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How Do Jehovah’s Witnesses View Women And Domestic Violence?

As with most things, Jehovah’s Witnesses will take their cues on women and domestic violence from the Watchtower Society. Before we dive in, a short review about a woman’s role at the Kingdom Hall is in order.

As I mentioned in a previous article, women who are Jehovah’s Witnesses are told to be in subjection to their fathers and then their husbands after marriage. Women may not teach in the presence of men or perform other duties reserved for men without wearing some sort of head covering as a sign of deference. They are not allowed to give public talks or handle microphones during meetings at a Kingdom Hall. Their only role in meetings is a public demonstration, given at just one of their five weekly meetings (fun!), where the sisters role play for a few minutes. (It’s not a fun kind of role play, so don’t even go there.) These performances were almost identical to a much dreaded part of my morning sales meetings when I worked at a local department store some years ago, except that men and women were treated equally at the store. And we got paid.

Elders are not supposed to talk to congregation sisters in private without a chaperone. This is usually another elder or, in some situations, a woman’s husband or father. I was told by at least three elders at my former Kingdom Hall that this was standard procedure and was intended to prevent sisters from crying rape or trying to “come on” to an elder. Because … you know … chicks, I guess. The elders were not required to do this when talking to a brother, however.

From Watchtower 11/15/91 page 21-22 paragraph 14

It is inadvisable for an elder to make a shepherding call on a sister alone. The elder should be accompanied by another elder or a ministerial servant.

From Watchtower 2/15/93 page 15 paragraph 12

In developed countries some have fallen into Satan’s trap by often being with a member of the opposite sex and without a third person present—such as regularly being in the confined intimacy of a car for driving lessons. Elders doing shepherding calls also need to exercise caution so as not to be alone with a sister when counseling her. Conversations can become emotionally charged and result in an embarrassing situation for both parties.—Compare Mark 6:7; Acts 15:40.

I’m sure some elders at some Kingdom Halls might be willing to bend these rules under certain circumstances, but this policy tells you a few things about the way Jehovah’s Witnesses view (and value) women. Not as much as the Watchtower article I’m about to discuss below, however.

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5 Ways To Stop Jehovah’s Witnesses From Knocking On Your Door

You don’t have to look hard to find lots of stories on the web about people trying to scare Jehovah’s Witnesses away so the Witnesses won’t come knocking again. One classic example is the guy who greets them dressed as a Satanist. Another is the guy carrying a scary animal that’s supposed to freak out visiting Witnesses. Kyria Abrahams described such an experience in her book, I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales of a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing. Note that in Kyria’s book, the Witness who knocked on the snake owner’s door didn’t run away. She merely asked if she could pet the snake and make nice with it, much to the householder’s disappointment.

Tricks like these usually don’t work. Aside from the fact that they’re really obvious attempts to scare Jehovah’s Witnesses away, they also present Witnesses with a challenge to their faith that must be accepted and conquered. If the Witness fails to meet the challenge, then he is putting his fear ahead of his faith, which just won’t cut it in his world. Like many evangelists, most Witnesses relish the thought of proving their loyalty to God and will do so with gusto if given the chance. That’s exactly what stunts like these help them do.

Many people – including many former Jehovah’s Witnesses – think that all you have to do is tell a Witness you’re an apostate and the Witness will magically vanish in a puff of smoke and tears. I have met a few Witnesses who are paranoid enough to simply run away at the words, “I’m an apostate,” but in many cases, it won’t be that simple. Darn it all. In fact, you’re just as likely to get a visit from the elders as you are to run them away for good if you try that one.

Most congregations won’t let you get away with the old “put me on your Do Not Call List” line, either. You can try it (it’s on the list below) but many congregations won’t let you off the hook that easily.

So what can you do? Here are a few things you can try that might stop them from knocking on your door forever…or at least for a little while.

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