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Hope of Survivors

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Counseling, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Mental Health

Mission: The Hope of Survivors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct, as well as providing educational and informational materials and seminars to pastors and churches worldwide. Other divisions include: Latino, Australia, Romania, UK and Canada. Professional memberships include: Adventist Association of Family Life Professionals (AAFLP), Adventist-laymen''s Services & Industries (ASI), Outpost Centers International (OCI), the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the International Board of Christian Counselors.

Results: The Hope of Survivors has assisted thousands of victims in various ways since the organization began in 2002.

Target demographics: victims of clergy sexual abuse

Direct beneficiaries per year: approximately 100 new victims, while maintaining support for prior victims

Geographic areas served: International

Programs: The Hope of Survivors currently offers several resource materials (booklets, DVDs, etc.) that address the issue of clergy sexual abuse from various perspectives (victim, youth, pastor, church, general, overview of ministry). These resources are very critical components of the educational and awareness work of The Hope of Survivors ministry. These materials are used in clergy education seminars, church congregations and among individuals around the world. We also provide ongoing, free support to victims via email and phone, as well as offer in-house programs (for a fee) at our Renewal Center and seminars around the country and world.

Community Stories

166 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The Hope of Servivors has been a blessing to thounsands of people in the USA and around the world. They do their job with passion, compasion, and love.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sam and Steve's story was similar to our own clergy abuse path, and just that alone was of immeasurable comfort. However, they did much more than that. Sam's wise and timely counsel offered us reassurance during desert times, and tools and language to persevere for justice in our case. This is a serious issue everywhere and in many church denominations and affiliations. Having their expertise available to countless victims/survivors is a true God-send.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was so wounded when I first contacted Hope of Survivors. And many places, just talk. Hope was all action. They have never left me.

I am a Survivor. When I feel bad, I go to Hope.

Review from Guidestar

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I am a member of a church in which I wasn't a victim, but I know of two other people that were victims of a pastor's sexual misconduct. When these indiscretions were brought before the church, the church split, with some members following him and actually supporting him. They justified his actions by saying they didn't see him in the act with their own eyes, or that he's just as human as anybody else and makes mistakes---no man is perfect. In 2009, he was accused of raping an 18 year old, but the authorities discovered the act was consensual. His new church ran the young lady out of the church and still supported him. Last year, he and another member explained sexually explicit cell phone pictures. When he was caught, again, the church supported him and ran her away from the church.

Review from Guidestar

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Samantha has demonstrated a keen ability to motivate and challenge people to speak out against a unique form of sexual abuse within Christian circles. Hope of Survivors provides excellent resources and support to victims of clergy abuse.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer who's also been a client served by the ministry of The Hope of Survivors.

I discovered The Hope of Survivors through an online search. The support and understanding that I received helped me to know that I wasn't alone; that there were others who'd suffered through the same type of circumstances as myself.

I consider it a true privilege to work with this ministry. I'll never forget how desperate, shame-filled, and alone I once was, and how difficult it was to explain my troubles to the people around me.

With the prevalence of pastoral sexual abuse in Churches today, we need to educate our religious communities about the damage to wounded souls involved in this type of abuse. Bringing these issues out of the darkness and into the light is a big step toward both healing and prevention.

Thank you for your years of hard work in this area, THOS!

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Hope of Survivors saved my life! During a frantic internet search for help concering the pain I was suffering while being abused by my 'pastor' - I came across THOS website. After thoroughly reasearching the information offered, I came to understand and accept the fact that I was in an abusive situation. I reached out for help, and was immediately contacted by Steve and Samantha Nelson. They offered to me their sincere love, support, and understanding of the abusive situation I had been suffering with for years. Through counsel, and the information offered at THOS, I was able to recover mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually from the from the damage caused by pastoral abuse and am now helping others do the same. THOS plays a vital role in the recovery process of pastoral abuse victims!

Review from Guidestar

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my husband came across THOS on the internet, it was the starting point for my healing from clergy sexual misconduct. The counseling I received from THOS helped quiet the shaming voices that were telling me that it was all my fault. I was able to unburden myself in a safe environment, receive education on CSA/CSM, and have hope that tomorrow will be a better day. With the Lord's help, THOS saved my sanity - and my marriage.

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Even though I knew in my heart that other woman where involved with my pastor, I didn't realize fully the extent and number of pastors that lead woman into illicit relationships. The Hope of Survivors web site information educated me. For whatever reason, I found it difficult to see the evilness in my pastor's attentions. I wanted to believe the best of him. The Hope of Survivors counsel via Samantha allowed me to see that what happened was Pastoral Sexual Misconduct. I'd thought of it as an emotional affair. Now I realize that not only did my pastor neglect to set professional boundaries, he also carefully and secretly crafted, at the church no less, opportunities to seduce me into a sexual relationship with him. His colleagues and wife covered for his sometimes blatant come-ons toward me.
When I complained to the conference officials my report did nothing. The pastor was believed and I was not, because I hadn't collected enough evidence to substantiate my complaint. THOS has provided support to me when no one else would. After dealing with the one pastor who manipulated me, I've met other church leaders that behave in a similar controlling manner. Most recently at a church school where I worked, I endured sexual harassment and discrimination. My only place to turn has been THOS. Anywhere else I was sure to be seen as unstable. Needless to say, my health has been negatively affected by these experiences. The on going ministry of THOS encourages me. I believe the Holy Spirit is using the ministry of THOS to not only help victims, but also to bring change in the church by their presence at General Conference meetings, television appearances, and their dedication to help and educate about this problem. A problem that has been in the church far to long.

Review from Guidestar

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The need for reform in the clergy abuse field is shown in the fact that The Hope of Suvivors has gone international in such a short time. We have all known for a long time that an intervention to help these victims move on with their lives is so important. THOS helps the victims regain their self respect and their lives. Hopefully I will never need their services....but, for those that need to obtain council for clergy abuse, we can only pray they find THOS. Finding them will be helped by grants and donations that allow them to send out information and for seminars.....this is a chairity that helps abused victims everyday.
Freda

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

After it was exposed that my Pastor was in MANY abusive relationships and I was only ONE who suffered, Hope of Survivors was a rare gem that guided me, encouraged me, admitted with me, and informed me.
SO MANY expressed hopelessness..... "why would you tell this?" (to stop the abuse) and "what do you hope to accomplish?" (stop the abuse) "How could you HURT his reputation?" (to stop his sickness and stop his abuse) ... Thank you HOPE for Survivors for restoring HOPE!

Review from Guidestar

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have attended many conventions in which The Hope of Survivors have set their booth up, it is amazing how many hurting people out there who have experienced some type of private abuse issue in the past and have no one to share with. THOS turns nobody away. It is a powerful ministry.

Review from Guidestar

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Samantha and Steve were there for my fiance' and his family when he couldn't find anyone else to understand the devastation and resulting destruction of his family unit following the manipulation, grooming and betrayal of their trusted pastor. Samantha's emails enlightened him and enabled him to see that he wasn't alone in the despair that he felt. Steve counseled him and got him to understand the importance of forgiveness. The Hope of Survivors came to be at the same time my fiance' was looking for someone to help him through his crisis. Was it divine intervention? We think so!

Review from Guidestar

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am very thankful for the services that Hope for Survivors is providing. It has been encouraging to me in my personal abuse situation. Sexual abuse by clergy is a serious problem. Usually the victims are told to be quiet or something bad will be done to them. I personally have had that situation. Many religious organizations don't want to admit any of their clergy have a problem nor will they deal with it. Hope for Survivors has been and encouraging program to me for the last three years. Thank you so much.

This can be use for the campaign for money, but not my email address.

Review from Guidestar

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will never forget the help Samantha and Steve gave me during my times of trouble with our church. They are a Godsend and I pray they will always be able to continue with their ministry. It is very important and I can't stress enough how much they were of service to me. I don't think I would have made it without their many calls. I was on the phone with them for days it seems and I was able to go on with my life after my experience with my pastor. They helped me to realize that he was not the "good person" I claimed him to be and that an experience with a pastor is not an affair but pastoral abuse. Please consider them for this grant.

Review from Guidestar