As always I very much appreciate your balanced viewpoint.
When starting the topic I had actual JW parents in mind, and how they raise their children, not adult JW and how they are treated and controlled by Watchtower.
I can fully see your point of view on this matter: 'religious abuse' as performed by JW parents pales in comparison to the horrible things some parents do to their children.
Yet I agree with what dubstepped said. There are many forms of child abuse, and the severity varies from 'just a little bit wrong' to 'utterly horrific and evil'. The fact that 'utterly horrific and evil abuse' exists, does not mean 'just a little bit wrong' isn't abuse, even when the two are completely incomparable.
That being said, I really don't care about what label we should apply. We can probably agree that some ways of (mis)treating and raising children is wrong and damaging, whether we call it abuse or not.
It is my opinion that many Jehovah's Witness parents display a huge number of the hallmarks of 'religious abuse'.
Some of it is 'inflicted' by the parents themselves; some of it is inflicted by Watchtower, but it's the parents who allow and endorse it.
- Dichotomous Thinking – Jehovah's people vs worldly, godless people.
- Elitism – JW children are not allowed to be friends (or even have extra-curricular contact) with non-JW
- Submission – Have a chat with the teenagers here or on www.reddit.com/r/exjw and it becomes clear that many JW parents do not tolerate deviating beliefs and idea.
- Labeling – Worldly and godless people, apostates, etc.
- Public Performance – This one is less applicable I think.
- Legalistic – Many JW parents have set views that doesn't allow for individual expression and input from their children.
- Segregation – How many JW children are allowed to have contact with DFed aunts, uncles and grandparents?
- Blind Obedience – Obey me because Jehovah says you should do so
- Abuse of Authority – This one is less prevalent, but many JW parents still force their (almost adult) children to go along to meetings when they don't want to.
- Fraud – Not so much, but information is kept from most JW children. All JW children (instinctively) know some information is off-limits...
Granted, most JW parents don't raise their children this way because they are evil or try to mess up their children. On the contrary, they try to do right by their children by raising them as JW.
But so do many other parents who use abusive 'parenting techniques' simply because they don't know what they are doing is abusive and damaging their child.
The way JW raise their children is damaging and can imho rightfully be called abusive. Some of the cult-related issues can take years to process and get rid of, even when the parents were otherwise loving and kind.