Tuesday, April 18, 2017

STORIES FROM VICTIMS OF THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES 'CULT'

Jodi was abused by a church elder and his daughter when she was eight years old. When she was 13 she mustered up the courage to report the abuse to church authorities but was not believed and branded a liar.
"They preach love but they don't show love," she said.

"They love bomb you. They sell you this vision of a perfect community. It is anything but. It's indoctrination. It's a cult, it really is. But they convince you it's a religion."

Shine Lawyers principal Lisa Flynn specializes in institutional sexual abuse and describes the culture of Jehovah's Witness church as deeply problematic.

"The Jehovah's Witnesses have many practices and policies which create a perfect storm for child abuse," she said.

Ms Flynn describes the organization as "controlling, insular and isolating".
"Anyone who complains faces the risk of being shunned and isolated from their families and friends and the way of life they have known," she said. "That makes people very reluctant to report abuse."

And those who do report face hurdles such as the "two witness rule" which requires two eye witnesses to an allegation, having to confront the alleged abuser and giving evidence to a panel of male elders.

"It's often the case that no action is taken," she said. "That leads to a climate where a perpetrator is free to go off and continue perpetrating."
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