Je­ho­vah girl tells of dad’s abuse

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

A TEEN girl prayed to Je­ho­vah to put an­gels around her bed and stop her fa­ther sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her but no one lis­tened, she told the sex abuse royal com­mis­sion yesterday.

While the rest of the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses branch held her fa­ther in high re­gard as a “min­is­te­rial ser­vant”, he was flog­ging her at home un­til she bled and had sex with her and three of her sis­ters as young as two, the com­mis­sion was told.

The woman, now 47, said that when her fa­ther even­tu­ally left her mother for another woman, he tried to match­make her eldest sis­ter with the woman’s es­tranged hus­band.

The woman told the com­mis­sion in Syd­ney that she fi­nally quit the se­cre­tive church in around 2000 af­ter get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing chil­dren.

“I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy any more and I was find­ing it hard to be­lieve that the el­ders and min­is­te­rial ser­vants were re­ally ap­pointed by the Holy Spirit,” she said.

“I used to pray to Je­ho­vah to put an­gels around my bed to stop my fa­ther com­ing to me, but He didn’t help me and my fa­ther didn’t stop.”

The com­mis­sion is look­ing into how the church dealt with child sex abuse and why it never re­ported even one case to po­lice de­spite log­ging 1006 of­fi­cial al­le­ga­tions since 1950.

The woman, who can­not be named, said one of the branch’s el­ders told her she could not go to the po­lice be­cause “you will bring re­proach upon Je­ho­vah’s name and you will be dis- fel­low­shipped”.

She said it was part of the church’s teach­ings that the po­lice, like any­one who was not a Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness, were “bad peo­ple” like those in Sodom and Go­mor­rah.

She was ter­ri­fied of do­ing any­thing against the church be­cause Je­ho­vah would kill her.

“The fun­da­men­tal belief was that Ar­maged­don was com­ing,” she said. “It was judg­ment day and you would be killed if you weren’t in the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness Church.”

When she fi­nally re­ported the abuse to el­ders, she had to be in­ter­viewed by three el­ders and have her fa­ther in the room.

“Be­cause the el­ders were all male and all were friends of my fa­ther’s, I was re­luc­tant to speak to them about what had hap­pened,” she said.

They en­cour­aged her to tell her mother, which was when she learnt about her older sis­ter and her two younger sis­ters be­ing abused.

Her fa­ther was of­fi­cially dis­fel­low­shipped – shunned – by the church, not for the child abuse but for “loose con­duct”.

Then a few years later he was wel­comed back, she said.

She re­ported him to the po­lice and in 2004 he was con­victed and jailed for three years for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her.

The com­mis­sion’s hear­ing con­tin­ues.

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