When you scan recent media headlines, you are likely to see more stories about Jehovah’s Witnesses (both past and present) coming forward with allegations of child molestation. While many of these reports focus on cases that have been successfully prosecuted, there are many more sexual abuse crimes that we never read about and often are not reported.
We know that it is extremely difficult for victims to come forward, particularly within high-control cultures like Jehovah’s Witnesses that discourage victims from reporting their allegations to authorities. Instead, victims and their families find themselves being coerced into having their cases handled internally by church elders. In too many of these situations victims are themselves further threatened if they want to also report their victimization to police or other secular authorities.