Elders and Governing Body

Are Jehovah’s Witness Women Even Allowed to File Criminal Charges of Rape If They Don’t Scream?

As I bring out in this post, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that if a woman doesn’t literally, physically scream when faced with a sexual assault, then she has “consented” to the violation. When a woman has been raped, she meets with elders in her congregation who are told to use their own “discernment” about the incident, taking into account her “mental disposition,” the circumstances leading up to the incident, and if she delayed reporting it. (See this post.) If elders don’t believe she was really raped, based on the above vague and obviously man-made standards, she may be disfellowshipped (excommunicated), and then shunned by her whole family and friends.

While this may seem obscene enough under any circumstances, consider what might be the legal ramifications of such a procedure. If elders in a woman’s religion have decided, based on a religious system that she is part of, that she has “consented” to the violation, is she even allowed to press charges or file a police report? Would her assailant have a legal defense in this case, saying that, according to her own beliefs, she consented to the assault if she didn’t scream, if she delayed reporting it, or if for any reason the elders in her congregation decided that she wasn’t really raped?

That’s Ridiculous!

Yes, it is ridiculous to think that, because elders in a woman’s religion have decided among themselves that she “consented” to a violation, that she wasn’t truly raped. It’s ridiculous to think that not screaming is the only or best indication of her resistance to this assault, that she should for any reason be obligated to resist or fight at all when faced with such a horrific event, and that her “mental disposition” after the incident or if she delayed filing a report is any indication of what really happened during the attack.

It’s ridiculous, but as you can see from the posts linked above, this is what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe; you can read more about how they have equated rape with fornication in the Rape category of this site.

It may also be ridiculous to think that anyone would use this type of misogynistic, woman-hating, victim-blaming, “let’s rape her all over again by making her explain herself to the elders of her religion” type of thinking for their own defense in a court of law. However, how many other ridiculous, outlandish types of defenses have been used in court, especially for sexual assaults, for the benefit of the defense? How many have been endorsed by judges and juries? Consider:

  • In Argentina, two judges slashed the sentence of a child molester because the 6-year-old boy he molested had been previously abused by his father, and they “argued that it was unlikely a child could be equally damaged twice by the same type of abuse. The judges also seemed to indicate that the crime was less deleterious because the child was gay…” See this news story.
  • A judge in Orange County, California, said during the sentence of a rapist, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something—if someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case. That tells me that the victim in this case, although she wasn’t necessarily willing, she didn’t put up a fight. And to treat this case like the rape cases that we all hear about is an insult to victims of rape. I think it’s an insult. I think it trivializes a rape.” See this news story.
  • In New South Wales, “Judge [Garry] Nielson told a court that just as gay sex was socially unacceptable in the 1950s and 1960s but was now widely accepted, ‘a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available’, not having a [sexual] partner.'” See this news story.
  • In Montana, Judge G. Todd Baugh, “said a teenage rape victim was ‘probably as much in control of the situation as the defendant,’ and that she ‘appeared older than her chronological age.'” See this news story.

Note something very important here; defendants didn’t come out and say “Hey, that 6-year-old I raped was gay,” or “Her body didn’t shut down, she looked older, my sister is fair game.” Judges said these things. If a courtroom judge is so callused and ludicrous so as to say these types of things in their own courtroom, it’s plausible that one might accept the words of a rape defendant when he claims that the woman’s own religion says she consented, therefore no crime occurred. Sickening, but plausible.

Alexandra, What Are You Doing?

Someone reading this might wonder at what I’m doing, putting this possibility out there. Might someone read this column and decide to use this defense after raping a JW woman, perhaps even targeting a Witness woman with this defense in mind?

Yes, someone might. If they do, I hope the media picks up on it and reports it far and wide. People need to understand the obscenities of this religion, its beliefs and teachings, and how they victimize children and women in particular.

For years, many people have called Jehovah’s Witnesses a “pedophile’s paradise” because of how they insist on a witness to this abuse before they take any action. Until their official policy was rewritten in 2010, parents were warned against, if not forbidden, from calling the police in these cases. You can read more about this in the Pedophilia category of this site. In recent years, publicity regarding these cases has increased, so that more and more victims are coming forward and filing lawsuits, writing their life stories, and otherwise talking openly about this abuse.

I can only hope the same happens for rape victims in this religion. This disgusting, archaic thinking, of insisting that a woman scream or otherwise suffer “the disgrace and shame of submitting to an immoral man” (January 15, 1964, Watchtower), saying that she should not “submit to rape, as that would be consenting to fornication” (June 1, 1968, Watchtower), “that if she did not scream she would ruin her relationship with Jehovah God and the Christian congregation; that then she would be disfellowshiped or excommunicated” (March 8, 1974, Awake), is something that should be brought to the attention of the general public. (Please see this page on JWfacts.com for more quotes from Jehovah’s Witnesses about rape.)

I would also hope that Jehovah’s Witnesses understand this sickening teaching and its consequences. It’s very easy to just dismiss the words you read in your religion’s literature without much thought, if those words don’t affect you directly. If you’ve never been raped and don’t know anyone who has, you can easily sit in the Kingdom Hall, read those filthy words, and just nod your head.

However, if someone should use these words in their defense in court, perhaps some JWs may sit up and take notice. They will see firsthand how those words insult and degrade women after such a torturous ordeal, and see how grossly incorrect and misogynistic they are as well.

People should understand what Jehovah’s Witnesses do to rape victims, and how they dare to equate a horrific attack to fornication. The mental and emotional abuse they put women through should be made public, and rape crisis counseling centers, lawyers, and prosecutors especially should know what they’re up against when dealing with this religion and its victims. Just as they are truly a “paradise for pedophiles,” the religion is also, in many ways, a paradise for rapists. Their teachings about rape actually insult all rape victims everywhere, but especially victimize women in their own religion, and I’m more than happy to put that out there, no matter the consequences.

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12 replies »

  1. I find that JWs always reply to me in this way, and I would define it as narcissism. An elder gets up for the Memorial and say that the Passover moon was a solar eclipse that darkened the sky for 3 hours. You wonder how a full moon can do this in front of the sun on the opposite side of the Earth. So you tell him, and he says this proves you are against elders. So you tell other elders and they feel this is again all elders to correct an elder. You are not allowed to have YOUR truth it must be their truth and they will claim this truth comes from the WatchTower via they as elders were appointed by HOLY ones. This was back when there were more than The Holy Seven. The point is that it implies elders can do contrary to WatchTower and be protected by WatchTower by pretending to themselves that protecting elders is protecting Jehovah and his name. Is this how the apostles protected Jesus! Didn’t know he needed this protection or that he wanted their intrusion; did he not say leave these kids alone, they want to come to me. Nothing has changed. The same evil in people exist. Holy one comes to town, we have to horde him and worship him and keep others away.
    So now you tell people that Jesus was buried during the full moon lunar eclipse and you are apostate because that is not what the elder said. AND I ask is it narcistic when the reply is then, IF the WatchTower wanted us to know that they would publish that, we don’t need to know it from you. And IF the WT felt it important or IF Jehovah wanted us to know this, then we would hear it from them not from you. Is this arrogance? Haughtiness? Or simple truth? No I do not think it simple factual truth of not needing to know. It is worshiping a WT as if it is Jehovah even if it appoints elders who are liars and hide their lies, and scoff that their lies should even matter.
    My mom speaks of a sister whose husband the elder told the elders the chairs were being put in wrong. She brags he was right and no one listened to this humble man. But all her bagging and she is unaware that I told the humble elder when the other elders were not listening. This is the nature of the beast, and baptism does not change it. And pretending to worship Jehovah as a whole body of elders does not change it. Like published in the 1980s the JWs followed elders to the Hall when the volcano erupted and all died for worshiping Jehovah as if salvation in a building instead of as salvation in high ground. Jehovah was in the high land, not in the valley Kingdom Hall, and so Jehovah killed them as they deserved for being stupid JWs. They become witnesses of what not to do when they get resurrected to admit their stupidity in worshiping elders by obeying them and their opinions.

  2. Narcism is believing that you are not worth the reward, however you believe you will get this reward because others are not reaching for it like you are. Paul says people will do as they please if there were no resurrection. However even those who think their works are good enough to be given salvation for their work (the hours of travel time before you make your Return Visit on someone interested that you already know is not home on Wednesdays), the point is narcism says i get the reward and you do not. And why how does it say that, by people saying their way of behavior and their way of explanations are Jehovah’s way via WatchTower way some must be Jehovah, so that YOU should beware of edging the line next to eternal death. JWs attract many people who are already judgemental of others and excusing of themselves so that these will come into the church with intent to change others. Then you have those raised with the narcism to say we have the true God, the world does not. BUT truth is found in proof, and people do not practice what they pretend to, so eventually even what they teach they twist to their behavior rather than change their behavior to what they teach.

  3. God’s standards you say? Do you have a problem with Jehovah’s standards? because when Moses in Genesis sees actions as God’s he says God, but when he sees the same person take action as Jehovah then he says Jehovah. And i am not sure YOU or JWs know the difference. YOU prove you do not. And if proven then that means Jehovah proves you do not know his name that is on you and that you keep muttering with arrogance that you know his name. Many knew the name Noah and knew nothing about Noah as in how and what he is righteous in. People are full of crap, they say this is what Jesus would do, and would have done, and would not have done, and all they say is contrary to what Jesus did do and did not do. And it is the same about Noah, and the same about Jehovah. So back to your claim of doing God’s standards (?) the Catholic way? The WatchTower way. Do we do the law of Moses the Jewish way or does the WatchTower correct the Jews! yet not themselves. Why is it that marijuana is illegal and excommunicated by JWs (as demonism) and yet how is it excused for medical practice in law, and so also excused by WT. What about states that now allow it? The standard is not Jehovah, it is mere whim in the wind. How do elders stand around my JW mom while they put a plasma bag on her? Why does it take ME to say DO NOT RAPE MY MOTHERS CONSCIENCE because 7 on a governing body has no standard of Jehovah yet pushes their opinion like a tossing wave coming in going out. Quit convincing yourself that baptized JWs are correct that if you are not baptized you are still with Jehovah by going to meetings that express standards that jehovah does not express. Jesus was 100% Jehovah or at least 99%, but quit glorifying 7 men as 100% Jehovah when they still teach only 20% of all known about Jehovah, the same frozen 20% since 1975. Forty years of their avoiding Jehovah just like Israel did refusing to go into the Land Promised because it means obligation and that implies error until the effort is made to do so.

  4. Alex, you always know how to make this truth an interesting read. I got a question, do you think most if not all Witnesses are narcisstic?

    Anywho, I’m interested to see what you write up next!

    • Thank you for your kind words. As for your question, I don’t know if you can pigeonhole JWs; I’m actually working on a post about their various mindsets, so it’s interesting you bring it up. I do think their teaching of “we’re right, everyone else is wrong and soon to be dead” is narcissistic, so perhaps they all are to some extent, at least by default?

      • I agree with you, they must be narcisstic by default. Atleast that’s how my mother is, I’m only going from personal experience. When will your next article be up? And thank YOU for taking your time to write these articles and help to keep us informed — you literally saved my life, and years of pain. I can’t thank you enough!

        As a note, I decided to use my real name. I feel confident about breaking from my family narcisstic nature and just be myself, whether they know or not I don’t care, it’s my life after all. Once again, thank you so much! 🙂

  5. I think your blog title is too sensationalist for its content, which is kinda incoherent. And I think you also know the answer to your own question…. They are “allowed” to file charges, but the elders might interpret that as slander and disfellowship her. Bye bye family and friends! Such compassion…

  6. rape I believe can be considered as a kind of “theft” in the sense of taking something from a person which they are not entitled to.
    according to god’s standards,
    unless we pay the price for sex,
    i.e. marriage,
    we are not entitled to it.
    so if sexual theft is taking place within the organization which bears the name of god,
    something is clearly wrong.
    so much time has passed and has made it clear that humans always give way to bad desires.
    and when they give way
    it is safe to say that they don’t spare much thought for the person they are targeting.
    therefore selfishness and indifference are present when people carry out bad desires.
    but does that mean they are hardened beyond repentance?

    no…because if a simple test was carried out by doing to them what they did to others
    they would be the first ones to cry out.
    so its safe to say they enjoy the freedom to do to others what they wouldn’t like to be done to them.
    so it seems to me that the best way to deal with this sort of thing is for the perpetrators to begin to think before they give way to another bad desire,
    would they like it to be done to them?
    if they don’t then they shouldn’t do it to others.
    I would encourage people to try not to let these acts of greed and selfishness
    make them lose faith in god.
    remember that it is people that stumble themselves and bring shame on others by their ungodly conduct.
    god is more than aware of what is happening and even if it takes time for justice to come
    you can be certain that it will.
    in the meantime
    try your utmost if you are a JW
    to not give into any bad or selfish desire
    which will go a long way in helping people to trust god.

    • Are you serious? Do you utmost not to give in to bad thoughts? The problem is not the the rapists are within the congregation. The problem is with 3 men deciding a woman’s standing with her god based on how she reacted to being the victim of a crime. If it was any other type of crime it would be reported. But, no, these men decide if she willingly allowed it to happen and if there was actually a crime. I hope they can sleep at night because of the double judgement that is to be heaped on them because of their position.

  7. It’s nice to know that Jehovah has a statute of limitations as to innocence or guilt. If the “sin” is not reported in a “timely” manner then it is regarded as guilt and unrepentance. What a sick cult!

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