Cults are terrifying. But they're even worse for women
Women’s abilities to control their own reproductive choices are often determined by cult leaders.
In a cult, the ability to decide if and when to have a child — perhaps the most basic decision in a woman’s life — is taken over by the leader as a demonstration of the leader’s control and in an attempt to undermine the attachment between mother and child. The goal is to focus all feelings of attachment on the leader or group, and on them alone.
This is one reason why, though women and men both suffer in the iron grip of charismatic and authoritarian cult leaders, women followers face a unique set of life-altering issues — and those unique issues often become the focus of media coverage of cult cases. Women’s sexual lives, their lives as mothers and their ability to control their own reproductive choices are all upended within cultic organizations.
For instance, former members from both Scientology and the New York-based political cult the Newman Tendency have reported women being forced to terminate pregnancies so as not to interfere with their duties to the organizations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, cults such as the Children of God controlled reproduction by forbidding any form of birth control whatsoever. Another cult leader reportedly decided who was “developed enough” to have children and who was not as a way to individually control, punish or reward women followers. READ MORE:
For those who don't have the time nor the inclination to read the entire article, here's what the author stated about JWs:
"And, what parental attention is available to children may have to be played out within the particular structure of the group. Mothers in the Watchtower organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, may have to take their young children out for hours every week to “witness” to the public and, when not witnessing, nearly every evening is devoted to studying of JW materials either at home or at the Kingdom Hall.
"Recently, thousands of cases are being exposed of child abuse and sexual abuse of women in the JWs, where the organization refused to take judicial action against the accused unless victims could comply with its “two witness rule” — a horrific rule that stated that abuse could not be proven unless the victim could provide two eyewitnesses to the same abusive event. Mothers in these types of closed cultic groups then end up in a position in which they are unable to protect their children."