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!
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!
The Hope of Survivors helped us through the most painful time of our lives, and we will forever be grateful to them for being there. They inspired us to host our own CSA educational website for five years, and were there with encouragement and support every step of the way. Most recently, they have helped us with the introduction of a law in our state, which will add clergy to the other professionals in which sexual contact with those under their care is illegal.
This is a movement that is starting to be engaged across our country, with 13 states having already adding clergy to their existing laws. If it weren't for THOS and the education they provide, perpetrators would still be operating in the dark, destroying lives and families as they prove to be "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing". May God richly bless THOS as they continue shining a light on CSA, and in the most important work that they do!
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?
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
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 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.
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.
I had no idea that the traumatic, devastating situation that was going on in my life had a name, clergy sexual abuse, or that anyone else was going thru what I was going thru. I was dead inside, a shell of a person, ready to end it all. My husband and I had no support, outside of our therapist, until we were told about The Hope of Survivors. Their ministry gave us life changing knowledge, support, and help that we needed so badly. It is a non profit organization that there is not enough of in this world today. This ministry is vital in the lives of so many victims out there that would otherwise be alone and without any support or help of any kind. When one suffers from clergy sexual abuse, not only are you abused by your so-called spiritual leader, but you are often times ignored and further abused by what is supposed to be your church family. Most people do not fully understand clergy sexual abuse and all its implications. The Hope of Survivors is doing the hard job of not only helping and supporting victims, but trying to educate churches, communities, and all people who will listen about what CSA really is, how to avoid it, how to deal with it, how to help....and this is all just the beginning of trying to stop it altogether.
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.
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!!
After being pursued by my pastor that ended in a relationship, I was devastated. I researched 'pastoral affairs' and found The Hope of Survivors, a great source of encouragement and help. After years of healing and gaining emotional and spiritual support from a peer representative, I became a volunteer. In March of this year, I became a full-time employee, as Executive Assistant and Victim Support Coordinator. I am now able to spend more time working toward awareness and prevention while offering hope and healing to other victims.
Without The Hope of Survivors, I believe I'd still be lost in the pain and confusion of being abused by my pastor. The Hope of Survivors is a beacon of light to those living in the darkness of clergy sexual abuse. I am forever grateful to God for Samantha and Steve Nelson and this organization.
I came across The Hope of Survivors after experiencing Clergy Sexual Abuse five years ago. They offer hope, healing, and support to victims by teaching the truths and dynamics of CSA. After a few years of healing and reading the wealth of information on their website, I became a volunteer in victim support services. What shocked me the most was the number of victims who are suffering in silence because they are too afraid to speak, or suffering because they are blamed and feel at fault for an act of abuse they endured. The most important truth THOS is working endlessly to promote is that any time a spiritual leader has a relationship with someone under their care, it is not an affair; it is abuse. THOS is vital to the church's healing by promoting the truths and dynamics of CSA as well as offering hope to its victims.
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 :)
This organization was there when no one else could/would help. Without their care and support, my life and marriage would not be where it is today. They were a huge step in the healing process and continue to be in our lives years later. You could not ask for better people as CEO and Co-CEO.
I have had immediate response to any emails that I have sent, and was able to connect with a volunteer in my city even. The information provided and the counselling and support have been invaluable to me.
I am a survivor. Have reached out a few times and have always gotten a response even though they couldn't really help. They have been supportive and check on me from time to time.