Dear Mayor and Council;
Following the recent W5 exposé on the issue of child sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witness’ community and its adherence to the “Two Witness Rule” I am writing today in hopes that the decision makers in Cornwall will take action to protect innocent children.
In short, the Two Witness Rule allows perpetrators of sexual assault from being reported to the authorities by Jehovah’s elders unless the accused confesses or there are two material witnesses who can substantiate the abuse.
Worldwide there have been numerous articles supporting the fact that Jehovah’s have not only ignored allegations of abuse from its young members but encouraged them to return to the very environment from which the abuse occurred often blaming the victim for the abuse.
I point you to a Case Study done by the Australian Royal Commission which found that children are not adequately protected from child abuse nor are they supported when reports of abuse where brought before the Jehovah’s elders. Here it was found that there has been over 1000 accusations brought forward and NOT ONE had been reported. (This is a 110 page report, however if you go to page 77 you can read the summary findings.)
Just days ago an article in The Guardian reported that they had received over 100 allegations of “child sexual abuse and other mistreatment in Jehovah’s Witness communities across the UK”.
As a business owner in Cornwall I am well aware of the economic benefits each June when the Jehovah’s descend upon our City for two weekends. In years past we have welcomed them with open arms and smiled as sales ballooned during their stay. I am sure many other businesses have done the same. Today however, I am ashamed to have done so having learned what in fact I have been supporting. The knowledge that I have gleaned makes it impossible for me, and my business to in any way welcome or support this group in the future.
Economic windfall should NEVER be realized by ignoring/supporting abhorrent policies and practices, nor should it come by ignoring the needs of children to have support and justice for the abuses they have suffered. Is economic gain more important than protecting the rights of the innocent with no voice?
Can the City of Cornwall in good conscience, continue to welcome this group who have attracted worldwide attention for (at best) questionable activity and (and worst) protecting child sexual abuses and predators?
Can any of you, as decision makers for our City, support the practices of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Are you able to turn a blind eye to what is being reported throughout the world as rampant and ongoing misuse of power, brainwashing, and non-protection of children who are being sexually abused? I challenge each of you to defend against why this City should support such a group and if economic gain is the only reason you can state, this is indeed a pathetic excuse.
Finally, I ask, is the City of Cornwall strong enough to take a stand against the Jehovah’s Witnesses or is it going to be left to the individual business owners to do the work?