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.
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.
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!
I have the greatest respect for what the Hope of Survivors does. I am one of their supporters and appreciate so much the frequent sportive updates and stories. This is certainly a ministry that is greatly needed; clergy abuse is not only overlooked, but the need for help is normally denied--"How could something so horrendous actually happen in the church." But it does, and THOS is there to help.
Actually I am no longer a board member but because of time, not interest. Since I have resigned I have been so pleased with the interaction with Hope of Survivors and the continued outreach and programs THOS has been making. I am firmly a supporter both with prayers and funds. I pray that many may continue to be blessed.
The Hope of Survivors has been a God-sent presence in my life. I was introduced to them in the wake of my world being shattered by the pain and recalibration after abuse from a renowned ministry leader. They supported me in my naming the abuse, the healing, the process of bringing accountability and exposure to my abusers, and the journey to reclaim life and joy after trauma. I am grateful for their role in my life. Profound and needed ministry.
The Hope of Survivors was a supportive and insightful ministry that reached out to me in a time of shock and huge life changes post abuse. I was thankful for their support, the kindness they gave, the educational seminar that was presented, and the prayerful interest in my journey of healing.
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.