Sexual abuse and how the WTS handles it - 2 issues that get confused

by Lady Lee 20 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    The WTS proudly proclaims that its 2-witness rule is sufficient to deal with cases of sexual abuse. And internally they would have the right to hold to that policy.

    But they fail to separate the internal handling of the case with the external -- going to the authorities. The WTS uses it 2 things to stop JWs from going outside the congregation.

    1. They believe their policy is higher than the world's policies on dealing with the abuse. After all, God's law is above the law of the land. If they decide there was no abuse that is the end of the story for them. Here are the issues:
      • Their policy follows this thinking:
        • an injured party should confront the "brother" who has harmed them. If that gets no result then,
        • take 2 or 3 brothers with you to confront the person. This is where the elders are called in.
          • If the person denies the accusations and there aren't any witnesses to the abuse, case closed.
          • If the person confesses then the elders try to determine if the person is repentant.
          • If the person seems repentant, case closed.
          • If the person does not seem repentant then reproof of some sort is given. This too depends on 3 things:
            • If the offense known inside the congregation then a person might be disfellowshipped or put on public reproof
            • If the offense is known in the community a person would be disfellowshipped
            • If the offense is not known it will be hidden and a person might get private reproof.
      • There is no real concern for the individual victims. But the WTS doesn't really care about any individual. People are expendable. even if they are defenseless children.
        • Regardless of the findings by the elders the victims must not speak of the problem. To do so would result in charges of causing divisions or slander being brought against them.
        • Going to external authorities is out of the question since they believe that all matters between JWs come under their leadership and have nothing to do with external authorities. The only time they would consider going outside the congregation is when the accused is NOT a JW. They believe, and rightly so, that they cannot have any authority over non-JWs.
    2. Their paranoia reveals itself in their need to appear above other religions and the need to be able to say they don't have a problem. Going to the authorities would show they are the same as any other religion. Their so-called "spotless" reputation would get rather dirty. This part results in much of the above. It is also what stops individual JWs from going to outside authorities. Some of the interesting effect of this are:
      • The need to maintain the reputation of the org comes above personal needs. Victims are effectively gagged.
      • All problems should be dealt with in-house and by the elders.
      • If an individual does goes to outside authorities, police or social services, they are NOT to mention they are JWs.
      • Speaking to outsiders could result in reproof and even being disfellowshipped.
    3. There have been many documented cases where victims were reproved, disfellowshipped and shunned when they chose to report a JW for sexual abuse. JWs have streamed into courtrooms and praised the accused while shunning the victim.

      The WTS seems incapable of separating the two issues mostly because they interpret their acknowledgement of the problem as a smear on their reputation instead of realizing that all efforts to root pedophiles out of the organization would bring far greater respect to them than hiding the problem and allowing pedophiles to either continue to abuse their chosen victim or find new ones. They just don't get it.

  • minimus

    Since these court issues, has ANY THING changed at all in their handling of abuse?

  • cantleave

    Since these court issues, has ANY THING changed at all in their handling of abuse?

    In the UK, the victim / victim's family are told they can report the abuse to the secular authorities if they want to, without Judicial consequence.

  • QuestioningEverything

    Excellent Post!!! Thank you.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I think, but am not positive, that the public statement that people are free to go to the authorities is just that - a public statement. It has that loophole that this is for people who are accused and NOT JWs. Then they use those few examplkes to infer that is what happens in all cases.

    When elders are notified about a JW accused I think the policy is still to call headquarters to see if it is a reporting state. If so the statement is made that the victim could go to the authorities.

    I'd like to hear froim anyone who had recently been down this road and seen how it was handled. I have some questions:

    1. If the accused was a JW were you told that you could freely go to the authorities?
    2. Were there any warnings about letting the authorities know you and the accused were both JWs?
    3. Was there any suggestion to deal with the problem in a scriptural way -- JW only -- and ignore the authorities because they don't have the wisdom the JWs have.
    4. Were there any warnings about slander or causing divisions if you spoke to other JWs about the abuse?

    What the WTS says and what it does are often 2 very different things

  • minimus

    In all fairness, I think what cantleave said is true. If that is the case, a small change has been made.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I agree MIn but like I said words and practice are 2 very different things

  • minimus

    No...I mean practice, not just words. My impression is that they won't go after you now if you wanted to report it.

  • sherah
    Since these court issues, has ANY THING changed at all in their handling of abuse?
    In the UK, the victim / victim's family are told they can report the abuse to the secular authorities if they want to, without Judicial consequence.

    I don't think this is the case in the US.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Is there anyone who can shed light on any changes in practice not in words?

    If you can't post because it might identify you then PM me and I will post it for you

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