An Emergency Warning is in place for the Victoria River at Kalkarindji in Northern Territory, with residents urged to move to higher ground. For the latest, search on ABC Emergency. But in a landmark civil case, former member Amy Whitby is taking on the secretive religious group in court. Eight million Jehovah's Witnesses around the globe believe that Armageddon is imminent, and the only path to survival is to follow the organisation's strict rules.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe these men are anointed as the voice of God on Earth. All Witnesses are expected to obey instructions and doctrines that influence every aspect of life: Women are considered subservient to men, higher education is discouraged and homosexuality is not permitted.
The organisation's in-house production studio and publications pump out fear-driven content that keeps followers afraid that the jw dating in brooks alberta is coming and that they are being persecuted by the outside world. Witnesses are also taught to distrust everyone outside the group. The Governing Body oversees a vast global real estate portfolio, including Kingdom Halls built by congregations around the world.
The Australian branch owns at least properties including a sprawling headquarters in western Sydney. As a religious charity, it receives significant federal and state tax exemptions. Ms Clare said she left after realising the extent of abuse within the organisation, including allegedly against her own daughter.
They rip you apart as a person. I mean they even ripped me apart as a mum," Ms Clare said. They are scarred by what allegedly happened to Amy as an year-old girl growing up in the remote Queensland town of Mount Isa. Amy said she was abused by a trusted member of the congregation, inside the home her family shared with another Jehovah's Witnesses family. That's their job because we're Jehovah's people and it's their job jw dating in brooks alberta keep us safe and they failed," Ms Whitby jw dating in brooks alberta. I was told that I was mental.
They used my illness against me because I had that breakdown and I suffered manic depression," Ms Clare said. As part of Ms Whitby's legal case, she is claiming that the Jehovah's Witnesses elders must have known her alleged abuser had been convicted the previous year of offences against an eight-year-old boy.
People spy on each other, you're told it's your responsibility. You hear something about someone you are to report it. Despite Ms Clare's complaints, the man remained in the congregation and even took to the stage to deliver Bible readings. I'd just be going around and just that anger, because all I wanted to do was run in there and scream at them that he shouldn't be allowed up there," Ms Whitby said.
Ms Whitby is now taking legal action against the local Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the Australian head office. She's suing for breaching the duty of care they owed jw dating in brooks alberta, by failing to protect her and allowing jw dating in brooks alberta abuse to occur.
I wonder sometimes what my life would have been like if that hadn't have happened, my self confidence, my self worth," Ms Whitby said. Attempts to settle have so far failed and Ms Whitby's case is now headed to trial.
It would be the first time in Australia that the Jehovah's Witnesses organisation has defended sexual abuse allegations in court. Ms Whitby's jw dating in brooks alberta Lisa Flynn said courts in overseas jurisdictions have found the Jehovah's Witnesses liable for failing their duty of care to children.
Lawyers who have battled the Jehovah's Witnesses in the US and UK have told Four Corners the organisation has a global problem with both child abuse and the way it responds to victims. They say the organisation drags cases out until the last possible moment, then settles to avoid a courtroom examination of its practices. In a statement to Four Corners, the Jehovah's Witnesses said, "The organisation responds directly to any claim for compensation in a caring, fair and principled manner".
Ms Flynn's firm, Shine Lawyers, is representing 10 former Jehovah's Witnesses who allege they were abused within their congregations. They remain cut off from their families and closest friends: those they love the most. Inthe Jw dating in brooks alberta Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found the total social exclusion known as "shunning" made it difficult for abuse survivors to leave the organisation, was "upsetting" and "particularly devastating" for those who suffered child abuse and left because their abuser remained in the congregation.
As a grandmother, the impact on Ms Clare has been heartbreaking. And he said, 'I'm sorry, Nanny. I said, 'I will always want you to remember that'.
Bill Hahn was his congregation's treasurer or "accounts servant". He was born into the organisation and raised his three older children as witnesses. He was "disfellowshipped", or excommunicated, inafter disagreements with others in the organisation and was shunned by his family.
Mum jw dating in brooks alberta three weeks ago, and I knew it was coming at some point, and I just got a text message from my brother, to say, 'Oh, by the way, mum died yesterday of stomach cancer. Doesn't want a funeral. Didn't want a fuss, and that's it'," Mr Hahn said. He also grieves for his two boys and eldest daughter, who continue to shun him. Renee Pickles was born into the Jehovah's Witnesses in The organisation controlled all aspects of her life until it cast her out, severing her from everyone she was close to.
She said her childhood was governed by the organisation's strict rules about the way to dress and behave as well as the requirement to proselytise door-to-door, known as "witnessing". She was a congregation member until when, aged just 21, she was interrogated by a judicial committee over her personal life, jw dating in brooks alberta to be "unrepentant" and disfellowshipped.
I believe it is the main reason for a lot of my trauma. It was basically three men who were in an interview panel with me," she said. She was cast out into a world she was completely unprepared for.
So it was like I jw dating in brooks alberta in a different planet and it was an extremely lonely period of time. It was unbelievable. She is speaking out in order to expose the organisation's practices. Ms Pickles said she was so traumatised by her experiences that, for years, she would be terrified when witnesses came knocking on her door. COVID has shuttered Kingdom Halls and stopped door-knocking in Sydney, but Ms Pickles jw dating in brooks alberta she was prepared for them when they resume their door-to-door proselytising.
I understand that it's very difficult to help them because they're very enmeshed. I know what it was like when I was in it. It took me so long to wake up from it … But I'd just be kind and just hope that one day they will have the opportunity to leave. Ms Whitby said she jw dating in brooks alberta found jw dating in brooks alberta inner strength since leaving the organisation.
They're not taking another part of my life," Ms Whitby said. She still has hope for those who remain trapped inside, including her own siblings. I know that. The royal commission uncovered a vast cache of files compiled by Jehovah's Witnesses members over more than 60 years. These files documented allegations and confessions of the abuse of more than 1, children by more than 1, alleged perpetrators in Australia.
The royal commission found no evidence the Australian branch office had ever alerted authorities about any of the alleged abuse documented in these files. The royal commission slammed the Jehovah's Witnesses for failing to report child sexual abuse to police. It made three key recommendations: That the organisation should involve women in its judicial committees; abandon the two-witness rule in abuse cases; and stop shunning people who leave due to abuse.
The Jehovah's Witnesses say they will not implement these recommendations because their practices are based on the Bible. They say the royal commission conflated family child sex abuse with abuse occurring within their organisation and that there is actually no evidence the Jehovah's Witnesses are guilty of what is typically considered institutional abuse.
Inelders investigating the sins of congregants in Australia were advised against making notes of conversations. The instruction said: "If the so-called 'wild talk' [of a member] is recorded in detail, it may not be accurately assessed when reviewed out of context" and any personal notes "should be destroyed once a summation of the hearing has been prepared". A document describes the royal commission's findings as "factually wrong and unlawful".
The organisation has long resisted joining a redress scheme designed to compensate abuse survivors. It formally joined the scheme last week after the Federal Government threatened to withhold funding and strip the jw dating in brooks alberta of its charity status. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
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