the Hope of Survivors

Why Help?—Part 4—Being That 'Someone'—Mary Jo Huels-Noworyta

"Don't hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies. You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace. You see all that my enemies are doing. Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show me some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me." (Psalms 69: 17-20).

King David found himself in a situation, alone. Surrounded by his enemies throwing insults his way, he was faced with deep pain. He was beaten down by unjust criticisms and was clearly troubled. This was not the only time David cried out to God for help. The Psalms are filled with examples of David crying out to God when he stood alone in the storms of life.

What really hits home in this verse relating to victims of clergy sexual abuse is that one person can make a difference in the healing process. After we experience trauma, what follows is so important. What should follow? Support. Someone who shows compassion. Someone who brings comfort. Someone who understands. Someone.

Unfortunately, when we have been abused by clergy, that 'someone' is not the church or its members. Some have found support in friends and family and we are to thank God for them! But there are too many left alone in their pain and broken trust. After being abused by their spiritual leaders, victims are often shunned, ignored and blamed. There is a clear lack of understanding on this issue that is gaining more recognition as awareness is spread. Yet still sorely missing is support for the victim. There are several organizations that are dedicated to helping restore the pastor and family. There are few that offer help to the abused.

For the past fourteen years, for thousands of victims of clergy sexual abuse, that 'someone' has been The Hope of Survivors. Providing support and encouragement is one of the most important roles this organization offers. Talking with other survivors, the component that brought the greatest healing is talking to someone who understands what happened, having a place of compassion and comfort. This impact cannot be underestimated!

Sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  (PTSD) know the need for immediate support and relief. Without it, healing will take much longer. Having knowledge of this need during the recovery stage should cause others to rise up and support victims of clergy sexual abuse. Sadly, the support overwhelmingly continues to favor the abuser. This is why The Hope of Survivors is greatly needed!

The following testimonies reveal how great of an impact The Hope of Survivors has had on those abused by clergy:

"I was referred to The Hope of Survivors by a friend right after I came out of the hospital.  I had just tried to kill myself due to being kicked out of the church because my pastor was wanting to have sex with me. I took the fall for it all. The pain and shame was unbearable. I began reading the website and learning that my story was almost the same as other women's stories... I no longer today carry that load of guilt and the words of the survivors and their support brought me through the hardest time of my life. I can truly testify to the fact this group saved my life! I am forever grateful!"--NC

"Thank you for your response. I greatly appreciate this platform, as it is right now the only support that I have. It is only after God led me to this website that my eyes were opened to what had really happened to me. I was just always in pain after the abuse and knew that I needed counseling but I didn't even understand what for because I had not even understood it to be abuse. I have read every victim's story and some of the things they were told by their abusers are exactly the things I was told, word for word, and that is scary. I greatly appreciate your support..."--South Africa

"I love your words. They are like a soothing oil comforting my soul in this spiritually parched desert in which I find myself."--A Survivor

When we are traumatized by abuse, one person can be the turning point in our pathway to healing. The Hope of Survivors has been that 'someone' to thousands of victims of clergy sexual abuse. Please consider supporting this vitally important work and be that 'someone' to those abused by clergy.

"If only one person would show me some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me." 

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