How Do I Reconcile My Religious Faith or Connection to My Community After I Have Experienced Sexual Abuse?
Spiritual health is important for everyone, not just survivors. So is rebuilding faith and community after abuse. Where do you start?
Am I Harming the Church by Coming Forward About my Sexual Abuse?
No, you will not hurt the church by exposing the abuse you endured. By coming forward and sharing your truth, you can make the church a safer place for children.
Christianity teaches that the most vulnerable among us should be the most protected.
By coming forward, you are following one of the most important tenets of the faith: protecting children and the vulnerable.
We have decades of experience working with people of faith who wish to help heal themselves and their spiritual communities.
Sadly, child sexual abusers have not only hurt their victims physically and emotionally, but spiritually.
Predators and institutional cover-ups can disrupt our trust and test our faith both in our relationship to the divine and to the communities that come together in our places of worship.
We look to our spiritual leaders and institutions to teach and manifest our highest possible ideals. Not to manifest our worst possible nightmares. We expect them:
- To be leaders that we should follow. Not criminals we need to hold accountable.
- To set the best example of how to provide compassion and healing. Not the worst examples providing cruelty and pain.
- To be sources of forgiveness. Not criminals who must repent for actions difficult to forgive.
- To be sources of refuge for those in need. Not dungeons of violation for those who abuse children.
Will My Lawsuit and Bankruptcy Cause Churches/Schools/Charities to Shut Down?
No. Catholic archdioceses and dioceses do not declare bankruptcy because they are broke or do not have the money to pay their bills. Catholic institutions file for bankruptcy to shield assets and information about perpetrators from survivors and the public.
Due to changing demographics and low enrollment, few Catholic institutions and some charities have closed. Catholic institutions are not closing because of child sexual abuse lawsuits.
The legal process for a civil child sexual abuse lawsuit does change when a diocese or religious order declares bankruptcy. A knowledgeable attorney will guide you effectively through the process.
Can I Still Go to Mass if I Come Forward About my Abuse? Will The Priest Know That I Filed a Lawsuit?
Of course, you can still go to Mass.
Your faith and the celebration of your faith have nothing to do with your lawsuit. In fact, you are fighting to make the church a safer place for children.
Survivors of sexual abuse can protect their identity and file lawsuits anonymously.
We have decades of experience working with individuals who have had their faith challenged, and relationships with communities torn apart by predators and corrupt institutions. Contact us for a free, confidential, conversation.
Will the Priests Punish My Parents or My Family if I File a Lawsuit Disclosing my Abuse?
No. However, if you feel that you have been subject to retribution by your local priest, parish, or archdiocese/diocese, speak confidentiality with your lawyer immediately.
What Does it Mean When a Catholic Institution Files for Bankruptcy? Is it The Victims’ Fault?
No. Victims of child sexual abuse are not at fault when Catholic institutions file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Many entities have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, including Catholic archdiocese/dioceses, religious orders, and other youth-serving organizations. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a reorganization that allows survivors to proceed with lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse and identifying perpetrators.
Does Coming Forward and Filing a Lawsuit Mean That I Am a Bad Catholic?
No. By coming forward you are protecting future generations of children.
You are protecting the most vulnerable among us, children.
You are honoring the child inside of you who was so deeply hurt.
You are creating opportunities for repentance, forgiveness, and redemption of true sins.
You are speaking out and fighting for other survivors and children who may be in danger right now.
You are saving lives.
Lawmakers enacted civil window legislation to allow survivors to expose abuse.
If you were sexually abused by a priest, counselor, teacher, or coach, you have rights. We want to help you. Contact us confidentially today.