If no one witnesses evil, does it still exist?
According to a Jehovah’s Witnesses policies, sins—even child passionate abuse—must be witnessed by dual convincing eyewitnesses before a classification will take any action, unless a perpetrator confesses.
The policy—known as a two-witness rule—is subsequent from a Bible and comes from Deuteronomy 19:15 that states “No singular declare might crook another for any blunder or any impiety that he might commit,” according to a 2019 form of a sacrament in The Atlantic.
But while a process might have biblical roots, many critics trust a order helps disguise passionate abuse and allows perpetrators to continue to abuse victims for years though any consequences.
“Child abuse doesn’t occur out in a open,” Matthew Schmalz, a highbrow of eremite studies during a College of a Holy Cross recently told Vice. “It happens in tip and so forth, so it’s doubtful that you’re going to have dual witnesses.”
Multiple purported victims of child passionate abuse have come brazen in new years to share their stories and prominence how a organization’s policies might have helped to bay famous passionate abusers. It’s a theme of Oxygen’s arriving two-part special “The Witnesses,” airing Saturday, Feb. 8 and Sunday Feb. 9, 7/6c, that papers mixed intolerable allegations of abuse that victims contend a organization knew about.
John Michael Ewing, now 48, told Newsweek that he was 14 when he was interconnected with an comparison male to go door-to-door to proselytize—or share a group’s sacrament with others.
Ewing pronounced he was regularly raped by a man, though since he didn’t have dual Witnesses to behind adult his claim, a elders treated a occurrence as consensual.
“He neat Michael, finished him consider intimately abusing him was partial of a religion,” Ewing’s profession Irwin Zalkin told a news outlet. “Like, ‘I’m going to learn we what we need to know to be a man.'”
Ewing kept a purported abuse a tip for years, though when he was 21, he confided in his father and a dual went to speak to elders who were a leaders of a congregation.
Ewing claims a organization never took any movement about a purported passionate abuse since of a two-witness order though did pierce to disfellowship—or excommunicate—both Ewing and a purported abuser for enchanting in homosexual activity.
He filed a lawsuit in Aug opposite a care of a Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“Michael still considers himself a Jehovah’s Witness,” Zalkin said. “His relatives are vehemently opposite to what he’s doing. But he feels a overpower needs to stop. He wants to be a voice for change.”
Candace Conti, a lady who was lifted as a Jehovah’s Witness in Fremont, California, has also brought allegations opposite a organization.
When she was 9 years old, she pronounced a elders in her assemblage interconnected her with a male named Jonathan Kendrick to change in a village on Saturday mornings, according to The Atlantic.
But what she and her family didn’t know was that elders were already wakeful that Kendrick had a story of child seduction and had confessed to elders that he had intimately abused his step daughter, according to justice depositions.
Conti pronounced instead of going door-to-door to tell others about a religion, Kendrick mostly took her behind to his home to hurt her. The abuse continued for about dual years.
Kendrick has denied Conti’s allegations.
Conti eventually left a religion.
When she reported a abuse years after to elders in her former congregation, she was also hindered by a organization’s two-witness rule.
After looking Kendrick adult online, she detected that he was a purebred sex delinquent and had left on to intimately abuse another immature lady in a opposite congregation.
“I consider after we found that out, we had this clarity of guilt, we know what if we did something, what if we hadn’t been such a coward, what if we had finished something to maybe strengthen this other child we know?,” she tearfully pronounced in 2015 on a PBS News Hour segment. “I knew…what he was able of though we didn’t do anything.”
Conti after sued a organization and was awarded $28 million by a jury in 2012; however, a volume would after be reduced to reduction than $3 million during an appeal.
Despite a authorised movement opposite a organization—which is headquartered in New York and run by an classification famous as a Watchtower—the classification has refused to change a process on a two-person rule.
“We will never change a Scriptural position on that subject,” Gary Breaux, a comparison central in a religion, pronounced in 2017 in a matter on a organization’s internet video channel, according to Reveal, a website for a Center for Investigative Reporting.
Breaux went on to contend that a logic for a process was “pretty solid” and again referenced a biblical roots.
Without during slightest dual witnesses or a admission from a purported perpetrator, internal leaders during any assemblage have been told to leave a claims adult to God’s judgement, according to Reveal.
Not usually are elders educated to leave a claims adult to God, or Jehovah, though papers dating behind to 1989 have even urged elders to keep still about allegations of abuse confronting members, Reveal.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to maintain, however, that they have always followed a law when it comes to child abuse.
“Watchtower’s mount on a theme of child abuse is really clear: we detest child abuse in any form,” a organizations pronounced in a matter to Newsweek. “Over a years, Watchtower’s publications have addressed this subject with a perspective to equipping relatives to strengthen their children. In addition, Watchtower’s use is to always follow a law, and we support a efforts of elders in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses to do a same.”