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!
The Hope of Survivors has helped my tremendously through their articles, testimonials and most of all through Samantha's prompt attention to my initial letter and her counseling. I am so glad I found THOS as I am a survivor of abuse at the hands of clergy. THOS has been life changing!
Samantha is very prompt when responding to contact. They are genuine, warm, hospitable, and ever dedicated to this ministry. I appreciate how very knowledgeable they are in the subject of clergy sexual abuse and committed to providing quality reference material both in print and online, through social media, and in conferences they present. They increased my awareness; I now know that this does not only happen in my church, but in every church, not to mention the secular realm. It is a human problem; and they are advocating to rectify the situation. My experience with them has been only positive.
The Hope of Survivors educated me and others I knew about clergy sexual abuse. As a young woman, this has made me much more careful in my interactions with men in authority over me. I am not paranoid, but more aware of the dynamics which can come into play. They taught me that this kind of abuse of power and social standing does not only happen in my church, as I might first have thought, but in every church, not to mention other social settings, such as in businesses and schools. This knowledge helped preserve my faith in my church and our beliefs.
Steve and Samantha, the founders, are personal, caring, and wise in their care of victims and others affected. It always amazes me how quickly Samantha responds to email requests, and I have heard others report the same. I first came into contact with them after sexual abuse incidents left a spiritual leader disfellowshipped from our church, displaced in his career, and in legal trouble. They supported everyone involved, encouraging our church to respond Biblically to the crisis, and seeing us through the entire trying process to the end. Thank you to all the volunteers at The Hope of Survivors! We remain grateful for your invaluable support.
THOS has helped me and my husband beyond our expectations. Samantha's and Martin's compassion and dedication surpassed our immediate months of crisis. Throughout our time of crisis which was over two years ago, they were available and responsive to us, and they have remained with us as loving and ready sources of support and friends since. They are truly sincere in their efforts to provide healing and education to both survivors and perpetrators and incredibly skilled in their spiritual and counseling roles. We were fortunate in meeting Steve (co-founder) this past summer and were impressed with his noble character as well. Everyone who we have met and/or dealt with at THOS have shown utmost integrity, sincerity, professionalism, respect, consistency, and complete commitment to our well-being. I am certain that they extend these same virtues to anyone who has the fortune of coming into contact with them. There are some people of rare beauty and courage behind the name THOS, including, I am certain, their volunteers and other associates who we have not yet met. THOS deserves recognition and support for their continued efforts in confronting clergy sexual misconduct, a devastating and heinous act.
Well what can I say. Hope of Survivors has helped me and my family so much. We would be a broken family if it wasn't for Hope of Survivors. Even though I am a man was so affected by what had happened to my family. They educated me to what was real and where to put my hope. I am so greatfull for them. Hope of Survivors was the only ministry that is activly working hard to support and help those affected. from the victims to the churches to find hope and healing thank God for them kepp up the great work.
THOS were there to give me moral and spiritual support when no one else understood my circumstances.
I felt isolated and trapped in my situation of abuse. I googled and found "The Hope of Survivors" - and became a survivor of Pastoral abuse... I have found the encouragement and support I have received from the Nelsons has allowed me to grow to be a happier, healthier and stronger person, and only this week I have commenced proceedings to make an official complaint about my abuser. I cannot imagine where I would be without their support and counsel over the past 18 months or so. I had no support structure here in Australia and I am very grateful to have "someone" who understands and accepts me unconditionally.
Thank you, Judy, for your comment. We are so grateful God used THOS to be a blessing to you! :-) Samantha
Hope of Survivors was a life line to me at a time when I needed help the most. Samantha was a listening ear on so many occasions. They walked me through challenges, understood my situation, and encouraged me that things would get better. When I experienced Clergy Sexual Abuse I thought my world would end and I would not be able to function again. I knew that the one place that would always listen was only an email away. Samantha and Steve have watched me heal and grow. They wept with me and they now rejoice with me as they see God restore every bit that was stolen. Hope of the Survivors has been a light in the darkness.
The Hope of Survivors helped me to know that I was not alone. Before I found The Hope of Survivors website and Samantha, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I had been counseled following my abuse by a Christian counselor who presented what happened to me as me being a "weak sheep" and needing to become a strong person. This made me feel like the pastor preying on me was due to a flaw in me and that it was my fault somehow that he chose me to prey upon. The Hope of Survivors helped me to understand that what the pastor did was abuse and that it wasn't because I was weak and flawed, but that it was because HE was. I found a healing through Samantha's counsel. I would recommend the Hope of Survivors to anyone affected by this type of abuse. I found out that I was not alone in what I went through and that the pattern that my abuse followed was indeed a pattern that many pastors use to prey upon adult women in their congregations. I am thankful to this organization for the help that they provided to me and the work that they continue to do in so many people's lives.
When my pastor abused me, I blamed myself. I had no idea I was even being abused. When I mentioned what was happening to a friend, they searched the web and found The Hope of Survivors. These wonderful people gave me a way to frame what happened to me - in short, they provided education, gave me hope, and set me on the path to healing. They were with me every step of the way, like a trusted best friend. I wouldn't have been able to move on like I have without their help. The Hope of Survivors was and still is a godsend.
I had been victimized and had no where to turn; my UCC church family, for the most part, ignored my pleas for support, validation, and the truth. I lost so much: work, health, family, friends, and was re-victimized by anonymous church members who wrote letters to my home and to my work place accusing me of being something that I was not. I thought I was alone and had suffered through something unique. In my research, I was led to The Hope Of Survivors; it was there that I was given the healing words of validation and healing. Faceless strangers who assisted me from being a victim to a vocal victim advocate and survivor. With faith and support from THOS, I am able to actively tell my story in the hope of preventing the cycle of clergy abuse and professional misconduct. (www.thehopeofsurvivors.com)
I was at my wits end and boarding suicide until I decided to google what was happening to me only to realize there was a name for it. If it was not for the love, grace and mercy of God and the volunteers of this great organization I would be dead.