the Hope of Survivors

Why Help?—Part 3—Mary Jo Huels-Noworyta

Worldwide ProblemIt's a Worldwide Problem

Years ago, there was a woman who was pursued and sexually abused by her pastor; her husband, betrayed by his pastor. After years of struggling, healing was in sight. However, there were no organizations available to assist them on their journey. From their pain and lack of support came The Hope of Survivors, a place thousands of victims from around the world found hope, healing and encouragement.

Over the past fourteen years, The Hope of Survivors has been contacted by over 1,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse (CSA); by people from over 35 countries and more than 55 denominations, religious and faith communities. This does not include those indirectly impacted (spouse, children, friends) or those who received assistance but did not give their contact information. This clearly shows a worldwide problem among all religious and faith communities and causes concern over the lack of support for victims.

The Catholic Church has a large global base and is able to provide the resources necessary to support its group, SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), to aid victims of sexual abuse. However, the remaining groups hang in the balance, not having a place within their individual communities to find the services they need after being abused by their spiritual leaders.

That's why The Hope of Survivors is such a significant organization. Being available to all religious and faith groups throughout the world, it meets a need impacting every person abused by clergy. A victim from the UK found no other place that understood their abuse, “Thank you for what you guys are doing. It is the only website/place in the world that understands this.” CSA is often misunderstood and once the truth is known, the healing journey can move forward. Many times, the church doesn't understand or have the resources available as one victim from West Virginia stated, “The ministry of THOS is so very important to helping those little sheep that Satan has scattered and it breaks my heart to know that many, many churches do not understand what pastoral abuse is and what it isn't. I see very well--more than ever--a need for all the seminars and conferences you do.”

Victims of CSA have endured severe pain and faced the darkest time of their lives. Finding courage through The Hope of Survivors gives many people hope. “You guys gave us the courage and strength to carry on in the dark and dismal days following disclosure. Today, we thrive in good part to your being the Christ for us, the light when there seemingly was none.”--Maine

Having been used and abused by clergy will inevitably create fear of attending a place of worship, particularly if the victim has been shunned and blamed. Their place of worship is no longer safe. “Words cannot express how much it meant to me to see you and be able to feel safe during worship again. I have so often thanked God for His presence through your selfless dedication towards my healing...and so many, many more like me....”--Western Australia

The Hope of Survivors cannot exist without the generosity and support of its board of directors, volunteers, and contributors. Together, we are making a difference impacting change on a global scale. What a great way to make an impact in the world!

Please consider joining the fight to help end clergy sexual abuse. Visit our website at thehopeofsurvivors.com for more information.

Thank you for your webpages. The stories of pain and suffering followed by hope and restoration has given me great comfort.”--Canada

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18