RTV Noord – 13th September 2018
Manifesto against abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses: ‘Children must be able to grow up safely’
A manifesto with the aim of calling on the Jehovah’s Witnesses to stop looking away from sexual abuse within this community. Stichting Reclaimed Voices wants to increase the pressure on the national church leadership with the manifesto and a protest demonstration.
Reclaimed Voices was founded by ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses who were abused by other members of the Church. Up to now nine declarations have been filed with the judiciary.
Message to everyone
Frank Huiting from Groningen is one of the founders and spokesperson for the foundation. He emphasizes that the protest, on Saturday 6 October, at the headquarters of the Jehovah’s in Emmen is a ‘quiet and peaceful’ protest. ‘We hereby draw attention to the problem of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses.’
They also hand over a manifesto to the mayor of Emmen. ‘We call attention to child safety in that manifesto, which is what we advocate. And we also clearly show what people can do themselves if there are suspicions of abuse. So we do not only address the administration of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but we actually address our message to everyone.’
Nevertheless, the manifest is specifically handed over to the Burgervader van Emmen. Huiting: ‘Of course the head office is there, that is an important reason. But we also notice that he is very involved, very enthusiastic when it comes to child safety. And we have asked the mayor if he wants to embrace the contents of the manifesto. He said of this: it is an important message and I want to embrace it. ‘
The child must be central and able to grow up safely
Frank Huiting – Reclamed Voices
To ‘market’ the message within the faith community is no easy task. ‘It is indeed a challenge, because you notice that reading material that does not originate from this community or from writers is difficult to bring to the attention’, Huiting admits.
‘Of course we try to ensure that this message happens, for example via the internet, but also through that silent protest. And we also use the media for that. ‘
Huiting especially hopes for more awareness within the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “That people take their responsibility. The child must be central and able to grow up safely. If there are signs that this is not the case, you can do something about it yourself. ‘
The church board in Emmen has also received an official invitation to receive the manifesto. However, Huiting does not think they will respond to this.
We can not look away, it has to be discussed
Frank Huiting – Reclamed Voices
Is not such a protest at the door a provocation? Huiting does not think so: ‘You want to give a clear statement. That is why it is also a peaceful protest. We want to make it clear: listen guys, here is something going on, open your eyes and please listen to us. Think about our message. ”
Break through the taboo
For Huiting and Reclamed Voices it is a long-term affair. Happiness was abused for years by a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After it came out with his story others followed, declarations came and there is now a criminal investigation. The protest and manifesto form a new chapter.
Huiting: ‘I am really convinced that this will help. We want to break a taboo. It must be a subject that is being questioned. It is broader than the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just look at the developments within the Catholic Church now. We can not look away. It must be discussed. ”
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– Stadjer makes a declaration against Jehovah’s Witnesses because of sexual abuse
– Chamber and minister for sexual abuse research Jehovah’s Witnesses
– Dekker wants to withdraw tax benefits from Jehovah’s investigations
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