As a result of speaking out on abuse many have been punished for trying to warn others in the congregation as well as endeavoring to find closure by talking about what happened to them of their family. Victims and advocates have been silenced by sanctions within the congregation that range from being marked as bad association to outright disfellowshipping for trying to protect children. At silentlambs we realize that it takes great courage to speak out about abuse. Instead of punishing those that do we are creating a "hall of fame" for those who are so brave. We call it the silentlambs "courage" award. We honor those persons as champions for children and put them forth as an example of the right way abuse should be addressed.
Current Courage Award Recipients
For courage above and beyond the call of duty in the interests of protecting children, we are happy to name the following individuals as Courage Award Recipients:
Dr. Shane Spicer: Dr. Spicer for his work in helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. During the aftermath of the hurricane, Dr. Spicer provided emergency psychiatric services to many, many patients for days until they were eventually rescued. While his work in New Orleans during the crisis was not related to child abuse, he did provide emergency psychiatric services to both parents and children in crisis. Many people were terrified while trapped in the hotel, he admirably worked to calm/ease the minds of anyone who needed him in a profession manner above and beyond the call of duty.
Corie Pandelo/Holloway: Corie is the first recipient of the silentlambs courage award. She was one of the first persons to step up to the media and reveal the terrible abuse she suffered as a child. Her efforts opened the way for the many other abuse survivors to speak out and finally be heard. She did an extensive interview for Dateline but it was all left on the cutting room floor. Her courage to be the first is what has helped many abuse survivors.
Erica Garza: Erica interviewed on Dateline, went to the national media, interviewed with newspapers and spoke out about her abuse. When she initially came forward about her abuse, she was told that she would be disfellowshipped. She then went to the police, and reported her molester. When she went to court to testify about the horrible abuse she suffered from age four to thirteen her fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses sat on the molesters side of the courtroom, and protected him and even sent her a death threats, all for standing up and reporting a child molester. Her testimony took a child molester off the streets and put him in jail though he remains a JW in good standing.
Victoria Boer: Vicky went to court and testified about the Watchtower policy that literally destroyed her life. The trial lasted for two weeks, as Watchtower hierarchy sought to get close to one hundred Jehovah’s Witnesses called from several congregations in the Toronto area to sit on their side of the courtroom in opposition to her. Yet she stepped forward and she testified. That court case has yet to be decided as of today, in Canada, where this trial took place. We appreciate her courage in trying to protect children.
Laurie Fitzwater: Laurie was featured on Dateline and it was discussed about the molester that she knew who molested 17 little girls. He remains a Jehovah’s Witness in good standing as he resides in a prison penal facility. Yet when she tried to warn other members of her congregation about what happened, the elders disfellowshipped her for trying to protect the children.
Sherry Galvez: Sherry is a survivor of abuse who stepped up to help Erica in her court trial. She sat on the other side of that courtroom with Erica as the seventy Witnesses gave them dirty looks and ill treatment, but she was a friend who stood by Erica. She came back to the courtroom when this man had to be reconvicted and she testified in Erica’s behalf and told about the extent of the abuse and how it had affected her life.
Pat Garza: Watchtower intimidates those who suffer abuse. pat was afraid when she first spoke to silentlambs to use her own telephone for fear of what the organization would to do to her. Now that she has been involved with the progress of the silentlambs organization over two years she has grown in both personal and spiritual ways. She is a person who has courageously stepped up and not only spoken out in court for victims of abuse but also spoken about her own abuse and has went fearlessly to the media recently and contacted them She did an excellent job of articulating how Watchtower policy hurts so many and the need to protect the children.
Carl Pandelo/Barb Pandelo: Two parents that stood beside their daughter and enabled her to be strong to stand up. They were part of the Dateline story that featured a child molester going door to door. They supported their daughter when she went to the media to be interviewed about these things. They have fearlessly stood up for what was right and for their bravery they were disfellowshipped.
Jeannie Krause: Jean is an abuse survivor. When trying to reach out for justice in helping her daughter she to was threatened with disfellowshipping for trying to warn the congregation about the man who molested her daughter. When they went to the elders, they were told to be silent, threatened with disfellowshipping, her appearance at the silentlambs march means the elders may still try to disfellowship her. She helped many to attend to silentlambs march and serves as the chapter director for silentlambs in New York.
Joe Anderson/Barbara Anderson: Another married couple who stood up on abuse issues and were terribly sanctioned as a result. When the wife went on Dateline and told the truth about cover-ups she was faced with judicial committees, when the husband simply resigned as an elder after 43 years to protest abuse, he was disfellowshipped within two weeks. For their courageous effort in standing for what is right in the interests of protecting children.
Sheila Bowen: When I first came out on this issue of abuse, this person was told, that all they had to do was just leave me, and they would be protected and taken care of along with my children. She turned them down flat and as a result has suffered the ridicule that follows those who stand up for children in this organization. She has supported and assisted the founding of silentlambs and serves on the board of directors.
Ewelina Pyjko: Ewe is the first silentlambs courage recipient in Europe. She lives in Germany and bravely spoke out about her abuse as well as reported her molester to the police. Her courage at age 17 to help others sets the example for many other youth. She continues as an active Jehovah’s Witness along with her mother.
Joshua M. White: Joshua bravely reported his molester and testified to see that he would not hurt other children. We welcome his courage and bravery as a young lad that stood up for what is right.
Additional listing of courage award recipients [click here]
Would you like to nominate an individual to receive the Courage Award? Click here to submit your nominee.