SVT News Skåne has met Irja Piippo, 33, a defender from Jehovah's Witnesses. When Irja, as a teenager, confessed that she had had sex outside of marriage, she was called to a meeting of six older men, who in Jehovah's Witnesses are called elder brothers.
Over the years, Peter Åkerbäck has met many defectors from Jehovah's Witnesses. He affirms that Jehovah's use of so-called elder councils - where older men judge sins.
- There are such advice from elders and they are always men. But these tips can behave differently in different places in the country, he says.Biblical Gender Roles
Peter Åkerbäck also knows that there are offenders who have testified about sexual abuse.
- Regarding gender roles, Jehovah's hero is based on a biblical view, in which man has a role that stands above woman. The sexual abuse is incredibly difficult to get a glimpse of, we hear stories from those who have jumped off and we get to believe them - but you can't get a glimpse of what it is like in the congregation, says Peter Åkerbäck.
Is it hard to leave Jehovah's Witnesses?
- Yes, it is. The person who leaves must cut off so many ties and relationships, the entire social environment of the group disappears when one is excluded.