RT – 27th March 2018
The religious leaders would have threatened the victims, telling them that if they went to the authorities, they would provoke “Jehovah’s rebuke”. PICTURE: A mobile booklet rack of Jehovah’s Witnesses in central London.
In the United Kingdom, more than 100 members and former members of Jehovah’s Witnesses have confessed to The Guardian newspaper that they have been victims of child sexual abuse, physical violence and other types of abuse committed by high-ranking members of that religious community.
The victims claim that within the organization “there is a culture of cover-ups” for several decades, and that religious leaders discourage people who suffered some kind of abuse to file complaints with the authorities to avoid provoking the “reproach of Jehovah” or be expelled from the congregation, and lose contact even with their own family members.
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“Jehovah’s Witnesses must lose their charitable status, because they are not protecting the children,” said one of the complainants, who says she was sexually abused between 3 and 12 years of age. “I am completely horrified by Jehovah’s Witnesses, I did not get support and I experienced 10 years of abuse,” said another of the victims, adding that the elders of the congregation knew about these attacks, but ‘never’ did anything to help him.
Meanwhile, other former members of that congregation have revealed that they were forced to relate in detail to a committee chaired by elders (a process in which they expose themselves and confess faults or sins before the leaders of the congregation) about their first sexual experiences . According to the Guardian, at the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United Kingdom there is a database of allegations of abuse committed within the organization, but that has not been delivered to the relevant authorities.
For its part, in a statement the religious congregation affirms that safeguarding children is of the utmost importance . He also indicated that a victim and his family have the right to report cases of child abuse to the police. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the councils of elders of that organization treat victims of abuse with” compassion, understanding and kindness,” and carry out the respective investigation of each case.
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