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The victim calls the society with its own legal system a 'paradise for pedophiles'.
The way in which Jehovah's Witnesses deal with sexual abuse in-house rooms has traumatic consequences for victims. Criminals easily escape the abuse, say victims, members and ex-members whom Trouw spoke. This creates an unsafe situation for children.
Jehovah's Witnesses find that their internal justice system is above the 'worldly authorities'. Male elders act as judges. They follow the guidelines of the International Headquarters in the United States, shown by internal documents held by Trouw.
Misuse victim Marianne the Guardian: "Jehovah's Witnesses keep the perpetrators hand over the head. Abuse is solved by the first best farmer who is elder, who has no
sense. "Another victim calls Jehovah's Witnesses a" paradise for
If misuse is discovered, it is difficult to convict internally. According to the Jehovah's Witnesses, two witnesses are required. They are almost never abused. For example, if it comes to condemnation, the perpetrator may no longer be out loud in prayer.
Only if the perpetrator does not regret can he be put out of community. Other
members are not informed of any danger because talking about a case
without conviction is perceived as defamation or reproach. On the ground someone can be excluded.
The findings of Trouw are in line with a report published by an Australian research commission in November. The conclusion: Children are insufficiently protected from abuse and
the organization is not adequately addressed with accusations.
The Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian society with around 30,000 followers in the Netherlands. About fifteen years ago, the organization in Trouw said that they only registered cases of abuse by officers. The spokesman had never heard of such abuse.
However, three of the four victims who allegedly believed to be abused by an elder were declared to be. The Dutch headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Emmen reveal that they would now "nuance more" the earlier statement. The organization does not want to engage in individual abuse cases.
She says working on the 'resilience' of children and families and discussing sexuality without 'veil of mystery'. And: 'Protecting our children is taken very seriously'.
response is indicative of the way the organization tries to stay out of
place, says Frances Peters, ex-witness and coach for people from
compelling religious group cultures. "They say, the children must be more resilient, while they should protect them properly."
Perhaps more victims
The abuse that victims talked to victims took place in the eighties and nineties. Victims and experts say the abuse is still taking place. There are virtually no indications that the policy of Jehovah's Witnesses has been adapted.
the organization against this newspaper says "to constantly review its
procedures in order to improve the way we deal with such issues". And: "When it comes to child abuse, Jehovah's Witnesses have a clear policy based on biblical principles."
to Peters, the organization emphasized in 2002 and 2003 during a
training for elders that abuse is a crime that must be dealt with by the
government. "This is allowed on paper to report to the police. But the change is nowhere communicated to the members. "
For reports and reports for sexual abuse, no recent reports of (ex-) witnesses are known. The Sektesignal notification point does not want to name
organizations, but lets know that "these types of alerts come across all
kinds of groups."
According to Peters, there are no reports of witnesses: "Victims often blame themselves for the abuse. If things are done internally, that means someone has dared to open his mouth. But the chance is that there are many more victims who never dared. "
- The story of victim Marianne Voogd: "This is our secret. When you open your mouth, I'll do something to you. "
- The story of an elder who wanted to help an abused girl: Elder is a detective, judge and psychologist
- Who are Jehovah's Witnesses actually? Read all you need to know.