For members of a close-knit religious organization, reporting a crime is often not only difficult – but downright impossible. This is no different than when considering the members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In this religious group, like many others, the members form a detached and isolated group, essentially cutting the victims off from the outside world should abuse occur.
Due to church policy, sexual abuse is often ignored, and should an allegation be made, it is often either covered up or decried as unfounded. The Jehovah’s Witnesses practice what is known as a “two witness” rule – which is allegedly used to help work against the possibility of a false accusation. This rule is said to be based off the group’s interpretation of Deuteronomy 19:15 and 1 Timothy 5:19; it requires that an accusation of sexual abuse be backed by at least two witnesses. One of the witnesses may be from DNA or other scientific evidence.
If there is only one witness, however, the accused is to be placed under careful monitoring. They also might lose some of their privileges; however, no other steps are taken. Due to such policies as this, there have been many accusations over the years that have gone unreported. By mainly dealing with the accusations internally, they rarely turn over a sexual offender to law enforcement. This not only leaves victims vulnerable – it leaves the offender unpunished and essentially free to abuse again.
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