I know. It’s Valentines Day weekend. The sex should be amazing—that is if you’re having any. But what if you’re not? Maybe you’re single. Cool. Some of my best years were when I was single, living alone. And if that’s the case, I tip my hat to you. Go love yourself. If you’re in a long distance relationship, I hope the phone sex is great.
But what if you see something that triggers awful memories? And your husband—after gifting you with some very thoughtful things—starts to cuddle. You know the spooning your significant other does, (if you have one). They cuddle in a way that lets you know they’re thinking, “hey. Let’s do this.”
To which I turn my head, smile and say, “sorry, it’s not happening right now.”
“Oh? Get your period early?”
“No. It’s just…I can’t right now.”
I feel lucky to have someone that doesn’t press the issue. He just squeezes a bit, kisses the back of my head and lets me be.
Buried Somewhere Deep
There was a time I didn’t remember jack-shit. Back when my twenties and part of my thirties were for working overtime, socializing, dating whomever and drinking whatever. This kept things buried deep. I’m not quite sure about the science behind our memories and subconscious—I’m no psychologist. But I have to think something intense happens in our brains that comes shooting forth once we’re at or beyond the number forty. Not sure what or why.
Then jagged pieces of broken memories start to assemble themselves in my brain, without permission; forcing me to recall things I buried a long time ago to protect a smaller, cuter version of myself. Things I won’t go into detail about. I can only say, something happened. Many somethings happened. Some things appear in my upcoming book and some will be in the book that follows. All in due time.
unraveled by a documentary
Of course my morbid curiosity was piqued when The Witnesses documentary on Oxygen aired (which I learned has a free app in case you’d like to see it. Be sure to keep a puke bucket nearby). I went back and forth about watching it. I’m all for the real truth about the J-Dub’s version of the Truth being exposed. But I wasn’t sure what they were exposing and whether or not I could even stomach it. Being an INFJ, empath and highly sensitive person, this controversial program could very well have me in a ball on the floor.
When I watched the first part, I cried. I got nauseous. I remembered so many of my own judicial committee hearings (small claims court for J-Dubs). Fully disclosing the details of my “sexual misconduct” to two, sometimes three older men, was humiliating to say the least. The questions were always the same.
“What happened? Did you initiate? Did you enjoy it? Did you try to stop it at any time?” You get the picture. I felt like Lilith.
In a way, I see the judicial hearings as a form of sexual abuse. To interrogate someone for having had a bad experience is just fucking shameful; you’re adding shame to an already shamed, insecure, afraid person. I could go on and I did in the book. I don’t want to write it all over again.
the two-witness rule
In the J-Dub’s Bible, which has been translated by Witness of days gone by, the Governing Body are able to condone certain misconduct (an older man or woman taking advantage of minor—pedophilia) by stating that if there weren’t two people witnessing the misconduct, no verdict can be established. It’s a “my word against theirs” type deal.
Which means that by twisting words around, manipulating the story or flat-out denying anything happened, the accused can get off; in more ways than one. What happens exactly? In short, since there weren’t two people witnessing the wrongdoing, nothing really happens to the abuser. They might be publicly shamed within the congregation but the police and/or other authorities are not informed. No legal action. Why? The elders are adamant about keeping things inside the congregation so as not to shame their God’s name for the world to see.
I know what you may be thinking. “If I was that parent, I’d ignore the elders counsel and tell the police!” Maybe that’s true, maybe you would. Good for you. But unless you’re in the fucking thick of it, living day in and day out in a constant bubble, nodding yes to the older men in the congregation and ultimately the GB—the puppeteers in control of it all—then you cannot say that with certainty. At least not when you’re so deep in.
mind control at its finest
The documentary shared four cases being investigated because the victims came forward. In each case the parents were so engrossed in the J-Dub world, they kowtowed to the GB.
“Do not go to the police,” the elder says as he waves his fingers at the eyes of concerned parents.
“Yes, Brother so-and-so,” parents say in zombie-like fashion.
Can you see the spirals spinning in their eyes as they obey? I can. I lived it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—mind control is a very real thing. And when you have eight men lording it over millions, you don’t want to be the one bucking the system, especially if your entire sense of self-worth is tied to the organization. You’d lose your network, your community, everything you’ve known for years. If you ask almost any Ex J-Dub what’s worse—the abuse or the shunning—many would say the shunning because if you at least have a support system while experiencing the horrors of abuse, you’d almost feel…okay.
But if you’re abused, then punished and shunned for it because of this rule—“No single witness may convict another for any error or any sin that he may commit. On the testimony of two witnesses…or three the matter should be established,” Deuteronomy 19:15—you’re on your own.
picking up the pieces
When I finally wrapped my brain around why the documentaries left me feeling so sick, pieces of my own abuse surfaced, begging for my attention. I’ll say my experiences weren’t as bad compared to the victims in the documentaries but I have to ask—does it need to be? Is there a barometer of shame? of abuse? Would you say it’s not really abuse unless x-y-or-z happen? I sure hope not. That would mean I, and possibly anyone else in my shoes, don’t have a right to feel what we feel.
While reflecting on my own experiences, it makes perfect sense why being back home in NH is so uncomfortable for me. Returning to the scene of the crime—much like the characters in Stephen King’s, IT—is in many ways aiding the healing process but it’s by no means enticing me to stay into the next calendar year. There comes a time to confront the demons…then say goodbye to them. And that time is fast approaching.
I’m fortunate to have a husband who gets it and a few friends I can talk to. If you’re reading this and some of your own demons start to surface, I’m here. Email me. We can pick up the pieces and find a place to put them, together.