The Prevalence of Jehovah’s Witness Child Sexual Abuse
While there are no definitive statistics that show how often child sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness community happens, more and more survivors are coming forward about their experiences. Over the years, countless articles and news reports have been published telling the stories of many survivors of Jehovah’s Witness sexual abuse — as well as numerous accusations about the organization hiding or failing to report incidences of child sexual abuse to authorities. Here’s what you need to know.
Child Sexual Abuse Cases are Being Reported Worldwide
From the U.K. and Australia to the United States and other countries, many survivors who endured child sexual abuse under the Jehovah’s Witness organization have been speaking up. In one report by the Royal Commission in Australia, they examined allegations and reports of child sexual abuse by 1,006 members of the Jehovah’s Witness organization.
The report states, “The Royal Commission found children are not adequately protected from the risk of child sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness organisation and does not believe the organisation responds adequately to child sexual abuse.”
In July of 2021, Irwin Zalkin of the Zalkin Law Firm interviewed with ABC Australia’s weekly show, “Four Corners,” about the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness congregation worldwide. You can view the full episode and Irwin’s statements by visiting here.
A Secret Database of Child Sexual Abuse Predators Uncovered
An article published by The Atlantic reports that the Jehovah’s Witness organization had a secret database of child sexual abuse cases that were kept hidden for decades. It further explains that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was concerned about the legal ramifications the organization could face with possible predators among their congregation. As a result, detailed memos were issued to all of its U.S. and select worldwide congregations with instructions on how to deal with reports and allegations of child sexual abuse. The instructions included writing a detailed report by answering a series of questions about the sexual abuse claims and mailing it to Watchtower headquarters in a special blue envelope. Copies of these reports were kept in the congregations’ confidential files. The information was not permitted to be shared with anyone — but now the documents have been exposed by a former Jehovah’s Witness member.
Related Article: Did The Jehovah’s Witnesses Hide Reports of Child Molestation?
Read on to learn how the Jehovah’s Witnesses handle sexual abuse claims and why it’s a problem.
The “Two-Witness” Rule
The policies in which Jehovah’s Witnesses use to handle child sexual abuse are concerning. They use an approach known as the “Two-Witness” rule, which essentially blocks reporting of child sexual abuse to authorities. The practice is based on bible interpretations, and any allegations of child sexual abuse must be corroborated with a second witness to the act. This is a concerning matter as perpetrators will certainly not confess to any wrongdoing. Child sexual abuse typically does not involve any witnesses to the abuse other than the perpetrator and victim.
Related Article: What are Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Policies for Handling Child Sexual Abuse?
Speaking Out Against Your Abuser
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse among the Jehovah’s Witness community are speaking out now more than ever and are demanding justice against their perpetrators. While the process may be challenging, having an experienced childhood sexual abuse attorney in your corner can help you hold your perpetrator accountable for their actions and the organization under which the abuse happened. Speaking out against your perpetrator is not easy, but knowing you have the support and guidance throughout the process can ease your worries.
There are also many support groups and other resources available to survivors to help them overcome challenges and move on with their lives. When you are ready to tell your story, know that you are not alone. Click here for a list of supporting organizations for victims of sexual abuse.
Helping Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Seek Justice
The life-long emotional consequences can be devastating for childhood sexual abuse survivors. From depression and anxiety to PTSD and relationship challenges, the psychological impact can be burdensome and painful to overcome.
Commonly, survivors of childhood sexual abuse repress their memories and often fear confronting their abuser. However, many survivors who speak out against their perpetrators find closure and relief in holding them accountable for their heinous actions. Learn how The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C. can help you move forward with your life. We believe you and are here to support you every step of the way.
When you’re ready to speak out, contact The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C. at (800) 477-2989 to learn your rights.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Report into Jehovah’s Witness Organisations Released
YouTube: ABC News In-Depth: Escaping Jehovah’s Witnesses: Inside the Dangerous World of a Brutal Religion “ Four Corners
The Atlantic: A Secret Database of Child Abuse