A while ago I posted an essay "Why do we tell our stories?" http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/forum/thread.aspx?id=32755&site=3 This is why we wait so long to do that
In the world victims remain quiet about abuse. The shame of sexual abuse and the feelings of guilt about it push most people to not talk. Years ago (don't know if this still applies) mothers would say they wouldn't want their children to have to talk about this in a court of law. If it is still the case, then there is one basis for not reporting.
There is a natural tendency on the part of victims to want to forget about the abuse, put it in the past and move on. A defense mechanism called denial can take many forms causing them to think that if they dont think about it or talk about it the memories will go away. They wont but most victims will give that a good try.
People naturally dont want to admit they are vulnerable; not to the abuser and not to the fears that arise after the assault. Talking about it highlights ones vulnerability. Denial will try to cover this vulnerability up by allowing the person to think they can handle it alone.
Victims also think they are stupid for trusting the abuser. Few people want to admit this vulnerability.
Trust is shattered after an assault. Often the abuser gives messages, both verbal and non-verbal, that no one will believe the victim because the victim is a child and the abuser is an adult who has a lot more credibility. And if someone does believe her/him they, the child. will be blamed. The abuser may also openly tell the child that the child is responsible because they "seduced" the adult who could not restrain himself. The abuser attributes a power to the child that is unreasonable but the child does not know that and since they feel powerless will grab on to this form of denial to feel powerful even if it is an illusion.
Victims also dont tell because they are afraid, of losing their family, their home, and even a certain safety from the outside world. Lets face it, if your own family abuses you then what can you expect from strangers who are supposed to be even more dangerous?
And some victims dont tell because they have been threatened with death or further harm. Their loved ones or possessions can be threatened. Some children believe that if they tolerate the abuse they can protect others in the family.
Abusers pick their victims well. They look for passive characteristics that make them feel secure that the child wont talk and if they do no one will believe them. They are masters at reading who might be the most vulnerable and have the least support. Then they use all kinds of mind control techniques on their victims (and we all know about those and how effective they are) to get the child to comply with their demands. Stop and think if those techniques are so effective on adults, just how powerful do you think they are on a child?
Once a child discloses the abuse to an adult, the adult will go through all the same reactions guilt, shame, fear, denial, etc. Many will also feel anger and want something done.
Now place this victim in a JW family who believes that the world is controlled by Satan and there is no justice in the world. As the mother you dont want your children to have to tell this to the police and or sit in a courtroom and have to testify. You have been taught to deal with problems inside the congregation by going to the elders when you cant deal with this personally. You have been taught that the elders can deal with all situations. Since you are now in crisis mode you will listen to a friendly elder, someone you know and trust for help during this time. What could be more reasonable?
So you talk to the elders and trust them when they say they will take care of it. You dont anticipate that your child will have to sit in front of people they know and their abuser and have to answer a list of probing questions. You trust they know what they are doing. They were appointed because they are "wise" and you believe it. And you trust them.
Until it is too late. Now your child is even more traumatized. You have no desire to put her through this again with the police. You have been told there is nothing the elders can do because he denies it. And you are threatened to be quiet, wait on Jehovah, or risk a judicial committee for slander. So now the whole family is in even more crisis than when the child first disclosed.
And then denial kicks in and you find all kinds of reasons to wait and do nothing. How could you have trusted the accused with your child? Whats wrong with you that you couldnt see what was going on? How could you have trusted that the elders would actually do something besides make things worse? Guilt and fear and shame take hold of you as the parent. And you sit and wait for Jehovah to deal with it.
The child gets no help. The family gets no help. There is no justice. And no where to go. And the abuser is free to find another victim. Even worse he still has access to the victim he already has. And she is trapped in her silence imposed by fear and guilt, by denial and threats and now by the elders. She is trapped and alone. No wonder these stories take so long to come out.