The Guardian and a warning to CLIO SOUTH CAROLINA: Jehovah´s Witnesses´ silencing techniques, as terrifying as child abuse
Growing up in a Jehovahs Witness family is different. As a child, I didnt celebrate birthdays, Christmas or July 4. Nor did I, or anyone I knew, mix with non-Witness families in Little League or Girl Scouts. Instead, I spent much of my time sharing the good news. I used to go door-to-door on my own with a big, strong, well liked man in my congregation, named Jonathan. I was just 9 and 10 when he repeatedly sexually abused me.
It is really hard for kids to speak up when theyre abused. But the Jehovahs Witnesses make it a lot harder.
They have a 2 Witness rule, which says that anyone who accuses an adult of abuse must have a second witness. If there is no second witness, the accuser is punished for a false accusation - usually by ordering that no Witness may talk with or associate with the false accuser. This is called dis-fellowshipping. For a kid raised only with other Witnesses, it was horrifying. Even your parents would have to ignore you. It was more terrifying than Jonathan.
It was the elders of my congregation who had assigned Jonathan to team up with me. When we separated from the others, he forced me into his pick-up truck and drove us to his house. Then he would say Lets play. It happened too many times. Like everyone else in the congregation, my parents liked Brother Jonathan and trusted him in our family.
My parents were consumed with some really huge problems in those years, and later divorced. I was emotionally alone - and wanted to be the best Jehovahs Witness I could be. Thats why I went out to field service - the door to door ministry that Witnesses are known for.
What my parents didnt know, was that Jonathan had sexually molested another girl in our congregation. The elders knew this and had kept it a secret. They were following orders from Watchtower leaders, based in the world headquarters in New York, who in 1989 had issued a top-secret instruction to keep known child sex abusers in the congregations a secret. This instruction became Exhibit 1 at my civil trial.
The elders and the Governing Body all knew that child molesters hide in religious groups and often are people who are likeable and friendly - like Jonathan. They knew molesters would likely do it again. But they chose to ignore the safety of the kids, in favor of protecting their image - and their bank account - from lawsuits. It was all in that 1989 letter.
A recent report by the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that they have continued to issues directives urging silence around child abuse. Last November, elders were instructed to avoid taking criminal matters like child abuse to the authorities. Instead, they were told to handle them internally in confidential committees. The report also showed that Jehovahs Witnesses evoke the First Amendment to hide sex abuse claims.
It took me learning about Jonathans other victims for me to speak up. In 2009, I looked on Californias Megans Law website, the states official list of registered sex offenders. There, I found he had been convicted a few years before for sexually abusing another 8-year-old girl. I felt horribly guilty that I hadnt spoken up about him earlier. Now, I need to stop predators from doing this again.
The only way to end this abuse is by lifting this veil of secrecy once and for all.
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CLIO SOUTH CAROLINA
Take Action to Improve Your Financial Situation in CLIO SOUTH CAROLINA
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Director.
America Saves Week, February 24
March 1, 2014, is a time to review your finances, decide what you want to
save for, and set up a system that will allow you to save automatically. Thats
why the America Saves Week theme is Set
a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically. Did you know that only half of
Americans report having good savings habits? Even if you are already saving,
its good to take a look at your goals and decide if you can save more or start
a new savings goal. Join thousands of others who are pledging to pay down
debt, save money, and take financial action during America Saves Week.
Not sure what to
save for or what to save for next? Here are the most popular saving goals
of those who have pledged to save through America Saves:
· Save for Emergencies - Only 37 percent
of low-to-moderate income households have a savings or money market account at
a bank or credit union and nearly a quarter of savers who have pledged to save
have chosen emergency savings as their first wealth-building goal. Learn
· Save for Education - Saving for
education is the second most popular goal savers select when they pledge to
save with America Saves. There are many different things to factor in when
saving and paying for college. Learn
· Pay Down Debt - Getting out of debt is the #3 goal
Savers select when they pledge to save. That does not come as a surprise since
a 2012 survey found that 45% of families
with annual incomes under $50,000 rely on credit cards to pay for basic needs
such as rent, utilities, insurance and food. Learn
· Save for a Home - For decades, home ownership has
been the main path to wealth for most Americans. Today, home equity - the
market value of a home minus the balance on any home loans - represents more
than four-fifths of the typical family’s wealth. Learn
· Save for Retirement - Retirement
savings is a top priority for many Savers. Saving for retirement now will
ensure that you have enough money to maintain a comfortable standard of living
when you stop or reduce the amount of hours you work. Learn
Not sure how to
save for your goals? Here are some saving strategies to help:
· Save Automatically - The easiest and
most effective way to save is automatically. This is how millions of Americans
save at their bank or credit union, and how millions of employees save through
401(k) and other retirement programs at work. Learn more.
· Save at Tax Time - Do you spend weeks eagerly
anticipating your tax refund? When the money finally comes in, is it gone
tomorrow? Many people view tax refunds as unplanned bonuses. They see the money
as a gift from the government, to use for splurges or treats. But a tax refund
provides the opportunity to improve your financial situation. Learn
the America Saves Pledge (or re-pledge) today to set your savings goal and
make a plan to save. When you take the pledge you can also choose to receive
text message tips and reminders to help you save for your goal. And dont
forget to follow America Saves on Facebook
America Saves Week is coordinated
by America Saves and the American Savings
Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for
organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for inpiduals to
assess their own saving status