The Guardian and a warning to GARDEN RIDGE: 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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There are more opportunities than ever for those receiving benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance [Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)] and SSI [Supplemental Security Income (SSI)] to learn job skills and find permanent employment in GARDEN RIDGE.
If you are looking for work, or are new to the workforce, familiarize yourself with the Americans with Disabilities Act [Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)] of 1990 , a federal civil rights law designed to prevent discrimination and enable people with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of society.
A fundamental principle of the ADA is that people with disabilities who want to work and are qualified to do so should have equal employment opportunities.
This booklet answers questions you may have about your employment rights under the ADA.
How do I know if I am protected by the ADA?
To be protected, you must be a qualified individual with a disability. This means you must have a disability as defined by the ADA. Under the ADA, you have a disability if he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, thinking, walking, breathing, or performing manual tasks. You must also be able to perform the job for which you want to be hired, or for which you have been hired, with or without reasonable accommodation.
What are my rights under the ADA?
The ADA protects you from discrimination in all employment practices, including: job application procedures, hiring, firing, training, pay, promotions, benefits and licenses. You are also right not to be harassed because of your disability and your employer can not fire or discipline you for asserting your rights under the ADA. More importantly, you have the right to request reasonable for the hiring process and employment functional adaptations.
What is a "reasonable accommodation"?
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job, work environment or how they usually do things that would allow you to apply for a job, work, or enjoy equal access to the benefits available to others in the workplace. There are many things that can help people with disabilities work successfully. Some of the most common types of accommodations are:
physical changes, such as installing a ramp or modifying the workspace or services;
sign language interpreters for the deaf or blind readers;
provide a quiet space or other changes to reduce noise distractions for someone with mental disabilities;
training and written materials in accessible formats such as Braille or audio cassette or computer discs;
TTY for deaf can use the telephone, and computer hardware and software to facilitate computer access for people with visual impairments or who have difficulty using their hands; and
licenses disability who needs treatment.
What should I do if I think I need a reasonable accommodation?
If you think you need a reasonable accommodation for the job application process or at work, you must apply. You may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the job application, or any time before or after starting work. How do I request a reasonable accommodation? Just let your employer who needs an adjustment or change because of their disability. Needless to complete special forms or use technical language to do so. For example, if you use a wheelchair and it does not fit under your desk, you should talk to your supervisor. This is a request for a reasonable accommodation. A doctor´s note requesting disability leave or saying that you can work with certain restrictions is also a request for reasonable accommodation. What happens after making a request for a reasonable accommodation? Once you have made the request for reasonable accommodation, the employer must discuss the options available to you. If you have a disability that is not obvious, the employer may require documentation that demonstrates and explains why you need a reasonable accommodation. You and your employer must work together to determine an appropriate accommodation.
For more information on labor support, contact the Social Security Administration [Social Security Administration] to:
1-800-325-0778 (TTY) www.ssa.gov/work
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