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Abused Lambs                                                        Page 3

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Poems and Thoughts

Speak Out

If you would like to share your story, send it to: story@silentlambs.org

Reprinted excerpts may be edited for spelling and context.

 

I am not a Jehovah Witnesses and I am not even real sure how I got to your website. But I was reading the messages that were posted. I could not believe what I was reading!!! I don't know a thing about this religion, but am just floored and nothing happening to these people who are doing this abusing. It is against the LAW for anyone to sexual abuse people especially children!

I can understand not changing religions, but we as humans have the RIGHT to protect our children. When you find out about sexual abuse or any abuse for that matter it should be taken to the police! Whether you are a JW or, Baptist, or Jew! These children and adults who have been victimized need to be protected and need counseling and the elders or whoever are doing the abusing needs to be stood in front of a judge and prosecuted. I fight for the right of the victims!

CS

The story I am about to tell is not current enough, nor profound enough to be worthy of consideration in your media endeavors. I do think, however, that it adds weight to the accumulation of material proving the negligence of The Society in matters of protecting the congregations from predators. The story spans some 20 years.

When I was a youth, growing up in S, Washington, my mother learned about Jehovah's Witnesses from our neighbor. She was immediately drawn to the faith because of what she understood from independent reading of the scriptures and their strict adherence to the Bible. One of the first families we were introduced to as fledgling members was Brother M and his wife. My mother learned early on - and to her credit shared with my sister and myself - some disturbing information about Brother M's past. When he married Sister M, she already had two young daughters. The younger of the two was only 14 when he began molesting her and she became pregnant. For this conduct, Brother M was disfellowshipped, although he was never turned over to the authorities. This would have been the early 1960's and I'm not sure how strictly such matters were pursued during that time. The child resulting from the crime was given up for adoption and the young girl left home to be married at age 17.

By the time my sister and I met Brother M and his wife, he had be reinstated and they had a daughter together who was the age of my older sister. Sister M was very hospitable and often hosted gatherings at her home. We were eager to attend, as we had little social life before being introduced into the congregation. Because of my mother's warnings, my sister and I understood we were never to be alone with Brother M when visiting their home, and we were never allowed by stay overnight. Brother M was an accomplished roller-skater, and would often invite the young sisters to skate with him, holding them closely as if in a dance. To the girls in my peer group, it was a joke about not skating with Brother M. We just knew his hands were "roving", as we then called it. At that age, we had no idea how serious it was that the brother continued to fondle young girls.

Before I reached age 18, Brother M and his wife moved suddenly to where "the need was great", somewhere in rural Mississippi. They had not been pioneers, nor did he hold any position of responsibility in the congregation, so their sudden relocation was not exactly routine. I never learned if there was any reason for the move, and do not claim to speculate on it now.

As time passed, I was married and had two daughters. When my children were 8 and 12, Brother M and his wife moved back to my home congregation. They were full of experiences of their time in Mississippi and were often used in meeting and assembly parts to encourage pioneering. After an unusual delay, Brother M was appointed as a Ministerial Servant.

Again, Sister M took on her role of the consummate hostess. By that time, the daughter they had together had married a man 30 years her senior and moved out of the area. The home of Brother and Sister M became a place of frequent social gatherings for young people. They had many attractions, including recreational equipment and a hot tub. Somewhere in the back of my mind I never forgot what my mother told me about his sin, and even though I was compelled to forgive, I was cautious about my children spending time in that home.

My daughters were invited to a sleep over party at the M home. All of their congregation friends were going to be there and they very much wanted to go. They were to bring swim-wear, as it was mid-winter and the hot tub would be put to good use. After talking it over with my husband, we both decided our girls could attend with their friends, but had to come home after the meal was served. They were not to go in the hot-tub and we made some excuse to them and to the hosts of the party about a skin allergy. My daughters were devastated and upset that they were not to be included in the overnight festivities. Although my husband did not understand why I was so firm, I was not to be shaken.

A few days after the party, we began to hear the fallout. Several of our daughters friends' parents began calling us to ask if we "knew anything" about the party. A committee was formed. One night we received a distraught call from one of the parents in the group, asking if we could watch their children for a few hours. They showed up to drop off the kids dressed as if for a meeting. Both had tears in their eyes and could not look at us directly. They explained they had something important to do that they could not share with us. The children were likewise upset, not playing as they usually did. I ended up holding both of them on my lap the entire evening while their parents were away. They clung to me as if I stood between them and death itself. At the next Service Meeting, it was announced that Brother M had been removed as a MS. Nothing was ever said as to the reason. Parents were NOT informed as to what lead to the announcement. No legal action was taken against Brother M. Sister M had a mental breakdown less than a year later. Of the 6 girls involved, 4 were later disfellowshipped for immorality. To this day, I thank God that my mother was open about Brother M's rape of his step-daughter. I shudder to think what might have happened to my own children (or myself) if she had not been so brave.

I applaud your efforts on behalf of children everywhere. My mother would have been proud of you.

DW

Thanks to a friend for putting me onto this site! I was driven away from the Congregations in C and B, WV for reporting a "brother" who had abused over 20 children over many years. The elders convinced everyone to let the elders handle it and it was covered up. This man is still a pedophile and still a respected brother in C, Congregation. My mother is now a "Saint" (JW's consider her a Hero) because when I reported that she had sexually abused me as a child ( prior to her being a witness) and that my children had reported that she had sexually abused them, too. They turned on me and drove me away. I came close to suicide many times and even the Circuit Overseer told me "you're getting exactly what you deserve!" Two and a half years ago I left, I am not disassociated/disfellowshipped ...I just could not be part of it anymore. My heart aches for those still inside and being abused. Thanks for the site.

SP

I just thought I would share some thoughts with you even though I am not a victim of child abuse. I really want to use this opportunity to apologise to those in the congregations who have been abused or molested by other JW members, and who were NOT given the support from ones like me, as I am one who has been guilty of being 'staunch' for Jehovah's organisation.

First of all, I was raised as a JW in NZ. My life and thinking was moulded into being theocratically submissive. At an early age, I married a JW boy, and we raised our family as JW's. Over the years, my husband became incredibly staunch...and he was soon appointed as an elder before he was 30. Being a young elder with a young family, we were given a lot of 'privileges' such as parts at the Circuit and District conventions, we often hosted the Circuit or District Overseers in our home, as well as having the main roles in the drama one year. As a family, we were considered to be a pillar amongst those in the congregation and we were held in high esteem by others.

I remember one year my husband was invited to present the public talk to a neighbouring congregation. We then had lunch with some good friends and we mentioned to our hosts how we were surprised to notice that one of the sisters in the congregation was wearing trousers to the meeting. We knew the sister very well, and we found it odd, and we wondered if she had an injury, as it is not recommended for sisters to wear trousers to the meeting. Our host explained that the sister (who used to be a regular pioneer) had made claims that she had been molested as a child by one of the elders in their congregation, and consequently she had decided to wear trousers. At the time, we were most alarmed to think that she had dared to be so rebellious, and we also questioned her spirituality. We never questioned her credibility and whether or not her accusations were true or false, we just focused on her attitude. Being overly judgmental, as most 'staunch' witnesses are, we criticised her harshly for this behaviour. I also remember how she never failed to attend meetings despite the fact that she was not looked upon favourably by those in 'good standing' in the congregation. To this day, I do not know if she is still attending meetings.

I look back now, and I'm so sad that I had such an attitude. This sister had her story, and she obviously shared it with the elders. And only now can I understand why she felt a need to make a stand the way she did. She chose to be ostracised by wearing trousers...because she felt that wearing trousers was a form of protection....a form of protection which the body of elders could not offer her...wearing trousers was symbolic for her stand against the wrong done to her as a child. YET...we believed that she was being rebellious...she was NOT a faithful sister...rather she was a trouble maker and was obviously 'spiritually weak'.

I now take this opportunity to apologise to that sister and to those out there who have been made to feel ashamed for speaking out...and for those who have been made to feel that they are now in a disapproved state because of their lack of submission to the theocratic arrangement. I was a hypocrite and I am ashamed of this and I apologise.

I am discovering life as a 'worldly' is not all debased. I do not get drunk, and I do not swear, I do not steal from others and I do a hard days work and pay my taxes. I do not look down my nose at other women who wear skirts above the knee....and I no longer smirk at working mothers. I guess I could go on and on listing all the new things I do now that I enjoy without feeling guilty, as well as listing all the shameful things I used to do thinking I had God's approval.

Thank you so much to for this site and I congratulate you and your wife for your stand...speaking out is not easy. I wish you both the very best and hope that others will be helped because of you and the stand you have made.

DR

I was a witness all my life from the age of 21. I am now 38 and no longer part of the organization! One reason I am no longer a Witness is because that I was twice assaulted by a ministerial servant who is now an elder! A married man with children that on both attempts I had fought greatly to stop him! Going to great lengths to get away! He was a trusted friend by my father.......someone to help watch over his family while he was away on a honeymoon with my mom....that they had never had! Thirty years of marriage and the first time they try to go away alone......... my life was changed forever! I have not yet found the courage to tell my father.......but someday wish I could! My assaulter told me if I ever tell, no one would believe me......and he would make sure it looked like it was all me! I felt so badly for his wife and children! I didn't dare speak because I couldn't destroy their family! I have begun to tell my family members! I started with my brother because he told me all about your organization! I am thankful to know I am not alone in this! I want to thank everyone for sharing their stories....because it has made me feel like I too belong here.........because I have been a silentlamb all my life and no longer wish to hide behind the shame!

PP

I have been in the"'organization" for 17 years and I personally know of three child molesters all of which were elders at the time of their being exposed. I personally was sexually assaulted by the Presiding Overseer of a congregation. I say "assaulted" because I was eighteen at the time and old enough and big enough to defend myself and escape from the situation. I told my story to the cong. elders and the "brother" denied it saying that I "must have dreamt the whole thing!" Though I was not a child exactly, my trust in the elders and my faith were truly and severely damaged. I was told that if I said a word to anyone I would be disfellowshipped.

A few years later it was brought to my attention that this man had tried to molest other young men and had molested his own son for years. But it was not until ten years later that this man was disfellowshipped for his gross acts. I know from personal experience that child molesters are getting away with their acts in this organization. My heart goes out to EVERY victim and their families.

I was raised a JW. I was raped by my stepbrother. He was 24 I was 14. My mother and step father was both JWs. They said it was my fault. He raped 2 other children in the congregation. they did disfellowship him. But he was reinstated. Now I can not have any thing to do with my parents. But he gets to go on vacation with them. He is now a Elder in the congregation. He also molested my 11 year old sister. Because they did not turn him in to the law.

BW

I'm 26 was raised as a witness in England , served " were the need is great" in Italy for 9 years and moved back to britain. Molested by a brother( 67years old ex elder )and accused of homosexuality at the age of 12(I hadn't got a clue what it meant let alone how I could have been orchestrating it),by a panel of elders who treated me different from that time on. I had a successful music band supported by brothers and elders alike until we won" battle of the bands" then they moved in split the band and wrote a false letter to the society which they took at face value. The complete fabrication myself and another brother/bandmember proved.The result we were pulled from all priviledges. They keep praising the lord. My only regret is to have made the mistake of believing I was loved, made a difference and pleased God.

AD

I was 2 yrs old living in xxxxxx when the Molestation started This Brother Baby-sat for my Parents while they accompanied his parents to Amway meetings. I was 7 when I moved to a different town and Congregation. At the age of 8 he was helping my Dad do some yard work and he took me aside and said he was sorry that he had done this to me but as a female I should never have been so enticing (like it was MY fault). I was so ashamed that I didn't tell anyone for many years. I was 16 and I had left the organization of my own accord later that year I tried to kill myself. I was in a Social workers office and I was asked the Magic question "have you ever been sexually abused?". I told the worker everything and SHE called the police and my Parents. The rollercoaster ride that went on was one I will never forget though I would like to. My Mom started me in counseling and I am now able to talk about this but it still comes back to haunt me. I am 28 now. The man that did this to me, his name is xxxxx, is still a Witness and an Elder. He was protected all the way through the trial and after.

Through the whole trial (one year) His Wife was by his side then on the last day when they were going to present the Medical Evidence she was not there. He appeared before the judge alone and changed his plea to guilty. No one was there to witness this except my parents and myself who were ostracized already. He was sentenced to 5 years probation (big deal) and mandatory counseling and he was not allowed to come near me or my family during that time. Later that year I found out that his Wife left him BUT the 4 congregations in that area were putting together a youth group and he was heading it. I am still not a witness and when an Elder was confronted as to why my family was treated like this he said "they did not have Faith in Jehovah and in his Good time... this would have been dealt with" My Parents Did have faith in God and they trusted for many Years that "his organization" was there to help their Family get to a Paradise on earth and all they did was Make life a living hell by protecting his Man.

PW

In the early 80s I was dating this girl from the kingdom hall we were both in our mid to late teens one day we went to visit her father ,this girls brother happened to be my best friend at the time well he came along with us, and were at the fathers house watching a movie " Blues Brothers" as she got up to go to the bathroom her father followed her in there, I thought that's strange next thing I heard was a loud whimpering and crying as she ran out of the bathroom I said to her brother what's this, and later she told me that her Dad was coming on to her in the bathroom, all of this while we were in the next room. I will call him Mr x he lived alone separated from Mrs x both jws her stronger in faith than him well this just blew my mind and I will never forget this. Nothing has ever happened to him to my knowledge.

RH

This whole subject has troubled me greatly for some time, and there are many issues that I could speak of.

1. My wife, myself, my 2 sisters - all molested as children by Jehovah's Witnesses.

2. My cousin is claiming that his daughters were molested by his father who is PO and mother.

3. Personal judiciary dealings where the acts were disregarded or covered up.

I know that you are probably bombarded with these issues daily so I will get right to it. The answer to this - its there, way deep down inside, for me it was that feeling that came out whenever I would let all the guards and walls down and have a good cry and ask Jehovah where he was in my life, then usually I would put the walls right back up again - until one day...Like I said before - I've been there.

JC

I have been a Jehovah's Witness for 17 years, and at times I surprise myself, as to why I am still there. You would not believe some of the problems I have had from an Elder .... I am thinking here, that perhaps I shouldn't go any further, but I need to, for myself, no one else would listen.

I tried to get help from my Elder as I was a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse, I am so sad to report, that he made me feel even more of a victim and a liar. I approached him after reading an AWAKE on childhood sexual abuse and the effects it has on one's life, at the time I was also going for professional help. He told a sister in regard to my plea for help, quote "oh, you take care of it, if you want". From then on, he has treated me like 'crap' even ignoring me to this day and this happened 8years ago. I decided to leave that small town on the West coast and moved about 30minutes down the track to another town where I moved into my new congregation, starting to feel a little like I had found my niche in the Organization in he comes, 'whisper, whisper' and suddenly, two of the new Elders have a problem with me. I spent all my life being the victim, carrying that pain and humiliation into my adult life. Finding the truth, I believed finally, that what had happened wasn't my fault, I still believe that it wasn't my fault, but, I could cry at the pain that this rejection and gossip has caused to my inner being and spirituality.

If you ever find the book, 'FROM GARLANDS TO ASH'S' by Sonja Grace, a book on clergy abuse, my story is entitled, 'For all things, I have the strength, by virtue of him who imparts power to me, chapter 16. I needed to be a part of this book, I needed to expel demons of the past, I wrote the title poem, although, an Elder advised me not to be in the book, he was to late, the book was done. When I visit my dying mother in that small town, I feel that I cannot attend the meetings there this Elder has put me through so much.

(a small footnote, I approached him about a 25year old married , pioneer sister, sleeping with my 15year old son, this I saw with my own two eyes.) He accused me of arranging this, because this is what the sister told him, because she was a pioneer and I was just me and I didn't have two or more witness that were actual Jehovah's Witness (apparently, no other witness count) then I was wrong and she was right) by the by, this sister is no longer in the truth. But, the situation at the time was ridicules. It was his way of showing me, he was boss and I was detestable in his eyes.

I am so glad that Jehovah doesn't see me through those eyes. I could go on for hours about the unjustness that goes on, but I don't believe that it is all Jehovah's Witnesses or all JW Elders but, I'm not going to blame myself this time. I still believe in Jehovah, I still respect and am submissive to my Elders, I still love my brothers and sisters, I love the Elder in question, I pray that one day, he will grow to love me.

BD

Here is my experience if you wish to use it. :

When I was a JW I had knowledge of a situation in our congregation, being the best friend of an elder's wife who was on the committee.

An admittedly dysfunctional family joined our congregation. The pioneer studied with them and they all could answer an underlined question or two at the WT study, let's just say they were slow. As time went on it became apparent that one of the teenage daughters was obviously pregnant, so the elders conducted an investigation. To their astonishment they found out the whole family was a hotbed of incest between father and daughters, mother and sons, and even brothers and sisters. They were very concerned about the "reproach on Jehovah's organization".

They didn't want the authorities to get wind of it either as it would reflect badly on the congregation. The solution? They located another (I think) cousin to marry the girl. They then announced at the meeting that she was on "public reproof", but the mistake had culminated in an "honorable marriage". I understand that the young couple then moved in with the same family.

Some solution! Those of us who knew were told to be quiet, or else be DF. I moved shortly after to "serve where the need was greater". I was so used to being loyal to the organization, that even though I left 25 years ago I never shared this story until learning of your outreach to the silentlambs, and thought it might interest you.

KM

This to is something that has touched our family and is something that to happened to my family 13 years ago and the elders did nothing. My brother was molested and then I just found out that he has molested my children. I am very angry and hurt. I too am a baptized member of JW but I am having a very hard time with and really feel as though I need to speak out on this. There are so many little children in the kingdom halls!

MA

I was a witness for all of my life, up until I was 19 or 20 years old. When I was 14 I was repeatedly molested by a ministerial servant with whom I studied the Society's literature for about a year or two. We became great friends and traveled to Europe and Hawaii together. My father is not a witness and my mother is a very zealous one. She consented to and encouraged me to spend time with the molester, although she says that she never knew that he had a history of molestation. My father repeatedly told the molester never to come into our home, mainly because he had an awful feeling about the relationship. When I learned that my fiance had been molested by him, I went and told the elders. They accused me of being a homosexual with a bad agenda! I was sixteen at that time. He was however, removed as a ministerial servant and was reproved. He has since come back into good standing in the congregation and is again hanging around with young children! I recently found out that my young brother-in-law had also been seriously sexually molested by this same man. While the elders continue to refuse to believe him, the District Attorney is taking him to court over it. It's amazing to see a body of people as large as Jehovah's Witnesses burying their heads in the sand over such a disturbing crime.

 

I was not ever sure to what extent this went on in the organization. But about 12 years ago, in the xxxxxxx congregation, in Southern California, I met a family and was befriended by the two youngest daughters when I started attending that congregation. They were in their early teens at the time and I think they were drawn to me being a newcomer and also because I had a small baby. Anyway, the middle child, 15?, told me one day in service, that her dad had been having sex with her for many years. The oldest daughter had run away and been labeled a trouble maker and she wasn't too sure if the youngest one had been touched yet. I immediately reported this to the local elders who appeared to be alarmed and said that they would handle the situation. They told me that the police were notified and an announcement was made a few months later that he was "disfellowshipped." He never went to jail and I believe that the police were never really called. They told me that I needed to stay out of it for my own good and that the obligation now rested with the P.O. After a year or so, this father was reinstated and was even used as a servant in the congregation. One daughter never returned home after running away, one daughter ran off and married a young man to "free herself" from the abuse suffered at home. and the youngest become very very heavy, I think, in an effort to hide from him. The mother did nothing, and always resented me for saying anything about what I had been told. The whole incident has always bothered me, and after all these years, wished I had called the police myself. I guess if I hadn't been so brainwashed and frightened, I would have made a better choice. The organization does hide molesters and it makes me sick, especially in this instance. I pray that Jesus can forgive me for not forcing the issue. I pray also that the girls have found peace and safety away from that man and from the organization. I left 6 years ago.

MM

My "friends" in the truth had offered to baby sit my six year old son while I took a business related trip out of town. A few days after my return my son, told me that my "friend's oldest son, a teenager, had taken my son's clothes off and taken the clothes off his sister, who was five. My son told me he tired to get my son to lie on top of his sister while they were both naked. I call my friend and spoke to her and her husband, who was a mistrial servant. I was told by them, that their son had a slight problem and it would be dealt with by them. I was not to mention this to anyone in the congregation ... I did and was eventually told that my son made up the story and I should discipline him for lying

I was raised in Washington state where both my father and brother molested me. When this was brought up to the elders in our congregation they told my mother I had a demon in me that was causing my father and brother to do this. That she had to beat the demon out of me to stop it from happening again. I took daily beatings for about a month or so. What this did was stop me from talking at all about what continued to happen.

NT

I am now 36 years OLD I type that in caps because I feel 100, my body and mind have been broken over the years by the " Brothers." My story starts at a very young age when my father an Elder in the congregation raped me. Did I state I was four at the time? Did I also say that my Grandmother and Aunt who both were Pioneers knew of the sexual abuse? Perhaps I should say I know for sure My Grandmother knew I KNOW my aunt suspected or just ignored "IT." "IT" was a very strong word in my home "IT" referred to my mothers suicide."IT "Referred to my Grandfather Getting caught touching my friend in an inappropriate manner. IT referred to my Grandmothers Alcoholism, also my Fathers and Grandfathers. I am now left to sift through the Whys?????? Why did my "Elder" Father rape me and beat my brother and sister. Why didn't the elders do anything about it? Why did my Father stop at the age of thirteen????? Wait, I know I started my period! Why did another "Elder" join my father in sexually tormenting me? Why when this same "elder" beat his dog to death in a fit of rage (for barking) was he not " DF'd Why when I Went to the Elders WAS I TOLD I NEEDED TWO WITNESSES???? Do you think that my dad and his friend would testify to their wrongdoing against me???? Why do I still suffer??? and wonder if I did the right thing by leaving the Organization? Why did my mother kill herself? Why was my Father not DF'd AGAIN when 12 years later he went to jail for sexually abusing my Half-sister and some of her Witness Friends???????????????????? Why why why.............. Because THEY DO AND CONTINUE TO IGNORE SEXUAL DEVIANTS!

Sincerely,

CL

"To All Victims Of Molestation In New York State"

July 31, 2001 Jean Kraus Midajoaaju@aol.com

Dear Jean: Thank you very much for your Email sent yesterday, July 30th. I appreciate your correspondence as it includes helpful information. Being yourself a relative of victims of child abusers, you know how important it is for our society to strengthen our penal law.

Many victims of child abuse repress their memories of the abuse for many years after reaching adulthood. That is why I introduced A. 5361 in the Assembly last February. This bill would increase the time to prosecute for a sexual offense or incest committed against a child twelve year old or younger for five years to thirty years. This legislation has received a warm welcome among my Republicans colleagues in the Assembly.

The bill is actually co-sponsored by Assemblymen Brian Kolb, Robert D'Andrea, Michael Spano and by Assemblywoman Kathleen Murray. Eleven other Republican members agreed to multi-sponsor this legislation. The Democrat majority has not agreed to report A. 5361 out of the Codes Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol. I would respectfully urge you to write to Chairman Lentol, asking him to send this legislation to the floor for a vote. Hon. Joseph Lentol Room 632 L.O.B. Albany, NY 12248 Regarding the other legislation you mentioned in your mail, none of them has been reported out of the Codes Committee. A. 4140, introduced by Assemblyman Lafayette, would toll statute of limitations in personal injury actions (not prosecutions) resulting from child abuse until abuse was discovered by plaintiff. A. 4669, introduced by Assemblyman Stephens, would extend the statute of limitations in any sex offense. A. 2413 / S. 1787, introduced by Assemblyman Klein and Senator Velella, would eliminate the statute of limitations for the prosecution of rape in the first degree and sodomy in the first degree.

Again, thank you very much for sharing your views with me. I look forward to working with you and your organization.

Sincerely, David R. Townsend, Jr. Member of Assembly

(NOTE** From Jean Kraus --Please mention in your letter if you are a victim / survivor / loved one of victim or survivor. Also mention the state you / victim / survivor, is/was from)

Well to sum it up, I went to a 'witness party' with 'pioneers' at a 'witness house' where a 'witness' put a drug in my drink and took me off, raped me, then tried to kill me. After spending time in the hospital, filing a police report, and pressing charges I decided to go to the elders. Well the guy had went to his elders first and said it was mutual and got reproved. Even though I had the police report, report from the doctor at the hospital, pictures of cuts and bruises, and written testimony from a guy who was there that knew the guy had put a drug in my drink, the elders sat there and counseled me for lying.

They made me sit in the back room alone with 2 men after this happened and tell them in detail what happened. That pissed me off too. From that day I decided I wouldn't go back. I was very hurt. The people that were supposed to be there for me when I needed help and support were against me. Even if I do eventually go back I will NEVER go to them for help much less if I do something wrong. I know that people are imperfect but I will never look at them the same again. That was the big straw that broke the camels back.

Now I have to listen to my dad tell me how much I disappoint him since I don't go to the meetings and my grandma cry and tell me I'm going to die. My dad blames me for my mom not going, etc... I have a lot of anger in me now because of what happened with the guy but I will never allow anyone to hurt me again, no matter what. I still wish I could die sometimes so I won't have to feel the pain.

SS

Hello all. I am a 36-year-old female and grew up in central Florida, USA. Here is my story:

I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness with my mom being baptized when she was pregnant with me. Most of my extended family members are Jehovah's Witnesses; some are elders, pioneers, bethelites, etc... My father was never a witness but he supported my mom, primarily because it gave him more free time, I think.

From the time I was 5 until I was 12, I was repeatedly molested and raped by my oldest brother who is 5 years older than me. In addition, occasionally he would share me with his friends when he felt like it. It's an interesting thing that happens in a child's mind when she goes to meetings and hears how Jehovah protects those he loves, and then she goes home to something like that. Without going into to many details, but to give a picture of my family life...my brother was a very abusive person in many other ways as was my father and I lived in terror of both of them. My only source of comfort was my sister, who did her best to look out for me and give me the mothering I didn't receive anywhere else. When I entered my young adult hood... I had spent many years trying to be a 'good girl', a good witness and felt that I failed miserably. I kept making mistakes. I met a man, non-witness, and fell in love, got disfellowshipped, married him, got reinstated. I didn't talk to anyone about what had happened to me in the past because I felt like they would think I was a bad person and despise me. Plus, at one time when I was a child, I told my mother but she didn't stop the abuse so I just assumed talking would do no good. It didn't stop until after my brother had moved out of our home.

I began having bouts of severe depression but still didn't make any connections to the abuse. It wasn't until I was pregnant with my first child that I started having horrible flashbacks and feeling like I was losing my mind. I remember an Awake magazine that came out around that time about child abuse...it had a picture of a little girl and a shattered mirror ... I read that and cried for the first time for what had happened to me. Meanwhile, I had my son and felt for the first time in my life that I had done something right. I had something precious to care for and I was determined to be the best mother for him. I limped along for a while trying to deal with my continuing depression and flashbacks and anxiety at tacks... I finally talked to my mom about what had happened to me, and she denied any knowledge of me ever talking to her about it. That floored me but again, I assumed that I just had it wrong. Maybe I had just dreamed it all up although deep down I knew I hadn't.

Less than a year after I had my son, I became pregnant again. When I found out I was to have a daughter, I totally panicked. All I could think was that history would repeat itself and I felt completely unequipped to deal with it. I was so incredibly scared I don't know how to communicate my fear at that time. But my memories were determined not to be held at bay any longer and I realized that I would have to get help for them.

So I turned to my "brothers" the elders. It was very hard to tell them what had happened to me, I felt so ashamed. But they were kind and assured me of their love for me and promised to support me. I will never forget one elder, he had tears in his eyes when I told him what I was dealing with and I knew that he truly cared for me. Unfortunately, he moved shortly after and so I lost his support. During all of this, my family was actively trying to convince me that I shouldn't get the elders involved in a 'family' matter like this...they felt that I was just trying to get my oldest brother in trouble out of some desire for revenge.

My mother told me that she knew I had never liked him but that I was going too far, that what I had experienced at his hands was nothing more than 'childhood experimentation'. Folks, let me tell you, this was not the case. But I was desperate for help and I had been told my whole life that the help and comfort I needed I would get from the elders. Things escalated within my family...my brother made several threatening phone calls to me, alternately begging and then threatening me to stop going to the elders. My mother, not surprisingly, took his side. At the time, my brother was living in another city and my family all thought it would be such a great idea if he moved to our congregation. Nobody asked me how I would feel about it...and so he moved to our congregation. It became increasingly more difficult for me to go to meetings...so I went back to the elder s... I told them that in no way did I want to get my brother in any trouble, I just needed help from them for what I perceived as a spiritual problem. Again, they assured me of their love for me and promised to include my children and me in family outings etc.

Meanwhile, my brother began getting privileges in the cong and applied to be a regular pioneer. Things came to a head when two other people he had molested came forward. Now the elders had to decide if a judicial committee was called for. On all of this, they told me, they stayed in close contact with the Society so that they could be sure it was handled properly. Finally, they decided to have a meeting with my brother, the other 2 victims, and myself to decide if they needed to go further. My brother broke down and apologized and said that he was willing to do anything to make it up to me. All that I asked of him was that he stay away from me and change congregations. I didn't think I should have to uproot my kids and myself. He said he would think about it and let us know his decision. Strangely enough, the elders told him they would need to discuss the situation amongst themselves and let him know in a couple of days whether or not there would be a judicial committee formed.

Guess what? After being given direction to refer to a 1972 Kingdom Ministry Question from readers, they decided since it had happened over two years ago it wasn't necessary to form a JC. Within an hour of their telling him, he made his decision that it would be too 'upsetting' for his family to change congregations again. It appears he not willing to do anything, especially in my interests. The elders accepted his decision, told me I needed to practice forgiveness, and sent his pioneer application off to be approved...which it was. Not long after, while I was struggling with my feelings, and not making it to many meetings, etc., one of the elders, who had promised to include us in his family outings, invited my bro and his family over for a meal...he had not once invited my kids and I. This hurt me deeply; all of the elders, save one, began treating me as the one in the wrong-for my 'unforgiving attitude' and my family was in total agreement with them. But do you know, I STILL kept trying to do it their way...I did the best I could but every day, I was dying a little more inside.

Around this time, things were kind of going from bad to worse. There was a part of me that really believed that once my parents knew the TRUTH of what had happened to me, they would open their arms and hearts to support me. Anyone familiar with the dynamics that exist in families where abuse occurs, can guess that this was not the case...and the child inside who had always yearned for her parents' love and approval finally had to give up that dream. My parents completely supported my brother...my mother's reason was that 'he is sick and you aren't, he needs me more than you do'. I remember a shepherding call that the PO and another elder made on me...I wasn't attending many meetings and so they came to 'help'. As I sat on my couch with tears rolling down my cheeks, explaining to them why it was so difficult for me to go to the same hall as my abuser and why I thought it might be a good idea for me to go to another congregation. The PO told me that I would find a reason at any hall to not like someone. He assured me that I would allow myself to get upset over something minor and then I'd be back in the same boat.

The implication was that I was nothing but a troublemaker I was the only real problem. I regret to this day that I stifled the impulse to tell him to get the hell out of my house. But I continued crawling along...and eventually I started seeing a therapist (against my family's counsel, of course-once, my mother even accused the 'evil' therapist for putting this stuff in my head). During therapy, I realized that I had an alcohol problem and as you can imagine, this wasn't helping my mental and emotional state. I started attending AA meetings and there I found people who accepted me unconditionally, warts and all. They looked at me and saw only a person in pain, and offered me help...therapy and AA literally saved my life. By this point, I was ready to die...the only thing stopping me was love for my children. I just couldn't hurt them like that; in my mind, that would make me no better than my brother and parents.

Can you believe that at this point, I was still trying to do it the elders' way?? I wasn't getting love and acceptance from them, just emotional and spiritual beatings. The elders encouraged me not to stop letting my children visit my mother's home...even though my brother and his family were living there. They convinced me that if I kept my children away, I would be unfairly punishing my mother...so I went against my better judgment and made my mother SWEAR to me that my kids would NEVER be alone with my brother. Backing up a bit, my brother has 2 children, one of them a daughter, who from the age of 2 exhibited signs of having been sexually abused. I talked to my family until I was blue in the face, trying to get help for her, but it was like dashing my head against the proverbial stonewall. One day when I went to pick up my children after a visit at my mom's, she pulled me aside and told me "Dana, your worst fear has been realized". She had caught my niece molesting one of my children. The girl was 12 years old and my child was 6. I had been sober and in therapy for about a year when this occurred. I immediately took my child to a therapist, who by law was obligated to report the molestation. Thus ensued the biggest, most painful nightmare of my life.

The authorities got involved...called my mother to investigate and was told by her that it had all been blown out of proportion, that it was a one time thing, and only 'experimentation'. When they called me, I gave them an ear full...I gave them the entire family history and so they decided to investigate a bit further. Meanwhile, my child who had always been sweet and even-tempered began having horrible attacks of rage and anger. Finally, amidst hysterical phone calls from my mother "What is wrong with you?? Why are you doing this to your niece??" and threatening calls from my brother, the police called my 6 year old baby in to be questioned...they would not let me go with them and my child was scared to death, shaking and crying as they went down the hall away from me. But when they came back in, this child looked like the weight of the world was gone from their shoulders and the police told me how brave the little tyke had been. But the story was bad...very bad. The abuse had gone beyond molestation and had been going on for at least 6 months. BTW...my mother had sworn to me that she never left my kids unsupervised for more than a minute or two...right.

My niece was questioned and confirmed everything my child had said. The evidence was sent to the State Attorney's office for them to decide whether or not to prosecute. It was totally out of my hands...BUT that made no difference to my family. In their minds, I was the evil woman using a child (my niece) to get back at my brother. BTW...my niece had molested an 8-year-old girl earlier that same year and I had again uselessly begged my mother to get her help. To make a long story a bit longer, the state decided to prosecute my niece...when my mother found out about it, she called me up, screaming at me that she hoped my child would have to take the stand and testify as that would pay me back for some of the pain I had caused them all. That same day, my brother showed up at my house and physically accosted my husband and threatened to kill all of us. Fortunately, the kids and I were not there at the time and he left before we got home. He later denied the threats...but the very next night, showed up outside my home and tried to lure me outside...he said that he 'just wanted to talk to me'...but we weren't there because I had every reason to fear that he would make good on his threats and had left town the night before (I still have the answering machine tape with the message on it). He had already been arrested before for assault and battery...he owned a gun...and I knew his capacity for violence as I had suffered from it for so many years.

The next week, one of the elders called me...without asking how my child or I was, he immediately launched into a harangue about how I was going totally against scriptural counsel to avoid taking my brother to court and that I was the reason for the divisions in my family. I was also accused of creating divisions in the congregation, which was laughable, as I had talked to no one regarding what was going on in my family except, one elder's wife. I did tell that elder to never call me again...perhaps his conscience was guilty as he was the one who advised me to let my children visit my mother. I'll regret following that advice for the rest of my life.

How I stayed sober through all of this is a miracle to me...I cannot describe the anguish I felt. I prayed and prayed to Jehovah for help; I begged him to show me what to do...the silence was deafening. And slowly there grew in me the conviction that if this was 'godly love', I wanted no part of it. I as an imperfect human mother had shown more love for my child than I or my child had ever received from this god. The reactions of the elders also brought me eye to eye with the undeniable realization that this was not love being shown but petty, power-mad men running the show. And there was NO ****ING WAY they would ever have the opportunity to hurt my children or me again. But you know what's really sad? The elders NEVER put any restrictions on my brother about being alone with kids; they never told anyone about my niece. I wonder how many more victims are there out there?? And I believe in my heart that my niece is a victim as well, although that in no way excuses what she did.

Is this the end of the story? Well, my sister left the organization shortly after I did and we are very close now; I've been sober now for 5 years; I've been out of the organization for about 4 years; my child is doing wonderfully because of therapy combined with loving parental support and acceptance (and of course, Aunt *****!! love ya sis); I have healed most, if not all, the wounds that I suffered and am a pretty happy person. My marriage didn't survive and so now I'm a single mom but I'm on good terms with my ex, who loves his children dearly. In May, I graduated with a two-year degree in psychology and have just begun University. My children are happy, well-adjusted kids who make friends easily, do well in school, and are terrible about cleaning their bedrooms. What I'm trying to say is that today, we have a life...a very cheerful, happy family life...what I have always longed for. Trust me, it isn't perfect but it's close enough. Thanks for listening.

Love to all, DC

I have tried to tell my story several times.... and faltered. With much

kind encouragement, I will try one more time. My story is not a short one ...please bear with me.

I was the firstborn of the sixth generation of JW's in my family.

We had the kind of "Christian Heritage" that they spoke of in assembly parts. According to family legend, both of my maternal great- great-great-grandfathers were postmasters, one in Arkansas and one in West Virginia, when the Bible Students circulated a mass mailing to all of the US postmasters. They both accepted these new teachings and were fundamental in founding the first congregations in these two states. There were several of those 5 generations past ancestors of mine who claimed to be of the anointed. Of the later generations, too many to count have served in congregational positions that include Regular and Special Pioneers, Ministerial Servants, Elders, CO's, PO's, City Overseers.

I have never attended, in all of my life, a District Assembly where one of my relatives was not delivering an address, participating in a drama or demonstration, or giving their experience. I myself served as a Regular Pioneer for 5 years and in a Spanish-speaking congregation for 2.

My maternal great-grandfather was a pedophile. He abused my grandmother, my mother, myself. Three of the six generations. He abused three generations of congregation children. He died in his 90's, in good standing. He was never disfellowshipped, although I have been assured that he was counseled on occasion.

My mother was baptized when she was 9 years old, my father converted from the Pentecostal faith to become a JW when he was 16 years old. I was baptized when I was 14. The very first time I saw my father cry was when he performed my baptism.I never had a choice. I was JW for generations before my birth. I was JW when I was two years old and my great-grandfather was fondling me. I

was JW when I was seven and being molested by the son of a witness family that lived down the block. I was JW when I was 12 and my first Witness crush thought that it would be funny to slip his hand down my skirt in the backseat of the car while we were out in field service. I was JW when he would hit me. I was JW when I was informed, upon the reporting of these incidents to the elders, that I was being put on reproof for not having "screamed". It was their belief that because these abuses happened both before and after my baptism, that my failing to bring it to them again post dedication indicated my willing participation in the events. The fact that my father was a member of the body of elders and had already informed me that "if anything like that was happening, you must be doing something to encourage it". I was JW when these three men held me accountable for the "sins" of my past.

I had a choice when I was 22. I sought therapy. I had a choice when I confronted my family and the brothers about my great-grandfathers'

pedophilia and the behavior of certain brothers in the congregation. I had a choice when I became the first person in six generations of witnesses to walk away. When these men made their choice, I made mine. Not out of spite, not to live the decadent lifestyle, but to be safe. I had been raped, beaten and emotionally assaulted to the point that I was convinced of two things.

First, I knew that if I were to continue association with this Organization I would die, probably by my own hand. Second, this was not the house of God. I "drifted" for two years, finally deciding to move 2 hours North and start a new life. My life after leaving the JW's has convinced me of many new things.

I believe that there is a God. I do not believe that he had anything to do with what happened to me. I believe that, like any perfect parent, he/she/it scooped me up in gentle arms and began gently kissing my wounds away with little blessings. I met a man that loves me, madly. I met a man that I could trust, lust after, and love, madly. Fortunately, for the both of us, he was the same man! I was a princess on my wedding day. I felt like a virgin. We have a perfect son. I finally understand what unconditional love means. I have dear friends. I own a home. I have not one, but two retirement accounts.

I am a very lucky woman. I have also lost more to this organization than I can say. I am now trying to decide whether to participate in the

proposed lawsuits. Whatever my choice on this matter, I am facing the inevitable loss of contact with my family. I know that one-day they will choose this faith and their heritage over me. I know it, I just don't want to see or hear it.

Not yet.

TB

In 1988 our eldest daughter told us that she had been sexually molested by my nephew she cant remember when it started as she was so young but remembers the last time when he and his future wife stayed at our home for the night , they were both pioneers at the time.

An elder was present the time our daughter told us about the abuse. He advised me to speak to him on my own as he lived quite away from us, but also not to speak to the police or tell my fleshly brother who was an elder at the time. My nephew admitted straight away to me that he had indeed molested my daughter, but didn't explain what he had done and I didn't ask because of his admission. My fleshly brother did find out and went to speak to the elders of his sons congregation, he came back, it had gone to the governing body and their reply was that we had to forgive and forget and not to take your spiritual brother to court.

He was not reproved because he said he was not baptised at the time, which was a lie. When we tried to get to the truth, we were told over and over again to leave it in Jehovah's hands which we did.

In 1994 our youngest daughter told us her uncle who is not a JW had been sexually molesting her since the age of 8 he was arrested with the backing of the brothers who knew. It was him, that told the police that he was not the Paedophile but my nephew was, so the police came to see me and advised us to prosecute him, we then advised our daughter to take it to the courts.

She said she would, and she did. We later found many lies in his police statement. We asked many times to get help from the elders to sort out the lies, not only from my nephew but also from my fleshly brother ( who was elder), but we were told they would not get involved, all the while my brother was getting to know anything he wanted, because he was an elder .He did everything to stop us discussing the matter.

The none JW uncle was charged with serious assault on my youngest daughter and his own daughter. He was found guilty and given a total of 59 years but will only serve 8 years when he is set free.

My nephew who admitted to just 2 charges of sexual assault backed up by a report we could not read about he was only given community service and got away lightly.

He blamed my daughter for the break down of his marriage because it was brought to court, in fact it was not true, as he had committed immorality with two witness sisters. And was found out guess what, because he admitted it, he again was not reproved. He later remarried in the Kingdom Hall.

We eventually left the organisation as we could not except that Paedophiles can be protected by the policy that two witnesses would have to come forward. I hope this will help others to see that the policy of the Watchtower Organisation needs to change.

My story, while not as hideous or earth shaking as though I have read, has had such a devastating effect on my childhood and young adulthood that sometimes I'm not quite sure how I actually survived. I cannot blame the WTBTS for the majority of my life, as they truly had no knowledge until "after the fact", at my Judicial Committee hearings. But, the disfellowshipping of a young girl of 16 who was obviously quite traumatized, in need of help, guidance and compassion is something I will never forget. I forgave all involved individuals a long time ago - I wish no one ill will. But, the Watchtower Society must LEARN - as they are ignoring the true needs of those that are exactly what you have described - Silent Lambs. If there are others like me - I hope my story brings them peace.

I was born in 1968 to a JW mother and non-believing father. Punishment for small offenses was severe in our home by my mother, and our father was rarely at home. The sexual abuse for me began at least by the age of 3 from what I and my siblings can surmise - I can't for sure say because I can never remember a time when it wasn't a part of my life. The abuse came at the hand of a family JW member, who had left the organization long before I did. He was left alone with my siblings and me at least weekly, babysitting so my mother could do errands. My parents did not know of the abuse until I was 12 years old and attempted suicide. I didn't know I was being abused until I was 7 years old. I knew by 5 that I was doing something "bad", something, instilled in me over and over again by the perpetrator, my fault. When I was 5, I learned what happened to people who turned their back on God - all the devastating pictures and stories of what would happen during Armageddon. So, even though I knew I was a sinner at 5, and although I was frightened beyond even adult understanding, I said nothing to anyone because I thought my family would hate me and leave me homeless if I told. By 7, I knew that I was being sexually abused, but in my mind I was committing "fornication" because the individual had already been telling me for so long that I caused these events.

I began trying to please God in order to make the abuse stop. I prayed and prayed and sometimes, while being molested, I would call out his name, because I had heard that he answered these calls. No answer came, and the abuse didn't end. This further told me I caused it, and Jehovah was angry with me. So, at 12 years of age, I attempted suicide. My mother caught me, and I was saved, but after having my stomach pumped, when we returned home from the hospital, I was beat for trying to end my life. The hospital at the time agreed w/my mother that I could be brought home, they didn't involve social workers. I told her the reason I did this was because I was such a bad person, Jehovah didn't love me and I didn't want to die at Armageddon - I wanted to just go to sleep. I told her of the "abuse" (still firmly implanted in my mind that I was committing the "fornication", I was trying to convince her to help the perpetrator). She was shocked and extremely angry at first and went straight to the elders. Nothing became of the perpetrator, but at least someone explained to me that it wasn't my fault (not that I believed them - I knew in my heart it was because Jehovah never answered me). The events were quietly swept under the rug and never discussed in our home again. I can't blame them; I don't think "sexual abuse" was really a hot topic parse back then. They couldn't recognize the signs because they didn't know what they were (i.e. I was EXTREMELY introverted - wouldn't speak to people for months on end, always staying away from physical contact, crying allot without explanation. My mother said she just thought I was a "strange" girl, and let it go at that). I cannot tell my father's reaction, lets just say he and his family found justice in other ways, and my father until the end of his life harbored a very big grudge towards the WTBTS for their lying about who was amongst them (he had found out through other avenues that I was not the first and only that this individual had harmed - but no one had ever taken any action because it was quietly handled by the elders and not even public reproofs were made).

That summer, we moved from one congregation to my grandmothers home, an old sprawling farmhouse that she had lived in her entire life, that now was over 180 years old and nestled in an "up and coming wealthy area.. My family was extremely poor, my mother a JW with 5 children and a non-believing mate. The congregation we moved to was extremely wealthy - at least for the late '70's. We stuck out like sore thumbs, and were not accepted "warmly" into our new congregation. We were pretty much ignored; in fact I didn't have my 1st conversation with any elder until I was baptized at 15 and my 2nd conversation with them at 16 - when I was disfellowshipped.

Because I was introverted, with such low self-esteem, etc. it was very difficult for me to make friends. I didn't have any in the world, and I didn't have any with the JW's either. My first real friendship was when I was 14, and an elder's daughter (who was spiritually weak at best) befriended me. I still miss and love her to this day, and will never forget her kindness. She was 16 and took me under "her wing", and forced me to attend JW activities such as roller-skating, sodas after the meeting, etc. etc. (I was never invited - she just brought me along anyways). To say I didn't fit in is another understatement. Everyone thought I was weird; "a fake" was the way a few referred to me. I ignored them, but it further pushed home the fact that I wasn't "good enough" for the JW's, or for Jehovah. So, I decided to push myself even further into this organization, auxiliary pioneering in the summers (much of it with just my friend), and regular pioneering during the school year. Back in those days, it was an honor to be selected by the elder's wives to work with them in service, especially for young girls. I was never selected. Another "sign" in my eyes. About the same time, it seemed I had "slut" firmly tattooed on my forehead. Social activities w/the JW's became frightening experiences, where even going to the bathroom would lead to a couple of the young men (an MS servants) following me and sexually harassing me. I didn't tell again, I was afraid. I knew no one would believe me - these young men were quite popular and I was a nothing. Within a few months, I had stopped attending social events and swore my friend to secrecy as to why - not that anyone even noticed.

In the winter of that year, a new family moved into our congregation, with a young man (age 22). He was so cute, so gorgeous. He singled me out for phone calls and uplifting conversations. He was so kind and caring...I was in love. We became engaged within 2 months (this was not unusual). As soon as we were engaged, things changed. He became pushing the "sex" thing, and at first I was able to hold him at bay. But, eventually, it led to me being raped by him. It shook me to my very soul. He was able to logic it all away, and convinced me the best thing to do was to follow through with the plan of being married. I know this sounds weird, it probably is, but at this point I agreed with him. I kept "our secret", and more sexual encounters ensued. I never wanted it - always I would cry, struggle and protest. I never instigated these situations; in fact I tried to avoid them as much as I possibly could. But, I didn't end the relationship - I couldn't. I didn't even know how. I couldn't tell either, because I truly cared about him. He was always so sorry, so repentant towards me, that I finally rationalized it to myself that at least this one was going to marry me.

Eventually, we were "caught". I had already had the feelings of guilt so deeply entrenched that I was relieved to some extent. I wanted to "confess", I wanted to be free of this wicked burden that was my whole life. So, at my judicial committee hearings (once again only the 2nd time I had ever talked with these men) I freely gave them all the information regarding myself, the ministerial servants, my fiancée, and my childhood. I freely told them that I knew I was at fault - I truly believed there was something about me that made it happen. My mother actually testified on my behalf, presenting the little bit of evidence that she could find on child abuse victims, and how it traumatizes them. She helped me more in those hearings than she will ever know. The elders asked me many questions, all of which I answered honestly and freely. They took their notes, and seemed so compassionate and kind, I actually began to rejoice, thinking perhaps they could help me not be so wicked (this is truly what I thought). They took my mothers information and told us we would hear from them in a week.

The next meeting, things were allotted different. The elders were hostile, angry. They accused me of lying, of trying to instigate trouble for the other "spiritually strong decent" young men in the congregation. They said I was a "cancer" that needed to be cut from the congregation. They also told me my fiancée was also seeing another elder's daughter in the congregation, also having relations with these women. I was devastated. They also had spoken with both the Ministerial Servants, both of who denied my story unequivocally (exactly what I though would happen). They told me my fiancée was to be disfellowshipped, would I still marry him? I answered that yes I would, as I felt that because of our insidious relationship, this would be what God would want. They immediately disfellowshipped me at the following meeting.

I attempted for a few months to be "repentant", I tried to show them that I wanted to return. But, the situation at home was becoming increasingly difficult, my mother had followed along with the elder's decision and was "shunning" me, and getting more hostile by the day. Within 4 months, my father, decided I should be living on my own as it was tearing me apart. He helped me set up an apartment, and helped with 1/2 my living expenses. I found a job, worked full time while finishing high school. I broke up with my fiancée; I could no longer stand to even look at him. I made a few friends at my job, and my life began.

Its 16 years now, and the pain is still there. I forgave, but I will never forget. This religion did not "cause" my suffering. But, they did nothing to help; in fact they just dumped me by the side of the road. Perhaps in their eyes they were doing the right thing, I'll never know.

As an adult, I've come to realize what really happened all those years ago. I cry for that child, and for that young woman, but they aren't me anymore. I'm stronger, and I can speak of these things pretty openly.... but its taken allot of "worldly" people, a lot of soul searching and allot of time. I don't think the WTBTS makes pedophiles, I just believe they are totally unequipped to deal with the reality, and unwilling to make waves as to situations that might "harm" their reputation.

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