If you or someone you know has suffered from sexual abuse there are many resources available to help you. CBN News has compiled a number of those resources here to aid in recovery efforts:
The National Sexual Assault Hotline receives calls 24/7 at 1-800-656-HOPE. You can also chat online with a hotline worker.
For adult survivors of child sexual abuse, survivor advocate Jimmy Hinton recommends Together We Heal which links survivors of child sexual abuse with partners and volunteer therapists.
For those who've been abused by religious or institutional authorities such as pastors, elders, teachers and coaches the SNAP Network & offers a variety of resources.
Survivors of abuse within the church who cannot attend church because of their trauma can find help at PorchSwing Ministries.
Flying Free Now offers help to women who've survived spiritual abuse, often from leaders in the church.
Adults who survived abuse as children on the mission field can network with other survivors in the organization MK Safety Net.
Southern Baptist President J. D. Greear provided six steps on his website to help victims of abuse:
1. Realize you did nothing wrong. Abuse is never the fault of the abused. The appropriate response of anyone who is representing Jesus to you should be care and compassion.
2. It is understandable to be afraid. When people who should be trusted (like church leaders) violate that trust, it can make an already fearful situation (like abuse) even more disorienting.
3. Speak with someone who can help you process the abuse and resulting trauma.
For immediate guidance, here are three numbers where you can reach trained professionals who are available 24/7:
- The National Hotline for Domestic Violence number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
- The National Child Abuse Hotline number is 1-800-422-4453.
- The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network number is 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Greear also provided information to help people find Christian counselors:
He recognized that not everyone is even ready to talk about what's happened to them, so he offered several helpful books that help with healing after abuse:
4. If you were abused as a child, then a report to Child Protective Services (or the equivalent in your state) will need to be made. If you are fearful to take this step alone, the counselor you speak with can help you do that.
5. If you are an adult who has been abused, the offense against you is no less wrong. Know that you have a choice about when in the process of your recovery that you choose to seek justice.
Taking the steps in #4 or #5 ensures that the crime (not just sin) your abuser committed against you shows up on a background check. This helps protect others. Reporting a crime is not just a matter of protecting others, though. It can also be an important step in restoring your voice.
6. When you are ready, involve your current church in your recovery journey. This assumes you are not in the same church where your abuser is in leadership. It is understandable if you do not take this step for a while. Don't feel rushed. Your first step in this direction might be inviting a Christian friend to be an advocate in your counseling sessions. God is a patient Shepherd who walks at the pace of his sheep (Psalm 23:4).