Experiencing childhood sexual abuse is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a person. Being abused by an adult they trusted, such as clergy members, is an ultimate betrayal that will stick with someone for the rest of their lives. Even if the victim receives compensation through a lawsuit, there is still unresolved, internal trauma. When a childhood victim grows into an adult, where can they get help beyond the courtroom?
If you or someone you know was abused by a clergy member, there are many resources available. Below are some support groups dedicated to helping victims of this reprehensible crime.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is “the largest, oldest, and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious and institutional authorities.” SNAP’s expansive network has allowed them to create support groups all over the United States. This way, more survivors have an in-person group they can turn to.
In addition to going to support group meetings, you can find numerous resources on SNAP’s website. One of the most unique features is their collection of survivor stories. SNAP teamed up with NPR and recorded thousands of interviews with victims of clergy sexual abuse, which you can listen to on their website. Hearing the stories of people with similar experiences may inspire you to attend a group meeting, or even share your own story. These stories of resilience and bravery are enough to inspire anyone.
In 2002, in the midst of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, a modest group of Catholic church-goers started to meet to discuss the horror of this rampant sexual abuse and how to combat it. This group meeting in a church basement has since grown into a worldwide organization with more than 30,000 members. Their goals include supporting survivors of clergy abuse and making impactful change within the Catholic Church. This organization is ideal for people who want to keep their faith, but have been deeply hurt by clergy sexual abuse.
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA) is a national nonprofit organization that “address issues related to childhood abuse and trauma including sexual assault, violent or physical abuse, emotional traumas and neglect.” While NAASCA may not specifically focus on sexual abuse by clergy members, this group is still incredibly beneficial for those who need an environment of healing from sexual abuse.
NAASCA has their own talk radio show 5 nights a week, virtual recovery meetings 3 days a week, and in-person recovery groups all over the world. This allows any survivor to participate in the healing process, no matter where they are located. NAASCA also has numerous volunteer opportunities for those who want to make a difference for countless others. Lastly, they have an expansive amount of educational resources, including videos and book recommendations.
There are numerous other organizations that can help survivors of sexual abuse heal. They provide the opportunity to have open and honest conversations about what you’ve experienced, and receive the support of others who carry a similar weight. Being involved in a community of people that understand what you’ve been through is an impactful and valuable part of the healing process. You can overcome the trauma, and build an incredible support system in the process.
If you or a family member has been sexually abused by a person of authority, whether it is a a clergy member from any church, Boy Scout or Girl Scouts, youth sports organization, private or public school, daycare, medical professional, University, or any organization supervising children, you can submit your Private and Free claim by visiting https://www.stopsexpredators.com. We are highly experienced and compassionate when dealing with Sex abuse cases and we can keep your identity private throughout the process of holding the abusers and those who helped cover up the abuse accountable. We can help you recover costs for medical and counseling expenses, loss of income due to extended recovery times, loss of companionship with family members, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.