Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Journey-Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Let the Beatings Begin

Beatings and whippings were routine. So conditioned was I by corporeal punishment that one day something happened that my Mom recalled with pride for many years afterwards. I was three (maybe a little younger), I know because we were living in Hell's Kitchen at the time. I had done something wrong but my Mom didn't know about it. Maybe I had broken something. Anyway my Mom used these plastic jump ropes to whip me with. She called them "the greenies" because they came in different colors and she had a huge supply of green ones. So I went, took the "greenie" from where it was hanging and went to my Mom, told her what I did, handed the "greenie" to her and ASKED for a beating! I was there for my punishment! I don't know if she actually gave me my whooping or not. But I often wonder, was I nuts? I would later unlearn this foolish craving for discipline as I will explain shortly.

Meetings were the premier occasion for physical torture. To this day people in that area of Brooklyn remember my Mom. She would sit in the front row. Always the front. To this day she must sit at least near the front. In the back were all the "weak" Witnesses. I was to be up front away from them and their kids taking in every word. So everyone would see how whenever my attention deviated she would grab the ear lobe closest to her and pinch, pull and twist it all at the same time. Gosh that hurt. Everyone would see it. But she couldn't be told anything. There were some of those "weak" teenage girls sitting in the back who felt so sorry for me that they on occasion would pass notes up front to my Mom telling her to stop pulling my ears! Boy did that make her blood boil. I remember once after we got home from the meeting her ranting that she would never change her ways. "I am like Br. Rutherford. Bold, courageous." I kid you not that is a direct quote.

I have very prominent ears that I get from my Dad. But I often think to myself that my Mom must have stretched them a centimeter or two. I think she resorted to this ear pulling because my Dad never really attended meetings regularly. And after a time, when I was six or seven the elders insisted that she not take me to the Ladies' Room anymore. Yup, that's right, so paranoid that I would be with the "little worldly boys" whose parents were not good Witnesses in her eyes was she, that she would take me in the women's bathroom. Once she couldn't do that anymore the spankings had to wait till we got home. Thus the earlobe pulling. And boy did I get spanking when we would get home. They were outright whippings. They would usually begin with a long lecture (it being a school night made no difference). Scriptures would be used, scary ones about Armageddon and that damned "eagle of the torrent valley" in Proverbs that would pick my eyes out. Then she would grab a belt, (later in life she would graduate to brooms), have me strip down to underwear, and whip me till the welts were almost bleeding. Usually she used belts. But if she couldn't find a belt as I took to hiding them, or if she felt that I had been REALLY bad she would use extension cords. God did they hurt. All the while I would try to shield myself from them, with little success. Now understand, I wasn't a bad kid. Being bad would never have justified this kind of treatment. But to do this to a child because they could not sit still at a long and boring meeting is just plain sick. Evil. How in God's name can a parent do this I will never understand. I can barely yelling at my daughter. Forget about beatings? Leaving marks and occasionally drawing blood. How the hell did my Mom do it to me? And how did my Dad allow it to go on? Year after bloody year? Till finally one day I said firmly "NO, you will never whip me again." When that didn't stop her I perfected the art of catching the belt, at which time she graduated to longer and harder objects. And she was always careful never to leave marks that the school could pick up on. (Of course in the seventies the schools weren't as keen on this as they are today.) So crazy was my mother that on at least one occasion that I can remember she came up to school, saw me acting up in class, pulled me out of class and beat me in the hallway. And yet in spite of this at every service meeting, circuit assembly, or other such function where interviews were called for she was the one used as the model. When Ray Richardson who is still at Bethel in I think Writing wanted someone for a slide talk he was working up, he sought out my Mom to be in the photo shoots.

Now my Mom is not entirely to blame. She came to this religion running away from EXTREMELY bad circumstances. Later she sought good advice on being a good parent. She receieved some help and even good advice. But at a very high price. And much of it left much to be desired. On child rearing much of what she was told was that Dr. Spock was encouraging parents to raise a bunch of brats. That one should BEAT one's child. Don't worry, he will not die. Further who had given her the jump ropes to use in beating me? A member of the ANOINTED. One of Christ's brothers, or should I say sisters, who used them on her daughters. Well if it is good enough for one of the "anointed" it must be OK for my Mom. This organization has been responsible both directly and indirectly for countless acts of brutality towards innocent and helpless children. Years of undermined self-esteem would be the inevitable result.

Isaac Carmignani


Edward Albright said...

What does any of that have to do with Jehovah's Witnesses? You speak of what happened to you, but what does that have to do with Jehovah's Witnesses?

truthsetsonefree said...

The culture encouraged it. The practices were never seriously discouraged or sanctioned. they could have been. Granted my parents would probably have been the people they were without the religion. But they could have been taught differently. If this religion was really an advocate for those less fortunate. Further long meetings late at night when schoolchildren should be in bed contributed to that kind of action as children become restless and need an outlet.

Shawn said...

and here's another example...

Anonymous said...

You seriously believe that a religion caused your abuse? The Watchtower Society doesn't need anymore reasons to be scrutinized by society than already exists and if it was promoting child abuse then there would people storming the headquarters to shut it down....yet again. I can guarantee you that if whoever those sickos were that told your mother Jehovah approved of beating children bloody were turned in to the Governing Body then they wouldn't be elders any more. They most likely would be disfellowshipped. Beating someone senseless isn't going to get them into Paradise, but will most likely damn the beater to Gehenna.