The following individuals and organizations support the initiatives and goals of Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Day®:
"Clergy sexual abuse is intolerable. Religious leaders wreak destruction when they abuse their power by treating others as objects of sexual gratification rather than precious ones created in God’s image. They destroy lives of people and congregations who put their trust in their leaders to represent God. And they destroy themselves in the process. Clergy sexual abuse happens in our own congregations, and in the lives of our friends and families, but we do not see it because we have not known to pay attention. May this campaign give people language we need. A sexualized relationship between a leader and a congregant is not an affair, and it is not private. It is abuse of power, and it affects all of us. No more."—Diana R. Garland, Ph.D.,
Dean, Baylor School of Social Work; Waco, Texas
"Far more clergy have sexual contact with adult women or late adolescent girls than they do with kids of either gender."—Dr. Gary Schoener, Executive Director of the Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, which serves both offenders and survivors of clergy sexual abuse, has consulted on over 3,000 cases of clergy sexual abuse and is one of the most outspoken experts on this issue.
"The high spiritual calling of the clergy must be matched with an equally high moral response. Everywhere from the seminary down to the church pew we must educate ourselves and future clergy men and women about the respect owed to one another in the clergy-client relationship. This important awareness and prevention day will go far to remind us all of our moral duties to one another."—Lourdes Morales-Gudmundsson, Ph.D., speaker and author I Forgive You, But....
"Because it so completely misrepresents God, clergy sexual abuse trumps all other forms of abuse. When an individual called to represent divine love, instead manifests designing lust, a terrible confusion comes upon the victim. The line between God and his arch enemy is blurred and wounded souls in disillusionment cut themselves off from the only One who can help them. The Hope of Survivors has stepped into this breach and to help un-blur the boundaries between good and evil, and to reconcile hurting hearts to the Healer of hearts, Jesus Christ."—Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, LPC; Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania
"Thank you for the invitation. All United Methodist minister in this Annual Conference must attend a clergy sexual harassment seminar every 4 years. Not only do my church leaders see the necessity of this training, but the fact that ministers are sentenced to prison is verification that training is essential. Training is not needed for the clergy alone, because congregational leaders and members need training as well. Some congregations foster an instant intimacy almost requiring hugging one another even when one does not wish to be hugged. While some people may be huggers, others are not. In my opinion, to impose such contact in fact or by expectation is a violation of another, albeit to a lesser degree. I wish you well in your efforts. May God bless your work."—Chaplain Jon D. Kline, Big Muddy River Correctional Center; Ina, Illinois
"The purpose of bringing out in the open the problem of pastoral sexual abuse is to promote healing, changed lives, and a safer church community. But in order to do this, we have to actually talk about the dark truths surrounding the evil of clergy sexual abuse, and the truth of just how pervasive this problem is. It is my hope that the truths told and acknowledged through this campaign will be a tool used by The Holy Spirit to activate deep change and healing. It is also my hope this information will be used to produce a safe and healing spiritual-recovery community; ready to safely demonstrate and show the kind of love that existed during the time of the early Christian church. I believe this is desperately needed in the world and times that we are living in. I also believe that, ideally, this endeavor will blend the cooperative efforts of church leaders, Christian counselors, and the community or body of Christ.
The pain and the depth of the problem of abuse by clergy, when brought out into the open can become an awareness used by God to strengthen, revitalize and spiritually empower the ministry provided within a church community. Instead of a secret that blocks spiritual growth in a church, the honesty to deal with the problem of clergy sexual abuse can become a road to freedom as the church community learns how to participate in reaching out and supporting victims of pastoral sexual abuse and how to respond better to everyone involved. This is a God-led process that needs help through ministries such as The Hope of Survivors. Most importantly, it is my hope and prayer that what is shared during the events sponsored during the month of August will help to promote the healing of many victims who have been harmed—often severely so—by sexual abuse by clergy."—Linda Beldin-Korter, LCSW, Awaken Ministries; Vancouver, Washington
"I commend The Hope of Survivors for what they are doing to raise the level of awareness of clergy abuse. Samantha Nelson gives abuse victims hope through her own personal story and passion to provide healing."—Rich DuBose, Director, Pacific Union Conference, Church
“When any trusted helping professional, be it a medical or mental healthcare provider, a lawyer, a teacher or a member of the clergy, puts their own needs ahead of those of their patient, client, student, staffer or congregant, exploitation occurs. Professional exploitation is one of the most egregious of human offenses. The harm done affects every aspect of the victim/survivors’ life and most often the damage is never really completely healed.
Adult victim/survivors find little understanding when it comes to the fact that they hold zero accountability for the abuse they have endured. The professional is responsible for maintaining professional boundaries and ethics. Because there is an imbalance of power, authority, and trust, the adult victim cannot consent to the exploitive relationship.
When a child is abused, everyone understands that they had no consent or accountability or responsibility. No difference exists when adults are exploited/abused by professionals that have vowed to forego their own needs for the needs of others that seek their help.
There is not a more egregious offense than a member of clergy abusing a congregant. The loss of one’s spiritual self is added to the emotional damage that victim/survivors of other professionals don’t generally endure. For the victim/survivor of clergy abuse, this loss is the most devastating of all.
The Hope of Survivors organization is a lifeline to those abused by clergy. The organization offers a hand up with unlimited resources and support. Those involved in providing the support are the most selfless among us. They care deeply and provide support for all those that face the long and arduous path to healing.
If there is just one thing that you can do to offer your support for The Hope of Survivors, it is to make a donation to ensure that this organization remains viable for all those that are in such dire need of guidance on their healing path and the support that only The Hope of Survivors can give."—Cindy Boling,
AdvocateWeb (HOPE = Helping Overcome Professional Exploitation)
"After women are sexually assaulted by a member of the clergy, they are often blamed by their congregation for having an affair. When clergy cross sexual boundaries with congregants it is never an affair. It is always sexual assault because of the position of power a clergy person holds in the congregation. Blaming and shaming a victim intensifies her shame of having been sexually violated and further isolates her. It also increases symptoms of assualt such as: spiritual crisis, post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation. Clergy sexual abuse and assault happen in all religions and every denomination. This is why Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Day is much needed. Creating awareness of this crime amongst the faithful will improve the likelihood that victims will be supported by other clergy and by their denomination. Such support greatly aids the victim and her family in their healing process."—Carolyn Waterstradt, M.A., Clergy Sexual Abuse Researcher
“Any type of sexual abuse can be shattering and life changing. When sexual abuse occurs at the hand of a person in a powerful position with the “blessing” of sacred institutions, the negative impacts are often overwhelmingly devastating. Recognizing, labeling, and addressing clergy sexual misconduct constitutes an important step in the prevention process. Plan now to participate in the Enough IS Enough campaign to raise awareness about this important topic. You can make a difference to future generations by helping to spread the word about clergy sexual abuse and its harmful effects.”—René Drumm, Ph.D., Dean, School of Social Work, Southern Adventist University; Collegedale, TN
"When clergy and spiritual leaders use their position of authority and trust to exploit others to manipulate them into sexual relationships, this is more than just “sexual misconduct”. This is abuse. In fact, it can be such a deep violation of trust that the results of this abuse can be devastating to the victim and to the victim’s family and to congregations. I encourage people of all faiths to become more aware of the terrible harm caused by this abuse, and do all that they can to prevent this abuse within their congregations. There is no evil greater than evil done in the name of God. Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Day is a great opportunity for congregations to explore these issues and to address ways to help prevent this terrible abuse."—Kevin Gourley, Founder, AdvocateWeb (Offering HOPE—Helping Overcome Professional Exploitation)
"We have no hesitation in endorsing this campaign. For too long clergy abuse and its devastating effects have been underplayed and excused. A campaign such as this is an essential and effective way of raising awareness and validating the experience of those who have suffered in silence for too long."—Dawn Devereux and Jonathan Coe, The Clinic for Boundaries Studies (UK)