Hotline gets dozens of reports of sexual abuse among Jehovah's Witnesses
A hotline established just over a month ago for victims of sexual abuse within the community of the Jehovah's Witnesses, already received around 80 reports, co-founder Frank Huiting confirmed to the Telegraaf.
Fifty reports came directly to the Reclaimed Voices Foundation hotline. The other 30 came in through newspaper Trouw, which reported on this issue several times over the past months.
According to Huiting, the majority of the reports come from people who are now adults and were abused in the community as a child. Many of them left the religious community. "For them the threshold is lower to report what happened to them", he said to the newspaper. There are also a number of "current cases" between the reports, he added.
The Foundation's main goal is to expose sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses, especially with child victims. According to Huiting, abuse within the community occurs more often than the average in society. He attributes this to "higher risk factors, such as a strong hierarchy and high social pressure".
Huiting himself was also sexually abused in the Jehovah's Witnesses community as a child. According to him, the central management of the Jehovah's Witnesses don't handle reports about abuse well. "Matters are resolved internally. Much remains concealed. They impose any sanctions themselves, but they never make matters public. This increases the chance that a pedophile can remain active."