This organization continues to be exceptional. It is led by a group of professionals who understand the reality of sexual abuse against adults by religious leaders. There are not many people talking about sexual abuse against adults, so those of us who are affected by this are often misunderstood. This is why The Hope of Survivors is so important. We need this ministry. Everyone I tell about this ministry who has heard of it agrees that it is excellent. So grateful for them.
I Think it’s time some one came forward and Told the story how the church isn’t going to help the victims especially now that in NY so many filled a claim last yr. August 2021 the CVA. I did file a Claim. Because I was Already investigated fully by the church and a independent investigator and all my allegations checked out fully. The bishop also met me on a zoom call and did apologize sincerely I do believe. As well as he told me that the church would take responsibility for my abuse 40 yrs prior. It was a great call until. He asked how he could make my life better and I told him that I read that some the victims had got help financially to help them recover and live a better life with out going homeless and be able to deal with are recovering. He did reply that at that time he could not offer that kind of assistance and that we could discuss it in a couple months after he returned from a trip. As I was confused and Even angry at the situation because he did know i was possibly going to be homeless again soon. I didn’t know what else to do but not let the CVA act pass by in two weeks from our meeting. And now even after all that Im still struggling and my lawyer says there is going to be no possible solution for years. This to me is totally unacceptable because we have victims going hungry and homeless and there is not any one doing anything about it. It’s truly unreal that Is happening when we were convinced to come forward. The problem is also we the survivors/victims kept out secrets for so long that we had learned to live with the pain and. Suffering and many many are even dead now. And it turns out I read all over that that’s what the church wants to out live as many as possible. That does not sound like helping the people who suffered this awful abuse. That clearly we see could have been avoided if some one just stood up and did something to the church long ago. Instead of letting them Lobby with politicians to let them handle there own problems. It’s not ok and if they will not step up and help than the government surely can. And find away to fine them
all the billions there trying to protect so hard by hiding the Money. And it’s common knowledge on top of all of it.
So if there made to give up all the money that the government can find and im sure it’s an unbelievable amount and just freeze all of there assets and make them start over with out a penny. The Church would be forced to not ruin Children’s life’s with there selfish acts of sexual abuse. There would Never be any one powerful enough to cover up the sexual predators so they have the Same consequences as all the rest of the convicted sexual assault people in the world today. The only reason they got away with it is because of all the billions of dollars they have collected from no other than the life’s the
Thank you I Guess I got pretty angry at the end as I did not rehearse a word.
Subject: Adult survivor of clergy abuse
I have been praying for some answers because I’m just getting to exhausted to keep fighting and begging for help. I don’t know how much more I can do. Of course I’m not blaming you i just keep getting up every day to more misery. Thank you if you had a chance to read. It’s not personal attack on anyone just so frustrated.
Hello sir. So I don’t know what.else to do I send 100s of emails I even started a go fund me page and no luck so if there’s anything I could use to help me. I would be incredibly grateful. Thanx. Below are emails
I keep sending. Most do not reply because they know the truth.
I send out emails to all the people who either are running non profit organization that tell me that they do not help individuals. So why so much government funding if they do not help us. As well as all the donations. I am truly not happy about my situation as a survivor. But there doesn’t seem to be help for us. Clergy sexual abuse survivors. The CVA act got us to file now what the church is going to stall us for yrs. There has to be a solution better than being homeless again it’s terrifying me.
survivors that are now going hungry and homeless because we waited unit we were older. Im 57. Broke down with all kinds of physical. Emotional and spiritual problems. You realize almost every site like this one is sponsored by. Big government grants. . I asked for help because there isn’t a government of state of NY Program to help us survivor's with a penny for help And when I’m on the government sites it sends me to same places that will not help or say they can’t or do not help individuals. That’s so crazy it’s the individuals that were abused. Is why they have the site to start with. And the big government grants they do with what they wish. I did ask one lady who was very mean telling me I probably was a fraud asking for financial help. Then I sent her a copy of the suit i filed in Albany ny. In august 2021. I didn’t get another response from her. I did tell her if it was against her policy than maybe a $10. Or $20 donation to my go fund me page would help me get some food. But she was quite rude and that’s one of our non. Profits. Getting paid to help but being rude. Idk but that’s not right.
I like to know why I read this in the news and the diocese claims to be settling there claims. I have been. Upfront honest and Also investigated since the fall of. 2020
By the diocese and a special investigator that I had to tell every single detail too. And was going completely credible by every one in June 2021. And I can say the diocese did everything by the book. And I did get. A zoom meeting with the bishop and he did sincerely apologize and it helped me very much But as I have told the bishop office and my lawyer that I am now doing my best to recover and im in a pretty tough spot.
As I cannot hold a job. And im in quite al a lot of pain. Pinched nerves arthritis in my neck that’s so bad some times i can’t do much. And i am tryin to also heal from the clergy abuse that I kept secret 40 yrs. So All that and now even behind on rent I could be homeless at my age. Again and I can’t get any help from the government there is no help for my situation age and pains recovering from all that. And The answers I'm getting are it may take maybe years before anything or any answers to the civil suit I filled last yr. Will be settled if there is any thing done at all to help me. To me some one is not telling the truth my lawyer says since last august there has not been one move forward what so ever.and I read the article that says the diocese is continuing to help the past survivors. I must be reading that wrong The most upsetting thing is I already have been investigated by the diocese and they had a board meeting and I was found credible and I have all the texts and emails. Why do I have to go live on the streets again. And maybe not live through that this time. I’m upset and not going to go quietly with out trying to let people know. That nothing Is moving forward with my suit. And I was investigated what about the other hundreds of people in the
Same spot. That are starting as of last august that are hurting. Isn’t there a time period that the church must respond and try to help us or there lawyers are that smart they can keep pushing this off as long as they want. Idk if that’s the case I guess I will never get help and they all hope I just die off and that’s it. I do not to let my brain work that way. Because as I sat the bishop was very kind and respectful to me but no one has offered me and kind of financial help or I definitely would have not filled a suit that I thought Atleast there was a fund set up to help us survivors. Get a chance to recover and not on a park bench. I don’t know what else to do or say. But if they diocese Is truly trying to hell us. They sure know how to get to my lawyer because I’m not aloud to talk to there lawyers. Or I would go Right down to there office and put them on the spot.
Thank you for listening and if there is anything I can do. Or make any statements about any of this. I don’t have much more to lose now. I think being homeless again is as far down i can go. Or death
I have tried to get help from every single government and state agencies. It seems As now there isn’t a type of funding for this sexual abuse yet in the data base. Especially after filling last year. Not one thing has been done to help the survivor as these law suits may drag on for years for some of us. Thank you for listening and I posted my fund page as it gives much more of my story.
518-368-2856. Cell I will answer any questions i can If necessary
Hi my name is Bob. I would like to share how my BIG SECRET.
Kept me sick and almost killed me.
I have created this page to ask for help after 40yrs of silence of clergy sexual abuse. My support system has assured me asking for help and helping others is the best way to recover from almost anything. Since the day I shared my secret Oct 7th 2020 I have had no desire to take a drink or figure out a plan of suicide. that’s a miracle for a guy like me who went to every length for all those years to keep my secret hidden. I would do almost anything except to share my secret and truly ask for help. My biggest fear ever was living because dying became a natural thought.
Today I share open and honestly my story of hope and how working with other sick and suffering people is giving me another day of recovery. I am here raising money to support myself and help others by telling my story and what ever financial help I am able to raise here. I know it’s going to be a long process because I never had any social media pages and I’m told that is part of most peoples success here. I’m 57 now and have lived a life of pain and suffering so not very much can scare me now. I did everything possible to be as self-destructive as possible because I could not bring myself to share my secret of abuse. I have been homeless a few times and that is a hard way to live but it did not stop me I tried to get help for years with my sobriety and I did everything accept tell my secret. Eventually no mater how hard I tried my secret would lead me back to alcohol because that was the only thing ever to take away the pain even if it was for 1 day.
I am going to share my story here what happened what it was like and what it’s like now. It’s how it works for me today.
I am taking full responsibility for my life now and also asking for help for donations to be able to live a life of hope. I could never let anyone really know me or help me ever before. Today I can ask for help my ego and pride no longer stand in the way of living.
So any financial help I can raise here will be helpful for me to keep a place to live as well as help others who are sick and suffering.by sharing my story with others and those who are in desperate need of some cash to help them with even a little bit to make it through another day. People like me know there is help for them online and going through programs. The places I go to speak most often there are people that are towards the end of hope.most of the people who have gone through what I have and are so far away from reality that a program is not going to help. Unfortunately there are many that will not survive. Because they could not tell there secrets and there minds are controlled by drugs and alcohol or anything other form of addiction and the idea of death is very normal. I believe by me telling my story even if one person who has already made a plan to commit suicide. And hear that I was there and almost succeeded. May ask how they could get help and take one more chance at life. That is worth anything to me
To be able to give back what was given to me by a power so much greater that I am.
I have learned from almost every one who are successfully recovering from almost everything. that helping others is the biggest part of there recovery. I could never understand that because I was in denial my whole life. It’s truly amazing when I share my story with others and a person tells me afterwards that they have gone through the same kind of horror that has dominated there life’s and maybe the act of suicide is not the only answer. That is what keeps me going every day now. I do not know any other way to stay sober today and i can assure everyone that I tried everything I could think of. Our minds convince us that the only answer is death.
My story is probably not unique in many ways. I was an impressionable young guy and very trusting. So when I met father Romano a very nice man I would have no reason not to have trusted him. He was always very helpful and I could talk to him about most anything and I thought that being able to talk to a priest about the things we did was really something. As I know now that’s what is called grooming.
One day he offered me an opportunity for some driving lessons as I just got my permit. I was happy to get the chance because I had no other ways of learning. and having a car to take my driving test. Would be very helpful.
Although I had no idea this day would change my life for 40 yrs. We did our lesson and when we finished he offered to buy me lunch and i agreed. The best part I thought was that he thought it was ok for me to drink as much alcohol as I wanted and I did. That day was different as I drank a lot and really drunker than usual. We left and then the next thing I knew we were at his place where he suggested I take a nap. Well the rest is very obvious. And I won’t speak of the whole act and what Happened next.
I can remember that when I figured out what happened I had an absolute fit and said some nasty things. And ran out the door and I got down the road where I was safe. I only remember that I told myself this did not happen and I tried to block it out of my memory completely. Of course that didn’t work that great.
But I did find that if I drank enough alcohol that I did not feel the pain as much and I did my best even at 16 yrs old to drink as much and as often as I could. I found away to get a job at a bar when I was 17. And learned how to be a bartender. That was perfect for me as I could drink as much as I could and make money. I was drinking to live and living to drink. It was so awful, but I was locked into this way of life to protect me and my secret. I did have many legal issues lots Of fights and drunk driving. One thing happened that would turn out to save me but I did not know it was I had a choice between rehab or jail. I went to the rehab and I did learn a lot about myself but I would not tell my secret and that would come back to hurt me over and over. A few years later is about the time I was told by a girl that I dated off and on that she was pregnant, and I was the dad. I couldn’t believe that this could happen to me I couldn’t be a father I am a mess. She told me that I would not have any responsibility of raising the child but I had to promise to not come around ever again. At the time I thought I was off the hook and move on with my life. But after months passed and I found that something deep inside of me a feeling that I never thought I had before compassion I believe. So I waited until she was born and I showed up. She let me see her for a few minutes and told me that because of how much of a bad person I was and my drinking that I passed up a chance Of being a father. That day would turn out to be a start of trying to change myself. I knew I had to get help and be a father. I did go to Rehab again. But I did it to get the real help I needed and all through my time there. One thing was I could not do was tell my secret no matter what and that was a big mistake. So I did end up fighting her mom in court for visitation rights it took some time, and then we eventually had weekends together. I stayed sober for a few years but the Secret I had buried deep would come back to haunt me. Thank god this relapse did not last long my daughter was still very young at the time. I needed to take care of her and be there for her. I did go back into rehab and I got more strength I did every possible that was suggested. I still had that secret Deep down inside I could not talk about it. I was so determined This time I stayed sober for 12 years and my daughter her name is molly and I had a great relationship over the year's.
I fought as hard as I could to stay sober and I did everything right but tell my secret I had so many chances I just could not do it. I had some great guys around me at that time any one of them would have helped me I’m sure it. I don’t even know why to this day why I wouldn’t tell the one thing that destroyed me for years and struggled through years of pain and suffering.
Now molly was 18, and I was just struggling so hard my pain would get greater all the time I spent days In bed. Depression had taken over and I could not take the pain anymore as the thoughts of suicide were now daily. But I could not do that to her. I eventually ended up drinking again this time was 10x worse than years past and I did everything possible to self-destruct myself. Now the choice of suicide would get stronger and the pain greater. Molly had her life and Although she noticed I was not the same i just lied all the time. Then a couple years later she decided to enroll into the Air Force and left for Texas. Now nothing could Stop me and it wasn’t long before I lost everything, and I was homeless and still could not have the courage to tell my secret. How far I let this secret control my whole life. I believed at that time that I would be better off dead. My thinking took total control of my life and led me to dark ugly days for years now.
Molly came back home from Texas and it wasn’t long before she was sent to Kansas for 2 yrs. But the little time she was home she saw how awful I looked and figured out that I was in really bad shape. She asked me to get help because she was afraid how far down I had gone and at this point she was aware that I was drinking daily and in and out of hospitals it really hurt her to see me go from the dad she knew and loved to losing a business and nice place to live and now broke and homeless. Even until this day that little girl made a difference between going through with plans Of suicide and for me to keep trying to get help. I could not end my life and hurt her like that I’ve seen stories of those who did and how much there kids had to suffer. And of course I had an unconditional love for her that I had never before experience..
We desperately need organizations such as Hope of Survivors to assist clergy abuse victims and to educate churches on how they can better support victims when these tragedies occur. I was taken advantage of by a therapist and church elder years ago and felt utterly alone and hopeless. Knowing there are people out there who get it and who are willing to help is sometimes all we need as victims to keep going, to keep fighting another day. I have now joined Hope of Survivors as a volunteer so that I can be that lifeline for someone else. Thank you Hope of Survivors.
This organization is a Godsend to so many. They live out their core values of care and support for the vulnerable. Just like their name, they give "hope" to survivors. I am forever grateful for the role they played in helping me find my voice and expose abuse.
I have been personally blessed by the support and love felt from THOS. I was just telling someone today that Samantha Nelson is one of the most compassionate persons I know. I have referred several hurting women to her and I know that they will be received with love and kindness.
I have been amazed of the commitment of the volunteers that help victims find healing and leave behind a painful experience.
I am fulfilled that I know I am contributing to a great organization that has hard but important mission.
THOS was extremely helpful to myself and my fellow plaintiffs when we sued our abuser. They helped us find ways to fund the inevitable expenses that came with our lawsuit and the countersuit our abuser filed against us (he lost). They filled a huge need we and offered encouragement and prayer along the way. Would definitely recommend them and look forward to assisting them in their purpose in the coming years. I'm very grateful for the work they do on behalf of so many.
Hope of Survivors filled a huge need when I needed it most. So grateful for their help.
I first became aware of The Hope of Survivors in 2006.
While so many churches and other organizations decline to stand firmly in support of victims of clergy sexual abuse, I have great admiration for The Hope of Survivors' courage and its unwavering insistence that the safety of God's flock demands that clergy sexual abusers NEVER be returned to pastoral ministry.
Thanks, and keep holding that line for victims and for the vulnerable!!
I happened across the Hope of Survivors 12 years ago. They took the time to listen, give my experience a name & that I was not alone. Years later I was able to give back in being a representative at their booth at a convention. The most rewarding part being when women, men & youth stopped to share their stories of directly or indirectly as family member being helped by THOS. They also shared how they were now helping others. They said thank you both by word & donation
Over the years I have had opportunity to meet three volunteers who are now the new leaders. These folk have served THOS in previous positions for a number of years. I have come to trust them. & believe Steve & Samantha Nelson, the founders, have passed the leadership to a group of very qualified caring people who will continue this much needed work. They have my continued support
Ten years ago while attending a convention, I received material from The Hope of Survivors’ booth. After reviewing it, I returned and, with great difficulty, talked with the couple there, who turned out to be the founders of the organization. That was a turning point in my life.
I have remained in contact with THOS. My life has progressed to the point where, in 2019, I was one of those volunteers staffing The hope of Survivors’ booth at a convention. Besides being a time for us to educate and help, both women and men stopped by to say thank you.
Near the closing of the last night, a teenager hurried past appearing to be on his way to buy a last minute item. He turned and came back. With tears in his eyes, a smile on his lips, and with a heartfelt “thank you,” he donated his money to THOS, then turned and left. The impact struck me—a teenager felt a donation to The Hope of Survivors would be a more meaningful gift than the thing he had previously in mind.
Without HOS, I would not have been able to fly to the courthouse to face my abusers. I am forever grateful for their help and support. That day was priceless: to meet with the other victims face-to-face, to be able hear the judge support us and admonish our abuser. This was a turning point in my own journey to healing after abuse. Thank you, HOS!
When I received notice about the court date, my heart sank. I did not have the money for an airline ticket to face my abuser or for a hotel room. I did not know what to do. Through the donations given to HOS, I was able to make that trip and witness the judge's support for all of us (the victims) in the lawsuit. I cannot thank HOS enough for their support. The healing that took place was priceless.
This organization continues to be exceptional. It is led by a group of professionals who understand the reality of sexual abuse against adults by religious leaders. There are not many people talking about sexual abuse against adults, so those of us who are affected by this are often misunderstood. This is why The Hope of Survivors is so important. We need this ministry. Everyone I tell about this ministry who has heard of it agrees that it is excellent. So grateful for them.
This is a ministry helped bring me through the hardest, darkest moments of my life. It’s a ministry with integrity and so needed. It’s a shame there aren’t more ministries that address the issue of clergy sexual misconduct towards adults. This ministry is a gift from God and led by godly leaders. I cannot recommend this ministry enough. May the Lord continue to prosper this ministry for His glory!
Fourteen years ago I became acquainted with The Hope of Survivors at a religious conference when reporting my doctoral research about young adults leaving the church. Afterwards I was invited to join THOS' team of volunteers. I was so impressed with their work for victims of clergy sexual abuse that I accepted the opportunity, and have been part of this organization ever since, participating in Hope & Healing conferences for victims and their spouses. Recently I was elected president/chairman of this wonderful organization, and we added an attorney and social worker as volunteers so we can optimally serve victims of CSA.
THOS has been a lifeline for me; if they hadn't been there, I wouldn't be any more either. During a time of extreme despair and pain, my THOS contact was the first person I felt really understood the process I was in and helping me understand what was going on. That made all the difference. How to heal when your soul has been raped requires só much time, patience and hard work. For me it is unbelievably valuable that THOS is there along the way, just listening, comforting, explaining, praying.
THOS came along side me and others with support through our court process that eased the load and stress! Plus helped me get into much needed therapy/counseling.
It would have been almost impossible for me to have gone to court to face my abuser and gain the healing I did without the aid of HOPE OF SURVIVORS. Their help truly gave me hope and aided greatly in my ongoing healing process. I’m am deeply grateful to them.
This organization is the real deal. They care about each and every one of the victims they support, and they do so with grace and kindness.
When my abuser counter sued me for speaking out against him (he lost!), HOS helped me with costs involved. They truly stood in the gap for me and my fellow plaintiffs and made a very stressful situation less so.
The Hope Of Survivors website information helped me discern what really happened to me and why. Because of the information they provide regarding Pastoral grooming, I was finally able to recognize the process and identify him as a predator. Unfortunately, it was too late to save my marriage and my family, but I found the courage to save myself from that relationship and move forward. I only wish I had found this information sooner. I would encourage all counseling professionals to be better informed about this type of abuse to help save others from making devastating decisions.
The Hope of Survivors educates and supports regarding victims of clergy abuse or abuse by anyone in church leadership. I was actively involved with the organization in the past and found that the need is real and the non-profit has certainly helped and benefited so many people in a number of countries as well as all across the United States. I keep in contact with THOS and fully support their outreach. This is definitely a needed organization!
I have worked with women officially world-wide for many years and know how prevalent this abuse can be and how often the victim cannot get support. I remember one case in Romania; it was heart breaking. And another in Australia--I was surprised how difficult it was there then to get help. I so wish there had been a Hope of Survivors then! That is one of the reasons I support THOS now
No one could understand what I was dealing with. No one could possibly relate to the emotion, the shame, the hurt, the confusion & the betrayal I was experiencing. No one did, until I found The Hope of Survivors! They truly became a source of HOPE. I began understanding the what & why to my story! I started to heal! I’m forever thankful for this amazing group of people and the resources available!
As a senior pastor it was deeply disturbing to hear from a congregant that she had been sexually exploited by a former member of our clergy staff. With few local resources available to assist, it was wonderful to hear of the support she received from your charity, support that has continued over the 10 years since. I'm pleased to be able to thank you through this word of support for the ministry you continue to offer to victims of clergy sexual abuse. God bless you!
The Hope of Survivors gave me the definition for what happened to me. I had no idea what I had been through. The session of my church labeled it adultery, while at the same time using the terms “he was grooming you” and “that is textbook sexual abuse”. I had never heard the word “grooming” so I immediately googled that word as well as church abuse. The website that popped up was the Hope of Survivors! It was here stories of women that matched my own! As tears fell on my cheeks, I found myself experiencing mixed emotions; thankful to finally understand what I had been through, yet mournful at the realization! The Hope of Survivors is where my healing began! I will be forever thankful! I am proud to promote this organization they will have my financial support so other women like me will have a place to go and learn about what they’ve been through so healing can begin!
Had it not been for the Hope of Survivors I would have never been able to make sense out of what happened to me at the hands of my pastor! They offered light in the midst of darkness! A willing volunteer lovingly wept with me and helped me through so many dark days! Offered me hope on days that felt hopeless. When I plead for help for my husband, Mr. Nelson called him personally! The Hope of Survivors was a life giving resource when life seemed hopeless! I thank God for their tireless, sacrificial ministry to anyone who seeks help, whatever their denomination.
Hope of Survivors offered a place of healing and hope when there was no where else to go. The organization continues to be a place where people fi comfort, encouragement and connections with others who have faced the disappointing reality of abuse in the church. God continues to use Hope of Survivors to direct people to the truth and open the eyes of many who are unaware of what is happening to women and men everyday.
The Hope of survivors has been a lifeline for us when our lives were filled with chaos and confusion. They brought godly clarity to our situation, and helped us see hope into the future.
My wife was abused by our pastor. We could not find anyone with the expertise to deal properly with this type of extreme betrayal. I am grateful my wife has found the website Hope For Survivors. It has helped her to see the situation of pastoral abuse properly, and to be able to forgive herself.
Review from Guidestar
My story is not as dramatic as many others which have come through Hope of Survivors. But having been on the edge of a similar event, I can relate to those who Hope of Survivors has helped.
When I was just out of graduate school, I married a young lady whose parents were what I think of as "hyper-fundamentalists," people for whom their religious system was all-important, even more so than anyone with whom they were in contact. The mother in this family believed that everyone she knew should be a worker in God's kingdom, so devoted that they should become full-time ordained ministers in the denominations she determined were "selected by God." My brother-in-law actually did become a minister, in a couple of denominations selected by my mother-in-law, and, as he put it, "The voice of God only came through my mother.!" He wasn't terribly successful as a minister and he is now a customer service representative for a large chain-store.
It turned out that my in-laws were devotees of Bill Gothard's Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts, and along with my then-fiancee, I was forced to attend. It was very strange, since Gothard's teachings designated the man as the absolute head of the household, and the woman was to be subservient to him. My mother-in-law said that that was the only part of Gothard's teaching she didn't agree with.
My mother-in-law tried to force me to become a minister also, offering to pay up to half of my wife's and my living if I did. But I refused to do that since I did not feel I had anything even resembling a call to the ministry. My mother-in-law started actively campaigning against me by constantly telling my wife that I was not a Christian, and that I would desert her in the future. This abuse took an emotional toll on me, and I tried to reconcile with my mother-in-law, but she would not have that and continued her criticism and denigration to my wife. When I suffered a nervous breakdown because of the mental abuse, my mother-in-law forced my wife to divorce me and it left me almost completely unable to function as a human.
There was a couple my parents knew who understood what had happened to me, They were a college religion professor and his wife, and they were compassionate and active in helping the people they knew. I was fortunate enough to be under their ministry, and was able to recover and regain my ability to function.
Sometime after this, I ran across Hope of Survivors, and learned that Hope of Survivors was helping people by accomplishing the same mission that my benefactors had accomplished with me. Hearing the stories of people that Hope of Survivors has been able to help impressed me and led me to make them a ministry that I support. To know that there is a resource that can help victims of religious and clergy abuse has made it possible for me to stay in the community of faith, and I support their ministry as much as I can.
At a time when I was being ignored by everyone, The Hope of Survivors was a beacon of light that gave hope to a hopeless situation. Very few people can define what clergy sexual abuse is, let alone help you through all the levels of turmoil it creates for your life & those around you. This organization deserves recognition for the pioneering work its doing among the hurting & abused within the church that should not exist. Their understanding & the information on their website is lifesaving to say the least.
The Hope of Survivors is one of a kind! It is a much needed life support for many that find themselves in a horrible situation of being betrayed by their spiritual leader. Without this organization, their staff and volunteers, and their amazing website, many in this sad situation would find themselves without any help or support. I was a victim of pastoral sexual abuse and when it came out, I became a victim of an ignorant church that rallied around the abuser and ignored the victim. The wealth of knowledge found on their website, along with someone to talk to who understood, was what saved me from feeling like the only answer was suicide. They offer truth in the midst of so many lies and hope to what seems utterly hopeless.
The Hope Of Survivors is a great Organization! They helped me get through one of the most difficult times of my life. Thank you for everything!!!
THOS came to my family’s / friends needs in a time of crisis. Their emphatic help helped us navigate the difficult times. Highly recommended!
The Hope of Survivors have been faithfully, skillfully, and patiently helping victims of clergy sexual misconduct for over two decades. I served on the board at one point and know the inside of the organization. Let me testify to the fact that while so many "ministries" are buying their next jet, THOS staff are giving blood, sweat, and tears for oh, so little in return.
I'm a riotous supporter of The Hope of Survivors. Why? Because I believe in small, sacrificial, professionally-run, non-pretentious ministries that are long on substance and short on hype. THOS fills an important niche (which is more like a gaping wound in the body of Christ). They've been frontline helpers for countless victims and nemeses to many perpetrators. Besides the work of educating the public about clergy sexual misconduct--a topic that, however well they speak on it, many avoid--they command a team of volunteers, some of whom are survivors they helped once upon a time. Given their complete lack of personal benefit from the organization, their motive can only be pure compassion.
Review from Guidestar
THOS was hugely helpful to me when I was struggling to leave an emotionally abusive situation ten years ago. I have continued to support THOS financially, and would encourage others to do so.
This is a very effective and compassionate organization whose work deserves recognition and support. I have donated to them every year since 2009.
The Hope of Survivors in my experience was as a life raft to one trying to keep their head above water in a stormy sea. I had stumbled out of an abusive situation and was reeling with the words of my former boss and ministry leader that what he had done to me was an affair. With how traumatized I was I could not put words to the fact that THOS at a conference made clear to my heart: it was not an affair, it was predatory abuse. The support and clarity THOS has given me since has been a part of what has helped establish my feet and rebuild my life.
From the first I heard of this nonprofit I have found their work to be beneficial and supportive to those involved in saying no to abuse and giving clarity and definition for those who are reshaping their lives with kindness and dignity after deep harm has been done.
I am thankful to God that I had the early intervention and ongoing support of The Hope of Survivors in my situation. I am sure that I am healing as well as I am because of the godly and sound counsel provided through The Hope of Survivors.
The Hope of Survivors has been an ongoing lifeline for me in helping me deal with a complex abuse situation. They have been with me every step of the way. As my situation is ongoing, they continue to be a vital resource as I move towards recovery as a survivor.
The Hope of Survivors (THOS) is the greatest source of hope and healing for every person impacted by clergy sexual abuse, but particularly for adults. Unfortunately, when a spiritual leader has a relationship with an adult member of his flock, the overwhelming majority of the church places the blame on the congregant. This lie from Satan is what causes the most damage to the member who was abused, her family, the church, and the Kingdom of God.
Finding the truth that my relationship with my pastor was not an affair, but was in fact, an abuse of power, was the first step in my recovery. Several other myths were dispelled that brought additional healing. The truth sets us free. THOS has helped free countless lives who were bound by the brokenness caused by clergy sexual abuse.
THOS provides hope and encouragement that guide a victim to become a survivor. They offer support and truths that help survivors rebuild and strengthen their relationship with God. They have been instrumental to the healing my husband and I have experienced.
Every person impacted by clergy sexual abuse will find hope and healing from The Hope of Survivors!
The Hope of Survivors speaks truth that sets victims free to becoming survivors! Their constant message of abuse of power versus an affair is the foundation that allows victims to begin healing. My husband and I have benefited greatly from this organization. Every person who has ended up in a relationship with clergy will find hope and healing through The Hope of Survivors!
The Hope of Survivors provides a service for victims with infinite needs. I don't like that I have not yet recovered from what an ordained man did to me. But Denial does not work. It does not help me recover. Over the years the cost of his abuse cannot be measured in dollars. While it feels like the pain will never go away, it comforts me to have a place to go, knowing I can trust THOS will believe me. I am telling the truth. Years after the abuse I still need someone to help me accept it did happen. Not easy to do in a world that tells me I am lying. Without THOS some of us die, spiritually if not physically. THOS meets a need that is real, no matter how much we don't want to face the reality of that.
Hope of Survivors is saving lives. at a time believers/survivors of clergy sexual abuse need their religious/spiritual community more than any other, they are shunned. it reminds me of The Scarlet Letter. Hope of Survivors does not fail survivors the way a church can. Hope of Survivors does not betray survivors the way a church can. Hope of Survivors leads survivors to recovery, not to spiritual suicide.
This not-for-profit has personally helped me when I felt more alone than I ever have in my life. They continued with me in support and love for almost two decades.
Hands down amazing!
I first learned of this organization through the testimony of a friend. I immediately shared with another friend that benefited so much through their services. Later, I needed them for myself. I was hiding from everyone, a terrified victim of clergy sexual abuse. This organization connected me with counselors that helped me stand up and walk through the emotional valley of the shadow of death that I had fallen in. They helped me find a new life free from fear. It was hard to decide which role to select here because I am now a regular donor and a board member in one of the international divisions of this organization. I recommend them to every survivor of clergy sexual abuse.
When Clergy Sexual Abuse happened at our church I called The Hope of Survivors (THOS) for advice. Their advice gave me courage to tell the truth and be the voice for the voiceless. This organization is much needed ministry for churches all around the world. It's incredible that the website is in multi-languages to help and educate people. That is why I volunteer for this precious organization. Thank you, THOS!
I am acquainted with several cases in which The Hope of Survivors gave more than just hope--they gave real concrete help. I totally believe in this ministry and wish it were better known and promoted; I think Samantha does a great job and needs help, financially and from volunteers.
Samantha and Steve, The Hope of Survivors, literally saved me in many ways. Although I'm no longer religious in any way, I truly love and respect how they help survivors of pastoral abuse. They are wonderful people. I've had cancer before my abuse and went through pastoral counseling for my child abuse and was abused again. Had 3 kids I raised alone and went through this in 2000 to 2001. I was breaking down completely. They were there for me...even financially. I love The Hope of Survivors! I praise their dedication to victims. I've since been through almost death and a liver transplant then death again 5 times. I got through all that thus far the last 4 years and it was a lot because of the faith they had in me. I also try to give back.
Samantha and Steve have been such a godsend and blessing to me, God is working through them no doubt!!!
The Hope of Survivors fills a vital, mostly over-looked role. Serving those who have been abused by the very organizations and leaders who are supposed to serve them with integrity and godliness. They are totally dedicated and committed to leading survivors to a life of wholeness and healing.
Clergy sexual abuse is one of the most misunderstood types of abuses, and unfortunately, victims are horribly blamed and shamed. The Hope of Survivors is the one place where victims can go for real answers and genuine, compassionate support! I don't know what I would have done without them!
Like many people who contact the Hope of Survivors, I too was a victim of spiritual abuse and clergy sexual abuse. When the abuse was first discovered, I was blamed for seducing the pastor into having an affair. I was so confused because I had gone to him for counseling, not an affair. I felt like the church had set me up to fail and offered no support for someone in my situation. Even worse, I began doubting myself, feeling like I was losing my sense of reality and feeling like God was angry with me. Thank goodness there is a resource out there that can explain clergy sexual abuse so effectively and help victims heal from this type of trauma. I have personally contacted a representative from the Hope of Survivors, and she was so supportive in a beautiful, non-judgemental way! If it wasn't for this organization, I don't know what I would have done. The Hope of Survivors is a much-needed outreach for those who have been hurt by the church and who need to know there is a compassionate God who is for them!
Several years ago I went through ordeals (trouble, suffering) of sexual abuse by spiritual leaders. Keeping quiet & stuffing memories seemed the only way to struggle through. Others who experienced such came to me for guidance. Sadly at the time I the only thought that helped myself that I could share with them. “We are not alone.” I did learn what my denomination said was suppose to happen. But sadly reality was different. Without help from rare people such as The Hope of Survivors (THOS) I know at least one of the other has died.
Recently “clergy” sexual abuse (csa) has come up in conversations. I am very grateful that I can share THOS information & material with them. Just the other day I experienced THOS from a different prospective that greatly pleased me. Someone else brought up how THOS had helped folks in a church in their community.
The Hope of Survivors’ influence people far beyond those in personal contact or attending a seminar or stopping by THOS booth. Folk in communities are learning of THOS resource even before they have a direct need.
The needs are great. Resources are stretched. To me The Hope of Survivors definitely worthy of help.
Do you know the feeling of being emotionally alone, abandon? Have you ever felt God left you or was like some two faced person? I have
Directly & indirectly I have been affected by clergy sexual abuse (csa) all my life. I have been part of churches who keep cycling through sexual abuse by spiritual leaders. Few in the churches acknowledge there are wounded. No one, including me, seemed to know how to cleanse & heal or stop the cycle.
Why didn’t I leave? Because I want a relationship with a loving God who I felt safe getting close to. Other options appeared, to me, less likely to find that relationship than in my “sinking” churches. I clung to the hope that somewhere I would find at least one safe person who had the answer & would share with me.
While attending a convention I came across The Hope of Survivors booth.I found more than one safe person who shared. That was a turning point. I did not experience instant healing from a lifetime of csa. But The Hope of Survivors did not abandon me. They have walked beside me for years since then.
The Hope of Survivors does more than help those hurt by sexual abuse by spiritual leaders. They help others learn how to create safe places, build relationships & lend a hand. This also requires time & money.
I gladly contribute time & wish I was in a financial position to also contribute a lot of much needed money.
How much would you give by word, action or money not to feel alone or abandon? How is your relationship with God? Could you, would you share that relationship with a hurting person?
My pastor was mentoring me while I led a women's Bible study. He began dropping sexual comments into our conversations, and they were so subtle at first that I wasn't sure I'd heard him correctly. He began telling me that he loved me, that I was his soul mate and spiritual advisor, and he said we were having a "spiritual affair." He wanted to talk about intimate subjects rather than Scripture. He groomed me relentlessly. I needed his help so was afraid to tell anyone what was happening, and I began feeling emotionally bound to him. My husband confronted me about 8 months in, and together we went to our Bishop. During this time, I couldn't have survived emotionally without the help of THOS. They were the ones who told me the truth about what had happened to me - that this was clergy abuse - and the ones who helped piece me back together again. They were there for me every step of the way with kindness and patience. I am forever grateful to Samantha Nelson and THOS for saving my sanity.
Sex abuse is horrific. A place no one ever wants to be. Then for it to be a "trusted" representative of "God" when you are seeking help!
The mental, emotional and psychological anguish is overwhelming. IN COMES THOS ... without which there is no survival. They are professional, informative, and supportive. And then continue to provide support and information ongoing.
FEW HAVE ANY UNDERSTANDING the magnitude of SPIRITUAL SEXUAL ABUSE !
The devastation that follows having not only threatened neurological / physiological impact of a human body, but the mind and spirit after years of RELIGIOUS grooming, bonding, and associations of GOD and a charismatic man who many refuse to believe that not only did he "groom" one but MANY [who often fear to come forward due to the repercussions and implications for that person/ 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police; 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.] This man's child found videos of multiple victims and still people wanted to excuse "affairs".
I could not have recovered (and am still in the process years after....medically, emotionally, socially, and SPIRITUALLY) but HOPE OF SURVIVORS
-held my hand.
-attended confrontations with staffs.
-provided support GROUPS and online services (24/7)
and honestly was my ONLY HOPE!
I'm so thrilled for their
I am a survivor TODAY because of Samantha and her team
An absolutely invaluable resource of hope, truth and healing.
Would not be here without The Hope of Survivors.
The Hope of Survivors is an incredible resource for survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their family members! They are there to counsel and guide individual survivors out of the horror they have experienced. They educate survivors and the general public, and to help prevent CSA like no other organization that I know!
We used their expertise when presenting a bill in Maine making clergy sexual contact with congregants illegal, joining 12 other states and D.C. which already make it illegal. One of those states, Texas, has such a law which Pastor Andy Savage could have been tried under, had the Statute of Limitations not expired. Their bill was signed into law by then Texas Governor George Bush.
We will be going back in the next regular session with an amended version based on Minnesota law, which has been on the books for 33 years. It has withstood all legal and Constitutional challenges, and it is very effective in reducing clergy sexual abuse.
The Hope of Survivors has been and will continue to be with us every step of the way as we seek to get the law passed in Maine. All other states should enact CSA laws, as state borders should not dictate who is protected and who is not.
Keep up the great work that you do, THOS!
THOS is an incredible resource for individuals who have experienced clergy sexual abuse, and for ministries struggling with the after effects of it being made public in their respective communities of faith. They helped my wife and me understand the truth of CSA. They have been a great resource in our efforts to bring legislation here to Maine; making sexual contact by a clergy member with a congregant illegal. 13 states and D.C. presently have such laws, with a number of CSA survivors starting the process of initiating bills in their respective states. Keep up the great work The Hope of Survivors!
When I told my story to a licensed therapist I thought I was confessing to an "affair". Through her words I began to see what I had experienced was CSA. But I couldn't wrap my head around it. How could I not be guilty? He had told me that we were having an affair even though I had never wanted any of it. I started to do some research on my own on line. And I found THOS. Praise God I did. Their information was a true God send and helped me during the worse 2 years of my life. I thank God for them and this resource.
I can't go into the details of my experience at this moment, but I can say with confidence that THOS was absolutely vital in helping me break free of the chains of an abusive "pastor". I was under his control from the age of 19 for almost 7 years. I endured the worst of the abuse in the last 3 of that, but I am SO thankful for THOS. It helped me fully realize that what I experienced was in fact abuse and nothing less. The peer counselor provided to me by them and the amazing resources on the website were and continue to be invaluable to me as I continue to heal from this experience. Thank you THOS for doing what you do. You were pivotal in my rescue from abuse.
THOS has always been there even 7 years later. They never leave you to deal with emotions you thought you had put to rest. Im thankful everyday i know at anytime i have someone who knows my pain and can help.
Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for the profound kindness that The Hope of Survivors has shown my husband and me during some of the darkest days and nights of our souls. Their experience, knowledge, faith, and deep care provided us with the essential spiritual nourishment, guidance, and support that we desperately needed after recovering from years of clergy abuse. THOS is led by a truly dedicated and loving team of people who have either been there themselves and/or have deep compassion for those of us experiencing despair from the horrors of clergy abuse. My husband and I are forever grateful to THOS.
THOS and its people are truly sincere, compassionate, and deeply dedicated to supporting anybody who has been devastated by the exploitation and abuse of spiritual leaders. They are willing to help anyone in crisis or need and will pour their hearts and soul into offering hope to survivors of clergy abuse regardless of their religion or denomination. They care. They really care. And they will remain at your side the entire way. I know and my husband knows how precious this organization and its people are. They walked beside us both during some of the darkest days of our lives, and we are forever grateful.
I did not know this existed until I googled looking for help and I do mean help to overcome the utmost betrayal in my life. Mary Jo listen and when I needed to talk she was their. I not quite were I need to be yet but I have came along way away from that horrifying place I placed in. Li
This nonprofit has not only been a well of information to my experience with CPSA. Samantha has been faithful in helping me to fulfill Ph.D requirements for my dissertation topic. I look forward to being a blessing to them in a tangible way. Their services and information sources are invaluable. Thanks Hope of Survivors for all you do and for the many souls that are being blessed by and through your ministry.
The Hope of Survivors has been a safe place for me that provided the support needed after being deeply hurt by my pastor. Having experienced clergy sexual abuse, I did not find help or healing from my church. There was nowhere to turn for answers until I found The Hope of Survivors. It is a community of survivors working to regain a relationship with God in a safe environment; people who understand the damage caused by clergy abuse. It is a lifeline and a bridge to help victims become survivors.
I was being mentored in a new program by an elder in my church. I became emotionally involved with him and told him to stay far away from me, which meant no more hugging, no more telling me he loved me, and no communication, period. He would not leave me alone and eventually invited me to have a "physical affair without emotions." He said he had been looking for someone to have a physical relationship with him. I told him I could not do it and told my husband and pastor. The pastor was understanding at first but eventually turned on me and told me to keep quiet about the whole incident. He did not tell the other elders and allowed the affair seeking elder to continue in his position. My Pastor blamed me for allowing a person of the opposite sex to mentor me and swept it under the rug. I left feeling ashamed because of my emotional involvement and because I had allowed the elder to mentor me. I was devastated because I had been in my church for 20 years. Tammy, from Hope of Survivors, helped me understand it was not my fault and the elder is in a position of authority. She even called me by phone twice to be sure I was ok. I received no support from my pastor and he even gave my husband the name of a church he thought we would like. It will be a long time before I trust another pastor. We have left our church. I am thankful to Hope of Survivors for the amazing service they provided. Tammy went above and beyond in a way I never expected from someone who didn't even know me. Thank you so much for this support!
The Hope of Survivors is exactly THAT.... hope in the midst of hopelessness. There is a need for education to the public and churches regarding the CRIME that has been committed against an innocent victim . Understanding the vulnerability of a person who was seeking support only to meet abuse is such a delicate issue and we know often goes unreported. Knowing that THOS is not only a website with significant information but is backed by real people who show up at your home to provide the education and emotional support needed at a time of devastation is valuable to transform to survivor. I don't know how I could have survived without this information and people to communicate with, classes to attend and HOPE beyond abuse.
Changed my life. I don't where I would be today without this organization. I wish there were more out there like this.
The abuses they deal with are very real & damaging on many levels. Samantha has helped several of my International friends who were dealing with very painful Clergy abuse.
I am so greatful to have this Godly group of helpers to recommend to my friends/acquaintances, to come along side during the most painful time of their lives.
The Hope of Survivors has helped countless people. They provide vital resources through their well-designed website, and give personal care to people who call and write in. The organization is well-run, efficient, transparent, and in perfect line with its mission statement. Staffed largely by volunteers, it exists because of the passion and vision of those involved.
The Hope of Survivors is the only safe place we could turn to, when my wife was exploited by the pastor for his selfish gratification. We were both betrayed by our trusted pastor. Our church was of little help - partly because they too were shocked and confused by the horrific actions of the pastor they have been calling "God's Chosen Man" for years. Our church was ill equipped to deal with this tragedy, or provide any real help to us.
That's why I am so grateful for the Hope of Survivors for providing hope and healing during our darkest times. May God continue to bless you and give you strength to press on.
This organization is amazing. I am a clergy sexual abuse survivor and was in the midst of a bad flashback when I reached out - knowing I needed additional help. Their response was swift, and personal. It helped immensely in the short-term. They paired me up with a local support person, who is sweet and understanding. It was nice to have another non-judgmental ear.
I had been told prior to contacting THOS that I probably wouldn't resonate with their theology. This turned out to be true. But, I found some of the spiritual advice and resources to be helpful in using my relationship with God to heal from wounds caused by human beings claiming to represent God, and by human beings who couldn't be loving about my clergy abuse trauma because of their own limitations.
Amazing!! Love this organization. Thank you so much for all you do!
Hope of Survivors helped me move forward in healing after my experience with pastoral abuse! I read so many survivor stories and new that I wasn't alone! This organization is vital to the Body of Christ! It addresses a need that is prevelant but rarely acknowledged. I thank God for this organization and continue to share its ministry with others who have faced similar hurts and pains. May God continue to bless them and supply all of their needs according to His riches and glory!!
The Hope of Survivors is not just an organisation. They are real people making a real difference in real peoples lives. They have helped me immensely through difficult times of abuse AND by pointing me to Jesus and showing me what a true relationship with him looks like. To God be the glory for the great things they are doing in so many lives!
I have had such a wonderful experience with The Hope of Survivors. They have always been patient, encouraging, and helped get me through my abuse. It helped to provide healing and know that I still have a future. They were always here for me when I needed them and they will always be dear to my heart :)
I don't know what I would have done without help from The Hope Of Survivors when I left my church because of clergy sexual abuse. They were very understanding because they knew what I was experiencing. Thank you so much for what you do. God Bless.