Australian Royal Commission Inquiry 2015

How Do Jehovah’s Witness Elders Comfort a Teenage Abuse and Incest Survivor? With Counsel to “Respect” Her Violent, Adulterous Father

During the 2015 Royal Commission Inquiry Into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia, a woman called “BCG” testified of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, which included repeated sexual assaults and violent physical abuse. An elder had previously seen evidence of this physical abuse, when BCG showed up at the Kingdom Hall with a black eye and informed him that her father had broken down the bathroom door when she was inside; the elder had laughed off the incident.

When BCG approached other elders to discuss this abuse, her father was already being investigated by the religion’s internal justice system, called a judicial committee, for committing adultery. During that judicial committee, BCG’s mother testified that the father had molested before, “4-5 times.”

As one might assume, BCG appeared to be very angry at her father for everything that was happening in their family. The response of the elders? See with your own eyes, taken from the notes they made during this judicial committee process:

Capture respect

So there you have it. A man in the home repeatedly beats his children, molests all his daughters, and brazenly runs around on his wife, and when a child feels anger at this, she is told to “respect” her father.

That counsel and reaction of the elders may be sickening enough, but note what they testified to the Royal Commission, when it was brought out that the atmosphere they created for BCG was not conducive to her being able to speak freely:

Capture respect 4

Note the words this elder uses to describe their process of questioning BCG. He says they were patient, kind, and showed compassion. This is in direct contrast to what they did, in actually counseling or chastising her, and for what? Being angry at her abusive, violent, raping, child-molesting, cheating father.

Why, I might ask, did this man deserve an ounce of respect from her? He beat her, molested her and her sisters, and was now cheating on his wife. Simply being a parent and a man shouldn’t render you respect when your conduct is so vile, violent, and abhorrent.

This testimony was also offered by the same elder:

Capture respect 5

Two things wrong with this; first, how can she feel “comfortable” telling the elders about her “hurt and the pain,” when her anger may be part of that hurt and pain, and she was just chastised for feeling that anger?

The other issue is that this elder claims that he himself felt “certain feelings of anger” toward BCG’s father. Was he counseled and chastised and told to show respect to the man instead? Does that counsel only apply to his actual victim; the one who was viciously raped and beaten and sees her own mother being cheated on? His teenage victim needs to show “respect” to the man doing these things, but an elder who only hears the story, he can be angry all he wants?

It’s interesting how Jehovah’s Witnesses paint a picture of the elders in the congregations, as they tried to do when under the hot lights of a Royal Commission Inquiry, of being loving and kind and really looking out for their “spiritual brothers and sisters,” as this statement from the March 15, 2011, Watchtower shows:

“Spiritual shepherds may especially be in a position to listen with empathy, show understanding, and provide loving Scriptural counsel. (Acts 20:28) In that way overseers imitate the apostle Paul, who had “tender affection” for his spiritual brothers and sisters.”

Yet, where was the empathy, understanding, and love for this teenage victim of repeated rape and violent physical abuse? The only thing she got was counsel and chastising, for very natural, normal, justified emotions that the elder himself claims he felt. She also got laughed at and dismissed when physical evidence of her abuse was first shown to an elder. Funny how you don’t read those types of things in the Watchtower magazine.

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4 replies »

  1. I am increasingly shocked that these things are happening.
    I also find it difficult to believe because of the “outward front of JW’s)
    i.e. they are spiritually educated and morally cleansed servants of god.
    call me naive,
    But I can’t help thinking that if they are spiritually educated
    they should know that to “allegedly” abuse a person is morally wrong and completely goes against christian Principles?
    and for elders to “laugh off” a report of abuse is also wrong
    because it means that while witnesses are on the field ministry and teaching people about god’s standards,
    the elders are allegedly ignoring those standards in order to satisfy bad desires?
    in every meeting I have attended on a Thursday and Sunday etc
    nothing at all is mentioned about the things highlighted here.
    a brother may mention that thousands are disfellowshipped every year for committing fornication,
    but they never go into specific detail about who are being shown the front door?
    maybe cause it would be very disheartening and embarrassing?
    but it seems to me that if these allegations are credible
    then the truth bearers need to “tell the truth” about what is happening behind closed doors?
    last month I actually spoke to an elder of my local congregation
    and told him about what I have been seeing and hearing regarding allegations of sexual abuse.
    he seemed genuinely surprised that these allegations are rife.
    he then went on to assure me that if such things do take place
    they are “rarities” and anyone guilty of ungodly conduct is dismissed without question
    although the normal process takes place first of course
    but basically he assured me that according to his knowledge and experience as an elder,
    allegations of sexual abuse are taken very seriously,
    and anyone found guilty is expected to leave.
    Alex how certain are you that the things you highlight are credible?
    you are aware that some people may accuse you of having a grudge to bear against the JW organization
    hence why you set up this website?
    but my opinion is that sadly there is an element of truth (even though I am just going by what you say on here)
    but the element of truth for me stems from the fact that JW’s are people first and foremost and being a christian is secondary.
    and enough time has shown that humans are capable of giving into bad desires
    whether it is the desire to steal what does not belong to us,
    or to satisfy ones desire for sex with someone we are not married to
    or someone that is a child.
    but being spiritually educated should serve to make us think twice about giving into wrong desires.
    but because humans have free will
    they are able to chose to ignore bad desires or give into those desires.

    and once people start “giving in to bad desires”
    that is the inspiration for websites like this which reveals to all what would normally be hidden from sight and ears.
    you are right in exposing these wrongs which are being committed
    while the people who we are meant to believe have iron like resistance to wrong desires
    are actually the ones doing wrong in secret.
    I think that it is time for the elders to “defend themselves” and tell the world what is going on?
    if they are tolerating wrong doing in secret then the name of JW’s is no longer
    worthy of respect
    because they can’t have one law for the public and another for themselves.
    that goes against christian principles.
    and it also makes the god they claim to represent look careless.
    after-all if these allegations are true
    and Jesus is Truly directing the organization
    then why have the elders allowed wrong doing to continue?
    cause ultimately it is within their ability to deal with these things properly and seriously
    rather than allow them to grow and grow till it begins to dirty the name of JW as well as the god of Christianity.

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