- How to Minister to Victims
- What to Avoid
Child Sexual Assault (CSA) is a topic that can be very uncomfortable for clergy. It is even more difficult when it becomes a known fact that it is happening within one’s own congregation or that there are adult survivors sitting in the pews. Unfortunately, CSA knows no boundaries and can be found in both Christian and non-Christian homes and environments. Until we begin to be intentional about breaking the silence on this terrible tragedy the assault will continue and wreak havoc in individuals, their relationships and their families.
Although CSA can be one of the most difficult traumas to overcome as an adult, there is hope and healing for each survivor. It is true that sexual assault can be repressed but never forgotten, healed but never reversed or erased, but it can become less powerful with help, time and support.
When someone finds the courage to break silence, they may seek out counsel from spiritual advisors, particularly those in ministry. Encouraging and affirming the survivor is vital for their recovery.
Given the depth of wounding caused by CSA, withdrawal from a victim can cause:
1. Carolyn Holderread Heggen. Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2006.
2. Parkinson, Patrick. Childhood Sexual Abuse and Churches: Understanding the Issues. Aquila Press, 2003.