The following statements are extracts from the original Truth Document and describe a part of the Jesus Fellowship culture that facilitated children to be abused.
The experiences following the statements were compiled by Erin Woodger and are just the tip of the iceberg for what many children growing up within the Jesus Fellowship experienced.
- Did any leaders of the JFC have underage sex with young people under their care?- Yes
- Did any leaders of the JFC groom young children and control them for their own pleasure? – Yes
- Did any leaders of the JFC, knowing of abuse, give or encourage members to give character references for abusers in court to ensure they were not found guilty? – Yes
- Were the victims given any support during the trials from the JFC? – No, they were accused of being part of or under a satanic attack.
- Were witnesses encouraged or coerced not to speak out? Under the ‘You shall not take your brother to court’ scripture by members of the apostolic team, and were they ostracised and prayed against when they did? – Yes
- Were young girls told to submit to men and treated as second-class citizens? – Yes, women were effectively treated no better than housekeepers.
- Did this result in girls being abused and taken advantage of by streetwise men? – Yes.
Survivor A: “Apart from leaders. We were told house deacons had the right to go into any room as part of their duties. This was used as an excuse to enter childrens bedrooms and abuse them.”
Survivor B: “Despite the property having 4 toilets it was announced that brothers should be allowed access to our family bathroom to make sure it remained communal, I now know the brothers that put this forward are all known abusers. The house our family lived in now has numerous known abuse activities with children by numerous of the brothers that lived their.”
Survivor C: “From the very beginning as a sister the only time you entered a brothers room was to clean up after them!!!! Brothers ruled and you had to obey. One sister who asked a brother what he was doing in the attic when the parents were there (I had gone down to the cellar to collect washing) was told she was a demanding sister.”
Survivor D: “I wouldn’t say I was groomed as a teenager but I was definitely controlled. From the age of around 13 (1981) I was encouraged to share with my ‘shepherd’ rather than go to my father for advice or permission. My shepherd was a single leader. (A few years later – I don’t remember exactly at what age although I think I was around 18 or over, it was decided that single leaders should not ‘cover’ single females and I was given a married ‘shepherd’ – not that the control was any less though). I effectively lost my relationship with my dad (who was not a leader and so had no status in the household) and never recovered this. I was often alone with my ‘shepherd’ and can see now that although in my case nothing inappropriate happened, I was fortunate as if he had been a certain kind of man he would have had every opportunity. In terms of submission – yes – I think the best way to express the extent of this is to say that I grew up with very poor posture as I always looked down – I thought that was what a girl should do to show respect. From the age of 11 (when we moved into community) I became a domestic ‘sister’ washing and cleaning toilets with my mum (sometimes up to 10 bathrooms in a row including the men’s) in school holidays and at weekends. I picked potatoes (dragging along big heavy sacks), fruit and scraped sugar beet in freezing conditions.”