As many former Jehovah’s Witnesses know, some “anti-masturbation videos” that are shown to individuals entering Bethel, the headquarters of the religion, were recently leaked online. These videos are disturbing for many reasons, including their overall content and graphic detail, and their proposed outlandish scenarios of persons masturbating against pillows.
As disgusting as these videos are, I noticed something said in the video addressed to women that was very bothersome. In setting up this video, and making it seem more palatable and acceptable to viewers, the individual presenting this discourse says that “the governing body loves you,” and that they want their congregants to serve Jehovah “with a clean conscience,” and that’s why they want women to guard themselves against “self-abuse.”
Note this video itself in its entirety, but especially the first two-and-a-half minutes, where this statement about love is made; the term “self-abuse” is used at about the 6:00 mark:
Obviously avoiding this supposed “self-abuse” is very important to the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, so that they need to make a full video about the habit, which makes it even more disgusting that Jehovah’s Witnesses feel no need to protect women from domestic abuse. Watchtower literature has actually chastised abused women for “feeling sorry” for themselves, and has also encouraged these women to stay with their abusive husbands, in the hopes of converting them.
Note the February 15, 2012, Watchtower simplified edition:
This woman openly admits that her husband hit her; do Jehovah’s Witnesses think this is a minor matter? Did he hit her with a hand or with an object? Was it more than once?
How hard did he hit her; did he give her a black eye, a split lip, a broken nose or broken cheekbone? Did he hit her in the stomach and potentially give her internal injuries? This is all very possible and very commonplace for abused women.
The physical pain is one thing, but even as “Selma” says, she lived in constant fear of her own husband, in her own home, because of his hot temper and obvious ongoing mental abuse.
This experience is from the April 2013 Awake magazine:
As someone who grew up in a violent home, I can attest to the damage that this environment does to a woman’s, and to a child’s, mental and emotional well-being. My own mother was suicidal and in and out of treatment centers, and addicted to a long list of anti-anxiety medications, because of my stepfather’s temper, and because of this same type of constant anger and resultant fear. As I bring out in this post, women and children in these situations also typically suffer from depression, anxiety, social problems, and a list of lifelong side effects from domestic abuse.
Yet, where is the love from the governing body for those women, or even the children in those homes? Rather than encouraging them to leave for the sake of their own physical, mental, and emotional safety and well-being, or even for the sake of children, the governing body downplays the experiences of battered women, chastises them for feeling sorry for themselves, and endorses the idea of just “toughing it out.”
Note, this is all done for the sake of the men in these situations, not the women! The women are expected to sacrifice their health and their happiness, and potentially even their own lives, in the hopes that these abusive men will somehow get tired of beating them up, and join them in their religion. What is best for the women in these abusive situations is not important enough to even discuss; their entire existence revolves around the men, and the mere potential that those men will become a Witness.
The governing body certainly doesn’t love women enough to consider protecting them from such abusive situations; Jehovah’s Witnesses offer no domestic violence shelters and have no instructional videos for women on how to stay safe from violent physical abuse in their own home, and even outright applaud women who stay.
At the same time, they supposedly love women enough to keep them from practicing what they call “self-abuse”! So, if a woman touches her own genitalia in order to make herself happy, that’s unclean and immoral and may make her unfit for service to god, but if a man brutally touches her face with his fist because he’s selfish and childish and angry, then she should keep on letting that happen, because it’s somehow good and righteous and benevolent.
No, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t love women, not in the least. They chastise them for harmless physical pleasure and then also chastise them for wanting to avoid horrific physical pain. Their values are disgustingly warped and twisted, and betray this idea they feel any type of “love” for the women in their religion.
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