Domestic Violence?

by alamb 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • alamb

    Has anyone ever addressed the incidence of domestic violence in Witness families? I am relatively new here and don't want to cover old ground.
    Thinking back, I can name multiple examples of households in each congregation I attended where domestic violence was evident.
    I have an active Protective Order against my ex. who is still active in the congregation he attends. His fellow elders don't want to know about it and warned me, "You just have to watch what cultures you marry into." (He was hispanic) "Our sisters in the Far East regularly undergo much more than you did." Another elder readily admitted to leaving bruises on his wife and "she has never gotten a Protective Order."
    I asked if there was a clause in the fruits of the spirit for certain answer
    Just wondering.

  • peterstride

    When I was married (to a fanatic pioneer), I was the one that should have gotten a restraining order against my wife.

    Even though I was averaging 15 hours of service every month, if I came home from my full time work (to support her pioneering) and didn't go out in service with her, she would start swearing, breaking things, and on occasions, hit me with something, leaving me with bruses.

    When I would grab her arms so that she couldn't hit me, she would try kicking me, or head-butting me.


    Then, she would start telling me that she would go to the elders and tell them that I'm beating her up, because the elders always listen to crying females.

    It's a good thing I had a tape recorder taping all this once. I ended up going to the elders about this, and they deleted her as a pioneer. But, this whole experience left me definately shaken & stirred.

    I also realized that I didn't want to be married for the rest of my life to someone like that, and since she was a fanatically "faithfull JW"........

    Peter Stride
    Toronto, Canada
    PS. In the congregation I was attending at that time, I knew of one other couple where the female was the aggressor, even in public. He was usually trying to keep the peace, and ended up getting the raw end of the deal.

  • patio34

    Peterstride and alamb,

    Both of your experiences are very appalling--my sympathies and I'm glad you're both out of it.

    I have a situation in my family but it's non-witness-related, so I'll keep mum.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • waiting

    Hey y'all,

    I know a young jw man (21) who married a jw female older than him. She's always been high strung (off the wall sometimes), he's pretty laid back.

    When they first got married, for about 6 mos - she'd just physically go off on him. He finally started talking to us about it. He would be laying on the couch and say something she didn't like - she fly on him, biting, scratching, hitting all at the same time, he showed me the bruises from the bites. Mean looking.

    Now, he's 6'4" and she's 5'2". All he would do is try and get away from her - period. Another time he was eating cereal, she didn't like something, grabbed his hair from behind and slammed his head into the wall. When he told me, he had tears in his eyes remembering the pain.

    Another time, she kicked him hard in the stomach, when in a car in our parking lot.

    I encouraged him in the usual ways - but not necessarily to go to the police. The reason? The size difference. She's also 10 years older than him. If I didn't know him well, I'd have a hard time believing the abuse. I told him to tell all her friends and family what's she doing, leave her when she acts like that - make her abuse public.

    She's a very proper jw, wouldn't want to do anything to bring reproach on Jehovah's organization.

    Anyway, things have gotten much better - she doesn't hit him anymore. Into the second year of marriage. Now she wants to have a baby - I told him he's crazy even to contemplate it. He says "Oh, she's not like that anymore."

    Yeah, right. Till next time.


  • lauralisa


    1. An assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc. is false

    2. Disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing

    3. Refusal to recognize or acknowlege; a disowning or disavowal

    4. An unconscous defense mechanism used to reduce anxiety by denying thoughts feelings, or facts that are consciously intolerable

    5. A river in East. Africa, the longest in the world, flowing N from Lake Victoria to the mediterranean

  • ladonna

    My sister was a woman who endured domestic violence within the WTBTS and when she approached the elders she was told that she could not divorce him and neither would they assist her unless she was beaten within an inch of her life being take.

    She went and found herself a nice young man, slept with him, and got herself a scriptural divorce.

    She actually ended up marrying this man and is still a JW again....but she suffered shockingly.


    Some Birds Were Not Meant To Be Caged

  • gsark

    Hey, Alamb, i am glad you and others like you are 'out of it' as well. And now here you are with us.

    Life is a roller coaster. Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on!

  • Monica

    This is a really touchy subject for me, but I will say that in the 3 halls that we were in, the elders told my mom over and over again that she would have to go before a JC if she left my abusive father and they strongly indicated most likely she'd be disfellowshipped.

    She was also told not to provoke him.

    We were told to never call the police.

    Whenever we went to an elder's house on a night when my dad was out of control, nine times out of ten, we were sent right back home and my dad would be standing there smiling/smirking as we would walk back in. The elders just fueled my dad and it just got worse year after year after year.

    One night when we went to an elder's house, the elder's wife said something like how they needed to take my mom to the hospital for her injuries and the elder said, "no, then the police would get involved".

    In the many years this happened, not one elder ever asked any of us if we felt "safe". It just didn't seem to me that they cared if we were safe. They never talked to us kids about it to see how we were "affected" or give us any encouraging words.

    At the very least, they should at least recognize that this happens and have "safe houses" set up for victims to allow a cool-down period.

  • bboyneko

    My mom was abused physically for years and the rest of us emotionally (late night raids into the room, dumping the entire contents of your vloset on the floor, telling you to clean it up) One night, he made the mistake of hitting her when I was home, he usually only did stuff when he was alone with her.. I called the police and everyone was pissed at me for calling the police. My older brother defended my dad and said it was just a slip in self control. Unfortunatley he didnt get arrested because he left no physical bruises on her.

    Now shes divorced from him without being dissfleowshiped only because she knew he had cheated on her before and he admitted it to the elders.


  • Monica


    Are you my brother??? Your family life sounds like it was just like ours. The late night raids -- catching you off guard.

    I had two older brothers, and like your family, one protected my mom and the other protected my dad (until they had a falling out).

    A big thing with the elders was that my dad never actually "hit" her with his fist. The things my dad did were much worse though.

  • blondie

    Per the Bible, a man who physically and verbally abuses his wife and/or children is not qualified to be or remain in any appointed position or to have any special privileges. Lack of response to counsel from the elders should end in the husband being disfellowshipped. Name one man in the Bible approved by Jehovah that beat, struck, verbally abused his wife. (Don’t tell me about the concubine’s husband…he’s a wimpy coward.)

    If any man (and a few women) were to hit someone other than their spouse or children in this way, what would the elders do. If I went up to a sister in the KH and yanked on her hair so hard that I pulled some out by the roots, what would happen to me? If I kicked a child and/or swore obscenities at them every time I saw them at the KH, what would happen to me? Would the elders suggest to my victims that they pray and display the fruitages of the holy spirit more fully to prevent my behavior?’

    The problem lies in that the elders are woefully unequipped to handle these problems. Special training is needed. While there is some good advice from the Bible and in the publications, elders ignore it or worse yet have never read it.

    I speak from my own experience. Remember sisters (and some brothers) your life is involved and the lives of any children.

    *** w99 2/15 8 What Is Needed for a Successful Marriage? ***
    The Bible counsels: “Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you.” (Ephesians 4:31) …
    In addition, Paul wrote that one who qualifies for special privileges in the congregation should be “not a smiter”—according to the original Greek, “not dealing blows.” (1 Timothy 3:3, footnote) He cannot be one who strikes people physically or browbeats them verbally. A person who is prone to become violent in a moment of anger is not a suitable marriage partner.

    This counsel is totally ridiculous!

    *** w88 11/1 22 When Marital Peace Is Threatened ***
    Extreme physical abuse is another basis for separation. Suppose an unbelieving mate often gets drunk, becomes enraged, and causes the believer physical harm. (Proverbs 23:29-35) Through prayer and by displaying the fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit, the believer may be able to prevent such outbursts and make the situation endurable. But if the point is reached where the health and life of the abused mate actually are in jeopardy (by whose assessment, the wife’s or the elders?), separation would be allowable Scripturally. Again, congregation elders should look into charges of physical abuse when two Christians are involved in the troubled marriage, and disfellowshipping action may have to be taken.—Compare Galatians 5:19-21; Titus 1:7.

    *** g88 11/22 8 When the Battering Will Stop ***
    God’s Law and the Christian View
    God’s law makes clear that husbands should “continue loving [their] wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation. . . . Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it.” (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29) This law supersedes all man’s laws, past and present.

    Surely no Christian husband would argue that he still loves the wife he abuses. (This is a very typical response from husbands….”I won’t do it again.”) Would the wife abuser beat his own body—pull his hair and punch himself in the face and about his body because he truly loves himself? Does the wife beater freely tell others—outside family members, friends, other Christians—that from time to time he will beat his wife, inflict bodily harm on her, because he loves her so much? Or, rather, does he threaten his wife so that she will not tell anyone? Are the children sworn to secrecy by their father not to tell others about his abuse? Or are they ashamed to do so? Do not his actions belie his claim that he truly loves his wife? Love for each other is normal. Wife abuse is not.
    Finally, if a Christian man batters his wife, does it not render all his other Christian works useless in God’s sight? Remember, “a smiter” does not qualify for privileges in the Christian congregation. (1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3; Ephesians 5:28)

  • alamb

    This all sounds so familiar.
    When I confronted the elders about my home, they asked my husband if it was true to which he said "no" (duh) and I got the backlash at home. Another time they came over and asked if he actually hit me with a closed fist or was it more of a slap. I was also read the scripture about how an elders wife is to behave and this was my duty.

    I grinned of the other stories about late-night rades. My mother woke me up at 3 a.m. once and sat me on the couch and then sat across the room from me glaring the whole time. When I asked her what was up she said "I am upset and if I can't sleep, neither can you." I asked her what was wrong and she told me to figure it out. I'm still working on that one.

    I wonder if a website addressing this with some support links and safe-houses as mentioned would help anyone?

  • bboyneko

    Yeah people sometimes don't take emotional/psychological abuse seriously. It's like "Well if he dosen't hit you then it can't be that bad."

    alot of victims of emotional abuse would prefer their tormenter would just hit them, it seems physical blows would heal faster than emotional ones. Tormenters such as my dad get their jollies by controlling others. Issues such as dumping your clothes over the floor and ordering you to clean it up is them exercsising control. Anothe rmethod of torture is sleep deprivation. He will often make my mom stay up all night talking to her about her innadequcies, why she was a bad mother or why her family was awful or how the whole world was out to get him. He was paranoid and being a JW didnt help much. He voudlnt hold a job longer than a couple of months, mostly because he could not take orders from someone else..he was too proud.

    I dont speak to him anymore and never wish to, there were many times I literally wished him dead but could think of no way to kill him without being caught. Emotional abuse is that bad.

    I was scared to be alone in the house with him. He would preach against the evils of tom and jerry as being violent and therefore from satan. Oh get this..he hit my mom in front of my 7 year old little brother who happens to be autistic, and hass the $#@%! nerve to try to give me a speech for playing a video game like tekken tag in front of him. What an asshole. He still claims satan made him do it.

    that it wasnt him, it was satan attacking the family. He is still trying to contact me I beleive but i have moved and have new number and everything, he hasnt been able to track me down at all.

    When he got angryhis eyes would literally look demon-possesed. I have heard accounts of soldiers who commit attrocities in wars, such as the japanese in the naanking massacre, to have this look. I beleive it now to be the look of absolute loss of rational thought, the moment when you are completley at the mercy of your deepest animal insticts and fury. THis is why we fear it so, because we are no longer dealing with a human being but an animal. One time he hit the wall half an inch from my face and put a hole in the wall..why?

    Because I had missed the school bus. And it wasn't even that i had missed it..he misunderstood me. I told him the bus that had just left was not my school bus but another one, mine would arrive any minute..but he wasnt to be reasoned with. I just ran and left the house after that. My mom told me he would throw knifes at her, and to this day she does not keep any sharp knifes in the house. She uses a special electric safety knife to cut meats and vegetables.

    All this while he wa sa JW in good standing, and everyone thought he was a great guy. Especially my older brother who defended him constantly. His response? His advice was to 'just avoid him' and 'dont provoke him'

    yeah whatever.

    One time, to avoid him, i walked 3 hours to my friends house and stayed the night. This is a man who never learned how to love or how to interact with humans. In court when my mom was trying to get custody of my autistic little brother he brought all these papers trying to discredit my mom by saying she had depression and was on medication all the time..yeah i wonder why she was depressed.

    Then he tried to say me, by leaving the jw's had rejected all moral standards and was disobedient and a delenguint. THe judge saw he was a psycho though and gave custody to my mom. Unfortunatley she is now under the control of my older brother but thats a different story.


  • conflicted

    When this was happening in my family the elders defended my step-father as well, and he wasn't even a baptized witness, just a bible-study. We were told that "In our home he is the leader of the house-hold and can set forth any rules he sees fit as long as they don't contradict scripture - and he can set forth any punishment he wants up to but not exceeding beating us unconciousness."

    After he stopped studying and got involved in drugs our lives were miserable, but the elders stuck to their guns, and unfortunately for us he knew that my mother, a devout witness would not be permitted to leave unless he committed adultery - so he could do whatever he wanted with the elders blessing.

    And THIS is supposed to be "God's organization", I think not!

  • Billygoat

    Like Monica and others, this is a touchy subject for me as well. My heart aches for all the stories I hear on this board. Not just for my experiences, but out of surprise that others have been raised as I was raised! It really wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized my family wasn't "normal". That screaming, throwing things, beatings, late night raids, slappings, and such were abuse. I thought this was all because I was such a bad kid. I WAS JUST A KID!!!

    I pray that God show mercy on the abuse victims still stuck in the Tower. If I think about it too much, it makes me physically ill.


  • orbison

    this is something i am familiar with
    my x,,,ms,,,beat the royal crap out of me,,,
    next door neighbours were witnesses,,,said they dont have this going on in their family and dont know how to deal with it,,,so the ignored me,,dont know how,,half my face was on the ground
    x got 1 year in jail for it,,,and is still a practicing jw,,,
    i think i have worked through all the bitterness, anger, etc, except for that part that he is in good standing,,,he got married 12 hours after our divorce,,,,imagine,,,society tells you you cant date until you are divorced,,,so it must have been a very fast romance,,,,most of the elders, etc, stood behind him, and said i pushed him over the edge,,,hmm after 25 yrs marriage,,,i dont think so
    this was not the first time of abuse,,,,i had even called the elders in to help us,,,advise us,,told me to read the happiness book,,yeah right


  • bigboi

    Neyko's post to me is inescpable evidence to me as to why the WTS should not allow untrained elders to deal with domestic situations. From what he's described it seems evident that his dad has some kind of mental disorder that makes him unable to control his emotions. He also seems to have trouble thinking rationally.

    Neko, it seems you Dad would do well to get some sort of counselling. If he could see a mental health professional I wouldn't doubt that he would recieve some type of diagnosis and some prescriptions. Maybe you could suggest that somehow, though I ouldn't reccommend doing it face to face.



  • alamb

    Thank you for the welcome. The only strings I have are the family I have who are still in. My daughters are also at risk. I guess the greatest gift I can give them right now is common sense and see where that leads. It got me out.

  • waiting

    On the bright side, and there is one .........

    everyone who has posted on this thread has been able to literally leave this type of life behind for themselves. For other family members? They have to do for themselves in a great part.

    Studies have been done on why, in particular, women stay with abusive mates. Lots of reasons. And why they leave? Finally, they have been through enough, decide to stick up for themselves and/or kids, realize their lives depend on leaving, wake up and see there is something, somewhere, better.

    But the victims have to do something. We can't force them. I guess I'm referring more to the children of parents who are still in this violence. It must be frustrating beyond belief to know that it's going on.

    Congratulations to us all for taking a step at leaving the violence behind.


  • Monica


    Wow! It is so strange hearing (or watching) someone write my almost exact feelings and almost exact experiences!!

    I totally agree regarding the emotional abuse. Just hit me smack square in the nose and get it over with!!

    Control -- yep know all about it! He would actually blame us for never being appointed as an elder. Lecture, after lecture on how we were bringing him down and how we needed to do more so that he could be appointed elder. It was all about control - he wanted to be in control of everything!

    We all left the JWs in 1988 and he changed a lot after it; however, I maintained a very distant relationship with him until my mom left him a few years back and as of this year, we pretty much don't speak to each other and I'm hoping to slowly cut off the relationship entirely. He still tries to control with his little mind games, but it just doesn't work like it used to. I'm pretty much through with him. He just doesn't get it and will never change. I do not want my kids around him.

    It's strange how the abuse has affected us kids. Luckily, the years of counseling I received has helped me to learn ways to effectively get across a point. Control has been a real issue for me. Not that I want to control everyone, it's just that I stress soooo much about things I cannot control and it just drives me nuts!!

    I could tell story after story of the stuff my dad would do to us, but I still get emotional just talking about it. I cannot believe the similarities between our stories though!

    Sleep deprivation -- I was going to say something about that in my last post. He would go nuts if any of us kids took a nap during the day!! We were called lazy, good for nothing...blah-dee-blah-blah-blah!

    I remember telling my mom, I'd rather live on the street than live there!

    My dad actually had his own business and would make us kids work for him WITHOUT PAY! We would all have to work at least 10-15 hours a week. That combined with all the JW stuff was just sheer torture for us! Imagine working for your dad!! Not very fun!

    Scared to be alone with him -- I used to plan an escape route sometimes. I swear one night I thought I was going to have to jump from our 2nd story window -- really, really sad!!

    There is still a hole on my bedroom door at the house from one night him kicking it in. I just don't even really rememer why we got in trouble. It was just stupid stuff. Heck, he'd throw fits for using his toothepaste or my sister grabbing one of his razors to shave her legs.

    Why? I have no idea. What is so terribly wrong to make someone do that? I remember at 19, he threw a fit because I wasn't pioneering and ran at me with a metal cabinet shelf (he had an auto parts business and had these metal cabinets with flimsy metal shelves). By then, I'd had enough and yelled at him to do it, to JUST DO IT!!! That he couldn't hurt me more than he already had and I said a lot of stuff to him that day about what I thought of him. But it went right over his head. He apologized months later for that incident and asked me if I wanted to apologize! For what?? Being honest?

    One night, my mom told us to be prepared, that we were going to have to leave. So I went to bed with my shoes on and made my sister do the same. As we were leaving in the middle of the night, he was sitting at the dining room table cleaning his guns. I cannot tell you the terror and horror he put us through. If my mom didn't have enough money for a hotel, we sometimes spent the night in the car. (spokane is quite chilly in the winter!)

    My dad, like yours, physically abused my mom and emotionally abused us all. My dad would push my mom down stairs, etc. -- stuff too emotional for me to talk about. I hate that part of my life! I am glad I never have to be under his control ever again. I'm glad I never have to look at another one of the elders again who would tell us ways to not provoke my father.

    The screaming -- My heart races today if I imagine hearing his screaming voice. Back then, it would send me into shear panic.

    I just want to say, that I am sooooooo sorry for everyone's experiences here!!! I know what it was like and it breaks my heart that these creeps can and do get away with it!! What wimps that they have to pick on women and children.

    Thank you for your kind comments. I am so lucky in that I took my experiences and managed to find a guy who would never do these things. I know his stomach turns to hear my stories. He is so wonderful to me and he understands and is so patient with me.

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