I know first hand the devastating impact that betrayal by someone who we saw as a man of God can have in the life of a survivor. The damage is widespread. Emotional, physical, financial and spiritual are four areas of life where most of the damage is inflicted. Trying to overcome the obstacles in just one of those categories can be daunting, but when all four come crashing down on you like a ton of bricks, it can make recovery seem impossible. The disabilities that result from clergy sexual abuse in a lot of cases are extremely difficult to diagnose and treat. It’s not as if you can go to the doctor for a scan, identify the disability, and then work through therapy to recover. When it comes to PTSD, the mind does not work that way. Often times for medical professionals it can be like throwing darts at a moving dart board to come up with the proper treatment plan. Some days, the biggest accomplishment for a survivor is being able to get out of bed and take a shower. A simple task for most people can be an extremely difficult task for a victim dealing with the ramifications of sexual abuse.
In a lot of cases, including mine, the physical and emotional impact make working a job that will generate a consistent income impossible because you don’t know what condition you will be in from one day to the next. The combination of constant emotional distress, extreme physical pain, and the tremendous financial burden that are a result of those two issues creates a vicious cycle that lead to dire circumstances. When hopelessness sets in, things can become very dangerous. I am praying we receive an overwhelming amount of financial support from individuals and organizations all across the country which will allow all survivors to go through a holistic and comprehensive healing program. This will help set them on a solid foundation and a path that leads from being a survivor to a thriver.
FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT FOUNDATION will provide hope to those who see no hope. It will provide resources for emotional healing under the supervision of professionals who are specifically trained to help victims of clergy sexual abuse and the many debilitating issues that result from that abuse. It will also provide spiritual healing. Many victims are angry at God, many feel betrayed and have walked away from their faith. I want to be a living testimony that faith in God provides hope, faith in God provides healing, and most importantly, faith in God provides a promise that no man’s evil actions here on earth can take away from us…. A promise of spending eternity in Heaven with Him.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch this video. The song “Survivor”, which is sung by Zach Williams who is an award winning Christian music artist, is the perfect anthem for us as survivors. I hope you find it inspirational.