Jehovah's Witnesses: Victims of Sexual Assault in the Quebec Group Demand Justice
By Alice Chantal Chandramm Kamgang | firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday December 17th, 2018 ,
Sexually assaulted by her brother at a young age, Lisa Blais is the "voice of the voiceless" as part of the collective action she launched on behalf of all Quebec victims of alleged sexual assault of members of the Witnesses of Jehovah to which she and her family belonged.
Religious group accused of abandoning victims of sexual assault and protecting abusers
To believe the one who considers herself today as a former follower of the religious group, the victims of sexual assault are forced to silence.
A silencing was directed by the Service Department of Jehovah's Witneses authority that would have set up "strict internal rules, against any form of denunciation" likely to damage the reputation of the organization.
As a result, the victims, most of whom were minors at the time of the incident, would be left to their own devices, without recourse or protection. And they turned to the courts.
They are polite and knock on your door on Saturday morning. But little is known about Jehovah's Witnesses.
$ 250,000 claimed for moral damages
The thousands of requests for reparations for victims are directed to both the Jehovah's Witnesses in Canada and the US parent group, where all the decisions handed down to followers in the United States and around the world by leadership known as the Governing Body..
Jehovah's Witnesses' lawyers have been mobilizing for several weeks to defend the religious group. They question the idea that the action of Quebec justice can extend to the decisions of the organization in the United States.
The court will continue on December 18 to hear the action that has been requested for several weeks.
The complainants believe that the group's internal parallel justice system in the form of "Judicial Committees" does not sufficiently protect the victims against the risk of re-offending of their aggressors.
The visible illustration of the inefficiency of such committees, according to Ms. Blais, is that her brother who assaulted her when she was only 16 remained unpunished, despite her accusations both with her family and her family. religious community.
Listen to these RDI (Radio-Canada) stories about pedophilia among Jehovah's Witnesses
Numerous Cases Elsewhere
This is not the first time that Jehovah's Witnesses have been singled out.
After Quebec, where several cases of sexual touching and sexual interference against minors were reported, other victims in Ontario came out of "silence, fear and submission," said Sarah Driver, a lawyer who defends the collective action against the organization in Quebec, and strongly denounced their executioners.
Two years ago in Newfoundland, a young woman filed a lawsuit against her father and brother who had appeared in court for sexual assault and exploitation.
Several complaints of victims of sexual assault have also been registered in the United States.
In California, the court ordered the Watchtower Society to hand over its list of pedophiles, built from documents held by the company. Since 1997, the leadership of the Witnesses requires that every report of a believer suspected of pedophilia be sent to headquarters.
In Australia, more than 1,000 cases of alleged sexual assault have been reported to the alumni committee, with no real referrals to police or child protection.
It should be noted that it is the body of elders, to whom all owe a certain allegiance, who draws up the internal policies and deals with rendering justice in case of aggression or any other problem reported by the faithful.
According to several articles from publications by the Jehovah's Witnesses group, they have always put forward the idea of protecting young people and children who are victims of sexual assault. The organization defends itself to protect pedophiles to the detriment of their victims and recommends that parents or any other person aware of the facts of sexual assault report the culprit to the authorities. On its website, the group has published a Biblical Policy on Child Protection which sets out its policy on issues relating to the protection of minors.
Jehovah's Witnesses statement:
Child sexual abuse is a perversion. This is usually one or more of the following: sexual intercourse with a child; oral sex or sodomy with a child; caresses on the genitals, breasts or buttocks of a child; voyeurism towards a child; exhibitionism in front of a child; sexual propositions to a child. It can also be sending sex or showing pornography to a minor.
The Jehovah's Witnesses' Bible Guidance on the Protection of Children is based on Bible verses, as is the case in the following lines.
In this document, when it comes to parents, this also applies to legal guardians or other holders of parental authority. The elders seek to establish the facts from a biblical point of view. It is a strictly religious procedure conducted by the elders in harmony with the biblical instructions. Its purpose is solely to determine whether the individual concerned may or may not remain Jehovah's Witness.
If a member of thecongregation has committed child abuse and does not repent, he is excommunicated and no longer considered Jehovah's Witness (1 Corinthians 5:13). The treatment of a child abuse charge by the elders does not replace the treatment of the case by the public authorities.
In addition :
• Parallel Justice for Pedophile Jehovah's Witnesses
• Sexual Abuse: The Silence of Jehovah's Witnesses
• Jehovah's Witnesses Charged with Sexual Assault
• Jehovah's Witnesses defend their treatment of sexual assault cases
Summary of the first day of hearing for the application for authorization of the class action lawsuit against the Watchtower in Quebec , Montreal Courthouse. December 17, 2018.
Unfortunately, the courtroom was small and there were not enough seats. On our side, there were the same two attorneys from Woods' lawyers, and there were about 30 people who attended the hearing on our side, some left early, others arrived later. On the side of the JWs, they had 2 lawyers plus their assistants, that is 4 people, but who are not JWs, but they are very close to the affairs of the Watchtower, the same guys as on November 27th and in the audience, they were about 16 plus 3 high ranked Watchtower representatives, including one from NY, the same guys as at the November 27 hearing. One of the Watchtower's two lawyers repeated the same arguments as on November 27, saying that the Quebec Superior Court can not judge American corporations and that the various Watchtower corporations have nothing to do with each others or with the one in Canada, etc. The lawyer on our side, argued the opposite with several supporting evidences, in various publications and letters and manuals from the JWs organization, as well as texts of laws. She also mentioned the interrogation of Thomas Jefferson Jr., who behaved exactly as in Stephanie Fessler's trial against Watchtower, with vague or circular answers, pretending to ignore certain things, which undermined his credibility. Other topics were also discussed. There have been no testimonies for the moment. Watchtower lawyers said since yesterday that they will invoke the statute of limitations. This is new, they had never mentioned this intention in recent weeks. Maybe they feel endangered. Also one of the lawyers also tried to minimize the blunders of Thomas Jefferson Jr. To follow tomorrow, it continues, the decision of the judge will probably be early enough perhaps in January 2019.