The first 16 questions
commonly come from survivors.
The last 7 are from others--family members, students, scholars, or other
Some of the most
common questions about sexual abuse, in general, are also addressed
in an article I wrote years ago. The article also addresses issues that
would apply to any type of abuse
1. I've been holding
this in for a long time without telling a soul in my church until now.
I think I'm ready. How do I even start?
2. How can I go on
coping with what happened when nobody I know wants to hear?
3. What about forgiveness?
People say I have a "forgiveness problem."
4. Am I wrong to insist
that my perpetrator needs to be held responsible?
5. What are my obligations
as a survivor?
6. I'd like to do something
to help others, like maybe writing a book. What advice do you have?
7. As a victim of domestic
violence, my pastor and church leaders insist I must go back. I feel
guilty leaving and think maybe they are right about how my leaving would
not be a good example to others. What do you think?
8. What happened to
me wasn't sexual abuse because I was an adult. So why do I often feel
like I was raped?
9. Am I to blame if
I didn't stand up to the perpetrator immediately?
10. Sometimes I think
I'm still very much in love with the man who abused me. Is that crazy?
11. What can I do
the restore my faith?
12. How can I ever
trust anyone again?
13. Will I ever get
over what happened to me?
14. I'm having difficulty
finding professionals (like therapists and lawyers) who understand issues
of professional sexual abuse. Can you help?
15. Can you recommend
resources other than your book that address the collusion in the faith
16. Is there a reliable
data base, available to the public, to provide the names and locations
of clergy perpetrators? If not, why not?
QUESTIONS from OTHERS:
How can I best be of support to my loved one?
2. My wife (or husband)
is a victim of sexual misconduct, but she won't admit it. She is still
in love with the perpetrator and has left me and my kids because of
the abuse! What can I do?
3. I feel like my
marriage is falling apart since my spouse began facing reality, even
though it happened long ago. Where do I myself find support?
4. As a family member,
I've suffered a lot myself in trying to find justice and understanding
in the church. Sometimes I feel like I was victimized just as much as
my son (or daughter, sister, spouse). Is this common?
5. I'm a professional
counselor with little background in theological issues myself. Do you
have any special recommendations for me, to help me address spiritual
6. Is abuse more
common in certain faith communities?
7. I'm a pastor who
has suffered much persecution from my own colleagues and congregants
when I tried to see that an abuser was held accountable. Can you help
me find support?
8. I want to teach the people in
my church or seminary class how to better respond to victims. What tips
do you have?