Blondie's Comments (July 14 2019) Child Sexual Abuse Congregation Policies

by blondie 24 Replies latest jw friends

  • blondie
    blondie

    Love Justice Wickedness ((7-14-2019) May 2019 Article Comments from Blondie

    (ask yourself if you were able to read this article)

    Does WT justice outweigh Christian love?

    Remember that actions speak louder than words.

    What is more important the child or the WT organization and/or their god’s name regarding security, the child or the organization? Whose security should come first.

    Questions to ask yourself:

    Protect children from abuse: The WTS concentrates on several things that are disturbing to me.

    1) Are parents the only ones that can protect their own children? What if the abuser is the parent, mother or father? What if the other parent is protecting the sexual abusive parent?

    2) Aren’t there ways other jwé outside the immediate family can do to protect other children in the congregation or other congregations where they have frequent contact with children involved in congregation activities and social occasions with other jws in that congregation?

    3) Is sexual abuse the only kind of abuse that should be discussed?

    4) Should abuse or any kind only be reported to the proper secular authorities only if there is law requiring reporting? Should we think then that if a jw in the congregation is found guilty of murder, that it should only be reported to thee secular authorities if there are 2 witnesses to the sin (or is it a crime?)

    Paragraph 1:

    If the God of Jehovah’s witnesses hates child abuse, why is there nothing about it in the bible, especially the OT? Notice that the laws about incest never specify minor children. Incest seems to be only about family members having sex with other adults. I have found that most people when hearing the word “incest” think it is about adult family members marry a close blood relative. In fact, if you read a dictionary definition it says this:

    ‘Sexual relations between people classed as being too closely related to marry each other.

    The crime of having sexual intercourse with a parent, child, sibling, or grandchild.”

    No mention of having sex with a child outside the family circle. The WT only concerns itself with non-family jw abusers. I wonder if they report the abuse of a jw child by a non-jw?

    What does the WTS say about incest in regard to the Law code?

    Note that this is in the Insight book, INCEST, CRIME (not sin) and punishment

    “Major crimes under the Law. Capital crimes. Under the Law the death penalty was prescribed for…(10) incest (Le 18:6-17, 29; 20:11, 12, 14)”

    What does it mean to tolerate sexual (other abuse, such as physical?) abuse?

    Tolerate definition

    allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something…does not agree with) without interference.

    synonyms:

    allow, permit, authorize, sanction, condone, indulge, agree to, accede to, approve of

    https://1in6.org/get-information/common-questions/why-do-adults-fail-to-protect-children-from-sexual-abuse-or-exploitation/

    Note: this article points out the ratio of females to males in regard to child sexual abuse as well as some wonderful points as to how people react to a report of child sexual abuse.

    Given how common unwanted and abusive sexual experiences in childhood are for both men and women (1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men))”

    Later in the WT article they say that girls are more likely. So 33% is so much worse than 17%? Does it matter less that 33 out of 100 reported cases involve females and “only” 17 out of 100 males? I think the boys and their parents would differ with that assessment.

    Paragraph 2:

    Does the WT concentrate on the child’s security over the reputation of the WT organization which is equated to protecting their god’s name? Is the abuse an unjust, selfish act or a crime? What does the WTS describe the abuser as someone “professing to be a part of the congregation?”

    What is a grave (gross) sin?) I was told by elders at Bethel that a grave sin is worse than a gross sin in regard to homosexuality. Not as bad as adultery. As if a homosexual would be killed twice and an adulterer only once.) But in WT publications grave and/or gross are interchangeable.

    Grave sin/gross sin per WTS:

    One that would be a capital crime under the Law code, punishable by death.

    Paragraph 3:

    The WTS tries to say that child sexual abusers come from outside the congregation, that is an abuser could not possibly be someone raised in the WT religion. (Note grave sin used in this paragraph). Are parents the only ones that are responsible for protecting their own children, not also other children in the congregation?

    Paragraph 4:

    Abuse is identified as a grave sin affecting all in the congregation (that is, those that care about the children).

    Paragraph 5:

    Note with this paragraph: victim refers to some who was sexually abused as a child…(child)…is innocent. (perhaps differentiating from the parents also being victims)

    Note with this paragraph: The child is innocent; that is, the are not the one being considered for disfellowshipping. A child being sexually abused is not a willing participant, in fact cannot give consent, so is not guilty of fornication.

    Paragraph 6:

    Against the congregation…reproach on the congregation (that is make the WTS look bad in the eyes of non-jws). (who is most hurt by the abuse, is it not the child?)

    Individuals who unrepentantly (so how do the elders determine unrepentance? Since they cannot read minds and hearts (only god and Jesus can per the WTS), is their determination foolproof, do they know that this person will not do it again? What do secular sources have to save out repeat offending?

    Paragraph 7:

    Yes, now the WTS says that they are subject to the laws of the world when it comes to reporting abuse. If the secular authorities do not have a law requiring jws, including elders, to report abuse, they are not required to do so?

    Notice these weasel words, “While the elders (notice the WTS does not take responsibility for noncompliance) are not authorized to enforce the law of the land (probably thinking of preaching being against the law), they do not shield any perpetrator from the legal consequences of sin (not crime). The secular authorities do not prosecute “sins.”

    Paragraph 8:

    Sin (not crime as in the OT) against god. Whose security comes first, god’s or the child’s?

    Gross sin again.

    Paragraph 9:

    WTS has provide an “abundance on the subject of child abuse)

    Note on page 12 the titles of their abundance:

    Articles for parents

    Articles for teenagers (does that mean someone under 13 cannot read these articles and understand what they say? Does that then mean that a jw child under 13 cannot understand the info they need to be baptized? Does that mean children under 13 cannot then be baptized?)

    Articles to provide comfort: elders, other people in the congregation (who seem not to have any responsibility in print in this article to report abuse)

    Detailed “scriptural” training, but do the elders know what constitutes “child sexual abuse” under the laws in the legal jurisdiction? Remember that the elders are still trained to call the Legal Department of the WTS before proceeding. Why? Because the elders are not legal experts, and to determine if legally (not morally) obligated to report the crime (not the sin) to the secular authorities.)

    Paragraph 10:

    “Serious wrongdoing” = disfellowshipping offenses

    “primarily concerned with maintaining the sanctity of God’s name…the spiritual welfare of their brothers and sisters in the congregation” not the security of the victim. (BTW there is no discussion of how to handle when the victim is now an adult when reporting it to the elders)

    Paragraph 11:

    IF the wrongdoer is a part of the congregation (baptized and active?), try to restore him if that is possible? Does that mean that the abuser is no longer a danger even if the abuser is “repentant” by the elders’ judgment?

    Recidivism of child sexual abusers, does this make you feel your children as safe:

    Table 1. Recidivism Rates for Male and Female Sex Offenders

    Percentage of Offenders Who Recidivate
    (Five-Year Follow-up)

    Sexual Recidivism

    Violent Recidivism

    Any Recidivism

    Male sex offenders

    13–14

    25

    36–37

    Female sex offenders

    1

    6.3

    20.2

    Note: The recidivism rate differences between male and female sex offenders were statistically significant for each type of recidivism (p < .001).
    Source: Cortoni & Hanson (2005).

    How many jws realize that jw children are more likely to be abused by a jw family member or a friend of the family or a trusted member of the congregation (their spiritual family) than a stranger? Why does the WTS concentrate on non-family jws? What if the abuser is not a jw?

    Paragraph 12:

    The elders have a “weighty responsibility” to protect the congregation/WTS and its good name.

    Act “promptly

    Paragraph 13:

    “Elders comply with secular laws about reporting…Yes”

    Reporting does not conflict with god’s law per the WTS.

    “immediately” seek direction from whom (not mentioned here but it is the Legal Department of the WTS). In fact, an elder attending one of the WTS training sessions told me they said this: Call Legal, Call Legal, Call Legal. This is stressed more than concern about the victim.

    “learn of an allegation” the elders should call before the judicial action starts.

    Paragraph 14:

    “Assure parents and victims” this assumes that when the victim comes forth that the parents are responsible for a minor child not that the now adult victim has come forward to report the abuse.

    “if the report is about someone who is a part of the congregation (but what if is a non-jw bible student, a non-jw spouse, or any non-jw attending meetings and going out in the ministry as an unbaptized publisher?)

    “is the “initial” reporter guilty of bringing reproach on god’s name? NO.”

    Paragraph 15:

    “in the congregation, before the elders take judicial action, why are at least two witnesses required?” Note: Does this mean if the person is not found guilty of a disfellowshipping sin (not secular definition as a crime) they should not report it to the secular authorities?

    Do the secular authorities need 2 witnesses to act on a report of child sexual abuse? No. And the secular authorities have many resources available to them that does not required 2 witnesses, that the WT organization/congregation do.

    “” Does this mean that before an allegation can be reported to the authorities, two witnesses are required. NO.”

    Yes, the legalese is plainly evident. Before this the WTS/congregation took it upon themselves to decided if the abuser was guilty or not under their policies before reporting, if even then. Reporting might only have happened if it was well known in the non-jw community.

    “This requirement does not apply to whether elders or others report allegations of a crime.” Does this sound confusing to you?

    Paragraph 16:

    “elders endeavor to comply with any secular laws about reporting the matter (but not if there are no secular laws). Does this give the elders the pass not to “endeavor” too hard, would that be “promptly”?

    “The absence of the second witness (can the child be the first witness) does not mean that the one making the accusation is untruthful” Does that mean the elders will support someone that they have not confirmed as telling the truth? Not in my experience. How do the “elders remain alert regarding the alleged abuser to protect the congregation” No announcements can be made, Only the elders will know that they need to protect their own children. Officially, they cannot share this information with those who have children in the congregation, but perhaps through the unofficial jw grapevine, only the jws they like of course. Will the elders make sure this person is not trusted to be alone with any jw children, in the ministry, in social occasions, as a babysitter, taking an interest as a “spiritual father”, add your own?

    Paragraph 17:

    What is the role of the judicial committee? Assuming there have been 2 witnesses. Elders do not judge or rule on whether should be punished by the authorities for breaking the law (crime not sin) And if the abuser is found guilty by the secular authorities and punished, that is not proof that the abuser is guilty. That is why abusers who were found repentant by these elders can still go to jail/prison and must file as a sex offender, retaining their good standing in the congregation. The elders do not take this into consideration, only their spirit appointed training.

    “The elders judge (really), or determine, whether an individual can remain in the congregation.” A perfect example of how the WTS speaks out of both sides of their mouth.” Yes, elders who excuse their mistakes by saying, “we are only imperfect men” suddenly have the ability to read minds and hearts to determine true repentance?

    Paragraph 18:

    Their role is spiritual, or religious (yes under the clergy-penitent laws not required to report abuse; all the while the WTS says they have no clergy class). Guided by the Scriptures, they judge whether the abuser is repentant or not (and if they are wrong, children are the ones that suffer).”

    “However, the elders will inform him that he MAY NEVER qualify to receive any congregation privileges or to serve in any position of responsibility in the congregation. (what about field service—isn’t that a “privilege”?)

    “The elders MAY WARN the parents in the congregation of the need to monitor their children’s interactions with the individual.” May? Who decides then? Relatives of the abuser, good friends of the abuser? And maintain the privacy…how do they do that?” Privately, jws will spread it all over the circuit.

    Paragraph 19:

    Who protects the children when the abuser is a parent? Does the non-abusive parent step up to the plate or do they treat the child as if they were the sinner by giving their family a bad name?

    Paragraph 20:

    “Educate yourself about abuse.” How does this help if the abuser is a parent? Are children able to notice the “tactics they use to deceive them”? Why does the WTS say this then “in most cases, the abuser is someone the child already knows and trust”? And then discuss abusers as people outside the immediate family?

    Paragraph 21:

    “Maintain communication with your children” does this mean that children will talk to the abusive parent or the parent who knows about the abuse and does not protect child? What feeling safe to tell responsible jws in congregation? Is it likely that a child will do this? What about victims that are now adults? Do parents know what sexual abuse is?

    Paragraph 22:

    Yes, sexual abuse is a gross sin, but it is also a crime against the most vulnerable among us. But why are elders more likely to chase down a fornicator or an adulterer in the congregation. Why is shame connected with child sexual abuse, a secret that must be kept from people outside the WTS organization? Why do BOEs drag their feet and make it difficult for the victim, still a child and as an adult?

    Concluding Comments

    Some readers might feel I am too harsh. But I have had personal painful experiences regarding reporting and the slow or nonexistent action by BOEs. And I have not seen much real change even with the pressure from the WTS on BOEs to not make the WTS look bad. Many BOEs have the thinking what the WTS doesn’t know is good for the BOEs. The only way I got satisfaction was to pit one BOE against another and threaten to use my contacts in the secular authorities to force action.

    I have real empathy for any abused child (and now an adult reporting). I still live somewhat with the results of my experiences with the WTS and their minions. I ow use that energy to get the laws strengthened in all 50 states of the US. Progress is being made, and abused children, jw or non-jw, will have a better outcome as time goes on.

    Love, Blondie

  • Biahi
    Biahi

    Great analysis, Blondie.

  • All or nothing
    All or nothing

    You were not too harsh- this is an excellent synopsis of the article and reasonable conclusions. Thank you for posting this- I agreed with everything and value your time spent on this!

  • Listener
    Listener

    Thank you Blondie for your examination of this article and for all your efforts in helping to expose their bad practices.

    They demonstrate that protecting the organization is the number one priority. If sanctifying Gods name was the priority then they would be putting the children's interest first, out of love.

  • Scully
    Scully

    I had it on good authority that there were over 400 documented (in files at Canadian Bethel™) individuals who were known to be sexual abusers of children. The vast majority were never brought to justice, and were only dealt with at the Congregation™ level. At the time there were approximately 10 major District Conventions™ across the country. This equated to an average of 40 known-to-Congregation-Elders™-only child molesters at EACH Convention™. People wandering around, scoping out unattended or minimally attended children. Maybe volunteering in situations where under-aged potential victims would be volunteering, without parental supervision.

    How any JW could be aware of this possibility and still attend a Convention™ with their children is beyond me. I couldn't do it. In fact, even before I understood the scope of this problem, just knowing about how offenders could be exempt from Judicial Action™ without two eyewitnesses to the abuse to corroborate a report, I would not put my children in harm's way like that. Even if I could have watched them like a hawk, I would not want to support an Organization™ whose need to be beyond Reproach™ in the eyes of The World™ was more important to them than the safety of the precious children in attendance at Meetings™ and Conventions™.

    They make me sick.

  • BluesBrother
    BluesBrother

    Par.18

    “However, the elders will inform him that he MAY NEVER qualify to receive any congregation privileges "

    That suggests to readers that he will never be used. But consider. ...

    Shepherd the Flock (2019) ch 14

    "One who has engaged in child sexual abuse does not qualify to

    receive any privileges in the congregation for many years, if ever;"

    Not quite the same, is it?

    Nb .Thanks Blondie

  • WTWizard
    WTWizard

    And what about other forms of abuse, which affect everyone? Virtually all jokehovians lose parts of vacation time because of field circus, and they are restricted in school events because of the stupid religion. Does the washtowel mention those? Or, those who get regular beatings because they will not sit still all boasting session long or they fuss during field circus? This type of abuse affects virtually everyone raised in this cancer, yet it is not mentioned in any of those rags.

    Not to mention the spiritual abuse that is inherently part of the religion. This includes all the rules against premarital sex, which results in sex hangups and marriage to someone they are not compatible with but are stuck with. It includes the poverty workings (including not preparing for a decent income), and hardship workings (how many times do they have to hear about how someone is ballyhooed because they served joke-hova despite being destitute, being in extreme pain, or severe conditions that could lead to death during field circus?) These forms of abuse hang onto the soul, leading to hardships in future lifetimes as well.

    Stemming sexual abuse is part of what needs to be done. Stemming these other forms of abuse, including spiritual abuse that is part of the structure of the religion, is the other part of what needs to be done.

  • LoveUniHateExams
    LoveUniHateExams

    Excellent OP, Blondie.

    I wonder if they report the abuse of a jw child by a non-jw? - yes, I think they definitely would. Because 'it's Satan's system'.

    Here's another question: what actions does the WTS take to protect non-JW children from JW paedophiles?

  • tiki
    tiki

    I started reading your piece Blondie and had to stop. Their understanding of the realities of child molestation is warped to say the least. I know of a case where every young boy in the congregation and likely neighboring ones was affected...and the perpetrator slyly groomed his main target and had the edge of trust being so very "spiritual" and such a " fine example" for the young boys. They would do better to help parents become knowledgeable about how predators operate and to be able to recognize the red flags. And any child who claims or shows signs of having been victimized should have access to therapists..professionals who can guide them to a mentally healthy place. And I could go on and on....but basically these "spiritual leaders" need to get educated on the realities of child abuse and leave such circumstances with professionals in the health care and legal system to deal with.

  • blondie
    blondie

    BluesBrother, I was trying to make a sarcastic remark regarding the use of the word "may" which is a weasel words that allows for "exceptions." (Thanks for the elders manual quote) Who decides? The local BOE, the current CO, the non-anointed men in charge at WT headquarters, the GB? Which of those is qualified to decide if a proven man-eating tiger is now safe to let in on the playground with children?

    Par.18

    “However, the elders will inform him that he MAY NEVER qualify to receive any congregation privileges "

    That suggests to readers that he will never be used. But consider. ...

    Shepherd the Flock (2019) ch 14

    "One who has engaged in child sexual abuse does not qualify to

    receive any privileges in the congregation for many years, if ever;"

    Not quite the same, is it?

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