Sick of it!

September 4th, 2009

By “A Survivor”

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by a former Jehovah’s Witness who is now a married mother in her late thirties. Many of the stories she has shared with me about her years growing up in a Jehovah’s Witness family are quite graphic and very upsetting. They are stories of verbal, physical and even extreme sexual abuse by her father, an active Jehovah’s Witness and elder for much of his life. For obvious reasons, her name and those of her family members are disguised along with the two boys mentioned in her story. I think her story has value to Jehovah’s Witnesses – and ex-JWs as well – as she uncovers some of the stress placed upon children who are forced to live different lifestyles and under very restrictive rules in some Jehovah’s Witness families.


 

I think being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness is a different experience than for someone who “studied” and became a JW later in their life. You are taught from a young age to look at the world and other people from a distance. You are also taught that you are superior to them because you know “The Truth.” Pretty soon they won’t be here. They won’t make it through “Armageddon” because they are all “sinners” and “worldly.”

I remember a time when I was a young child when I actually believed what I was being taught. Now that I think about it, I realize that it was really the stories of the Biblical and historical figures that fascinated me. Depression [photo by Oscar Williams]As I got older, more and more of the doctrines, principles and rules made less and less sense to me.

I think if there had been more Witnesses my age, school would have been a lot different for me. There were very few kids in the local congregation, and they were either quite a bit younger or older and went to different schools than I did. I remember being the only Witness at my school for many years.

In elementary school I was set apart. First because of my “accent” (my first grade teacher told me that it was not “I went to the store”, but rather it was “I went to thee store”). I wouldn’t salute the flag each morning and I would also have to leave my class and sit out in the hall during all the birthday and holiday parties (talk about embarrassing!)

Later when I attended middle and high school I was not able to have any social contact with anyone outside of school. When you add in my love of reading, always raising my hand with the answer, and my agility impairment – all together they equalled my being considered as one giant oddball.

For one reason or another my family did not have a television until I was about thirteen. For many years I was completely clueless whenever the other kids talked about different actors and shows. When we finally did get a TV it seemed like all the good shows were on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I was at meetings. So I was still clueless. (I am glad there are such things as “re-runs” or I would still be in the dark about the TV shows of that time. I think I was the only one on the planet who still had a crush on Scott Baio.)

By the time I entered high school I was sick of being the “weird chick.” I was sick of being a good girl, a good Witness, and following all the rules.

There was a boy I liked at school named Bryan. I think he was a junior. He was dark and mysterious – a “bad boy.” His best friend Cameron was in one of my elective classes and I would pump him for information about Bryan. We eventually became good friends and I felt really comfortable around him. Cameron thought I was funny and he saw “me.” Later he would play a big role in helping me get away from my father.

Several months into the school year Bryan broke up with his girlfriend and Cameron tried to get us together. I started skipping school with both of them. At first it would be just the last class of the day; we would hang out behind the building or sit in Bryan’s car. Then Cameron talked me into skipping the whole day and we would hang out at his house or drive around town.

My mom would drop me off at the front door of the school and I would walk straight out the back – where Cameron and Bryan would be waiting for me. I was a nervous wreck – but what an adrenaline rush!

I started losing weight and I still remember the day I was able to fit into a size-6 pair of pants. I started gaining confidence and an attitude – and Bryan finally started to notice me.

Bryan hardly ever said a word to anybody. Cameron was the only person he really talked to, and then half the time it would just be looks passed between them. One day Bryan asked me if I wanted to hang out at his house – without Cameron. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

In his room (he didn’t say anything then either) he put on an Enigma CD and walked up to me. This wasn’t my first kiss, but this was the first time I actually “made out” with a boy, and it was heady stuff. Everything about it was against the rules set by my parents and my religion.

The music alone would have been taboo and would have been considered “demonic,” but I loved it. Not because I thought it was demonic, but because it was so mysterious. . . and primal.

I was totally into the moment and let him lead me to the bed. One thing led to another – as those things tend to do. Then all of a sudden I freaked out at the last minute and told him to stop. I was terrified that my father would walk in any minute! In fact, I was convinced of it.

I made him get off me and when I started to get dressed Bryan became really angry. The ride back to school was uncomfortable – to say the least.

The three of us continued to hang out, but Bryan only tolerated my presence because I was Cameron’s friend. Later I started confiding in Cameron – not about of the sexual abuse I had suffered at home (because that was still repressed at the time) – but about the verbal and physical abuse that I was forced to endure.

The master bedroom that my father had built was attached to the back of the house. The acoustics in the house allowed my parents to hear my sister and I whenever we were talking to each other from our rooms that were kitty-cornered from each other.

One night my mom called for us to settle down, to stop talking, and go to sleep. My sister kept talking to me and asking me questions; my father yelled for us to be quiet. When I refused to answer her anymore, she started calling my name again and again. My father wanted to know who it was that kept talking. My sister answered him, saying that I was the one.

My father called me into my parents’ bedroom and refused to believe me when I told him that my sister had lied. Even though I was fifteen and already a fully-developed young woman, he ordered me to get his belt from the closet and then walk back to his bed where he was laying down. He sat up and made me lift up my nightgown and pull my panties down and lean over his lap. Crying teenager [photo by Hazel Brown]Then he spanked me ten times with the belt. I remember being so embarrassed and angry – angrier than I had ever been before – at him, my sister, and the fact that this was my life.

I was sick of it! All of it!

I went back to my room and cried. They were angry tears – tears of frustration. I waited until I was sure everyone was asleep and then I wrote a note (I can’t even begin to remember what it said), put it on my pillow, got dressed, and walked out the front door.

I walked the two miles into town, and then another five miles across town to Cameron’s house. A few blocks from the street that Cameron lived on I saw a police officer sitting in his car in the shadows. I thought for sure that was going to be it for me, but he didn’t get out as I walked by him.

I threw rocks at Cameron’s window. When he came out of his house we sat on the swings in his back yard. I told him what had happened and we tried to figure out what to do. As we were talking, the police officer came walking through the back yard, shining his flashlight. He wanted to know what was going on, why I was there, what my name was, etc.

Cameron tried to tell him how serious the situation was for me and that it would be really bad when my father found out. The police officer just thought we were being dramatic. I was taken to the police station where my parents were called to come and pick me up.

Armageddon finally broke out when we got home.

Categories: Testimonies

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  1. shannon tett-davis

    You know that’s really sad. Unfortunately. Jehovah’s Witnesses are imperfect humans. So whether or not your parents were J.W’s or not, they were most likely going to be abusive. I wasn’t born a J.W., but I didn’t have a strict upbringing. I had t.v.’s and cable and friends who were wordly. My mom still listened to music, even hip-hop as long as it had no cussing or vulgar language. They drank occasionally. My mom is now a baptised publisher and my dad is an elder. Some parents no matter what religion they’re in, can take religion too far. Jehovah’s Witnesses as a whole, compared to other religions, are the kindest, unpredjudice, very thorough with bible teachings. All they are trying to do is what Jesus did, and what Jehovah asks of us. I’m just now going back to the Kingdom Hall. I have 6 tattoos and a peircing. What I learned is that being in the world was hell. Peoples beliefs in Heaven and Hell are so backwards and contradicting its crazy. I’ve been raped, decieved, stolen from, lied to. And to see the things going on in the world that the bible and Jehovah’s witnesses teach is unreal. It’s happening. And sweetie as much as I love Enigma and Enya and music like that. Some things really are pagan and demonic or more. & unfortunately, some traditions and Holidays and things as such, are actually pagan and lead back to worshiping false gods. Like Thanksgiving. Even if I didn’t believe in the truth, I’m part Native American. Why in the hell do people celebrate a holiday that represents genocide and lies? Native Americans were killed and raped and their land taken from them! Christmas, no one even thinks about Jesus on that day. HE didn’t even celebrate his birthday! Witnesses aren’t the only ones that know this, it’s a scientific fact. I’m sorry your parents were sick and cruel. But don’t blame Jehovah.

  2. "A Survivor"

    Shannon,
    I have several things to say in response. First, what I have learned is that the world, our individual reality, is as we make it. Everything happens for a reason, and we have the choice to either be beaten down by negative experiences that have happened to us, or we can grow from them and become a stronger, more evolved person.
    The word pagan by definition means a person who does not believe in your god. When “Christianity” swept through, any villager or peasant that did not “convert” was then labeled a pagan. Demons and witchcraft really had nothing to do with it then, that connotation with the word came later.
    I agree that most people do not know the true meanings and symbolism behind many of the holidays. The “Christian” leaders of the day combined their own view points with beliefs and rituals of the “pagans” in order for the new religion to be more palatable to them. Christmas for example. Many do not realize that the death and rebirth of the Son refers to the death and rebirth of the Sun during the winter equinox, an important time of the year to the “pagans”. That is why Jesus Christ was given such an incongruous birthday. It’s all a matter of viewpoint. Maybe to the pagans, Jesus was a false god.
    I don’t blame Jehovah. He is just one god out of the many available for people to choose from. I don’t blame anybody. Well, maybe I blame the “Governing Body”, who sit in Bethel like the “wizard” in Oz. The Watchtower Bible and Track Society is a CORPORATION that exploits the human need for a connection with a higher power, the need for answers to life’s mysteries, and the need for a place to belong. All for the purpose of lining their pockets. In the process they have created, and then in turn, protected pedophiles. Created by the rules and regulations, protected by the rules and regulations.

  3. jozz

    to miss survivor,
    i sympathized with your experience. And i don’t have anything against what you feel. But i hope you don’t generalized the whole organizations of JW. If your father passed through the discipline of the congregation, for sure, with Jehovah, it won’t. Elders do not tolerate such acts as God won’t too. The society work for God’s kingdom and not to earn money. You know how the brothers and sisters work as volunteers. They never work to earn for their own pocket. YOU KNOW THAT. I believe that such experience could torture you and twist you’re thinking. I pray you could recover better rather than recover even badly with the knowledge of this system of things.

  4. "A Survivor"

    Thank you Jozz, for your concern and sympathy. I do know how the brothers and sisters volunteer THEIR time and money to knock on doors. The Governing Body are the ones that I feel are living large on the fruits of loyal SERVANTS labor. As for twisted thinking, my mother was told by her elders she was to forgive my father of incest up to seventy-seven times, as Jesus would have done. It wasn’t until I left the house was I able to recieve help. The elders were told by the Governing Body to seal all documentation and evidence of my father’s crimes, and not to read it. It wasn’t until a “worldly” counselor saw how desperate I was did I recieve the help I needed.

  5. Mrs. Sixx

    Where is the rest of the article. It stops before she gets home — is there a second part somewhere?

  6. Editor

    Mrs. Sixx,
    That’s the whole article. And yes, it stops before she got home. Her comment that “Armageddon broke out when we got home…” indicated quite clearly that her troubles with her parents, especially her father, escalated to even greater levels.

    I leave it to her to tell her own story, and I hope that someday she does write a follow-up to this article, but I will tell you that she was so desperate that she eventually left home for good and received care and counseling under state protection.

    Read the article again and imagine yourself as a well-developed 15-year old being punished the way her “Christian elder” father did her. I am the father of three daughters and I was reluctant to even lay a hand on them, but would never have put them through what her father forced her to experience.

    “Armageddon” was an excellent description of what she faced when she left the police station.

  7. Heather

    I too was raised a JW, my father left when my mother became baptised, the Elders encouraged his departure as he was not a Witness. My step father was a good man and an Elder. The brainwashing my mother endured caused her to have many nearvous breakdowns, and still to this day is highly medicated. I try to live a “normal” life, but the haunts of their Chicken Little philosophy still plague me. I know that Jesus died for my sins, and my salvation is secure thru his sacrafice. I do not need to knock on doors, attend 3 meetings a week, not give my husband a Valentine’s Day card, or never visit another church. Whatever our dear lord has in store for us will be revealed. Pagan’s, Christians, Muslims, Catholics, and all. God loves us all. Not just the JW’s. Honey, I am sorry you had to go thru what you did. God will set his own vengenance on those that hurt you. Keep far away from their twisted ideas. Go with your heart. Love, a true sister in spirit.

  8. Anne Marie

    No one can understand the sheer terror and fear of being at the mercy of a deranged parent who is also a religious zealot; one who believes that any “imperfection” on your part is clear indication that they need to “do a better job of beating you.”

    I am SO, SO very sorry for the horror that you endured, and that those who should have helped you did not…

  9. Faith

    This is hard to read without tears and I can only imagine what your young life was like. I do admire you for telling your story, and so thankful that you were finally helped and received counseling. I know how everything is hidden behind those closed doors in that organization, and after all these years it only gets worse. You are a survivor and an inspiration to others who have dealt with emotional problems in that so called “only true religion”. I pray that you keep your head held high and continue to heal. I wish you much happiness in your life now.

  10. Diana

    There are some things that the WTS is guilty of, like not letting people receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and develop a relationship with Him, and thus become children of the Father, Jehovah. They’re guilty of not letting people develop a personality of their own, think on their own, chose a useful (and reasonably profitable) career on their own. Most importantly they ARE guilty of not proceeding quickly to punish a disgusting pedophile. But please do not be deceived, the WTS is NOT guilty of MAKING anyone do wicked deeds, THAT we chose on our own. Your father was a wicked man (or still is), but he chose to hurt you. Even if he himself was abused as a child, is no excuse for him to do the same to others. Lots of people were abused as children, but they broke the chain of evil. You might want to read about Joyce Meyer (she is not a JW, but she survived sexual abuse from her dad, just like you).

    Evil people lurks throughout our lives, from the very start, our closest family members (bible examples: Cain, Ammon, Absalom, Pharesses, etc.), our neighbors, classmates, teachers, colleagues, bosses, etc.

    One point that pedophiles never stop to meditate on is that children grow up. Once that happens, they should s..t bricks for the rest of their lives because when they least expect it, a huge man or woman might come up to them and knock the living daylights out of them, or worse.

    For all these wicked, disgusting people, repentance in sackcloth and ashes before Christ Jesus is their only hope for salvation; actually is everyone’s only hope.

    Please don’t give in to bitterness, pray, pray, pray (Rom. 8:26-28, try reading it from a version different from the NWT) Everything will work out in the end.

  11. Mike Shafer

    Dad became JW after not being anything for the first 12yrs of my life. We were once a week catholics. Dad had great job once became JW that was no longer priority. Sports for brother and I out. School activities out. I had 2 lead roles in 6th grade in class plays. They fell on meeting nights, he wanted me to not go. I would be sinning against Jehovah an this is how satan works. Thankfuly my mother who wanted nothing to do with JW took control of that. In general though she let dad have way with it and us. Not ever beaten or abused. Dad is gentle strong man. Too f in bright to have fallen for this mumbo jumbo. Old guy in space who is so ego driven requires you to tell him how great he is. Sure.

  12. RichT

    Yea I know how alot of you feel, I was babtized at the age of 14, to young and dumb. Got sick of the embarrasment and always being the odd ball because we were differant. Left home at 18 was disfellowshipped after i stopped going to the meetings. My parents stopped talking to me, you know cant have any contact with a bad person. I’m now 52 years old : )

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