Sexual Abuse Stories about Jehovah's Witnesses

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Hello. I am new in here but certainly not new to the JWs or to recovery from them. I come here by a rather long windy path but here I am. FREE!!!
 
I was introduced to the JWs when I was 11 years old when my mother starting studying with them. Within a year I asked to be baptized but was told I should wait until I was older. Shortly after problems at home resulted in my being placed in a foster home in another city. I lost touch with my family and the JWs for three years.
 
During that time I remembered what I had been taught and in school acted the part of a faithful Witness girl. Other Witness kids who never saw me at a meeting never asked me why I took the stand I did (refusing to salute the flag etc) but I joined them in the hall regularly.
 
At 16 years old I returned to live with my mother who by this time was baptized and immediately became involved again and within a year was baptized and in one more year I was married to a new convert (not my choice but rather "encouraged" by my mother).
 
I lived for fifteen years in this abusive marriage to a man who slowly rose to elder in the congregation. He was looked up to and was respected by the others in the congregation. My life was spent trying my best to hide the abuse at home (emotional, spiritual and sexual towards me and physical abuse towards the children) and I created the belief that we were the perfect Witness family (2 daughters). Vacations involved trips to Bethel or to visit other Witnesses. My supporting him allowed him to regularly vacation pioneer and spent all his time ministering to the flock and ignoring the family.
 
I regularly suffered from depression as a result of the abuse at home and the long-term effects of abuse as a child (pre-Witness). Added stress of being an elders wife and trying to be perfectly happy drove me to serious thoughts of suicide.
 
My husband's sexual demands were perverted and disgusting to me but he insisted on them  continually and repeatedly tried to force some of his demands on me. He used the Bible to tell me that it was my obligation as a wife to satisfy his sexual demands and that if I did not he would be forced to commit adultery. I was also reminded that if he did commit adultery it would be my fault and his blood would be on my hands.
 
I felt dirty and ashamed. Used and abused. And believed no one would listen to me or believe me. So I stayed quiet for many years. I finally realized there were two ways out death by suicide or adultery. We tried a separation for a short period of time but he would come to the house and yell and try to get in demanding that I take care of his sexual needs and then he would leave.
 
To deal with this my reasoning went like this:
If I commit suicide I will be dead, my kids will be alone, and God will not forgive me.
 
If I commit suicide he will be free to remarry (that way I will not be responsible if he commits adultery and therefore his blood will not be on my hands) and he will have to stop bothering me PLUS hopefully God will eventually forgive me. If I just left him he would commit adultery and I would be responsible and of course God would not forgive me. Sounds convoluted and it was and it took me two years to figure out what to do.
 
I committed adultery with an almost stranger which turned into a rape -- date rape I suppose. I had the power to be free but was too scared to tell for another year. My suicidal thoughts got worse and worse until finally I had no choice but to tell which of course brought the elders running full force.
 
Now I wasn't in the best of shape to begin with and the whole ordeal of the Judicial Committee really wore me down. At one point my husband knew I was going to tell the truth about his sexual demands so he "stepped down" as elder on the pretext that he needed to spend more time with his family. When the elders met with us HE told them what he had done to me and about his sexual demands (I think he figured that if he told it would look better).
 
Well they disfellowshipped me for a one time experience and white-washed the whole thing for his fifteen years of sexual abuse to me. About five years later I went to one of the elders to ask about reinstatement and I was told there was nothing in my husband's file about his statements and he did not recall my husband ever saying such things. (In the meantime my now ex-husband remarried a sister in the congregation)
 
I never went back.
 
About five years ago a friend asked me some questions about the Witnesses but I knew nothing about the things she was asking. So I started doing some research. What an eye-opener.
 
I knew I was treading on dangerous ground to read this material. Does this sound strange -- that I should still be scared after ten years out to read apostate literature. Well I still believed they had the truth even though I had no faith in the elders. So I was scared but I didn't let the fear stop me. I read and read and read -- everything I could get my hands on.
 
Now during those fifteen years out I had gone back to school and became a counselor working with incest survivors. I became an expert on abuse but most of the literature I read was about physical or sexual abuse -- nothing about psychological abuse or spiritual abuse.  As a part of my work I started reading information about cults and found the gold at the end of the rainbow. My ex-husband was a psychological and spiritual abuser and the organization I was in used the exact same techniques as any abuser in any family. Abuse is abuse and it doesn't matter who is doing it whether an individual or an organization. The Watchtower organization is no different than any abuser. They use fear and threats and intimidation and manipulation and perversions of the truth to control their victims.
 
Well I no longer live with abuse in my daily life and I no longer live with abuse in my spiritual life.  I know the truth and it is not what the JWs teach.
 
Lee Hardiman

Dear Randy,

I hope that I can help other people by sharing my experience.

I was born into the Jehovah Witness cult in 1972.  My mother was active
in the organization.  My father was disfellowshipped for smoking
cigarettes.  I am the third child.  I have two older sisters. My younger
brother was born in 1975, the year that JWs should be looking forward to
Armageddon, according to the JW literature.

My oldest sister, Leah, started sexually abusing me when I was four years
old.  She was a teenager.  I told my mother what was happening.  She
didn't do anything to help me.  She told my unemployed father, but he
didn't do anything to help me either.  Leah started molesting my little
brother when he was still a baby.  My parents let Leah molest both of us.

My mother took all four of us kids to the five weekly meetings.  The
pictures of Armageddon in the organization's literature scared me.  My
mother told me that I would die a horrible death like the people in the
pictures if I ever stopped going to the meetings or field service.

The sexual abuse stopped when my family moved.  The physical
abuse from my parents continued.  When I was five years old my father
hit me with a wooden ping pong paddle so hard that it broke in half.  My
brother and I were frequently whipped with a belt.  I had a severe case
of chicken pox when I was six years old; my mother threatened to whip me
with the belt even though I had sores all over my body.  My brother and
I were always dragged from our chairs at the meeting to the bathroom to
be spanked by our mother for talking or being restless.

When I started kindergarten, my mother told me that I could not
participate in school activities that included holidays, birthdays, the
American flag, etc.  My kindergarten teacher had a surprise Christmas
party with a Santa Claus that came into our classroom.  I didn't want to
be killed at Armageddon for being at a Christmas party, so I ran and hid
under the coats hanging from the coat rack.  I stayed there until it was
time to go home.  I was not allowed to have "worldly" friends at school.  
I didn't have any JW friends because my father was disfellowshipped. 
Everyone who has been a JW knows that there are cliques in "God's
Organization".  Everyone is labeled whether they know it or not.

Leah met her future husband, Mark, at a meeting.  My parents let Mark
move into our house shortly after they met.  The elders in the
congregation didn't like it, but they didn't have much leverage because
my dad was already disfellowshipped.  My parents let Mark move into the
bedroom that my brother and I shared.  My brother and I had to sleep on
the couch in the living room until Mark and Leah had their Kingdom Hall
wedding and moved to another town.  My parents sold our house to move us
closer to them in the other town.  After we moved, I started wetting my
bed and stuttering. 

My mother decided that I was not active enough in the organization even
though I was forced to go the five weekly meetings and spend my weekends
in field service selling magazines.  My mother signed me up for the
Ministry School without my consent.  I dreaded giving talks because of
my stuttering problem.  I remember laying in bed crying and wishing that
I was never born!

My mother nagged my father to get reinstated back into the organization. 
He quit smoking, started attending meetings, started studying, and was
eventually reinstated.

I repressed being sexually abused until I was eighteen years old.  I
told my parents that I remembered what Leah did to my brother and I.  I
contacted the District Attorneys office.  I wanted to press criminal
charges against Leah for molesting me before the statute of limitations
expired for repressed memories.  My father told me that if I filed
charges, he and my mother would not help me in any way.  They would not
even testify in my behalf.  I tried to press the charges without their
help.  They attorney told me that it would impossible to prove my case
because I didn't have any physical scars from the sexual abuse.  The
attorney told me to drop it, so I did.  I saw a Psychologist and was
diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I told my parents about
my condition.  I was still living at home at this time.  My father told
me that if I wanted to continue going to my Psychologist, I would have
to give him gas money for the ride.  My father kicked me out of the
house shortly after this because I would not give him money to gamble
with.  I was only earning minimum wage at my part-time job.

I told an elder in my mother's congregation that Leah molested my brother
and I, and she was still a baptized publisher in good standing.  He
didn't do anything about it.  Leah lived in another state.  Leah is still
in good standing in "God's Organization".  I don't speak to Leah or her
husband now.  She denied molesting me at first, but she finally admitted
it.

My mother, sisters, and brother are still active JWs.  My father is
inactive; he has a gambling problem.  I walked away from the
organization when I was nineteen.  My family treats me like a
disassociated person, even though I was never baptized.

I do not blame God for what happened to me in the cult.  I am happier
now than I ever was.  I am putting myself through night school and
working full time.  I understand how mind control works and I warn
people about destructive cults whenever I have the opportunity.

Sincerely,
contributed

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