Sherrie D’Souza

Escape from a cult … the JWs

Sherrie D’Souza will look at religious cults, and specifically the Jehovah’s Witnesses, of which she was a former member. Can an organisation as large as the JWs be described as a cult, and what is it like to get out – what is “religious trauma syndrome” and what forms of support exists for former members? D’Souza set up an Australian branch of the US-based Recovering from Religion organisation in 2020 (with another branch in New Zealand coming soon).


Sherrie D’Souza was born and raised in Sydney as a Jehovah’s Witness, devoting much of her youth to full-time volunteering for the religion. She has a background in healthcare administration. After learning of the cover-up of child sexual abuse in the religion, she left the religion in 2016 (following her husband Sacha, who had already left). In 2018 they joined the JWsurvey team (now JWWatch as editor of the Global JW Survey and aftercare & support manager, answering the initial emails from “awakening” Jehovah’s Witnesses the world over. In April 2020, Sherrie started the first Recovery from Religion Support Group in Sydney. (RfR is an international non-profit organisation that helps people who have left, or are in the process of leaving religion.)