First, three truths.
1. Your pastor’s harmful behavior was not your fault. This is true no matter who “started it.”
2. Clergy sexual misconduct doesn’t have to be physical to be harmful.
3. You can get through this and emerge stronger than ever. Have hope!
Resources for healing:
The Hope of Survivors provides information on clergy sexual abuse: what it is, what it does, and how the church can prevent it. Trained volunteer counselors can help victims get through the crisis and become survivors. The Hope of Survivors offers workshops for survivors and educational programs for churches.
If you are in crisis: please get help now! If you are feeling suicidal, call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or your local crisis hotline. Your life is worth saving! Your life has a purpose! You can recover and heal from abuse.
Resources for learning:
Abuse by Clergy FAQs, by the FaithTrust Institute.
When Wolves Wear Shepherds’ Clothing: Helping Women Survive Clergy Sexual Abuse, by Dr. Diana R. Garland.
Soul Stealing: Power Relations in Pastoral Sexual Abuse, by Rev. Dr. Pamela Cooper-White.
Baylor University Study on Clergy Sexual Misconduct, led by Dr. Diana R. Garland, Dean of the Baylor School of Social Work.
The Survivor’s Bookshelf: my favorite books on all aspects of clergy sexual abuse: what is is, how to prevent it, how to heal.