With great pleasure, I break my silence on this blog to tell readers about a new study on how churches respond to reports of clergy sexual misconduct. Montclair State University doctoral candidate Krystal Woolston, who is herself a survivor, designed the study under the supervision of her faculty advisor. Krystal is hoping to learn from victims and survivors who experienced clergy abuse as adults (over the age of 18), and who reported the abuse to their church.
The study has two phases. The first, a confidential survey, will help Krystal gather anonymous quantitative data from many survivors. Interested participants may also choose to participate in the second phase, a personal interview about their experience with the church’s response.
I urge survivors to consider participating, for three reasons.
1. The church needs this information, and Krystal is in a position to share it broadly. In her journey of healing, she has become a leader on this issue within her denomination. She is held in high regard, and her voice will be heard.
2. I have known Krystal for many years, and I have a TON of respect for her. She is a brilliant, bold, compassionate, strong and effective leader.
3. You may find the survey lifting your spirits. Among other questions, the study invites us to reflect on how our church experience changed our lives, and what we have gained in healing.