Must read news paper article about jw culture.
Jehovahs: "You do not bring a brother to justice" A parallel community with deviating values and norms, which conceals abuse cases as quickly as possible and where women are subordinate to men. That picture emerges from a report on the Jehovah's Witnesses published on Thursday. Bas Soetenhorst January 23, 2020, 5:16 PM A gathering of tens of thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses in the RAI in 1979. IMAGE ANP With the Jehovah's Witnesses, the biblical principle is that you should not bring your brother to justice. That statement by one of the (former) Jehovah's witnesses who are interviewed in the report marks the organization's difficult handling of sexual abuse. The report of employees of Utrecht University, who were commissioned by the House of Representatives to conduct research, outlines a parallel community that prefers to keep out the door. Leaders of the local community - elders or overseers - form judicial committees in cases of abuse. The elders are often particularly concerned about reputation damage. Local community leaders - called elders or overseers - form judicial committees in cases of abuse. That is not nearly to everyone's satisfaction. The elders are often particularly concerned about reputation damage. Last year, 751 people reported to an anonymous hotline that the Utrecht researchers had set up for (suspected) victims or people who were aware of abuse within the community. Three quarters of the victims feel that the treatment of their report by the Jehovah's is inadequate. No less than 57 percent of that group gave a score of 1 on a scale of 10. The average score was 3.3. Of the reported abuse, 34 percent were within the family. Both from experiences at the hotline and from a dozen interviews with anonymized (former) Jehovah's, it appears that the community focuses primarily on keeping the perpetrator on board. Quotation from a person involved: "When a perpetrator confesses and repents, as a victim you are actually expected to forgive and to sit next to him again in the Kingdom Hall (a religious meeting place - ed.)." Another witness: “A pedophile who has been in prison for five years is now in the Kingdom Hall again. The victim's family then moved. They were really made a scapegoat. " Recommendations from the committee of inquiry - Jehovah's people should pay more attention to victims and explicitly point out the possibility of reporting - Establishment of an internal reporting point for abuse cases - Training for elders in dealing with abuse cases - A cultural change to improve the position of women - Investigation into the introduction of a legal duty to report abuse cases, as already established in Australia and Belgium - Follow-up research into the extent to which the findings are representative of the Dutch community Men complete the service, which does not strengthen the position of the mostly female victims. Moreover, the so-called two-witness rule applies, whereby someone must confirm the story of the victim. In practice, abuse is often deemed unproven or victims are not believed and even punished. Quote from an interview by the researchers: "If a man says she's cheating, that's fine, but if I as a woman say that about him, I must have an elder or servant by my side." In the eyes of victims, perpetrators often get away with a mild correction, if they are found guilty. For example, there was a case where three people involved had similar experiences with a person. However, the court committee found it difficult to appoint an offender. The rule that the victim must confront the perpetrator in the presence of other men with what happened, many experience as intimidating. Elders also lack expertise. Quote from the report: "Pedophiles are manipulative, so they often overwhelm the elders." Exclusion Shame sometimes stands in the way of proper processing. A victim: “At home there has been attention for about a week to the abuse of my brother and me. Then we went back to the order of the day. " Fear of exclusion prevents many victims from going to the police. A person involved: “My father has asked a lawyer who has experience with this type of case. But that lawyer said: then you will probably be excluded and become an apostate. "Another:" It is always taught that you do not bring a case against your brother or sister. " Sometimes elders or circuit overseers discourage this in so many words: "The circuit overseer said," Leave it in Jehovah's hands, pray, go on field service. It is your test. It is difficult, but if you go to the police you get headlines. Do you want that?" Despite summary proceedings with which the Jehovah's administration tried to prevent the publication of the report on Thursday, the researchers write that the organization cooperated well. Other rules have recently been introduced to better handle abuse cases. For example, a perpetrator-victim confrontation is no longer mandatory. But in practice, little has changed according to those involved. Outside world like satan The Jehovah's Witnesses are a "Christian-fundamentalist end-time movement" with its own logic and norms and values, which - according to the report published by researchers from Utrecht University on Thursday - seem to "deviate to some extent" from current norms and norms in the society. Worldwide there are more than 8.5 million followers, according to the organization itself. In the Netherlands there are almost 30,000. They believe that humanity is in the "end time," the final phase before God intervenes and all non-Jehovahs are destroyed. The organization has a strict hierarchy, in which men are leading. At the top is the New York-based Governing Body, formed by eight veterans. Criticism of this is, according to an (ex) follower, "comparable to a North Korean who criticizes Kim Jong-un." This includes the Watchtower Society, an organization that manages its members worldwide, also from New York. The Dutch branch is located in Emmen. "Circular overseers" regularly visit Jehovah municipalities. Elders make the service within the congregation. They also do justice. Children usually attend regular schools, but performance is not highly regarded. VWO is sometimes discouraged. The "cleansing code" prohibits blood transfusions, celebrating Christmas, unnecessary contacts with non-Jehovahs and participation in civil activities, among other things. The individual is the property of the community. For those who do not comply with this, there is a risk of exclusion, which amounts to a "spiritual death certificate". Criticism from the outside world is often seen as a test. An interviewee told the researchers: “The outside world is Satanist. Only for members of the community (...) does a resurrection follow after the world has perished at Armageddon. " Another (former) Jehovah: “This committee of inquiry strengthens the core of Jehovah's witness belief. The idea is that there will be natural disasters and the Jehovah's Witnesses will be prosecuted as a harbinger of the Armageddon (..) For Jehovah's Witnesses you are the proof that they have the truth. "