife-beating husbands is because one Witness wife, who had had her leg bones fractured by her husband, was beaten so badly by him, after the elders told her she had to go back home, she died and the family sued the Society.

    I wish I had the time today to write about one of the most egregious tales about mistreatment of women in this organization I've ever heard, but I'll leave that for another time.


  • AnneB
    The title on the cover: "Women Deserving of Respect."

    I remember that magazine! Every "sister" I knew had something to say about the ambiguity of the title: did it mean only *certain* women were deserving of respect? Did it mean *all* women?

    Why didn't they use a title that made the matter clear???

  • AndersonsInfo

    Interesting question, Anne B. I suppose the title would have been clearer had there been a hyphen after the word, "Women." However, if you notice the actual size of the word, "Women" on the cover of the July 8, 1992 Awake! magazine, it is larger than the size of the other three words which should have indicated to readers that ALL women deserve respect. That's the way it was meant. I'm sorry the title was misunderstood.

    Actually, the title the guys came up with was this: "How Can Women Earn Respect?" When I read that title, I was annoyed. I wrote a memo to Eric, which copy I have in front of me, and this is what I wrote, which, by the way, caused them to change their title:

    "Why should we EARN respect? The Bible says we are DUE respect. 1 Peter 3:7 states that we wives (women) should be assigned honor as to a weaker vessel, etc. Another word for honor is respect (Webster's). It is true that our comportment helps in the matter of respect but women have been the victims of oppressive men, so why should they try to EARN the respect of husbands and spiritual brothers? It would appear from the track record of men, they (men) should try to EARN respect from us. Scripturally, are not men (husbands) supposed to LOVE us BUT we are supposed to have deep RESPECT for them?

    "The honor (respect) shown to a weaker vessel should be an automatic one. A weaker vessel, such as a fine crystal pitcher (vessel) in comparison to a metal pitcher, should be handled with care because it is fragile. In fact, the crystal pitcher is usually more valuable than the metal one. Both vessels can do the same thing, contain a liquid, but everyone in the home knows how to treat the crystal one--with great care because it can easily break. It can't take as much abuse as the metal vessel... Most women are fragile physically in comparison to men, but do their tasks very well. The crystal pitcher doesn't have to EARN the respect of the household through use. In fact, it usually is held in high esteem even if it is not used."

    I then continued to share with Eric reflections on other problematic women issues that were plaguing the organization. I hope I've answered your question adequately, AnneB.

    Disclaimer: Please note that my viewpoint as quoted above is not necessarily my viewpoint today. And please folks, don’t try to read into that statement something not intended.


  • AnneB

    Thank you very much for the additional information!

    the actual size of the word, "Women" on the cover of the July 8, 1992 Awake! magazine, it is larger than the size of the other three words which should have indicated to readers that ALL women deserve respect. That's the way it was meant.

    I suspect that this played into the final decision, though:

    Actually, the title the guys came up with was this: "How Can Women Earn Respect?"

    The "guys" never gave up the notion that women had to *earn* respect! They knew the rules of punctuation; it would have been simple enough to clarify their precise meaning...unless, of course, there was divided opinion.


  • looking_glass

    I know someone whose husband admitted to her he was having an affair, when they went to the elders his response to their question was "I don't want to talk about it" which they seemed fine with. However, when JW hubby brought up that JW wife expected him to pitch in on household duties (laundry, cleaning, cooking) cause they both worked (her long/long hours - him 9 to 5 job), the elders told her to read the scripture about the capable wife and she would strive to be better cause then maybe her husband would be happier w/ her (translation - then maybe he would not have a wander eye and [you know what].

    I know it is not the same as physical abuse, but mental abuse is just as bad. The mind games can cause last scars that only the victim feels.

    I was not surprised when I heard about claims of abuse, because if you think about it, the religion is all about control. Those who go to it on their own have a thing about control. So if men who are given power are of the impression that their wife is not under their control, they will lose their temper and abuse them. What recourse does the JW wife have, none and she knows that.

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