Three gen sex-abuse cover up in my fam; and other fun

by cyngz 11 Replies latest jw experiences

  • cyngz

    Hi, first time posting.

    I got out about 10 years ago, but only beginning to reconcile with my trauma from being raised as a witness. I am a professional writer, and never wanted my body of work to be prefaced -- 'oh the writer who broke free from being a JW,' but I've started the last year to now write about my experiences. Another reason I have held back is many of the victims in my family are still of the faith, and I've grappled with it is not entirely my story to tell or expose.

    Context: the sexual abuse cover-up with my family goes back to the 50's over three generations of girls in a large extended family all raised as witnesses at the hands of an uncle, and protected by the elder body, CA, DA, Ontario branch of Bethel, NY and so on.

    I grew up in a culture where the girls in my family would go 'off the deep end' at ages 16/17, and kept waiting to grow up for my turn to 'go crazy', which did happen at age 17 when I had my first manic phase and left the org for about two years. I came back at 19, got married at 20, and things fell apart shortly after when the scandal was finally exposed shortly after (circa 1993/94) and the abuser was finally disfellowshipped after forty years and countless victims, at which time we were told that this experience was a complete outlier. However, I managed to hold on for another decade until the Conti story broke out (amongst other reasons for leaving) once I realized it was all lies and this was not just a common occurrence but the mechanics of the organization allowed it to run rampant.

    The victims who came forward were threatened with disfellowshipment, and even when not, we were often generally shunned as 'marked' even when we did not find out about this marking till years after the fact. Many of the second-generation women who were abused in my family are still JW's, but most of the third-gen are not. Of us third-gens most of us struggle with Complex PTSD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and other mental health issues which all directly relate to the trauma we experienced. I'm not pinning the blame of my bipolar disorder directly on all this as there is definitely a genetic component as well, but certainly, my Complex PTSD lays at the feet of the org.

    A few notes:

    My mom who married into the family caught wind of the abuse when studying with one of my cousins who fell out of the faith. When she tried to bring it to the attention of the elders (and only them), they tried to meet my mom three times to disfellowship her for slander, but somehow each time they were set to meet as a committee, one elder would be delayed and have to reschedule. My mom was also instructed my cousin was a worldly slut who could not be believed because when as a child she brought up the abuse, she was forced as a young girl to sit in the room with her abuser and three men, and in terror only would say: 'he licked my face'.

    And elder once broke into our home to get the 'goods' on my mom, in which he could report our family home with four children was 'messy'

    My great-uncle used to drive from Windsor to Georgetown and wait in the parking lot for Brother Little to come out to alert him to the ongoing problem of the sexual abuse overlooked, year after year, in which nothing came out of it.

    Letters were sent to NY over the decades.

    When I struggled with all this, and my trauma, I was told, often, over decades, that it was not proper to talk about these things as it would spiritually harm those weaker in the faith. And so I would have to sit quiet while brothers and sisters would talk with GLEE about the Catholic child abuse scandals.

    When I was 15 we moved to a very small congregation away from my extended family. My mother had very poor health at the time, and I was a caretaker of my little brother at all the meetings. He was born when I was 11. A sister in the hall decided he was "really" my child, and informed the elders I was the real mother, and that my mom was covering for my immorality, and I was marked but never informed until it came out later. So imagine being 15, in a new town, no friends, not allowed to have worldly associates, and my entire congregation is giving me the cold shoulder and having NO idea why.

    The story eventually came out when the offending sister was visiting my hometown congregation, unbeknownst to her, and told my cousin the sordid tale of my brother's birth, in which my cousin said: that's really interesting since I went to visit her mother in the hospital after she gave birth to her son, and Carrie was 11 and hadn't even had menses yet. It was only after that we learned that I had been marked and the reason for it. No apologies when the story came out. Just shruggy.

    There is SO much more to this history; it's like peeling an onion.

    I was finally diagnosed with Complex-PTSD a year or so ago, and at the ripe age of 44 and am finally in a place where I have the strength to confront this history of trauma without fear of the WT coming to 'get me' as an apostate.

    I've written two articles which have only lightly touched upon my experiences but am also working on a novel (it goes slowly cause there is only so much revisiting of my trauma I want to deal with) about my life post-witness in which the cult casts a long shadow.

    The first article is actually a review about the latest Kesha song Praying through the lens of how JW's twisting of the concept of forgiveness and rampant rape culture affected my life:

    The second piece is a work of creative non-fiction in which I recount a memory from when I was a witness who did not realize at the time I was bisexual. It's been a decade since being in the fold, so some of my 'theocratic language' is rusty:

    Sometimes I think I should sue, but I don't want to have any more of my life stolen.

  • flipper

    CYNGZ- I'm terribly sorry to hear of the sexual abuse and rape that you and female members of your family suffered. It's horrific and disgusting how often this happens within the JW organization. My wife and I have EX-JW friends this has happened to and many here on this board are actively trying to expose these crimes to the public either on the Internet or other media outlets to bring attention to the criminal conduct happening within this criminal organization- WT Society & Jehovah's Witnesses. These crimes get even more horrific due to the lax or awful child abuse policies of the WT leaders trying to cover these crimes up.

    I'm proud of you about opening up and exposing these crimes that occur within this organization. I read both of your websites and you are a terrific writer indeed. Very interesting links - both of them. I'm sure it has helped you to heal a little bit by writing and I encourage you to keep it up ! I'm a singer/songwriter myself and after exiting the JW's writing songs has helped me to overcome some of the stresses from being raised up in the JW cult as well.

    Please be assured of our care and concern for you. I wish for you happiness and health and healing in your life. Welcome to the forum here my friend, and thanks for sharing. We are here as a support to you as well. Take care and hang in there, Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • darkspilver

    Hi cyngz

    Welcome. You're in Toronto?!

    Got your TIFF tickets yet for

    It'll be interesting to hear what you think of it.

    flipper: I'm a singer/songwriter myself

    I believe cyngz is a transmedia storyteller:

    "If I had a Super Hero alter ego I would be known as THE PIGEON w/ the super powers to shitpost all the live long day"

  • cyngz

    hey darkspilver

    not sure what you mean by this?

    //I believe cyngz is a transmedia storyteller:

    "If I had a Super Hero alter ego I would be known as THE PIGEON w/ the super powers to shitpost all the live long day"

    but yes, I am known for my transmedia work (amongst several things I'm known for); and yes I wrote that tweet this morn, but in regards to my artist friend Hal Hefner who just released a work re: Taylor Swift prompted by a shitpost I wrote about her new album this week, and not in relation to my post above

    I'm intrigued by Apostacy but with my Complex-PTSD, and getting so triggered so easily, I'm not "there" yet; today I'm kinda skating on thin ice emotionally by going down the "how the watchtower ruined my life" rabbit hole as it is this morning :P


  • cyngz

    Thanks for your kind words, Flipper. It's taken me a LONG time to get to this point. When I wrote the Forgiveness is Overrated where I for the first time publically (although I do yammer about my experiences on my facebook feed on more than the rare occasion) directly spoke of the abuse, I was more than pleasantly pleased that the ground did not swallow me up after hitting publish.

    I just got into a free 16 week intensive therapy program that starts next week, and I think I'm finally ready to face and open the pandora's box of my childhood/young adulthood, and hope that speaking about it/writing about it/thinking about it will get easier.

  • Iown Mylife
    Iown Mylife

    WELCOME, cyngz! ♥♥♥ Getting your life back is wonderful, i know a lot of time has to go by before a survivor has ability to face the injuries. So it's a heavy burden for a long time.

    Being a writer, you know how just writing stuff out helps to make changes. And now starting a new therapy program, you are gathering momentum towards healing.

    This forum is so helpful too, I really love it. Much love to YOU.

  • darkspilver

    cyngz: not sure what you mean by this?

    I thought it was cool, that's all. Well, apart from Taylor Swift

    Shame, but understandable, about Apostasy tho. Besides tickets are selling out I believe...

  • Londo111

    I have to say that of all things that the organization has done, threatening victims and their families with disfellowshipping has to be one of the worst.

  • steve2

    A warm welcome to you cyngz. Your OP is very informative and reflects a lot of pain and hurt. You make some compelling references to the way JWs used to talk so self-righteously about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

    Even JW literature - such as the Awake! magazine - would periodically include items in the Watching the World section outlining various reports about child sexual abuse in that Church and other churches. It's now been over four years since the organization stopped doing this because it knew that it itself was about to get roasted over its own "policies" and practices for handling allegations of child sexual abuse.

    I look forward to your posts and congratulate you on the courage it has taken to open up about your upbringing.

    Best, steve

  • stuckinarut2

    Welcome cyngz!

    Thanks for sharing your story through your post!

    We really feel for the ordeals you have been subjected to. Much respect for the way you seem to have taken control of your circumstances and life, and made something positive out of it! Much respect!

    Sending you love and support in your journey.

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