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Battered Lambs  Page 1

Speak Out

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

Reprinted excerpts may be edited for spelling and context.

The November 8, 2001 issue of the Awake magazine of Jehovah's Witnesses had a special article entitled, "Help For Battered Women". In our opinion, this article offers suggestions that will keep women in abusive situations and prevent them from getting proper assistance. It is another Watchtower policy that hurts the vulnerable lambs that need help by offering in the article examples of women who take twenty years of abuse and "wait on Jehovah" for relief.  This article describes women that had their teeth knocked out and guns held to their heads while they remained in abusive environment.  The solution? After accepting abuse for twenty years the man finally became a Jehovah's Witness and this supposedly solved the problem.  This article is an insult to anyone living in an abusive situation and the solutions it suggests puts the victims in danger.  Yet elders must support wt policy in this regard.

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Does this sister look like she is getting help?

Note this quote from an earlier issue of the Watchtower regarding how to deal with spousal abuse,

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w82 7/15 p. 7 How Marriage Survives the Assault

"A husband in Korea used to beat his wife when he was under the influence of alcohol. His wife did not seek to end the relationship, even though life was difficult. To her, the goal of a happy marriage was worth aiming for. Hence, unilaterally, she followed the Bible’s counsel, particularly its advice to wives that they cultivate "the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God."—1 Peter 3:4."

"For eleven years she endured. Was it worth it? Yes, because eventually her husband was moved to look into the guidebook for himself. Why? If you asked him, he would answer that his wife’s "quiet and mild spirit" moved him to find out the secret of her fine conduct. He saw the wisdom of the Bible’s advice and changed his ways."

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Any suggestion for a wife to accept physical abuse for years is a moral and ethical crime against women.

We encourage you to not be a silentlamb but to speak out, tell truthfully how elders responded when you cried out for help. For those of you who read these stories, some comments may be graphic, but perhaps this is needed to understand the extent of how victims have been hurt.

How long your story should be? The answer would be, as long as it needs to be. There is a need to get these stories out in the open and there should not be any limit for you to express how you feel. We do ask you keep it anonymous and do not give names or places specifically. This will allow anyone to express his or her story without fear of reprisals from their congregation.

Say what you feel, get it out of your head, help other victims to see just as in the case of molestation issues they are not alone.

If you wish to read the article you may do so here, http://www.watchtower.org/library/g/2001/11/8/article_01.htm

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

Reprinted excerpts may be edited for spelling and context.

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From the age of 8, I was brought up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Back then, I could never understand Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was because I was deaf. And I was in a congregation where there was no interpreter. At that time I was living in London, UK.  So, of course, I had to lip-read the speaker.  But that was making it so difficult for me to understand.

You see, my mom did not believe in sign language. Can you imagine being deaf at the Twickenham Convention? We were there for 3 days! It was so boring for me. I did not understand what it was all about. I had to put up with all those years of boredom  until I was teenager. Yet still, I did not understand the bible.

In my heart I wanted to leave Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I was so scared. One day I told my parents that I no longer want to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. My parents panicked. They called the Elders.  There was the usual shepherding call. Then my parents bought me a cat as a bribe. It was a way to keep me going as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Of course, in time, my parents began to realise that I needed an interpreter. Yet, all that time since when I was 8, my heart hadn’t really been in it. Eventually, when I was 16, my parents told me that I should go and meet some deaf brothers and sisters at the Convention. They felt that I should get to know them. I was a very shy person. However, I eventually made some new deaf friends. It was not easy for me because they were all using sign language.  I did not know how to sign at all. I could only lip read.

I got married when I was 18. I married a deaf brother who was 30 years old. He taught me British Sign Language. I found it difficult to learn.

We went on to have two children – a Boy and a Girl. Then we moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1983.

I was still not very happy being a Jehovah’s Witness. It was so difficult for me to keep inside my mind the fact that I wanted to leave.

I was married for 30 years. He was an elder and travelled a lot to Bethel in Brooklyn for DVD sign language. During that 30 years of marriage I was a victim of Domestic Violence. No one knew about it. I had kept it a secret for so long.

On one occasion, I had bruises on my arms. My husband said that I must put a sweater on to cover them up. That was despite the fact that it was Summer. And it was so hot! We went to the kingdom hall. And because it was so hot, I took that sweater off. Some brothers and sisters saw the bruises on my arms. They enquired as to what happened. I lied. I told them that I fell. I was too scared to tell the police or even the Elders.

After some time in Canada, he wanted to move back to the United Kingdom. We were always on the move. We moved back to the UK in 2006. And within just a few short months, he already wanted to move back to Canada! He decided to move back to Canada around October or November of 2007.

Back then, I was in fear for my life because of the Abuse. I even tried to commit suicide because I was very unhappy with my life.

One day, he went to the deaf Kingdom Hall meeting in London. I made an excuse that I was sick so that I could stay home. When they left, I quickly packed my things and went to a women’s refuge. I stayed there for about 6 months. That was a very big step for me.

And, of course, my spiritually was very low. I left him in September of 2007.

I wrote a letter to the elders stating that I was no longer a Jehovah’s Witness. As I had been inactive as a member, they told me that I needed to meet with them in a private area. When I met with them, I told them about the domestic abuse. They were shocked. Yet, because I was inactive they said that I had to be disfellowshipped!

Finally, I got divorced in 2011. Was my husband disfellowshipped? No! He was just reproved.  I was so angry that he got away with everything. My parents, my kids and my brother won’t talk to me. I am being shunned unless I return to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

If, for example, there is an emergency, or if I am dying, or there was an accident, then they will talk to me. What kind of “loving arrangement” is this? It is clear that they are trying to black-mail me into going back.

When it comes to domestic violence, I know that in my heart, Bethel would keep any incidence of it quiet. They would cover it up. Even the elders keep it quiet and do not go to the police.

I have not been a Jehovah’s Witness since 2007. I feel a lot happier that I left. I am now living with my new partner. I am very happy now. But I am still angry with the Jehovah’s Witnesses for not doing anything when I was abused. I do believe that time will reveal all.

JF

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I am so glad to come across your site.  I am 33 and was raised as a jehovahs witness in the greater Washington area.  Both me and my sister were raised in a house that my father drank heavily and constantly yelled and beat us.  He used everything from his fist to leather belts.  We got in trouble for small things like missing crayons for which we both got repeatedly beat with a belt to where it left bruises across our backs and legs.  Later the crayons were found in a mouse nest.    When I tried to speak out or threaten to tell, the abuse got worse and we where kept isolated from family and friends.  He would grab me by the hair and slam my head into the wall and fire extenguisher yellling "do you still remember?".  That time I was 5 years old and had blurry vision and short term memory loss for several days.   Later, at age 6 1/2, I suddenly got very sick and weak.  The pediatrition told them I had arthritis and try to get me to do things anyways.  But I don't think he meant to have my father pull me by the hair out of my sandbox or out of the tub.  They finally took me back to the doctor at the point that I couldn't wipe myself off or hold a glass in my hands.  I was diagnosed as having juvenile dermatomyositis (lupus like disease).  I almost died and was in the hospital for three weeks.   My worst memories are those of molestation.  I used to hop in my mom's bed and wake her up so she would make toast and read bible stories to me every morning.  I forgot one day that dad was home (it was saturday).  She got up and he grabbed me under the covers acting like he wanted to give a rare hug.  Mom left the room.  As I heard her go into the kitchen, he put his hands down my abdomen and into my underwear.  I cried and kicked to no avail.  I told mom and she got mad at me.  They threatened and gave me a severe belting.  I was 4 years old that time...   He gave my sister a black eye and beat her like a man when she was 13.  CPS got involved numerous times but I was always threatened and afraid that they would hurt me if I told about my pain.  My sister tried to tell.  The congregation disfellowshipped him after that, telling him that he needed to tame his temper.  I was part of the meetings and told the elders about my abuse and they told me that they weren't the police and that I needed to tell them.  They told me to lean on Jehovah and pray for protection.   My brother got beat as well.  He had his whole face blacked up due to a metal belt buckle and my father.  My mother was abused at times but refused to leave or protect us.  She said that she couldn't make it on her own.    I have little to do with them now.  My sister disowned them years ago.  They still live in the same area and are active members of the congregation.  My mother has health problems and relys heavily on narcotics for pain relief.  However, she sometimes mixes them or takes way more to the point of being high and slurred speech.  My brother lives with them, as does his girlfriend (a well known stripper).  They ask for her methadone and oxycontin on a regular basis.  Mom never disappoints them.  They both are active addicts.  My brother is has now a major drug problem and has one felony now.  I turned mom into the congregation but they did nothing.   I turned her into the state quack watch for doc shopping for pills.  They are monitoring her and the doctors now.     The sad thing is that a bottle of her pills went missing and one of my brother's best friends slammed into the back of a semi trailer going 100+ that same week.  All but one man died in the accident.  I will never know if mom's pill sharing caused a horrible accident.    I try not to be mad at God for my abuse.  My nightmares still haunt me to this day.  I fight my self esteem issues every moment.  But, each day gets easier as I slowly talk about what happened to me.  I finally have a stable relationship and am able to let him in to the walls that I built so long ago.   Thank you for letting me share!

AB

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I just found your site today by accident. I wasn't even looking for anything like this. Somehow I am here. It's nice to know that I am not the only one who went through alot growing up. I feel like I belong here more than I ever felt at the meetings.

 

My mom was a JW when my older sister, me and my younger brother were born. She was single at the time. Left my father because he would not become a JW and he fooled around on her. Mostly because he fooled around on her so I don't blame her there. While she was single growing up as a JW wasn't bad. We were the black sheep in the congregation though. The other kids never hung out with us or invited us to do anything. When there were kids parties then we were invited. Don't get me wrong there was one JW mother to this day that I am still very fond of. She was great to us kids. Not everyone in the congregation is bad.

 

I do remember my mom bringing me in the woman's room (I was a little boy then) and pulling my pants and underwear down in front of the other women to spank me when I was misbehaving. To this day I am still embarressed over that. At the time my sister and I were molested by one of our uncles. He was not a JW. She didn't find out till years later but will not talk about it.

 

When I was around 9 she remarried. I was extremely close to my mom. Her new husband was jealous of our closeness so that ended. To this day I am not that close to my mom and I miss that.

 

My stepfather at the beginning was an alcoholic. He would get violent when he drank and would come after me and beat on me. There were times that the police were called. The elders sat down with him and my mom but it was to take care of his drinking problem not the fact tat he would hit on me. I don't think they cared about that. I'm not sure.

 

He stopped drinking finaly but he still beat on me for even the small things. He left welts on my arms and body. He would hit me in the face at the dinner table knocking me out my chair and my mom never did anything. It got worse as I hit my teen years. He tried to get me to pull my underwear down when I was around 14 once to spank me because I was bad but I finally at that point told him no I was too old for that. He was mad but didn't try that again. He would walk in on me when I was getting out of the shower though to say sorry or something and I didn't like that. Heck, the only times it seems that my mom when she walked into my bedroom was always when I was naked/changing. It felt weird then and thinking about it now it still does. He would fly off the handle over little things. Finally he kicked me out of the house when I was around 17. Of course there was no one in the congregation then to help me.

 

I haven't been back since. I do believe in God and that his name is Jehovah. I don't believe in any organized religion though. They are still JWs and stepdad is a ministerial servant. My mom is so dependant on him. She can't do much of anything without him or else she gets panic attacks.

 

There is so much more to this but I don't have time to put it here. Thanx for listening.

 

MA 

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I am so grateful that this site exists and is exposing the truth of the jehovah witness cult and it's breeding grounds for abuse. I was sexually abused by my father who was a witness from the time I was a toddler up until I was about 9 or 10 years old. When the abuse would happen I would close my eyes and leave my body and watch it from across the room. My father claimed that because the bible said that children were supposed to be obedient and that they were supposed to fear their parents and that I was supposed to do everything that he told me to. This included letting him touch me inappropriately. He would make my three brothers and I recite the books of the bible from beginning to end and back every single night, we had to knock on doors and harass people as he spread the jehovah lies, we were not allowed to go to birthday parties, or have friends come over, we could not play sports or salute the flag in class, when my mom would bring us home from her family christmas party my father would not speak to us and tell us pagans go to hell. It was embarrassing and sick on many levels. My girl friends did not like coming over to my house because they said my dad was weird. His JW friends would leer at me and make comments, even as a child they said sexual things to me. I remember talking at 7years old with some of the girls my age in the congregation that he had abused and we talked about how that was what was normal and was supposed to happen, that fathers abuse daughters. Even at a young age we all looked at each other and understood the magnitude of what awfulness was going on. I remembered crawling into my parents bed early in the morning to wake them up and my father touching me while my mother was laying next to him in bed. "Mommy won't pay attention to me but you will." I can remember even as a small child being very upset, I was silent in my pain. After he would abuse me I would have to go to the

bathroom late at night and I would cry for my mother to take me. He programmed me to not say anything, that this was our secret, that mom didn't understand because she was going to go to hell because she was not a witness and wouldn't live forever in paradise on earth. My father would carry lifesavers and candy in his pocket at the meetings and tell the witness kids they would have to sit on his lap and let him kiss them in order to get a candy. He had his entire JW briefcase filled with pictures of the JW kids, he called them his "kingdom kids". I hated having my face put up there, I could see it in all of their eyes that he had touched them too. He would ask my mother to leave the house to "run an errand" so he could spend some time with us kids, I used to cry and beg her not to leave... but she did anyway.

She was held down by his over control and domineering bible toting holier than thou attitude. He put her down on a regular basis claiming that Jehovah says that women are supposed to be submissive, subserviant, and obedient and they are to do what they are told.

My mother thankfully divorced my father when I was 11 and I did not see him for over a year. I had developed many issues, mostly a fear of men, severe depression, suicidal tendencies, low self esteem, no self confidence, self injuring, and I kept attracting boyfriends into my life who abused me as my father had either on a physical, mental, emotional or sexual level. I had more than one boyfriend rape me. My memories were suppressed throughout my adolescence, I could not remember why I felt so uncomfortable around my father, why I locked my door at night when I eventually ended up living with him, why I was worried that he was abusing my brothers; I also could not understand that even when I had been in a nice

relationship with a man why I would freeze up and cry during intimate moments, why even the most loving act felt like rape and I would see my father coming at me and scream. I had panic attacks, I had developed asthma, I would have night terrors, I ran away all the time. In front of his JW friends he would grab me and try to hurt me to show his friends that he had control of me and could do whatever he wanted. He took me on a cruise for my high school graduation and we had to share a room, I did not sleep for the entire time, I held my covers tight and was ready to fight in case he tried anything. My memories did not come back to me until I was 21 years old, they came back in nauseating flashbacks, I had auditory memories where I could see nothing but I could hear the conversations he and his friends had to me,

I had nightmares haunt me, I had deep realizations of what had been killing me inside and buried under the surface of my subconscious for so long now come to the forefront of my reality. I was married at the time and about to separate from my husband when my memories came back. Thankfully at the time he as an abuse counselor for children and was able despite our differences to support me and help me through the process of getting help. He was the

one who actually pushed me to expose my memories to my family and tell the truth. So I did and I was met with such abandonment and betrayal yet again from my own siblings and mother. The first thing my mother did was deny the whole thing. My brothers being old enough to know better but still young and immature did not know how to deal with the situation. My ex husband did everything he could to try to show them that they needed to support me, but

some of his tactics were harassing and did not help the situation. I finally moved across the country to get away from them all, my family, my father, my ex husband, I had to physically remove myself from the situation on every level in order to be safe and to heal. I began reading everything I could on how to heal from abuse, I went into counseling, I joined survivor groups and I began reading up on the JW cult and how the original man who started the whole cult was actually a pedophile himself. Years go by, I had delved out

of religion and into spirituality, my family still continued to worship the ground my father walked out, I believe out of the guilt he shared like water and out of fear. When I exposed my truth and told on him I was punished by my family, I was not invited to things, people kept their children away from me, I was spoken down about behind my back. They would be dodgy around me and hated me for saying anything ill about our father. This was devastating

on every level. What bothered me the most was that for some reason no one picked up on the fact that I was being abused by my father. As I came to find out later on, everyone knew that something was wrong but they all felt it was "not their place" to say anything. My own mother thought I was a lesbian because with the exception of her loving father and my gentle uncle I was very afraid and angry at men. I moved back to my hometown to try to heal things with my family and made some head way for a bit, again, I had to bring my tail between my legs because in their eyes I was crazy and I had been wrong to accuse my father of anything unholy. My own brothers spoke down to me, they told their friends I was crazy, they looked at me as a lesser human being because they believed that I had "made up" the whole story to get back at my dad over an argument I had with him years back. They would dishonor my heart and my soul by staring at me with doubting and disapproving eyes at how I could concoct such an awful story. One brother said to me "well it didn't happen to me so it doesn't concern me", another brother said to me "don't talk about my father like that", and lastly one

said to me "well, you and I have a great relationship and I love you very much, but I believe dad and I want to believe you but I still love you". All of this caused such distress to my life on so many levels, it was so devastating. I tell everyone now about the underground pedophile ring that is allowed and encouraged in the JW cult, I speak out and I speak loudly. It needs to be stopped. I  teach healing yoga techniques to children that have

been abused and for me it's like going back in time and showing them what I wished someone had shown me in terms of how to stand up for your self, for the protection of your body and your rights, and how to use your gut instincts to take your self out of a dangerous or uncomfortable situation.

My brothers still do not believe me and still look down at me, my mother has finally come around and actually stands up for me now. My youngest brother even invited our father to his wedding knowing everything that I spoke about. It makes no difference, denial is just as much of an enabling disease as pedophilia itself. I wrote my father a letter and told him to stay away from me at the wedding and he has now convinced the family that I am sick and made the whole thing up, and the sad part is that they believe him. I have come to a point where I have emotionally detached from my brothers and realize that their denial and shame runs so deep that even if the truth was smacking them in the face they would not notice it, even though it is. I have caused a huge commotion in my family, I made every one uncomfortable by

exposing the truth about my father and the sickness of his beliefs and his own denial system. In his mind he can do whatever he wants to children, his own or anyone else's because he is a JW and they are the only ones who "will be saved and live forever in paradise on earth". It's unbelievable, and the only thing I can do is to educate people and bring the actual Truth to light, and stop the familial patterns of violence in my family by speaking out. I hope this story helps someone out there who is going through this nightmare. I have healed so much and found a way out of the darkness of the pain that resulted from being traumatized by the Jehovah Witness culture of condoned abuse, stepping up to the plate and telling the truth is the first thing. I wish everyone who reads this deep healing, blessings, and strength to get through your journey from pain to freedom.  In peace,

AC

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It still seems easier for me, when I think of the word "abuse", as something that is done to another, such as sexual or physical.  It took me many, many years in therapy to understand that neglect can be just as traumatic.  My story involves my mother who 'til this day is a staunch Jehovah Witness.  I was 6 when she was baptized in 1967, and although she was also physically abusive nothing of what she did to me hurt more than the neglect.    It all seemed to start when I was in first grade.  My vague recollections of sitting on the steps of the school playground and suddenly realizing the bell had  rung long ago and I the only one outside is still haunting.  It's like a nightmare, yet I knew it happened, and often, as it is part of my school record.  Back then they didn't have all this talk about ADD or other labels. I was described as being "extremely preoccupied".  I worried much about birthday parties and all the other holiday parties; they seemed to never end.  The Pledge of Allegiance was a painful start to each and everyday as I stood out in the hall until it was over.  I just couldn't seem to recover from the embarrassment to be able to listen, read, or interact properly.   When I was in second grade my mother began pioneering and a whole new set of challenges began for me.  My sister had started junior high so I walked home by myself everyday for lunch.  More often than not she was not home and the house was locked.  My hunger  for food could not even compare to that empty spot in my heart of being alone.   There was no visible abuse symptoms that could be "seen", no marks on my body, no hair was missing, and my clothes were OK, but I just felt so empty and naked.    Third grade on up was the worst.  My Father, who was not a JW, would not tolerate my mother not being home when he returned for work at 5:30.  Dinner absolutely had to be served by 6pm by his rules.  It still hits me strange that he didn't demand that she be home for me when I got home at 3:30.  My mother spent all her time pioneering and with her Bible studies. Often she would not make in home for my Father and there would be a big fight, but she was never, ever home when I came home.  Now that was fine and dandy when the weather was warm and I could grab my fishing pole and head for the lake, but here in Michigan warm weather is only a few months out of the school year. My hands and feet would ache from frostbite as they were warming in the house.   Rarely would she pull up before 5:15pm and the rush would be on to get the house clean and dinner on the table.    One day the neighbor lady saw me desperately trying to get into the house on a frigid afternoon.  She made me come into her home and I remember feeling so confused because I was able to watch cartoons on her TV and have milk and treats.  She was so nice and she was supposedly a "wicked person".  I also remember that day because my parents had the worst fight I ever witnessed.  Dad was embarrassed when our neighbor explained how often she saw me outside in the cold.  That incident didn't change my mother's habits though, her pioneering was far more important and I wasn't deemed old enough for my own key.  That incident however did change what I did when I got locked out of the house,  I made sure no one saw me.  That meant sitting in the garage quietly until she got home.    As a developing preteen and teenager with no close friends I looked inward for my sense of self esteem.  I was fortunate to have some very good teachers who encouraged my interests in math and biology.  I was a teacher's assistant in 9th and 10th grade and for the first time other kids actually talked to me and looked up to me.  It felt great! Then the big bomb hit in 1974.  All the talk from my mother, the publications from the organization, and the elders from the platform,  was about "surviving Armageddon".   It was at this time, only 16 years old, and recently baptized, I realized  that as much as I loved education, I couldn't talk about it at the Kingdom Hall.   I couldn't even talk about it with my mother.  I felt extreme pressure to have no other interests except the Jehovah Witnesses.  I tried to please my mother and the elders at the hall, but the more reading I did of their fourth-grade written material the more depressed I got. In the meantime I was neglecting my homework.  I just did not have the ability to appear engaged at the meetings while secretly doing my homework as I had done in the past.    Doing my homework at the Kingdom Hall was a school survival habit I developed in the 8th grade.  I made a small Kingdom Hall "note book"  I supposedly was taking notes in, or I would write questions from my home work at the bottom of the Watchtower and write my answers in the margins.   My mother, always checking to see if I was paying attention was happy and never questioned me.  I really do believe she knew all along how hard I was trying to keep  up in school.     In the 11th grade an elder's daughter got hold of my "notebook" and showed it to her father.  For this I was brought before 3 elders and my mother  then reprimanded harshly.  My mother, eager to please the elders, now made it her business to make sure I was "taking notes" and not doing homework whenever I put pen to paper. As a response I did nothing but sit.  Not only did I do nothing at the Kingdom Hall, I did nothing at school as a punishment to my mother.  Then I just dropped out of school altogether in at the beginning of my senior year.  No one seemed to care except for the school social workers who walked away baffled as they were drawen into my mother's delusional world.   I married a young witness man my age.  We were secret soul-mates for over a year.  Shortly thereafter both of us disassociated ourselves.  I supported him financially as he earned his engineering degree, and then he supported me as I finished high school and went on to college for education.  We have now been married for 28 years, had two wonderful sons and recently a granddaughter.  I still have a passion for math and especially biology.  If my house is not filled with papers of study and planning for the next project, it is home of the next project for my 8th grade students.  Late last summer my students raised 87 monarch butterflies from tiny, white eggs, insatiable, milkweed eating caterpillars, to the beautiful creatures they are.  And then we watched them fly away.    The reason why I am sharing my story with Silent Lambs is to bring awareness of a type "silent abuse" called neglect that often goes unnoticed.  My elderly mother now lives with me as she is unable to completely care for herself, however she is still a stanch Jehovah Witness.  Becoming happy with myself and my own family seems to have greatly lesson my anger with the Jehovah Witnesses and I happily drive and drop off my mother at her Kingdom Hall meetings three times a week.  I have to assist her  in seating as she is wheelchair bound so I often seen the faces of the children dragged along with their parents.  I know the time it takes to get a family ready for a meeting.  I see these young girls in skirts and young boys dressed up as miniature elders, bookcase and all.  And this may look good to most, but what you don't see is what these kids are missing.   Are they learning anything other than 4th grade reading material?   Are their parents supportive of their educational and social needs?  Are their devote Jehovah Witness parents more concerned with looking good on the outside three days a week than they are with these  young ones feeling good on the inside the rest of the time?  And then I wonder, if these parents have any clue just how hard it is for a child of any age to sit for two hours at a time totally unstimulated.  If that's not neglect I don't know what is.   I also wonder if other kids suffered like me from the severe neglect as a result of their parents' pioneering or their father climbing the Jehovah Witness social ladder.    Thank you so much Silent Lambs for allowing me the opportunity to use this public forum to say what is in my heart.  I most of all hope that current Jehovah Witnesses read it and understand what they are doing to their own children even if it doesn't involve physical or sexual abuse.    

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These stories are all so sad...is abuse really so prevalent with JW's?  I was raised a Witness from the time that I was 5 years old.  My mother got baptized, but my father had no interest.  I think he let my mother become a Witness because he knew it would keep her in line, and keep his marriage intact.  I remember my mom telling us kids how we would no longer be celebrating birthdays or xmas, and we couldn't pledge allegiance to the flag at school anymore.  I kind of took it all in stride. As we got older, my younger brother and sister could not live up to the standards.  My father was an alcoholic and we kids couldn't wait until he went on business trips.  He scared us.  He had a bad temper, and was verbally abusive to me, but not my younger brother and sister.  He started beating me when I would have normal tiffs with my siblings.  I always got the blame for some reason.  He had a special stick carved just for me that he hung on the wall.  I've been beat with that stick and punched in the head by him.  My mother never stopped him.  She never talked to me about it.  I never talked to anyone about it-loyalty to our family was of utmost importance.  I turned more and more to God.  One day, after a fight with my mother, my father sexually molested me when I was 14.  I could not believe what was happening...I cannot describe my fear and confusion.  I did not tell anyone, I did not tell my mom.  We really loved her and I could not bear hurting her.  It was that day that I truly gave my heart to Jehovah, I remember praying all day to Him, and saying that now he was my only father.  Still, I never acted out, I never got into trouble.  I was the perfect Witness kid.  I made sure I was never alone with my father again, and I always wore a jacket in the house, even during the summer.  I had a good personality, there were always couples and sisters in the hall that adopted me and made my life bearable.  I still never told anyone.  I blamed myself.  I still do, even after years of therapy.  I found out that he molested my younger sister too, which causes me a lot of guilt that I couldn't protect her.   I guess it is no surprise that at 18 I met a brother who was 24 that I was crazy about.  We dated for a year, and then got married.  I realized later that he married me because he had dated a ton of girls in the area, and I was the only one good enough and pure enough to marry him.  He was raised in the truth too.  I did not know when I married him that he had been in and out of trouble with the elders because of girls. He kept pressuring me for sex before we were married, but somehow I held out. I was a virgin when I married him.  Not clueless, but certainly naïve.  One day an article came out in the Awake magazine about oral sex, and I asked him about it-and this brother in good standing decided to show me what it was all about.  I was a little stunned, but then, he was my husband right?  I thought knowing him a year was long enough to see the real him.  Was I ever wrong!  I will try to make this long story short.  One of the first married arguments we had was when he called me "fat", and I was only 99 pounds!  I made the mistake of thinking I could trust him, so I told him about the molestation that my dad had done, and I guess that meant open season on me.  From that day forward, he felt he had permission to treat me like a nonhuman, a possession to do whatever he wanted.  It started as intense verbal abuse.  Slowly, little physical things would happen.  He would accidentally hurt me when we were playing around.  Then, during arguments, he started pushing me.  That progressed to throwing me across the room, or slamming me into walls.  As he put it "I never punched you."  He would jump on top of me and throw me down, and be yelling at me that I needed to get under control.  I thought I was going crazy.  Then I got pregnant.  He was made a ministerial servant.  He seemed ok for awhile, except for a lot of loud yelling.  Thoughtlessness during sex, etc.  I figured he wouldn't have been made a servant if Jehovah was unhappy with him, right?  The day I went into labor, he finally let all of his crazy self out.  He would not take me to the hospital, saying I was not close to delivering yet.  I was scared, I had been in labor for over 20 hours, and I wanted to go to the doctor.  Finally, yelling at me all the way, calling me names, he took me.  He checked me in, then left me for an hour, saying he ran into an old friend.  He did not want me to have any drugs-nor make any noise.  He tried to sleep a little, and got mad at me for moaning.  Finally, after 34 hours of labor, and no drugs, I was pushing for 4 hours with no success.  The doctor tried using forceps, and I was going crazy with pain.  My husband kept telling me to be quiet, that I was embarrassing him by crying.  He slapped my face a few times, "to keep me focused".  I finally delivered our daughter, he went out and picked a fight with my parents.  The next day, he didn't show up to take me home, as he wanted me out of there within 24 hours.  When he finally showed up, he was screaming at me about my parents.  His mother was calling me screaming at me.  I was totally confused and emotional. When he brought me home, he made me sleep on the floor, because my tossing and turning from pain was keeping him awake, and he didn't want me bleeding on the couch. I tried learning how to nurse our daughter, but he kept saying I was doing it wrong.  Whenever the baby would cry, he would say that I was a bad mother and she knew it, so that is why she cried.  I did not recognize this man that I had married.  Finally, when I wasn't healing fast enough for him, he raped me-saying that I had to get used to it sooner or later.  I felt so brutalized.  I wonder what had I done to deserve this?  I would walk into the Kingdom Hall looking so sad...and no one ever asked me what was wrong.  I knew if I told, he would go ballistic on me.  Then, he was made an elder at age 28, so again, I figured he had Jehovah's blessings, right?  I was only 22, and I had to be the perfect elder's wife, and I had to make sure our daughter was perfect too.  I prayed and prayed to be a good wife, to be in subjection, to make him happy. He was Jekell and Hyde, I never knew when he would be happy or mad.  What made him happy one moment, made him furious the next I couldn’t understand why Jehovah let me marry this wacko, when I had done everything Jehovah wanted.  I started to get depressed obviously.  I told his older sisters of his abuse, but they were witnesses too, so you can imagine what they said to me.  I told my parents a little of what was happening, and to their credit, they wanted to help me, but were trying to stay out of the sanctity of marriage.  They told me that he was threatened by my intelligence, so I shouldn't act so smart around him. In the meantime, this man was counseling other people, and I was writing his talks.  He continued to be abusive to me.  He would bring up my father's molestation all the time, saying that I hated men (not true) screaming in my face how I was a whore, not good enough, terrible wife, "used goods" and that I had lied to him about being pure and married him under false pretenses.  One day, a district overseer's wife made sure that she had me as a partner for field service, and she started questioning me about my marriage.  Maybe it was becoming obvious, I don't know.  I knew if I answered her, that my life would change, I was hoping for the better.  I thought I would get support.  I told her a few details of what was happening, and how he was starting to pressure me for anal sex, which I absolutely refused to do. He was bringing porn into our home, to show me things he wanted to do. She went with me to the elders, and then believe it or not, they sent me home to tell him that I had told them what he had done and they would be calling him.  I was scared to death.  I told them that.  They brushed it off.  She brushed me off.  I felt so abandoned.  They ended up counseling him and removing him as an elder.  They told him he had to treat me as his own body. The night of the announcement about him, he told me we were changing congregations, taking any small support system that I had. After that, he felt I had betrayed him and taken everything from him that he had worked for.  My life was hell as usual.  Nothing really changed, except I got sadder and sadder.  I begged him to let me see a shrink.  He said no.  He said I was lucky he had good insurance, or he'd just let me have our babies in a county hospital.  Finally, in desperation, one day, I took a knife and cut myself from belly button to my neck.  This scared him, and scared the elders.  They told him to let me seek outside help.  They actually admitted that this was beyond their scope.  He refused to go with me-after all, he said I was the messed up one, not him.  He told me that if I left him, no one would ever want me.  He was the only one who wanted me.  I got better, and ended up pregnant again.  Why did I stay with him?  You all know the reasons.  No education, no good job, two kids now.  There were good times with him too, just enough to justify staying. I had no biblical reasons to leave him either.  Finally, after almost 14 years of marriage, I was sick of him and his crap.  One night, he was yelling at me in my face, and I just lost it.  I pushed him so hard he fell, hit the door and knocked the doorknob out with his head! I should have called the police on him many times, but you know how we were not supposed to involve outside worldly help. I could not believe how ready I was to fight him.  By this time, we were both virtually inactive, with the elders afraid of him and not wanting to really help me except with scriptures.  After I pushed him, I realized then that the marriage was finally over.  I told him to go to counseling with me or I was leaving.  He said no.  He told me if I left him, he would kill me and the kids.  I was so beaten down by him, I knew I couldn't take care of the kids, I had no fight left in me.  I left him.  I called one elder to tell him, and asked him for the letter I had written them with all the details of my marriage.  He told me he had to burn the letter, because my husband had threatened to sue.  I felt something die in me then.  I could not believe that men of God were afraid of this puny man. They did not even try to stop me from leaving him-a good thing I suppose. I walked away from Jehovah's Witnesses and have not been back since in 10 years. I ended up having to move 4 times the first year I left him, because he kept stalking me. You can imagine the custody battle. He stayed inactive for a few years, then started going back to meetings, and got in trouble a few times with women, yet now is a brother in good standing.  He finally remarried two years ago, and it was only then that he started leaving me alone.  He slept with his fiance before they got married, but they only got privately reproved. He still watches porn. He should have been disfellowshipped years ago.  I have no more faith in God.  I went through another major depression about 4 years ago-but I got the help I needed. I was diagnosed with major depression and post traumatic stress syndrome. I know not all men are like my dad or ex husband, but I cannot be with men.  My mother is still a Witness-to her credit she supported me leaving him.  My dad finally mellowed out and became a Witness, but my relationship with both parents is not that great.  My life is happy, but I am angry at losing my faith in God, and I don't know how to get it back. 

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I was raised in the congregation of JW.  My mother was raised in it as well as my father and his parents.  All of my family and friends were also a part of the organization.  I am now disfellowshipped because I decided to leave and take a stand against what I knew to be wrong.  My father both physically and mentally abused my mother, my siblings and myself.  He hit my sister so hard when she was still an infant that she was actually having rectal bleeding! His reason, she was crying. My mother after being abused by my father the last time finally left my father.  She had been disfellowshipped for allegedly smoking. Which is funny because the elder's had no proof or witnesses to my mother smoking.  Anyways, my father remarried a woman who also had three children of her own.  This made an unhappy six children.  My father treated them as his own and started hitting them and putting them down any time he had a chance.  He once hit me because I didn't want to play a family game of Monopoly.  I finally got to the point where I needed to run away.  I was put into foster care after refusing to go back to my father's house.  He had spread so many lies about my mother to the court system that I was not allowed to live with her. I was in foster care for a few years and at last found out how a real family is supposed to be.  I was never hit or put down but was gently corrected when I was wrong.  This is the point where I actually looked at the organization as a whole. I had to take a stand and not let my father, who by this time was an elder in the congregation, to keep doing this.  But when I confronted another elder in the congregation I was told that I was only saying those things to be spiteful.  After having that drilled into my head I eventually moved back in with my father.  His one condition was that I attend meetings which I did.  After about only a week I decided that I was old enough, at 16, to not have to have a religion forced on me and I decided not to go. My father and older brother proceeded to throw me into the van in the attempt to force me to go.  I managed to get out and call the police to come get me.  After my father convincing them that I was lying they made me go home with him.  I finally moved out when I was 18 even though i had not yet graduated high school.  I met a great man and have a great kid.  And even though my family has refused to have anything to do with me, so much so that I wasn't even told about my grandmother being sick and then when she died I was asked by my father not to attend her memorial.  I know I did the right thing.  I still miss the organization and going to meetings but until things change I will not go back.

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I am a baptised member of Jehovah's Witnesses, in name only...I have not been to a meeting in about eight years, and I will never go back. My Mother became a JW in the mid-seventies, around the time of the '75 scare.�My father had been diagnosed with cancer and lived with it for many years.�He was never a JW and used to try and prevent my mother from going to meetings.�Finally my Dad died and my mother remarried to a former elder who had also lost his wife to cancer.�My stepdad had kids from his own marriage, and so did my mom.�When my mom used to take us girls to meetings by herself, I remember getting beatings in the bathroom with a wooden spoon or a hairbrush she used to carry in her purse.�I never paid attention to what was being said and often tried to sleep during meetings.�When she remarried I was not prepared for the brutality that my stepdad would inflict on me and my siblings.�

Because there were so many kids in our family now, (six when my stepdad and mom married, plus three more they had together) my Mom was a nervous wreck, and begged my stepdad to DO something.�The first time he beat me I was so surprised, I remember it clearly.�I was doing dishes after supper and I wasn't doing them fast enough for my stepdad.�My back was to him as he came running at me�into the�kitchen, and with a wide leather belt started beating me without saying a word.�I was so surprised and shocked at the attack I couldn't even breathe.� There was no warning, nothing.�I felt so betrayed, because I had thought he was a nice guy, and I even�gave him a handmade card before my Mom and him got married, saying "I want you to be my Dad."�

Before long my stepdad had total dominion over our home and would make my mother wait on him hand and foot.�He�used to sit at the front of the table and read to us out of WT literature that he was king of his castle, and we were all his slaves.�He would�degrade and belittle my�Mother constantly,�and she refused to fight back, speak up for�herself, or defend her children from his abuse.�The beatings became more frequent and I used to�have large bruises on the backs of my�legs constantly from his belt.�I would at times in the summer wear shorts that cut off above the bruises, hoping someone would�notice them and ask what had happened�(no one ever did.)�He took the belt buckle off�from it and it held an honored place on the top of our fridge, to be used for discipline only.�The two oldest children, my stepbrother and myself, usually took the brunt of it.�

For some reason a lot of the abuse centered around family bible studies.� We used WT literature like the family book and others, and we went around the table taking turns reading the paragraphs.�If we didn't read the paragraph just right, we would be taken into my parents bedroom and beaten.�I remember one night my stepbrother couldn't read it right, and he was taken back to the bedroom.� I could hear him screaming and the sound of his body hitting the floor over and over.�My stepdad brought him back to the table, tears streaming down his face.�He told him to read the paragraph again.�Choking on his tears, he attempted to do it with a shaking voice.�He still couldn't get it right, so he was violently jerked away from the table, and brought back to the bedroom for another beating.� This was repeated a few more times until finally he was just sent to his room.� We learned to live in constant fear, to avoid our "dad" at all times, and tricks to avoid beatings including lying.�My stepdad would use nazi interrogation techniques, putting us all in a line, asking us who was to blame for whatever small wrong had happened.�(One time it was something as small as a kleenex box left lying in the hallway.)�If no one admitted to it, he picked the person he felt was to blame, and beat them.�One time we were stopped at a gas station after Sunday meeting before we went out in service.�My stepdad had left his briefcase in front of my seat in our van, and I was resting my feet on top of it.�As he was pumping gas, he realized what I was doing and ran around the van, yanked open my door, grabbed his briefcase and started screaming at me.�He smashed it into my face and body repeatedly, rubbing the sand off onto me that my shoes had gotten on it.�His first smash had sent one lense of my glasses flying onto the parking lot.�I saw where it landed and grabbed it quickly after his outburst, held it carefully in my hand.�I told my mom that I had seen it splinter and smash on the pavement.�They drove back to the gas station and looked for it, but never found it.�I think I wanted my family to be forced to deal with something that was destroyed by my stepdad's anger.�They had to buy me a new lense for my glasses, but the abuse didn't stop.�

One year we took my stepdad's mother with us to district convention. She was also a JW.�One night my stepdad and mom went out and left us in the hotel room with "Grandma."�I decided to tell her about the abuse, in front of my siblings.� It was a desperate cry for help.�She laughed and minimized what had happened, and told my parents when they got back.�They all laughed and degraded me, saying "Oh yes, we're such bad parents, so mean to you!!"�The abuse continued.�I decided all adults were not to be trusted, that no one could help us.�It continued as we became teenagers, until one day when I did something to stop it forever.� I had got into the wrong crowd in high school, and ended up one day in the school social worker's office.�I told her everything.�I wanted it to stop forever.� I had three baby sisters and I didn't want them to ever go through what I had to.�She must have reported it to child protective services, because my Mother was very angry with me suddenly.�I never found out what happened, my Mom just told me I had done something stupid, and that she had talked to my counselor at school and they both agreed that I needed more "discipline."�I now know that this was a lie.�None of us were ever hit again, and my baby sisters have grown up in relative peace, never knowing the chaos and torment that preceeded the generation of siblings before them.�My stepdad usually sits quietly in a chair at home, drinking himself into a stupor most evenings.�I try not to talk to him when I go to visit.�

I was disfellowshipped at age 18 because I was involved with a worldly man.� I told the elders my parents had kicked me out of the house and I had nowhere else to go.�None of them offered to take me into their home, they just told me that I had to stop living with my worldly boyfriend immediately.�I told them about the abuse and that I had been in a bad situation at home.�They disfellowshipped me while I sat bawling my eyes out, pleading with them for help.�I married my boyfriend and tried for two years to get back into good standing in the congregation.� I wanted to be able to talk to my family, and friends again.�Finally I was reinstated, but still, I was a pariah.�No one would greet me as I walked into the KH, although they would talk to my "worldly" husband when he came with me to meetings.�My husband was increasingly abusive and unstable throughout our marriage.�The emotional abuse was far worse than what I had to deal with from my stepdad.�Finally I took him to court to get an order for protection, which was granted.�My husband knew that the court order prohibited him from harming me or contacting me in any way, so he went to the elders and told them I was cheating on him, and pretended to be interested in the "truth," even agreeing to start a bible study with the PO and come to meetings.�I found out what he was doing and met with them myself, saying that they could not harm me through him, and showing them my court document.� They backed off right away after seeing that.�However, my sister was not so lucky.�My ex had been following her also, and parking outside her house at night to see if she was committing fornication with her boyfriend.�He reported this to the elders, and she was pubicly reproved.�She ended up moving to the other end of the state while she has tried to regain good standing in the cong.�Eventually I was able to divorce him, and have also moved away, trying to break free of all my past abusive and unhealthy relationships.�My stepbrother was "out" of the organization for many years, but never dealt with any of his issues.�He went back in after Sept. 11, taking his wife (who had never been a JW) and small children with him.�He said he didn't want his family to die at armageddon.�Out of nine children, three of us are free.�I am inactive, one sister is disfellowshipped, and one was never a member.�Even though I was born into the Jehovah Witness religion, God blessed me with an independent mind to see through the lies and get to the truth.�I was always the one out of all the kids who reached for help.� I saw through the organizational lies and recognized the evil they were committing against their members, turning families against eachother, and reinforcing the silence.�It has been such a very difficult path, but I feel proud to have made it this far!�I now am remarried to a wonderful, loving, patient, christian man who has shown me God's true love.�We are members of our local baptist church, and I have shared my testimony with many others.�I am so thankful every day to God for blessing me in this way after coming through such hardship in my life, and I continue to extend my hand to help my family members along the way, to let them know that I will be there for them no matter what.�When my stepsister was disfellowshipped, my family hid this news from me for many months.�When I found out, I called her and let her know I loved her unconditionally, and would be there for her...I invited her to my house for Thanksgiving.�She was so happy to hear from me she nearly cried....I want to let everyone out there know that EACH person, know matter what they have gone through in their life in the form of abuse, can be a force for good, to fight against the evil and the silence, to speak out and keep asking for help, to tell the truth, find SOMEBODY who will believe, listen, and validate their story, and then after they have healed, to reach out and help others.�

 

AO

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It was 1981. I was a�young mother, married to a Jehovah's Witness. I was also new in the truth. This was my second marriage and I was only twenty-seven. So, when�our maritual tiffs turned into pushing and slapping, I was embarrassed. I tried to hide it because it must have been my fault. But the�buises were hard to hide. I decided to talk to the Elders, but they would not talk to me alone. The result, it was my word against his. I shut up. I didn't tell anyone else.


I remember I hid,�at my�parents house, with a fat lip,�and my friend came looking for me. She wouldn't leave, until my mother let her in to talk to me.

She could not believe her eyes! There I sat with a fat lip, and I was embarrassed. She told me to show the Elders but I was ashamed, it must have been my fault.� This�did not happen in the first marriage. But the Elders said, "What can you do to�keep the peace?" Since, I was the one going to meetings. I was the spiritually stronger one of the marriage. I needed to clean the�house more, and�loose the extra twenty pounds.�After giving�there words of wisdom, they would leave me� believing I had�work to do, if my marriage was to survive.

Finally I called the police on my husband. They told me if I did not press charges, the next time I called, they would take my son. I never called them again.�They told me about the shelter for abused woman. I was never on welfare. I�didn't know anyone on welfare, and was afraid. I went to may parents once more to hide,�but my mother would send me home, after a day�or two. She would tell me to keep my mouth shut, and try to get along. Which I did. But it didn't matter.

So,�during an argument, that I knew would turn in to me getting hit, I said a prayer. "Jehovah please give me good aim! I know you�don't want me to get beat up." I threw a coffee mug�at�my husband, and it hit him in the funny bone!. He stayed home from work the next day because he couldn't move his arm. Then I wrote a letter of disassociation and took it to an elder in a different congregation. It said, this religion�was�not the�truth, because Jesus treated woman with respect, he protected them from abuse. Of course he wanted to know what I was talking about, and I told him, what the elders were telling me. To make a long story short, those elders had to�appoligise to me. But not without revenge.

I got divorced. My exhusband finally got disfellowshipped for adultry, and� a girl�with the�same�first name as mine, was�disfellowshipped in the same announcement. People were treating me like I was disfellowshipped!�I told the�Head�elder and he laughed at me.�

I was working out in service with an ederly sister a month later. She said,� "Did you know that�sisters in this congregation think you are disfellowshipped too? I asked her, "Why?" She said it was the way they made the announcemnent. But not to worry, she�told me, she went to the elders and told them about it. They could fix the problem.

Need I tell you�how lost I felt? I still didn 't leave. I was brainwashed.� One year later,�I�comitted fornication. I went to the elders(Same ones) and told them. I was so upset about being reprimanded that I had a car accident,� and showed up at the committee meeting on crutches. They publicly reproved me for the good of the congregation.�My friend who was pregnant and not married got privately reproved. Everyone would know about her! Try hidding a new baby!
They didn't reprove me, they�got revenge.

I am a�Christian. I have turned my life over to Jesus Christ. I forgive them.� They�are doing the best they can without�GODS spirit. They are all�suffering.� Its not about the people and what they do, its about Jesus and what his death ment for the world. You have to�make the move(No one can fix this) The misery will�go on,�and on, in that very dark place called��THE KINGDOM HALL!!!!!!!!!

DG

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I was in the JWs from birth. My family was one of those that was always featured at the assemblies. I was baptized at 9, as was my brother who remains at bethel after I guess nearly 30 yrs now. A sister who pioneered full time, and a handicapped brother who despite his profound brain damage was able to quote scripture, chapter and verse. Remember the kid that could ramble off the books of the Bible for everyone's amusement at 2 yrs old? That was me. Our family was a large one, and well known in our area for being 'strong in the truth'.

That was the outside appearance. Home was a different matter. It was an insane asylum. Beatings were routine. Not spankings, beatings. Usually with a leather dog leash, sometimes with a hand or a switch or a fist or any object that was close at hand, like wooden cooking spoons. My siblings to this day often say how spoiled I was and obviously the favorite because I hardly ever got the strap or the dog leash, only beaten by hand and screamed at. One night my sister, at least 20 yrs old by that time, was forced to crawl on the floor in just her underwear and eat dog food out of the dish and drink the dog water, lapping it with her tongue all because she was caught light heartedly chuckling over a hunky guy. (The dog was given her meal) All the while my mother called her a whore filled with demons and, of course, a whorish dog. At the time my sister was working full time to help support the family AND pioneering. She didn't have much time for whoring.

So you get my point of reference. There is no need for me to go on and on from horror to horror, because I know anyone reading this has probably seen and heard the same things. The reason I am writing is because of a certain thing that happened when I was a teenager that I have such profound guilt about I have never been able to get over it, even after 25 yrs have passed. So in a way, this is a purging for me, and I hope it lets me sleep at night.

There was a sister in our congregation who had a baby. I think he had ADD or something, because although funny, sweet, and really a great kid, he also couldn't seem to keep his seat at the meetings. He would spontaneously run on stage during a talk and say silly things like 'Hey everybody!' and wave and smile his big innocent smile with his chubby little cheeks. I found it delightful. The elders thought otherwise and counseled the mother to tighten up on discipline. Sooo.. gosh this is hard to relate.. she began taking this pure delightful (if rambunctious) little urchin to the overflow ministry school room if he as much as twitched during the meeting. And she would beat him, at the advice of the elders. I know this to be true because I overheard part of a conversation that 3 of them had with her in the 'library' requesting that she give him discipline to keep him under control.


Sometimes when I try to sleep at night, the sounds of his cries echo in my head. Whack! and the scream Whack! Mommy mommy mommy no no please stop Whack.. I would clamp my fingers in my ears and the tears would roll down my cheeks Whack! The screams would become the unearthly moans of torture. They turned up the microphones or played a song from one of the recordings.
And I did nothing. No one did .. a congregation of over 100 people sat there looking uncomfortable.. flinching.. dry coughs and shared looks, but nothing more. All because they knew the elders had 'ordered' it. One night an elder got out of his chair and stomped back there, apparently to tell her the noise had to stop. And it did. We heard the whacks but no cries. I cautiously got out of my seat and went back there and cracked the door. Her hand was firmly clamped over his mouth and nose and he was struggling desparately to draw scant breath. His eyes were bulging and he reached out toward me, I guess for help. His body was rigid and spastic. Her eyes were
streaming tears but she continued to beat him cruelly. Only we couldn't hear the sound of his strangled cries in the main hall. It was a horror I will never forget. I told my mother about it because I was frightened, but she chided me and said I was spoiled and not to question the elders. I have brought it up with her again as an adult, and she has invented this story about how she asked the little boy about it and he laughed and said it never happened, and how he wishes he could come back to the hall and have a great relationship with Jehovah again. She said my imagination was working overtime and I shouldn't make up stories because I was unhappy 'in the
truth' and also that the boy was a bad seed. (By the way, my sister did end up beating a step child of hers and when I reported it to my mother I got the same story.. it never happened, she asked the girl and the girl said I was talking crazy or maybe had dreamed it. Right.)

Yes I was only a teen at the time, but I should've gone to the cops. I should've done something.. anything. I felt like running into the hall and screaming that she was killing him, but I didn't do a damn thing. I numbed it out like I did much of what happened at the hall and behind closed doors. It is a miracle the child did survive to adulthood. He ended up with severe mental illness (brain damage?), and became a criminal. As far as I know now, he is still in prison.

Don't use my email address if you post this. Just refer to me as "John" if you use a name. Because my brother is high up in the Watchtower, I am somewhat afraid to be direct in who I am or exactly where I am located.

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�I know this site focuses mainly on sexual abuse rape in the Jehovah's Witness organization but I wish to share my story because I truly understand what is happening in this organization. As a child I went to the Montville, Ohio congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. They too were very neglectful of harm being done to the children. This was a case of physical and mental abuse and they turned their backs on me and my siblings. My mother, a baptized member of the congregation, was a physically and mentally abusive woman. She would fly into rages and throw things at us, hit us, kick us, punch us and any other means of getting her anger out. I guess after years of service to God there still was no comfort for her in her life. She would call her kids 'stupid', 'useless' and she would say 'I wish you were never born', 'No one's going to believe you' and of course seeing she was a Witness that we were going to die at Armageddon. She was right about no one believing us (if they did they took no action as responsible baptized members of the congregation would be obligated to do) My brother went to the elders when he was 13 and told them of the happenings in our home. They laughed him off and as I looked through the library window [ where they were having the meeting] my mother was laughing like it was some practical joke. The elders did nothing. I think they thought he was just being rebellious and left it at that. In fact, they did not question ANY of the other children in the family. I guess they really didn't care about 'the truth' after all. My oldest brother, living in the house was a ministerial servant and witnessed these attacks but kept his loyalties with the congregation rather than protecting his younger siblings. Over the years all of the kids told one person or more in the congregation, even Jehovah's Witnesses outside our congregation were told of the abuse and did nothing so it's a shame that we had to endure years more of abuse thanks to the ignorance of a group that only want to protect their image. I�ran away when I was fifteen and my mom got a lot of attention and support from the congregation. I never became a member of their organization and I haven't been able to turn to any other form of religion in the past 12 years that I've been gone from my home. I tell this story because a life was lost. That 13 year old boy that pleaded to the elders�to help him�tried to kill himself when he was 17 and still nothing was done. At 19 years of age he was successful at ending his suffering and died on Feb/3/98. He was a baptized Jehovah's Witness but they couldn't protect him because he was the one bringing�problems that the elders didn't want to SEE or�DEAL�with. Problems that would make the congregation look bad. So I often wonder, who is accountable for that lost life? May you all find a way to heal and find happiness in your lives......

DB

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I am compelled to tell you how horrified I was to see all the info on your site. I know all to well about the suffering some suffer at the hands of reticent elders. I have never been sexually abused as a child (I have to be thankful of that at least), but I know of several in my congregation that were and the way they were treated was deplorable. I remember having to walk away (SHUN) from a disfellowshipped sister that asked for my help and it was agonizing, I have to say she wasn't disfellowshipped for the abuse, however, the abuse affected her life in such a way - she couldn't live a normal life. This woman needed help - not disfellowshipping and imagine my horror when having shunned the sister, her family welcomed her abuser (in this case her father) back with open arms (after his prison sentence for abusing her and I don't know how many others) The sister who's daughter was nearly abused (i.e. the 10-yr-old-girl refused his advances and told her mother) by the above mentioned man, was reproved because she absolutely HIT THE ROOF! Please tell me how is one supposed to react when someone tries to hurt your child in the most heinous way????? Briefly my experience was this: I was in A VERY VIOLENT MARRIAGE!!!! And when I went to the elders I was constantly told to go back to him, I just wanted to scream at them "YOU TAKE THE ABUSE I HAVE TO ENDURE, THE RAPINGS AND THE BEATINGS AND THEN COME BACK TO ME AND SEE IF YOU GIVE ME THE SAME ADVICE!!!!!!!! WORDS AREN'T ENOUGH TO DESCRIBE WHAT THIS BAD ADVICE DID TO MYSELF AND MORE IMPORTANTLY MY CHILDREN. THEY ARE ALL SCARRED AND MY SON ENDED UP BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED BY HIS TEACHER AT SCHOOL (NOT A JW). YOU WANT TO KNOW SOMETHING IRONIC? I WAS SHUNNED BECAUSE OF THE VERY PUBLIC SCANDAL (IT WAS IN ALL THE NEWSPAPERS, ETC) WITH MY SON AND I'D DONE NOTHING WRONG! I HAD A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN BECAUSE OF ALL THE STRESS FROM MY MARRIAGE AND I WAS DOUBLY SHUNNED BECAUSE MENTAL ILLNESSES WAS/IS REGARDED AS DEMONIC!!!!!!!!! I want to make it abundantly clear that: I don't blame Jehovah-God, I do, however, blame those that act in his name.

DF

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I am not disfellowshipped and remain a JW in good standing, my story happened about twenty years ago, when being physically abused was seldom talked about even in daily life.  So it was really hard being a Jehovah's Witness and being a victim of abuse, the outside world was just finding out about how serious it was.  The witnesses excused it constantly as with everything else, it would bring reproach on Jehovah to make matter public. So I swallowed the silence, I couldn't tell my mom to much because she not a JW, I didn't want to defame God so I just kept taking the abuse; verbal, physical and sexual abuse from a man that was my husband.  Finally a neighbor of mine told me about a shelter for battered women. I called them of course I never told them that the man was one of Jehovah's Witnesses because again I have to protect the organization and Jehovah as instructed. The shelter told me there were many women that suffered from JW abusers. I was shocked, I thought there was no way this could be common among Jehovah Witnesses. I explained to the elders I had to get a way from him when in a fit of rage he split my head open, the elders advised that I should not consult worldly organizations (shelters) for help that I should rely on Jehovah instead. Since Jehovah had yet to stop my husband from abusing me, I told them they were not going to poison me.  The elders had no concept of how to assist women that were being abused other than saying a prayer and reading bible scriptures on enduring. The shelter understood the psychology of the batterer, they frowned upon it.  The shelter took care of me and my three children, fed, clothed and educated me.   I was very thankful to them. The elders did nothing but make me feel bad for seeking help.  Time passed with the elders encouragement I went back to my apartment to try and reconcile with my husband instead he kidnapped my children using the congregation as a network used different brothers and sisters to hide my children from me. This was at the Kingdom Hall in Cal Garden Grove an elder was involved as well. I lost all contact with my children for several weeks, the elders telling me to trust in Jehovah and keep matters quiet from authorities while they were cooperating with my husband to prevent me from seeing my children. There reasoning was since he was the head of the household he had the right to take my children.   I wrote to the home office of JW's in Brooklyn , NY . The elders were instructed by home office to give a talk about respecting authority in the congregation thus presenting me as being a bad person for trying to find my children.  I didn't pursue any thing because I didn't want to bring reproach on Jehovah or defame the   Garden Grove congregation.  As a last resort I finally contacted the police and made a complaint only then did I get cooperation to get my children back.

 

There were many errors in how this was handled. The elders should never discourage any one from going to the authorities, for abuse on anyone. They should never get involved in custody matters. When my ex husband finally had access to my kids again, and he and his new JW wife kept poisoning my children against me telling them that I was a bad person due to not attending meetings on a regular basis, so much for brotherly love.  Till this day I still don't have the best relationship with my children because of how they used the organization to hurt us. I am inactive for these reasons, while they may want everyone to think they are nice on the outside my experience is they are horrible in the inside.

Thanks for listening

 

MA

 

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I do not recall any sexual abuse in my childhood. My JW father watched me like a hawk, and I was never left alone with�ANY adult males�outside of the family. And those in my family were, thankfully, sincere and trustworthy JW's. My younger brother, on the other hand, was sexually molested by someone in the congregation but refuses to talk about it or identify his perpetrator. He only revealed�the fact to his wife when he was drinking. Now he just says it's nobody's business. However, I�WAS treated horribly and publicly humiliated when I reported my ex-husband to the authorities for domestic violence, and he was arrested.�I had gone to the elders many times for assistance and was always counseled that "an answer when mild turns away rage." In my case, a mild answer or silence always made the situation worse. My ex-husband desperately needed help, too. Their had been suicide, abuse, and alcoholism in his family when he was young.�Instead, they just eventually disfellowshipped him to get him out of their hair, because they really can't help anyone in anyway except to read scriptures to them. The elders had no business counseling on complicated matters they were clearly unqualified to. When I considered divorce after my ex had been unfaithful on several occasions, I was strongly encouraged to forgive even though the elders also�knew of the physical abuse. While I and my two children were living in a women's domestic abuse shelter, I got word that a "talk" was to be given at the�Kingdom�Hall regarding my situation that evening. I contacted an elder who said�the brothers had hoped to talk to me, but even though they hadn't, they were still going to give the talk.�I arranged a ride to the� Hall.�I stood in the back hallway in tears as a "marking" talk was given to warn the congregation (of 40 publishers, so everyone knew who they were talking about) not to associate with someone who would publicly�bring�reproach upon Jehovah's organization by going to the authorities and having her husband arrested rather than entrusting her situation upon the congregation elders.�Also, the elder who gave the talk recited word for word to the whole congregation a personal and confidential conversation I had with him some time before the arrest incident when I approached the elder for spiritual help and guidance over some doubts about my faith.�He said, "Can you IMAGINE a congregation sister, one of Jehovah's Witnesses, saying such a thing?"�So, he completely betrayed me.�After the talk I stood in the lobby with tears streaming down my face and I told the elder that "This is wicked!�This is absolutely wicked!�How dare you?"�He just shook his head.�This was only the beginning.�I could go on for days.�The organization abuses the abused on many levels.�My entire extended family are JW's,�and, as you can imagine, so were all of my "friends" and associates.�To this day, if I happen across any of them, they look at me as if to say, "aren't you dead yet?�We expected to use is as a poster child for what happens to those who leave."�I'll never give them the satisfaction of making me unhappy.�It's their loss.�Thanks for giving us all a place to "vent" our feelings.�

LJ

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Shortly after my mother married her third husband she began studying with the Witnesses. My younger brother attended meetings with her, but I wasn't interested. Her husband was very opposed, and she eventually left him because of that. She knew that she couldn't remarry. Once he started studying she went back to him. I was eleven at the time, and he tried to molest me. Thank God I resisted and won against him, but my mother refused to believe me. I guess I wasn't important enough for her to leave a man who was studying to become a JW. At least that's what I've thought for more than two decades. Now I'm wondering if she went to the elders with my accusations and was told to ignore them. I don't know. At this point I don't care, because I would not subject myself, my stepchildren or anyone else to people who refuse to take action when child abuse is involved.

I also railed against my stepfather's emotional abuse as well. All the time he was studying and even after he was baptized things like hot water every other day was a luxury, and he kept special foods like real milk for himself. He called my brother, who was only nine years old at the time a faggot for wanting to hug our mother. When my brother was sixteen his dog came up missing. He searched for that dog for three days until he discovered our stepfather had shot him and left him lying in a field. We paid for our own school clothes and other necessities. As a matter of fact, when I started my period he bought me my first box of pads and then told me that since this was my first time it wasn't my fault, but I'd have to figure out how to pay for them in the future. He threw my brother out of the house as soon as he graduated from high school. My brother rode 4 hours in the back of a pick up truck in a rain storm to find work in another state. He
lived in a camp ground for several months until he could afford a place to live. What a graduation present!

In the meantime, I left home at the age of thirteen, because both my mother and stepfather told me that the only reason the devil was in their house was because I was there. You see, I was still refusing to go to the meetings. I moved in with my alcoholic father who beat me severely for the next three years. I got into drugs and became very ill from them and the beatings, so at the age of sixteen I moved back with the mother and stepfather. Things hadn't changed much there. The stepfather was still very cruel, and the mother chose to close her eyes to the situation. Incredibly I started studying with the Witnesses too. A JW man had taken an interest in me and offered to marry me so he could provide me with a stable home. I fell hook, line and sinker and was married at the age of seventeen.

Of course my husband was a complete lunatic! I will give the elders credit on that point though. When I went to them about his physical abuse and wildly erratic behavior, they did counsel him. In the past they also counseled my stepfather to be a more loving head of the family, but nothing was enforced. He and my husband did basically what they wanted to do. After my brother moved out of state we followed, because I couldn't stand being apart from him, and my husband was too embarrassed to stay in the small town in which we lived because I had already had him committed to a mental institution with the assistance of an elder in a neighboring congregation who was also a doctor.

But once we moved to another state things went into decline. The physical abuse became much worse, and the elders at the new congregation were not as supportive. I was a regular pioneer for a few years but withdrew from that position when a mutual attraction formed between me and another brother. We didn't commit adultery, but the attraction was there. Ironically I think the attraction developed in the first place because this brother saw the devastating effects of my husband's abuse. I felt very unclean and confessed to the elders. After that it seemed that the elders cared even less about my plight. I was told that if I loved Jehovah enough I could endure the mental terror and physical abuse from my husband. When I had him committed a second time to a mental institution with the help of his
psychiatrist ( a judge ordered it, because my life was in danger), I had ENOUGH! Also in the meantime, a young sister whom I loved dearly was disfellowshipped for not reporting a rape committed against her by another brother. I filed for divorce and wrote my resignation letter to the elders. When asked to meet with them, they again warned me that I should stay with my husband and depend on Jehovah to help me withstand his abuse. I told them that if my husband became Jesus Christ himself I couldn't stay married to him. Instead of allowing me to disassociate myself they disfellowshipped me. I guess that was so it would look like they were throwing me out and I wasn't leaving on my own.

It has been almost seventeen years since then, and I hear from my brother occasionally but have had no contact with my mother or stepfather. The first few years were difficult, but my life is so much better now. I did suffer through a second bad marriage and traveled around until I found a place where I wanted to put down roots. In the past nine years I obtained a college degree and met a wonderful man who I married. Ironically enough, he is a more Christ-like husband than any man I have ever known despite not being a student of the Bible. He puts me first, and I try everyday to do likewise.

After experiencing all of this with the Jehovah's Witnesses I decided that I need peace in my life. I have it now, because I do not associate with people who commit or even condone child abuse and violence against women. For those of you out there who are living with abuse and are afraid to leave because it will mean leaving everyone and everything you have known, please be assured of these things. First of all, you can still have a relationship with God. Second, though you should be selective about who you trust, there is a whole world of people out there willing to become your family. I have many women friends about the age of my mother who love to fill her shoes and
think she's crazy for not associating with me. Third, when you get away from such nonsense you will realize that you are better off without people who would commit or condone the abuse of women and children. They are, at best, stupid and at worst, evil. I will say a prayer for the Silent Lambs tonight. May God bless and keep you as you find your way through this life.

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My heart is heavy after reading so many of the stories of the silent lambs. I have been a silent lamb for many years, not knowing that I was until recently. And I will remain a Silent Lamb because I fear reprisal if my identity is known. My experiences with an abusive husband and uncaring , inept elders seems to pale in comparison with many that I have read here. But I will add it to the rest because it seems that as our numbers grow, our unified cry grows louder and we grow stronger..

  Some 20 years ago in a New England state, I was an enthusiastic new Witness, who had recently re-married and my new husband was also studying the Bible. I had 3 young children by my first marriage. Right after we were married and as soon as my new husband became a witness, the abuse began. At first it was subtle emotional abuse....constant criticism of the children and me, always belittling and calling us names, swiping all of the dishes off the table if upset about someone or something; purposely stomping on and crushing a favorite toy left out at the end of the day. Then it became harsher and more physical.....swinging the children around by one arm in a rage, pushing them down or shoving them out of the way, choking me if upset with something I said (always in the privacy of our own home and never in public). There were never any bruises for evidence. He was a real Jekyll & Hyde personality who had never shown his abusive side before we were married.

  For the first few years, I tried to compensate by being the perfect little witness wife, trying never to upset him to avoid conflict, always minimizing his abuse and making excuses for his comments and assaults, but as they gradually became worse I took the problem to the elders in our congregation. Unfortunately for me, by that time my husband had become very well-liked -- a real guy's guy, so to speak. No one could believe that he would do or say what I had accused him of. They only knew him as the friendly, sociable brother at the Kingdom Hall who would loudly sing the songs, say the prayers and handle the mike. I have heard the social climate described as "good old boys" and it was. Of course, his response to my accusations was that I was not a submissive wife and "my" children were out-of-control brats who he was trying to "discipline."

  For years, the children and I prayed for some way out of our escalating abusive situation. He was now adding isolation and excessive control to his mix of abusiveness. My own family had disowned me when I became a Witness so I had no one to turn to. In desperation, I wrote to the Society for guidance. Their response was a basic form letter telling me to continue to go to my elders. This response was worse than no response. My letter to them had been pleading for their help since my elders were only making my situation worse through their lack of understanding and tendency to side with my husband. Then, adding insult to injury, a copy of my letter to them and their response to me was sent to the wrong congregation, informing a second group of elders who now were aware of the details. I had been hoping and praying (in fact, waiting anxiously each day) for some kind of emotional and spiritual concern and guidance and all I got was an uncaring form letter. It was such a disappointment, I threw it in the trash.

  Our family life was in a downward spiral. My friends within the congregation did not know how to respond to our situation so the children and I were left out of many social gatherings. After I got the elders involved, he became even more abusive and threatening. There were days and weeks of the "silent treatment" punctuated only by sudden outbursts of anger, abuse and violence. He withheld money and transportation, taking the car to work and leaving me with a huge, old battered truck that he thought I didn't know how to drive.

   If I had not been a Witness, I would have left after the first incident. Instead, I prayed and waited on the elders and on Jehovah. At one point, the advice I was given was to act as if we were living in our home with a wild bear "...when the bear is angry you stay away from it." I often wondered if this is the advise that would be given if I were his own daughter and these were his grandchildren in the house with the "bear".

  The years of this escalating abuse were like slow torture, growing worse and with no end in sight. My faith in God was definitely put to the test. Finally, it all ended in one night of violence which included my son being violently kicked for not putting a jar of peanut butter away, my daughter being repeatedly slapped because she walked in on that scene, and me being knocked unconscious when I tried to intervene. The police were called by my hysterical daughter who ran out of the house to a pay phone as my husband was choking me on her bed. The next day, on the advice of the police, I obtained a restraining order.

  It doesn't end there, however: the frosting on the cake was when we went to the next meeting at the Kingdom Hall and found my husband had arrived with and was seated with an elder and his family! Could any other scenario have spoken more clearly to the congregation? I think not! In fact, what actually happened in the weeks following was that I was "marked" and my children and I were even more socially isolated. I was told that I would not be allowed to Pioneer because of my action (the step I had taken to obtain a legal separation). One sister who had always provided me safe-haven whenever the children and I had to flee from our house for our own safety told me years later that she had been counseled to back away from me and my situation. Where was the love and compassion so evidently called for in James 1:27 where the admonishment is to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation?

  Since then, my children and I have somehow managed to pull ourselves together and have gone on to become accomplished individuals. Each of us has achieved success and respect in our chosen professions. Yes, even I, the battered wife, somehow got a grip on my self-respect and became a successful businesswoman. I stayed single for more than 12 years, never allowing myself to trust a man into our home again while my children were growing up. Tim e has proven us to have been the innocent ones in that fiasco. My ex-husband was eventually disfellowshipped for other reasons and has proven himself to be the loser and guilty one. In time, as it became evident that my children and I had been victimized and were the innocent ones, did we receive an apology or words of consolation from the elders or others in that congregation? NO. Only my friend of long ago came forward and cried when she recently told me how terrible she felt when she withdrew from me after being advised by that elder to do so many years ago.

  Needless to say, those years took a terrible toll on our spirituality. I never attempted to pioneer after being told I wouldn't be allowed. None of my children are Witnesses today and two of them have suffered bouts of severe depression. I think that they were weakened by so many unanswered prayers for help that didn't come and by their knowledge that our dangerous and desperate situation was being doubted and minimized by the elders .

  I am still grieved that I allowed the nonsense to continue for so long. I could stand the abuse aimed at me, but my children should never have had to endure it. They really were good kids and didn't deserve any of it. We would have been better off if I had simply left the marriage when the abuse first began. Yes, there are scriptural rules for living that need to be followed, but common sense tells me that Jehovah doesn't want women and children to be abused! I managed to barely hang on to the truth through the years and am still an active Witness today only through the grace of Jehovah and the knowledge that He will make all things right. Older and wiser, I now know that each one of us is responsible for our own personal decisions and for our own standing with Jehovah. Walking away from hurt and abuse is not wrong. It is smart. If a situation seems innately wrong....it probably is! Get out of it!

  I know that our loving God Jehovah is anguished by these gut-wrenching stories we share here. He will punish the wicked and abusive ones and the decision-makers who have erred on the side of the ab user s while refusing to extend love and compassion to the victims.. His arms are open to all of us silent lambs to comfort and to heal us. -From A Survivor

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Wow, I've been reading the stories on your website, (which I just learned about from a newspaper article), and thought I'd add my story to your list.�I don't think my experience is as awful or dramatic as what I've read on your site, and I don't think I reached the same conclusion after surviving my experience, but......thought I'd post a note anyway.

I was raised as a JW, and could have been a poster kid for JW values.�At the age of 13, 14, 15, I held my own bible studies with other kids in school, they would often drag their church elders and priests to come talk to me just because my bible "knowledge" was so much more extensive than theirs and they needed the backup.� I was sure I was going to become a JW missionary after high school, etc.�However, I was also living in a home where my father (an elder) and my step mother were incredibly abusive.�Not sexually, but mentally and emotionally and physically.� My older sister had left home when she was 14 to go live with my mother, just because she couldn't handle the abuse any longer.�I, on the other hand, felt that I just had to stick it out as a good JW would, and just continued to take the abuse, and beatings, and going without food for punishment, and not being allowed in the house if no one else was home, and having to crawl inside the horse trailer to keep warm when I would be left outside by myself in the middle of Wyoming winters.�

My father moved us around frequently, and I always thought it had something to do with the fact that other JW members would eventually notice the abuse and start to make comments.�But ultimately, no one else in the congregation every did anything.� Even though I know they knew about it, or at least had a sense of what was going on, no one tried to help.

So, at the age of 16 I ran away from home.�Couldn't take it anymore.�Ended up in another town in Utah, and after a few days realized that I would not be able to survive without doing something extreme, like stealing money.�So, I contacted the police to ask for help.�Met a�wonderful police officer named Lt. Dobson in St. George Utah.�He was nice, and caring, but ultimately told me that he had to return me to my father.�I explained that I would just leave again, I had made a decision to never live with those people again.

So.....sorry for taking so long to get to the point, but here's what we all have in common.�When my father picked me up from the police station, he made it clear that he would find arrangements for me to live somewhere else, with another family member, or anywhere else he could send me, which was fine by me. But what he also made clear was that he was furious that I had told the police that we were JW's.� In his mind, having the police know about abuse in a JW family was the worst thing that could happen.�There was no discussion about how to solve problems, or that I was his son and he wanted to keep me, it was just a very long discussion about how I had done a terrible thing to tell the police I was a JW and so now he was going to get rid of me.

The good news is that I made a decision at that time to not have anything else to do with the JW religion, or any other religion for that matter.�And now 22 years later, I am happy, well adjusted and not missing my father or the JW religion.� And I don't have anything to do with either.

SM

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I am a former JW and was married for 15 years to a very abusive JW husband. In reading these articles about what others have gone through I was in a very similar situation. For about the first year of our marriage it was very good. I don't know what happened but my husband became completely different. He became very headstrong and physically abusive. I went to his father who at that time was overseer of the congregation. He spoke with his son and the problem escalated. We did not have any children at this time. I went to some of the servants (they were not called elders at this time) around 1971. They asked me if I had done anything to make him angry. I immediately knew they were not going to believe me. Plus they all had known my husband since he was a few years old.


After enduring this for about 3 and a half years I was ready to leave. I found out I was going to have a baby. He was very happy about it and I thought maybe he would change. He did for a while. I was very sick throughout my 9 months and had to put up with him and his public abuse of me. I gave birth to a healthy girl. We continued to go to meetings and I felt so bad because I was putting on a front. He was this horrible person at home and when we went to the hall or field service he was completely different. He started spanking the baby when she was 3 weeks old.  I found this very disturbing. I went to his father and told him, he was very upset. He told him if he ever hit his daughter again he would have to deal with him. He kept on doing it, so I went to some of the elders and they said he is doing as the bible says, "spare the rod, spoil the child" this went on for a while, then I had another baby girl. I told him if he ever started beating my children again I was leaving and taking both of them with me. He continued so I packed up my children and went to my mother's, she lived in another State. She was a JW. She told me I was wrong and that I should go back to my husband and pray to Jehovah to work matters out. I stayed for a few weeks and went back home.  He then started to physically and emotionally abuse me. This went on for a few years, we were in a new congregation since ours had split, so I went to some of the elders. For one thing, they did not believe me. I told them this was happening in front of my children, who at the time were 3 and 4. This was making them a nervous wreck. I kept praying and hoping the situation would get better. I had even gone to the elders when he hit me and I had a black eye. He told them we were playing softball and I got hit in the eye. I was devastated. This kept going on for the next few years and I kept praying to Jehovah for a way out. I became very ill and had to have a major operation. I arranged with one of the sisters in the hall to take care of my girls. She noticed that the girls had bruises on their bodies and asked what happened. I told her their father spanks them too hard, and that I had gone to the elders but hey did not believe me.

After my operation I was praying things would be better, they were not. My husband wanted another baby and I was unable to have any more children. He went out and committed adultery. He admitted this to me so I again went to the elders and told them what happened. They arranged for us to meet with the "committee" of brothers at the hall. I had grounds to divorce him but they kept telling me I need to stay as a family and I should be forgiving. My husband had a really bad attitude and I was hoping they would disfellowship him, but they did not. He was "publicly reproved" I could not make up my mind what I wanted to do. The elders kept calling me to see if we had made up yet. I told them I needed more time. They kept pressuring me. Finally I decided to stay with him. It was the worst thing I could have ever done. He kept abusing me and after about 7 more years I found out he was on drugs. I went to the elders and they did not believe me. He was also seeing other women. Finally I had enough and I walked out of the house one morning and never came back. I let my children know and they came to visit every weekend, they told me if I didn't leave, he was going to kill me. Of course the elders were trying to reach me, I was doing nothing wrong. Then one day my husband took the girls and I could not find them. It would be 11 years before I found them. By that time he left the truth and went to the Church of God and Christ and is an elder there. I am disfellowshipped now, I have been for 17 years. I will never forget how I was treated by the elders of the congregation. My own brother in-law was an elder and the things he said. One of the elders even had the nerve to spread a rumor about me when I left that I became a prostitute. This is far from the truth, I have more respect for myself then to ever do that. I was disfellowshipped for smoking. After everything I went through I was a nervous wreck.


I never committed adultery, or dated other men. I am remarried now and have a wonderful husband. He is not a JW but the best husband in the world. This is just a tip of the iceberg of what myself and my daughters have been through with the congregation and the elders.
My girls still have memories of him beating them and they are grown and have children of their own. Both of my daughter's need to go to therapy, the issues they still have are very heavy on their minds. And to think this could have been avoided if the elders had looked into the matter, all they had to do is just look at myself or my girls and see the physical abuse.

I have been reading these stories of the abused children and it just breaks my heart. In an organization where there was to be love and trust, these children are being sexually abused and this will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and to think that these elders are committing these acts. It just makes me sick to my stomach.

PB

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Around 12 years ago I met my husband who was a JW. At the time when I met him and up to the point I married him and even AFTER I married him I did not know he was a JW. I did not even know what it meant. At that time he was something like a servant at the little window in the back of the hall that would fill the book orders and stuff like that. Anyway, after we were married a week or two he carried me to the hall for the first time. Inside he distanced himself from me and I felt very uncomfortable at first... then finally he came and sat with me after asking some women to come and talk to me. Which of course started a free bible study.  Within one month most of my personal effects such as my bible... which was not a REAL one by their definition...kjv, my cross earrings from my deceased mother, which by their direction was a bad horrible thing to have, plus other numerous things were broken,... my angels wings, etc. Then when my children that I brought into the marriage balked at going to the kingdom hall and were getting upset with rude remarks made to them about they were not in the "truth" and such as that... as time went on, in the kingdom hall we attended you raise your hand to comment my husband would punch me slightly to raise my hand. If I didn't it was bad later. Verbal abuse like you could not imagine. This started to make me wonder about all of them.

Then next thing, he started beating me... like if my kids had not set still or even the slightest thing would tick him off. Well, I went and told the women that were doing this free study and they told the elders... two elders came out to talk.... big mistake... huge mistake... that made things worse... so I kept quiet and tried to be a good wife...

Did you know I was told not to discuss it with the women who came to study with me...Then my children were removed from the home due to his violence. It grew so bad that I once again went to the elders and they gave me support.... the support that they gave me was to have more patience and understanding and such crap. Did they not know that I felt so worthless from so many beatings that I only began to see JW'S as BAD. One night I was just so tired of all the beatings that I tried to take my life. At the time I felt it was the right thing, I was made to feel that I was the problem... and by then death sounded more like a friend and life more like an enemy. I mean I am in a marriage being abused mentally and physically, and all I could hear was I was not in the truth. So I decided to end it all. I was taken to the hospital this time. At that time, the elders took and placed what they call a 'mark' on him or something... then something happened...a preacher talked with me and told me that I needed help. I went and started getting counseling. Around this time I believe he was disfellowshipped due to my not keeping my mouth shut. How many times was the doctor going to believe I hit the wall or just fell? What happened next was worse... we would go to the hall and he had to keep his mouth shut. That was for him to retain everything until we were alone. Then it was bad....


We split up for a while and I began to slowly build my self worth back up and regain my children again. Then next thing I know he wanted us to try to start fresh again with our marriage. Which we have.........


Now the ending to this. Two weeks ago some elders came to our house and invited him back to the hall again. He went to all the meetings... then this weekend he went to a large convention. It was three days. He returned home and sat in the bedroom reading and I walked in and just went to sit and talk... he started in on the evil box (television) and then the internet (evil) and grew angry and enraged at me. He has not hit me. But as I sit and write this... I only know one thing for sure.... I have my own opinion of the organization .

RP

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I recently found your website and wished I had known about it long ago. I was one of JWs for 18 years - I served as a regular pioneer for 9 of those years. I was married to a "brother" who was an alcoholic yet he served as a ministerial servant in the congregation.

During the course of the 6 1/2 years we were married, he went from verbal and emotional abuse to physical abuse. He came home most nights having already consumed a bottle of wine with another one to be consumed at home. The more he drank, the more violent he became. He dismissed my two teenage sons from the home shortly after we were married. Not wanting to bring reproach on the congregation and wanting to be "in subjection" to my husband, I listened to the brothers who said it was "time they go" since they were
rebellious. I now understand they were rebelling against his oppression and could really see him for the wretch he was.

After being in this relationship just one year, I had no emotional strength to fight back or even understand that my children needed me. I could not stand up for them or protect them. After putting my kids out, he was free to physically abuse me. This went on for almost 6 years before I finally admitted (even to myself) there was a real problem. As a result of his rage and violence, I was beaten many times, thrown into walls, slapped publicly, thrown out of a moving car just to mention a few of the occurrences. Twenty-five percent of my hearing was lost as a result of him beating me in my head.

When I told the brothers, they did not believe me because I never wore the scars on the outside. For some reason, I believed Jehovah would fix it in his own time. Well, that never happened. But Jehovah did call me to peace. One night, shortly after having come out of a pretty major surgery, he spit in my face. My now grown son was visiting and walked in on the scene. It was no longer a secret. Less than one week later, my husband committed adultery - I immediately filed for divorce. Living a life of shame and secrecy was my crime and I was afraid to tell the brothers. I continued to pioneer through it all and just suffered in silence. For years, I could not even admit to myself that I had been abused. Of course, I felt I was at fault - if only I hadn't asked him that at this time or if only I had waited longer. I was a faithful wife - did it all - worked full time and still tried to maintain a home and a grueling pioneer schedule.

I don't begrudge my experience today because truly I have come to know the love of God and to have a heart full of compassion for people. But I must admit that worse than what this man did to me - I felt so unsupported by the elders in my congregation. The truth of the matter is that they betrayed me - esp. the brothers closest to me. You know the ones that come over to eat and drink and use you and your resources to make up for their lack.

After the elders discovered my husband's infidelity (which he covered up for some time) he was simply reproved. They knew he was not repentant - even his attitude toward them was arrogant. The truth of the matter is that I believe many elder bodies are simply like "good ole boys clubs" and they could care less about the victim. I have seen it over and over - they keep their dirty little secrets (like fondling women when they drink too much) to themselves as if Jehovah can't see. After I got off the pioneer list - I was treated like an outcast even
though I was the "innocent" party just trying to serve Jehovah. How hurtful to know that my former husband still sits in good standing in the congregation although he is still an abusive alcoholic.

For about two years after that, I stayed in the congregation - struggling to understand how my badly my situation was handled and I begin to see other sisters in the same predicament. For the first time in l8 years, I began to question whether this really was the true religion - was this God's organization? As time passed, there were so many things that were blatant violations of even my personal moral code that I felt suffocated at the thought of attending one more meeting.

In Sept 2000, after requesting help from the elders at least on 4 different occasions, I left the congregation because I could not get any response. I came into this organization to strengthen my relationship with God - only after l8 years of service, I felt more distant from God than ever before. I simply could not stay because the reality of what I was experiencing created more pain than I could bear.. Of course, I was labeled an apostate although I was not involved in immorality or any wrongdoing.

I am finally at peace and have found that the God I serve and know is one that loves me and that I can love. I began to listen to the "still, small voice within" and found the God of my childhood - one who comforts and embraces me to life. I am so grateful. That experience taught me the meaning of unconditional love - and if we cannot know and trust God's love as unconditional, then whose love can we trust?? I can now recognize Pharisaical organizations and while I don't condemn any path - I am grateful that I came out of her (Rev 18:4).

Most importantly, I have 3 close friends who had been abused in this organization. One who tried to take her own life. These are spiritual
people with a love for God and for truth and they too are beginning to walk the path of life. I am grateful that I could be there for them when I had no one except Jehovah to turn to. He has since guided me everyday of my life - I am now married to a wonderful spiritual man and have gained two more beautiful sons. My own sons have forgiven me for the way they were raised and we are healing.

It is my purpose in life to help others - to encourage them to look within to see just how special God made them and they need no man or organization to intercede for them. I want people to know the truth about their own being - only then can we find freedom.

This morning at 5:30 am, one of my dear "sisters" called to say God had spoken to her heart and she can see clearly. You see, on several occasions, she has attempted to take her life rather than stay in an abusive marriage to very prominent elder. She finally got the strength to call the police - he is in jail. Although it cost her physically (almost 20 stitches to repair her arm that was put through a window), we are thankful it won't cost her the rest of her life.

One of the most glaring, obvious problems is that the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses tends to perpetuate abuse in all of its ugly forms its a breeding ground for abuse for two reasons:

1. The Elders don't want to get involved - if you are in trouble, esp. after it becomes public knowledge - they cast you aside. Who then are you to turn to?

2. If you speak out - you are then ostracized and labeled divisive. They will call you and an apostate simply for questioning.

I have always thought it interesting that when so called "worldly people" get into difficulty in their lives, they tend to run to their spiritual leaders. JWs, on the other hand, have no where to run.

The courage and love shown by your taking a stand for all those who were silent sufferers, makes my heart cry out in joy. I thank you personally and will do what I can to assist you in your efforts. Thank you for being a man of integrity and honesty and for a forum that has allowed me to finally vent and get this off my chest.

JF

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I recently found your website and wished I had known about it long ago. I was one of JWs for 18 years - I served as a regular pioneer for 9 of those years. I was married to a "brother" who was an alcoholic yet he served as a ministerial servant in the congregation.

 

During the course of the 6 1/2 years we were married, he went from verbal and emotional abuse to physical abuse. He came home most nights having already consumed a bottle of wine with another one to be consumed at home. The more he drank, the more violent he became. He dismissed my two teenage sons from the home shortly after we were married. Not wanting to bring reproach on the congregation and wanting to be "in subjection" to my husband, I listened to the brothers who said it was "time they go" since they were rebellious. I now understand they were rebelling against his oppression and could really see him for the wretch he was.

 

After being in this relationship just one year, I had no emotional strength to fight back or even understand that my children needed me. I could not stand up for them or protect them. After putting my kids out, he was free to physically abuse me. This went on for almost 6 years before I finally admitted (even to myself) there was a real problem. As a result of his rage and violence, I was beaten many times, thrown into walls, slapped publicly, thrown out of a moving car just to mention a few of the occurrences. Twenty-five percent of my hearing was lost as a result of him beating me in my head.

 

When I told the brothers, they did not believe me because I never wore the scars on the outside. For some reason, I believed Jehovah would fix it in his own time. Well, that never happened. But Jehovah did call me to peace.

One night, shortly after having come out of a pretty major surgery, he spit in my face. My now grown son was visiting and walked in on the scene. It was no longer a secret. Less than one week later, my husband committed adultery - I immediately filed for divorce. Living a life of shame and secrecy was my crime and I was afraid to tell the brothers. I continued to pioneer through it all and just suffered in silence. For years, I could not even admit to myself that I had been abused. Of course, I felt I was at fault - if only I hadn't asked him that at this time or if only I had waited longer. I was a faithful wife - did it all - worked full time and still tried to maintain a home and a grueling pioneer schedule.

 

I don't begrudge my experience today because truly I have come to know the love of God and to have a heart full of compassion for people. But I must admit that worse than what this man did to me - I felt so unsupported by the elders in my congregation. The truth of the matter is that they betrayed me - esp. the brothers closest to me. You know the ones that come over to eat and drink and use you and your resources to make up for their lack.

 

After the elders discovered my husband's infidelity (which he covered up for some time) he was simply reproved. They knew he was not repentant - even his attitude toward them was arrogant. The truth of the matter is that I believe many elder bodies are simply like "good ole boys clubs" and they could care less about the victim.

 

I have seen it over and over - they keep their dirty little secrets (like fondling women when they drink too much) to themselves as if Jehovah can't see. After I got off the pioneer list - I was treated like an outcast even though I was the "innocent" party just trying to serve Jehovah. How hurtful to know that my former husband still sits in good standing in the congregation although he is still an abusive alcoholic.

 

For about two years after that, I stayed in the congregation - struggling to understand how my badly my situation was handled and I begin to see other sisters in the same predicament. For the first time in l8 years, I began to question whether this really was the true religion - was this God's organization? As time passed, there were so many things that were blatant violations of even my personal moral code that I felt suffocated at the thought of attending one more meeting.

 

In Sept 2000, after requesting help from the elders at least on 4 different occasions, I left the congregation because I could not get any response. I came into this organization to strengthen my relationship with God - only after l8 years of service, I felt more distant from God than ever before. I simply could not stay because the reality of what I was experiencing created more pain than I could bear.. Of course, I was labeled an apostate although I was not involved in immorality or any wrongdoing.

 

I am finally at peace and have found that the God I serve and know is one that loves me and that I can love. I began to listen to the "still, small voice within" and found the God of my childhood - one who comforts and embraces me to life. I am so grateful. That experience taught me the meaning of unconditional love - and if we cannot know and trust God's love as unconditional, then whose love can we trust??

I can now recognize Pharisaical organizations and while I don't condemn any path - I am grateful that I came out of her (Rev 18:4).

 

Most importantly, I have 3 close friends who had been abused in this organization. One who tried to take her own life. These are spiritual people with a love for God and for truth and they too are beginning to walk the path of life. I am grateful that I could be there for them when I had no one except Jehovah to turn to. He has since guided me everyday of my life - I am now married to a wonderful spiritual man and have gained two more beautiful sons. My own sons have forgiven me for the way they were raised and we are healing.

 

It is my purpose in life to help others - to encourage them to look within to see just how special God made them and they need no man or organization to intercede for them. I want people to know the truth about their own being - only then can we find freedom.

 

This morning at 5:30 am , one of my dear "sisters" called to say God had spoken to her heart and she can see clearly. You see, on several occasions, she has attempted to take her life rather than stay in an abusive marriage to very prominent elder. She finally got the strength to call the police - he is in jail. Although it cost her physically (almost 20 stitches to repair her arm that was put through a window), we are thankful it won't cost her the rest of her life.

 

One of the most glaring, obvious problems is that the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses tends to perpetuate abuse in all of its ugly forms it's a breeding ground for abuse for two reasons:

 

1. The Elders don't want to get involved - if you are in trouble, esp. after it becomes public knowledge - they cast you aside. Who then are you to turn to?

 

2. If you speak out - you are then ostracized and labeled divisive. They will call you and an apostate simply for questioning.

 

I have always thought it interesting that when so called "worldly people" get into difficulty in their lives, they tend to run to their spiritual leaders. JWs, on the other hand, have no where to run.

 

The courage and love shown by your taking a stand for all those who were silent sufferers, makes my heart cry out in joy. I thank you personally and will do what I can to assist you in your efforts. Thank you for being a man of integrity and honesty and for a forum that has allowed me to finally vent and get this off my chest.

 

J J

--------------------------------------------------
I've just read these stories on battered women, sisters in the Truth on your silentlambs website. Bill, you and I talked some time ago more related to child abuse issues...all six of my kids were abused by their father, a brother, still in good standing!

Reading some of these stories...my heart breaks for all you sisters. The really sad thing is knowing just how much we are NOT ALONE!

Jehovah's own heart must be breaking over and over, but he will see to it that the wrongdoers, the abusers, are held accountable for their
actions.

My story would repeat many of the situations I've read here, and someday I'll put it here. But my purpose for writing now is to try to connect with other sisters struggling with this experience.

I am still an active JW, still attending the congregation that my ex in good standing attends (he made it so the court ordered me not to move with the children - I can move away, but cannot take my children with me). I'd like to connect with other sisters that are also still active JWs. I'm not saying I'd refuse to talk to sisters that left the Truth, or to women who were never baptized that stopped going to meetings and gave up on the Truth...but I would refuse to talk to those that would try to convince that I should leave the Truth.

Everyone can reach me at cen45324@centurytel.net if you need more info or if you are interested in making the connection with many sisters who've experienced this type of abuse(s).

My name's Andee. I'm 40ish, divorced, disabled (by my dh), mom to six very special kids, and struggling to survive the best I can in these last days.

____________________________

I married a JW and then became one myself. Our son was born and my exhusband began shaking him while he was small and then beating him as the boy grew into a toddler. In his defense, my exhusband was mentally ill at the time. We needed counseling. I went to the elders because I knew this situation could not go on obviously. Their first reaction was 'don't let this get in the papers, you mustn't tell anyone'. I got no help whatsoever so I had to leave the marital home with my son before someone got killed. This affected me for years and frequently asked the elders for help or someone to talk to. I was always told that I must keep it all quiet and I hadn't to tell anyone. My son is 15 years old now and is mentally scarred. From the age of 8 years he had child psychologists, you name it, he has had the lot. For years he has harmed himself. He bangs his head, bites himself hard and cuts his arms. It is tragic to see. All this could have been avoided if we had been allowed to seek help in the beginning. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to help my son I would be grateful. Needless to say I am now a born again Christian.

 

MB

_________________________________

I've thought a great deal about my old life in the past 24 hours.

During the resultant anxious hours and restless night, I had so many random thoughts running through my head. I had to sit down and just let the words tumble out onto paper. This is what I wrote, without even thinking:

"broken screams
caught inside my throat
they never make it out of my mouth
as his hot breath crowds my senses

'you belong to me,' he says
sliding slimy hands over my crawling skin
get away, go away, leave me alone
but the words can't escape
because I am so numb. "

I'll start my story by saying in all honesty that ex husband never beat me. I know that I am far more fortunate than many, many others in that respect. I'll add that I do not consider myself an abuse 'victim'. I am an abuse survivor.

Physical bruises used to be my only definition of mistreatment. I believed that if I wasn't black and blue, I didn't have the right to feel or say that I was being abused. I find it interesting now to read how the dictionary defines abuse:

"a·buse
tr.v. a·bused, a·bus·ing, a·bus·es
To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.

n.
Improper use or handling; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.
Physical maltreatment: spousal abuse.
Sexual abuse.
An unjust or wrongful practice: a government that commits abuses against its
citizens.
Insulting or coarse language: verbal abuse. "

I do not bear physical scars from his hands. The question of whether physical illnesses that I suffer now were brought on by years of stress (from the things he subjected me to) is still debated by my doctors. Eventually, the body pays a price for years spent living in a constant state of panic.

I was raised in "The Truth" and so had this fairy tale idea that most Witness men loved their wives "as they love themselves". Mistreating their wives was something that only "worldly" men did.

I'd told him from day one of our relationship that if I were ever with a man who hit me, I'd leave him, no second chances. I believe that my ex also feared my father, who is a man nearly equal in size and greater in strength than he. His technique was stealth; his weapons of choice were words, physical intimidation, sexual coercion and the threat of physical violence that was always there, barely beneath the surface. He started with the mental manipulation early, while we were dating. I was totally inexperienced. By that I mean that I'd been so sequestered from the opposite sex before we dated that I'd never even been kissed.

Suddenly, I found myself fighting off Mr. Busy Hands every time we were alone for a moment. I didn't feel I had the right to do anything about it, or to tell him to stop. Besides, he was a Ministerial Servant, and I was just a publisher. Surely he wouldn't do anything that wasn't okay, would he? He loved me, he wouldn't want to hurt my relationship with God, would he?

After we were married and I learned more about sex, I did some research in old Watchtower bound volumes. I read articles that had been published the year after my birth but were still being referenced as the latest material on the subject. I realized we'd 'gone too far' (by Watchtower definition) by engaging in 'petting' before marriage.

I showed my husband the article and said we needed to talk to the elders. He was enraged. He insisted that we didn't need to tell anyone, that it was 'okay'. When I finally told him that I couldn't live with my conscience and was going to talk to them, he finally acquiesced. We were privately reproved, and though our families (to this day!) had no knowledge of this, I suffered from crippling depression and extreme guilt that tormented me. I felt so dirty, guilty, unworthy that I decided I must deserve anything my husband did to me.

So, he never had to beat me to get me to submit to him, because I was a mental prisoner already. The woman that I used to be believed that her body was not her own, and 'no' was a word that you never said to your mate when he wanted his due. After all, he was my 'husbandly owner' so I had no rights. He made a point of emphasizing the 'headship' arrangement and reminding me constantly of my 'place'.

I became suicidal, depressed and started developing health problems. I nearly developed an ulcer and lost a lot of weight. My 'worldly' coworkers started bringing me homemade bakery to work and leaving it on my desk, because they worried about me. I was a living skeleton. As time went on, his physical intimidation increased. He'd pin me against the wall by my arms, throw things, block the door so I couldn't leave if he was in a rage. He always stopped just short of hitting me, but the threat of physical violence was always hanging over my head. Of course there also were always the filthy names screamed at me for any and all reasons. He called me stupid and raged over things I had no control over.
One example is that he'd rage about the cost of groceries, when he had himself made the list of what he wanted me to cook for him. If I'd bump into something and get a bruise on my arm, he'd always look at it and say, "People are going to think that I beat you." I didn't think anything of it at the time but now I realize it showed just how worried he
was about his reputation.

Later, (after my divorce) a longtime, non-JW acquaintance said to me "I always worried when I saw you apologizing to him for everything. You couldn't please him. I realized that if it was raining outside and he got wet that he'd blame it on you and you'd apologize for it."

Being verbally assaulted wasn't the thing that bothered me the most. From nearly the beginning of our marriage, he tried to coerce me into giving him oral sex. To a 'good' little JW girl who lives in mortal fear of the Great Day of Jehovah of Armies, you may as well just force her into becoming a prostitute. He badgered me, more and more angrily each time, for years. I kept refusing, citing Watchtower articles and telling him that at
one time the act had even been a disfellowshipping offense. He didn't care. I begged him to let it go, telling him that I was only trying to please Jehovah. His response was, "Jehovah wants you to please your husband. He will not punish you for it."

He began constantly starting arguments and shouting at me, and whatever he claimed the issue was at the beginning, it always came down to his frustration at not getting his way in the bedroom. Eventually my resolve crumbled, because even though I "knew" that God would condemn me to die as immoral, I had no desire to live, so it didn't matter anymore. I suffered indescribable guilt, especially when he would tell me that I "wanted it as much as he did."

I never thought that his demanding sexual acts would be considered abuse at the time, he
never beat me into unconsciousness and held me down and raped me. Again, I kept thinking that my body was not my own, that I had no right to 'deprive him' of his due.

My hands still shake when I remember the times I'd wake up with him all over me, and I feel sick to my stomach when I think back to the time when I did have to physically fight him off.

Our divorce was in process. I was already sleeping in another room of the house and had been for months. We were not living as man and wife and I had made it plain to him that I didn't want him near me. The only reason we shared the same house still was that I had nowhere to go with my baby and he refused to get out.

That night he began pawing at me, and I pushed him away. I told him no, and soon he had me pinned against the wall. He's a big man. I was afraid, I wanted him to stop but I didn't think that I could overpower him. Then all of a sudden I got really angry. I looked into his eyes and said, "You don't care that I don't want this do you?" His eyes reflected pure anger. It was clear that the only reason he wanted me was because I didn't want him. He had me by the wrists, and finally I said to him "If you do this, you will never see your child again." He thought about it a good long moment before he finally let me go. He knew that I was serious, and I guess he decided that it wasn't worth it. He let
go and stormed out of the house. I went out and got a birth control injection as soon as possible, to be sure he couldn't get me pregnant if he tried it again.

Fortunately, he didn't.

My family doesn't know any of this. They do not know of the perverted fetishes (and I'm not talking about oral sex here) that I put up for nearly seven years trying to be a 'good Christian wife', things that I will take with me to my grave.

My family and those who used to be my friends still think that I'm the 'bad' one because I 'left him' and 'left the Truth.' My sister, who is the only member of my family who knows any small bit of what I went through, is livid that I've never 'told the elders' about it. She thinks they would have disfellowshipped him and not me. She is so incredibly naive. I had no desire to add public humiliation to my lot in life, and knew that talking to
the elders wouldn't do one damn bit of good.

I had already tried talking to them about him at several points. I asked my husband to go to marriage counseling with me and he sent me instead: he said that I was crazy. My psychiatrist only knew of his control issues (not letting me have the checkbook, keeping me in the house all day with the baby while he worked/went to the bar/went out with friends, telling me how to dress, how to wear my hair, how much I should weigh) and she told me that it wasn't me who had problems. She warned me that if I allowed him to mistreat me that way that I would, eventually, lose my mind.

I made a last attempt to beg the elders to help control him. I left all sexual matters out of the discussion, and told them about the verbal abuse, etc. They told him that he should control himself. Then they told me that he was depressed and so was I and that I had to be patient with him. They read me a scripture about Job's wife, believe it or not. Then they left. And my ex only got worse.

I knew that the organization wasn't going to help me, my father in law was the PO of our congregation and therefore my ex had carte blanche to do as he pleased. I realized that it was up to me to get myself out of the situation. It wasn't easy, but I did it. If I can do it, anyone can.

Many have stories like this, most are much worse than mine. I'm speaking out now because women need to understand that abuse comes in many forms. Abuse crosses all religious and socio-economic lines. It's insidious because the abuser actually convinces the abused that they deserve what they get, otherwise they'd never put up with it.

My ex husband used to often say to me, "Do you think anyone will treat you better than I do?" Finally, the day came when I did believe it, and it did happen. I remember when I first confided to my second husband (then fiancé) about what had happened to me and why I was so untrusting of men, he said something to me that I will never forget: "In our marriage, you'll know that you always have the right to say no. My hope is that you'll feel safe and you won't ever want to."

I have always felt safe with him. It's a different world. He has never been anything but gentle, kind and loving to me, and I've never been afraid, or wanted to say no. I'm finally safe and contented and feel peaceful in my own house. Which is just the way it should be.

Sometimes I still have flashbacks and nightmares. Sometimes, I still wonder if somehow, I wasn't to blame for all or at least part of what happened. I didn't fight hard enough, I gave in, so I must have wanted it too, that the message that my ex-husband drilled into my head over and over. Once in awhile the old thought processes kick in and for a split second, I again believe the lies he told me. In that moment I doubt whether I have the right to feel he ever abused me. But then I wake up, and put my arms around my new husband and think about the way he treats me, and compare that to my old life. When I do that, there is no doubt in my mind that I was an abused wife.

If you're being abused, please, get help. You can get out. Many of us have. I'm grateful every day that I did, and that now I have a real man in my life that has helped me to begin to heal my old wounds.

LP

 

 

 

 

 

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