Clergy sex abuse is a devastating experience that can have long-lasting effects on survivors. It can shatter their trust in religious institutions and leave them feeling isolated and alone. Unfortunately, clergy sex abuse is all too common, and many survivors struggle to find the resources they need to heal.
If you or someone you know has experienced clergy sex abuse, know you are not alone. Substantial information is available to help survivors navigate the healing process and find the support they need to move forward.
Whether you are looking for therapy, support groups, legal assistance, or other forms of support, there are resources available to get you the help you need to begin your healing journey.
Support Organizations for Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors
Victims of clergy misconduct should be provided with the compassion, support, and resources necessary to heal. Those who have suffered abuse at the hands of a religious leader should know that various groups exist for the purpose of giving these life-saving services.
Here are some groups that can provide you with the information and support you need:
One example is Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). This organization offers many forms of assistance, such as legal advice, counseling, support groups, and outreach campaigns to raise public awareness about the prevalence of clergy abuse.
Additionally, SNAP provides training for local organizations on how to better serve victims and also works with other advocacy organizations around the world.
Faith Trust Institute
Another notable resource is FaithTrust Institute which provides specialized education programs to faith communities that seek to prevent sexual misconduct from happening in their culture.
FaithTrust also extends its reach beyond education by offering healing retreats for those affected by spiritual betrayal.
RAINN – Rape, Abuse, and Sexual Exploitation National Network
RAINN is the largest organization in the United States that is striving to put an end to sexual violence. RAINN is responsible for the establishment and management of the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE), which operates in conjunction with over one thousand local treatment providers for sexual assault located all over the country. RAINN also provides programs to help victims, prevent sexual assault, help victims, and hold abusers legally accountable for their actions.
Finally Speak Out Now
Finally Speak Out Now is a non-profit organization that advocates for improved laws and policies surrounding clerical misconduct. They provide direct assistance through their hotline as well as personal survivor stories with their public Facebook group, which serves as a supportive community for sharing experiences and advice.
1 in 6
The goal of 1in 6 is to promote better, happier lives for males who have experienced sexual abuse or unwanted sexual interactions. By offering information and support resources online and in the local community, we are also able to serve family members, friends, partners, and service providers.
Catholic Whistleblowers Group
Anyone who has been abused by members of the clergy of any faith tradition can seek advocacy and support services from Catholic Whistleblowers. They collaborate with individuals, groups, and parishes in order to establish a risk-free setting that is devoid of exploitation and abuse.
These different organizations provide valuable services that address the unique needs of survivors of clergy sex abuse and help them on their path to healing.
Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Assault
For more information about Catholic Church sexual abuse and support for survivors, visit the Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Assault page on Catholic Church priest sexual abuse.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors Can Recover and Move On With Their Lives With the Right Tools
Healing from trauma can come from different sources. For those seeking local resources, there are a number of options available.
Mental Health Professionals
Specialists in mental health care who deal with trauma related to sexual assault or childhood exploitation can provide individual counseling sessions and other types of therapeutic treatments.
Books For Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Reading books about the topic will provide guidance and resources to help survivors process the trauma they have experienced and learn strategies for moving forward. The books may contain topics such as self-care tips, information on how to find appropriate forms of therapy or support systems, identity building, and stories from other survivors that provide encouragement.
Books allow readers to gain valuable insight into their own experiences as well as offer up concrete action plans for achieving personal growth. Some recommended reading includes:
- Mic Hunter, Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse
- Jennifer J. Freyd, Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse
- Richard B. Gartner, Beyond Betrayal
- Pete Walker, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: a Guide and Map for Recovering From Childhood Trauma
- Clark E. Barshinger, Lojan E. La Rowe, Andres T. Tapia, Haunted Marriage: Overcoming the Ghosts of Your Spouse’s Childhood Abuse
- Beverly Engel, It Wasn’t Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion
In addition, a large number of religious communities provide victims of clerical abuse with counseling services and other forms of assistance that are specifically geared toward their needs. You should only contact these organizations if you feel secure doing so.
These faith-based organizations may also be able to refer survivors to local resources such as helpful support groups or workshops.
It is important to remember that dealing with the aftermath of clergy abuse takes time and often requires help from outside sources and professionals. Seeking out these local resources can provide extra guidance and support for survivors who are navigating a complicated time in their lives.
Contact a Clergy Abuse Law Firm to Find Out How We Can Help
Sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member is a harrowing ordeal, but it need not be faced alone. By using the organizations listed above, victims of clergy sex abuse can access the support they need for a meaningful recovery.
Part of your journey may be the desire to hold your abuser accountable for their actions. A clergy abuse attorney with White Law PLLC can listen to your story and help you to understand your legal options for pursuing justice and compensation.
Our firm has helped hundreds of clergy sexual abuse survivors to take the steps needed to stand up for their rights and reclaim their lives. If you have questions or need more information about how we can help you, please contact us today.
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