Jehovah girl tells of dad’s abuse
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.