Abuse survivor David Pittman applauds the Church of England for their unreserved apology to abuse survivors, and encourages American churches to follow suit.
As a member of the Episcopal Church here in the United States, and a survivor of CSA at the hands of a clergy member I have only one thing to say…Thank God!!! In the various 12-Step programs you hear all the time, admitting there is a problem is the first step. Well, they have not only admitted to the problem, they are seeking ways to prevent it from happening in the first place. At the bottom of this post you will find two articles that are prime examples of what should take place.
Unlike their Roman Catholic, Jewish Orthodox, and Southern Baptist counterparts, and essentially EVERY other religious group, who choose to remain in denial, deflection and dogma that says defend the institution rather than the children, the Church of England has come to its senses and is no longer protecting these pedophiles priests. They have now taken the lead and done what hopefully all schools, religious organizations and civic groups will do. Quit worrying about how much money it’s going to cost them in litigation and do the right thing! They have made a public statement acknowledging the wrongdoing, the cover-ups and how they will protect children and not the church as an organization.
Even though the abuse that happened to me occurred at another denomination, it told me I made the right choice in selecting this one to continue my spiritual growth. The church I once belonged to, more specifically, the church I had dedicated my life to, the Southern Baptist, have not only ignored my plea’s to remove the man who sexually abused me and at least 7 others that I know of, they have told me in no uncertain terms, its not their problem…each church is independent of one another and them as a convention. All of which are bold-faced lies. If each “independent” church doesn’t send the convention a certain amount of dollars, they are denied representation at the national convention. Does that sound autonomous or independent to you? The RCC and the SBC have shown their administrations true colors time and time again, they don’t really care about the protection of children. They either deny, deny, deny or they want to pay “hush money” for things to just “go away”. And in doing so, they facilitate these pedophiles/sexual predators to keep harming more children. In my opinion that’s condoning, not condemnation.
Which is why I say now I’m so thankful for how the Anglican church is acting. In doing so they are saying to me, we are genuinely sorry and even though we didn’t help protect others in the past, we will do all we can to prevent this from happening in the future. And the bottom line, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. I am not a church or religion “hater”. To the contrary, it’s my faith that has helped me overcome much of the pain caused by these so-called men of the cloth. And it’s because of my faith I want to see things changed WITHIN the church, not have the church TORN DOWN.
I can only hope and pray that others will follow their lead. But if the past actions are any indication of future ones, it doesn’t look good. It appears the only way things change with them is to hit them in the wallet as hard as you can. Which means survivors of CSA brave enough to come forward are forced to relive and retell their nightmares over and over through depositions, trials, etc. And by forcing survivors to do this, these religious leaders are victimizing them all over again.
If you really want to see change within your organization, it’s going to take some effort. You must do as we have been for some time now. Write and call your state and national leaders of whatever group you belong. Demand that they make REAL, LASTING change, not just empty, broken promises as they have done in the past. A quick google search will tell you who you need to contact, and if you’re having difficulty finding them, just email us and we’ll be happy to help.
Please stand with us and demand that your church, your school or any organization that harbors these pedophiles/sexual predators stop denying and start defending the ones they should…the ones they were charged to protect…the children.
Originally appeared at Together We Heal