Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal
It is a shame the JW are still considered by many a sect. The documentary of Pano at VRT Eén and the days around it on ‘Terzake’ and ‘De Afspraak’ (both programs of the Flemish state television VRT channel Canvas), and in Van Gils (on Eén) tried to bring the religious organisation in the picture with something which can not be allowed in any group (be it religious, sportive or artistic).
Good for the elder who dared to come out of anonymity in the hope this abuse which could also be found in other religious groups (be them Catholic and/or protestant) would be uncovered and stopped.
- scandal of abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses first erupted abroad > received attention in Belgium since 27th of March Pano [TV show] report
- the church failed to protect people from a predatory paedophile, which Jehovah’s Witnesses has denied.
- Almost a week after the broadcast = more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from Reclaimed Voices Belgium.
- serious psychological damage > exclusion by Jehovah’s Witnesses from community = greater impact in certain cases than abuse itself
- In the Netherlands, theme gained momentum in early 2018 after establishment of non-profit association “Reclaimed Voices”, which collects testimonies about sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses’ elder, Kurt De Kerf (55) from Sint-Niklaas testified anonymously in Pano report but choose to leave anonymity <= “nothing to hide + because important this finally comes into the open.”
- Crimes rarely reported to secular justice > Legal Committee, elders themselves investigate + punish crimes, ranging from intoxication, corruption to adultery.
Abuse been kept silent by Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation
Herbekijk: “Pano” over het toedekken van seksueel misbruik bij Jehova’s getuigen
This 2015 video from the USA says about itself:
Candace Conti: Former Jehovah’s Witness Takes on Church over Sex Abuse Allegations
Candace Conti says the church failed to protect her from a predatory pedophile, which Jehovah’s Witnesses has denied.
Translated from Belgian daily De Standaard, 3 April 2019:
Already seventy possible victims of abuse report to the Jehovah’s Witnesses hotline
The scandal of abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses first erupted abroad, but has also received attention in Belgium since last week’s Pano [TV show] report. There are seventy possible victims reporting to the “Reclaimed Voices Belgium” hotline.
Since two weeks, “Reclaimed Voices” has also a hotline in our country, and in the aftermath of the Pano broadcast it is receiving “disturbing messages”. “Almost a week after the broadcast, there are more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from…
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