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!
Few understand the depth of SPIRITUAL SEXUAL ABUSE.... to invade a person's soul as well as their physical body. It is a violation so intense that it is difficult to "rebound" / "recover"/ "restore" any sense of sanity. Nothing makes sense after violating these realms. ANOTHER SAID IT WELL= "THOS is a voice for those silenced by shame. THOS is a refuge of healing for the wounded soul. THOS offers hope to victims and their families who have been pursued, used, and abused by men whose responsibility is to protect."
The very person who is to protect has now pursued those who are already abandoned and abused and have no voice. HOPE.... is lost.... and HOPE restored comes from people at THOS!
The Hope of Survivors has contributed to the healing of thousands of women and men who were victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct. Many of these survivors have become advocates and leaders themselves. THOS has done this for me: they helped me heal from the most traumatic experience of my life, and helped me embark on my own ministry to survivors. I owe Samantha and Steve Nelson more thanks than I can express.
I was referred to HOS by a friend. I spoke with one of the counselors who gave the website information. I was impressed that organization was international. I also communicated with a counselor who personally told me about the resources the organization offers for survivors. The volunteer was not judgmental and could relate to my story. I felt understood and relief about something so secret and painful in my life. I was afraid I would be dealing with fake christian people. Having been through severe spiritual abuse I told her I have a hatred for Christians and the church itself. She understood. I explained my story of sexual abuse and the same pastor had a sexual affair with my mother and other women of the church. The counselor helped me to understand the mindset of a predator, narcissist who preyed on me as a teenager and made sexual moves at me when I became a legal adult. So much of my guilt was false and nothing was my fault. My parents did not help me. So I had to help myself. I am grateful this organization helped save my life.
Hope of survivor's website helped me when there was no one to turn to for help. I was confused and lost in my situation. I received clarity and wisdom after reading the material on the website. Being able to understand what had happened to my family and I helped us to begging the healing process almost five years ago.
THOS saved my marriage and my life. The personal care and truth received by this organization helped my husband and I to finally walk through everything that happened during the abuse. We finally understand one another better within our own pain and walls. I do not feel anyone would be better equipped to do what Samantha and Steve Nelson do within this ministry.
I was referred to the The Hope of Survivors by a friend right after I came out of the hospital. I had just tried to kill myself due to being kicked out of the church because my pastor was wanting to have sex with me. I took the fall for it all. The pain and shame was unbareable. I began reading the website and learning that my story was almost the same as other women's story. I learned why I felt the need to end my life, why I felt I should protect the pastor at all cost to myself, I learned how I was groomed for this relationship, and that I needed forgiveness of my sin. I no longer today carry that load of guilt and the words of the survivors and their support brought me through the hardest time of my life. I can truly testify to the fact this group saved my life! I am forever grateful!
This organization is utterly unique in its purpose and so responsive to the people it serves. They do everything possible both to help survivors and to create systematic change. If you email them, even with a rambling email about what you've been through, a real person responds within 12 hours. They make you feel like a person. Even when I donate, I get a personalized email from the founder asking about my family and how I'm doing. They are ambitious in their dreams, creating a new recovery center that I wish had been there when I was suffering. Every year they help anonymous thousands. I cannot recommend them enough.
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
Early in my journey as a survivor I went to the Hope and Healing workshop in Indianapolis and Omaha. Those were life-changing experiences. It was a blessing just to be in a room with other survivors of clergy sexual misconduct. Now, with significant healing, I still stay in touch with THOS. I appreciate the helpful articles on the THOS website and facebook page. I'm very excited that they now offer retreats at a beautiful, safe location -- I know that will make a life-changing difference to many survivors.
Because I filed a complaint against a pastor who crossed sexual boundaries, I experienced not only the trauma of abuse, but the trauma of isolation and loss of community when my church community shut me out. Like most survivors, I felt completely alone and utterly helpless. When I went to the Hope of Survivors' 2011 "Hope & Healing" conference, I found myself in a room full of people who understood my experience. I heard over and over, from every speaker, "This was NOT YOUR FAULT." I can't begin to describe how helpful this was! Over the next year, as that truth sank in, genuine healing happened -- and when I went to the 2012 conference, I could feel how much stronger I was.
I hope I never have to recommend The Hope of Survivors to a friend -- I hope no friend of mine ever goes through what I went through. But I would recommend it to any victim or survivor of clergy sexual abuse.
This is very hard to write a review but I would be deeply negligent not to write a review! I will just say I was frantic for help and information when I sent them an email. They responded immediately with acurate helpful compassionate information which made a huge difference in my life. I will be eternally grateful for this ministry.