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Cath's Story


Posted 12/9/01

 

 

Hello,

 

My name is Cath and I am a survivor also. It is so empowering to know that there are others who share similar experiences to mine and to feel I have just been handed my freedom and a new life.

 

I was born into the JW cult 44 years ago and it is only after being sent an ex JW web link by my psychic healer/ psychotherapist two weeks ago that I feel free of oppression and fear.

 

I am the second born of a family of five children, myself being firstborn of a set of twins and having an older brother and two younger sisters, also twins. One of my younger sisters was mentally retarded and took up a lot of my mothers time and attention and we were also expected to look after her. We did not mind as she was always a happy child and it took some of the strain off mum.

 

Life was very regimented as you can imagine and my father was a tyrant who dealt with discipline physically, right up until I left home at the age of seventeen. I lived in absolute fear of my dad and looking back I think my mother did also as I never heard her talk back to him, or maybe that was the result of the "submissive wife" conditioning.

 

We lived in a very small coal mining town with a population then of about five thousand people and everyone knew we were Jehovahís Witnesses, so there was no anonymity.

 

When I was about three years old I remember my cousin ( inactive witness) who was around the age of seventeen coming back to our hometown after having been away for some time working. That was when the sexual abuse started and the beginning of my downward spiral. How I have survived this long is a constant source of amazement to me.

 

I remember him telling me if I told mum and dad I would get into trouble, but he need not have said it because I somehow knew it and was too scared of my dad to tell him anyway. My older brother and my twin were also involved and none of us told anyone.

 

My cousin was around for a while but after he left and went back into "the truth" my brother continued to abuse myself but not my twin. The "incestuous" relationship went on for ten years with him and I remember a couple of times another young brother having his fun also. I donít recall a day passing when I was not in trouble for some reason or other during that time, as my behaviour had become quite erratic. I used to have frequent nightmares and wet my bed regularly. Instead of my parents trying to find the cause I was just branded a bad apple who "never knew when to shut up" and was constantly beaten.

 

I dropped out of school because the harassment from other kids was unbearable, especially in high school and especially as we were seen driving around town with a huge sign on top of our car asking " Who's going to conquer the world in 1975?". Going from door to door was a nightmare also as we were well known and I tried anything to get out of it.

 

After I left school I went to work in my fathers garage for $7.00 AUD a week with $4.00 of that being my board and keep. I was 15 at the time and bigger boys were coming into the garage and noticing me and asking me out on dates. That was when I was made to wear the biggest jumper possible in the middle of summer to hide my figure.

 

I started to sneak out at night to go to the drive-in theatre with a boy or to hang out with "worldly people" and was hauled home by the police on one occasion.

 

My father--as old as I was--pulled down my pants, put me over his knee and smacked me until I was red raw and bruised. After that I was sacked from my job by them and sentenced to life at home cooking and keeping house while mum went to work with dad.

 

We lived some way out of town and I used to walk into town to get out of the house while mum and dad were at work. On one of those walks a car pulled up alongside me and a very much older man asked directions to a house, as he had business there.  I tried to explain where it was but he said he couldn't follow my directions and would I jump in and show him. My upbringing was to respect my elders, show kindness to all, never question or judge and to turn the other cheek, so I did jump in that car and instead of turning off where I told him to he took me to isolated bush land. I was raped after being threatened with a tree branch which I saw him tear off the tree and then dropped at home and told to keep my mouth shut or he would kill me. NEEDLESS TO SAY I kept it a secret as it would have been seen as my fault and I was scared of dad. As it was I got into trouble for losing my sisters watch in that attack and had to revisit the scene to try and find it or else I would cop a beating.

 

It wasn't long after that we moved to the city as I was "getting a reputation and bringing shame on my family", so again I was the one at fault.

 

My parents found my sister and I a job at a big department store in the centre of the city so we had to catch public transport to and from work and that suited us fine. It was a way of escaping the harshness of home life. My sister didn't last long at that job before she found another so I used to catch the bus to and from work on my own and on the way to work stop for a coffee and a cigarette at a cafe in the city. I loved doing that every morning as I felt normal and one of "them".

 

One evening while waiting for the bus home a car pulled up with two boys in it and they spun me the old line that they knew me from somewhere and when I told them they didn't they asked if I would like a lift home. I said yes and was taken in the opposite direction to a bush location and raped at knife-point by both of them. I was then dropped off in the city again and told not to tell or they would kill me. I couldn't tell because I was scared of dad and them as well, so I got home late, only to face a beating from dad after I couldn't explain why I was late.

 

My sheltered upbringing and naivety had gotten me into trouble once more because never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one boy would do "it" in front of another. They got away with it. We were never prepared mentally for life outside the cult and never educated about the ways of the world.

 

After that I started sneaking out again and wouldn't come home from work until very late, so home life was pure hell. I got home one time after having been out all night and was put to work by mum scrubbing floors until dad came home. He lost his temper totally and knocked me to the floor and then proceeded to kick me while I was down. I was thrown out of the house with all my clothes and a box which I packed happily and started walking but was dragged back by my brother. All the while I was not taken for professional help but beaten instead.

 

Not long after that I was forced to give up my job in the city because mum followed me one morning and caught me smoking so I went to another job where I also smoked.

 

I was sixteen and very screwed up but not into the drugs or alcohol, that would come later.

 

I met a boy (he was nineteen) while working at the second job and we hit it off straight away as he seemed to be kind and gentle. We were seeing each other secretly for a while until it got serious and we had to see more of each other. I told mum about him and was told to stop seeing him but couldn't, so we had to find a way, even if it meant my running away from home. I couldn't do that though as mum and dad had threatened to be put in a home the next time I misbehaved and I was petrified of that threat.

 

The next best thing to get me away was to get me pregnant and so I was pregnant at sixteen.

 

I would sit in the meetings going to sleep and displaying all mums symptoms of her pregnancies so she knew without me having to tell her. She found out at one of the meetings and hauled me off outside to ask me if I was, and who the father was. I didn't want them to know so she automatically assumed I didn't know and branded me a slut. She then went back in to the meeting to get dad and we all went home to deal with it. I was hauled over the coals and made to feel like the dirtiest and worst person on earth.

 

Naturally the elders were told and I had to go in front of the judicial committee to explain why I was pregnant. That was horrific as it was men who had hurt me all my life but even more harrowing was being publicly reproved in front of a congregation of around a hundred people and then disfellowshipped.

 

The father of my baby was still not allowed to see me and I was told I had to give the baby up for adoption but eventually we were able to see each other. I was naturally thrilled but very distrustful of mum and dad and their promises as so many had been broken as I grew up.

 

It was when I was around four months pregnant that I was in an explosion that virtually blew our house apart. Our three gallon wall mounted water heater malfunctioned and I was standing three feet away from it so was LUCKY to be alive. I ran out on to the street screaming "my baby, my baby" and the whole neighbourhood then knew I was pregnant. I had once again brought shame on my family and that was the turning point for mum and dad and my relationship. They wanted me to get married as soon as possible so when my darling firstborn daughter was three months old we had a very small wedding at a Registry Office with only immediate family present.

 

I had three children to this man by the time I was twenty and put up with fourteen years of physical and mental abuse. I was in another town 1800 kilometers away from any family from the beginning, so I was too scared to move away from him and for solace I started studying with a witness lady that came to my door. Mum and dad had sent her, surprise surprise.

 

She couldn't give me any direction or answers so I stopped seeing her and going to the meetings and thank god I did.

 

When I left my first husband I went through a series of violent drunken relationships and jobs while trying to bring my girls up, and during that time I found out that my first darling daughter had been abused by her worldly uncle (my ex husbands brother). She was too scared to take him to court  and he got away with it.

 

Eventually my babies wanted to go back to their father and their home town. I loved them dearly but had promised them when we left  that they could go back to their father any time they wanted as he was a good dad. They left and I was devastated. What was I to do on my own? What direction did I have? I had no family to rely on so I worked as a live in house-keeper for a defacto couple on the proviso that the man be able to "use" me whenever he wanted, unbeknownst to the lady of the house. Then when they were to be married I was thrown out once again to drift. I found work at a pub and partied hard and did drugs  and was still seeing the man who had thrown me out because I didn't have the courage to say no and didn't know how.  I lost the job at the pub after a year but had just met a drifter so I set off around Australia with him only to leave him after nine months. He was a violent alcoholic also and we lasted for eight months.

 

My girls were still in their home town living and working and by then my oldest daughter had had a baby of her own so I went back and lived with my middle daughter who was sharing a haunted house with another girl. I wanted to be around MY family.

 

I got another job at a club in that town and it was there that I met my present husband. We had been seeing each other for two weeks when he asked me to move in with him and I said yes. Anything to get out of that haunted house.

 

We lived together for four years and two years ago got married and now this relationship is on the rocks, but not because he is a bad person. It is because after all these years I am finally getting the help that I need, getting to know who I am and my purpose for being here and I am changing. I am finding an inner peace that I have never known and am finally able to say no and to ask for what I want.

 

There is much more to my story and maybe I will write a book one day but for now just to be able to tell some of it to like minded people who understand  is enough for me.

 

To all those people out there who are suffering at the hands of the WBTS I say get out and get the help you need and donít look back. You will never know what you are capable of unless you give it a go. It has taken me forty four years to finally get some closure on all the fear and abuse I lived with because of the inhumane stance taken by the JW's so if I can do it you can too.

 

Incidentally the only way I could really look at the WBTS for what it really is was to take the word religion right out of the equation and refer to them always as a cult. Then I thought about the Moonies and those type of cults and how hard it is to get away from them and the comparison was there. That enabled me to be on the outside looking in and really opened my eyes.

 

I wish you all well and may peace and happiness be yours.

 

Cath

 

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