Clergy Survivors (Should be a Forum Topic)

"This forum is a place where male survivors who have been abused by members of clergy or any church/faith leadership at any level, regardless of religion, can come to discuss their experiences and issues and seek feedback and support from other male survivors. We ask that ONLY male survivors of clergy abuse initiate posts in this forum. Other male survivors are free to post in support."
 
Looks great Kal. Excellent job.
 
I can’t say how deep this touches me, the gratitude I can’t express in words. (my eyes are sweating)

The description reads very well.
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
This thread was started during a very intensive period for the Male Survivor volunteer staff as we were changing platforms as well as servers. So while not an excuse, it does explain how this may have been missed. Apologies are certainly in order and I hope you accept mine.

Regarding the topic at hand, my own thoughts are that forums are generally categorized by survivor identity rather than venue. Perhaps the one gray zone category would be military survivors, but anyone who has served understands it as an identity more than a job or a place.

My immediate thoughts are a concern over splintering our experiences in such a way that would see us go off to our own little corners of Male Survivor. The main male survivor forum has demonstrated clearly that whether a victim of institutional abuse, sex trade trafficking, incest, gang rape, or "gentle" grooming, our stories are truly interlocking rings of human experience. In fact for me as a survivor, that has been its strength and defines what this brotherhood really means.
 
My immediate thoughts are a concern over splintering our experiences...
I understand your concern, but clergy abuse is not just sexual abuse and physical abuse, but it is also SPIRITUAL abuse. It attacks the foundational belief in a higher power.
 
I think anyone who has experience in 12 Step recovery knows that finding comrades who've experienced similar pain is a great relief. No doubt the large umbrella of "men who've experienced sexual trauma" works well, but it is in finding men who've had experiences similar to our own that offers the greatest relief. I say that as a survivor of trauma at the hands of a woman, my mother. We have a forum called Survivors of Female Abuse for which I'm grateful. The fact that forum is available certainly doesn't mean I spend all my time there... far from it. The Male Survivor forum remains the heart of this website because it is the most active. I don't have abuse at the hands of clergy in my background, but I know how incredibly destabilizing it must be. Kal says it well when he mentions how such trauma involves spiritual abuse which can be devastating. I support Gistin and Kal in adding a Survivors of Clergy Abuse forum to the site.
 
@C. E. (Chase Eric) ,
First allow me to express my appreciation for the work you all do here, one day I hope to share the depths of how this place has saved and healed me - I'm grateful. That said, no worries about the slow response, and appreciate that you are in this now. I hear your concerns over splintering our experiences, but @NC-Survivor and @Visitor underscores the heart of this for me as well.

I often come to the Male Survivor forum to post about a subject of my abuse that I'm working on, but delete it because I feel the spiritual element would either be disruptive or taken wrong by other survivors. However, would be understood by survivors of clergy abuse. It was suggested to use the "Spirituality and Survivors" section but that would be disruptive. Have this space on Male Survivor has been discussed in other discussions sporadically, and the desire to connect with others survivors of clergy abuse as well.

I hope you'll consider creating a space for Survivors of Clergy Abuse to help navigate these complex issues together.

Thank you again for your time on this,
Scott
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
@C. E. (Chase Eric) ,
It was suggested to use the "Spirituality and Survivors" section but that would be disruptive.

Thank you for this thread. We take our registrants suggestions seriously, and I am giving this issue considerable thought. In fact, in the spirit of keeping my eyes open and my keyboard quiet, I choose not to address any of the comments yet, and will remain in "listening mode" for now. Ultimately, the decision will not be mine alone anyways, but determined administratively as a team effort.

I do not fully understand the statement you have made that I echo above. Could you explain that further?
 
Thank you for this thread. We take our registrants suggestions seriously, and I am giving this issue considerable thought. In fact, in the spirit of keeping my eyes open and my keyboard quiet, I choose not to address any of the comments yet, and will remain in "listening mode" for now. Ultimately, the decision will not be mine alone anyways, but determined administratively as a team effort.

I do not fully understand the statement you have made that I echo above. Could you explain that further?

Spirituality and Survivors
This forum is for open discussions on the role of spirituality and faith in journeys of healing. Attacks on any community of faith are not appropriate or permitted.

I'll try to explain -
Entering this topic area can be triggering to me, hearing people express their faith and how God is helping on their healing journey, etc., etc. just sets me off. Don't misunderstand me, I believe in God, but that relationship is very complicated. If I were to enter that space "Spirituality and Survivors" and talk about the complexity around my abuse, and how Satan and God were used to keep me quiet as a few examples. The weight of the subject matter doesn't belong in that room, and I would never want to sit in a circle of others talking spirituality when I am just trying to divorce my abusers who were "Men of God" from God.

I appreciate the slow to speak and quick to listen approach, a good rule in life.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
I have been watching this post with interest but felt others were covering anything I might have to say.
However ...
Now that the mods are considering this idea I will throw in my 2 cents.

I support Gistin's idea 100%

Spirituality is not the same as religiosity.

Being abused by a priest or a reverend or any cleric of ALL faiths is not the same as being abused by a scout master or a coach ... etc.
Sadly I acknowledge that the two can be one and the same.

I had 5 perps ... the 5th being my Priest when I was 9.
I was a good little Catholic boy who served with joy.
He took what the other 4 couldn't have taken ... he took my faith in the priesthood, the church, and most importantly ...
my faith in God Himself.
(where the hell were you!)

Please ... I'm not saying that a coach can't destroy one's faith in God.
I'm saying that it is just different in a simply different way.

I went to the Spirituality forum a few times when I first joined and soon realized it was a mistake.
Discussing religion with me is NEVER a good idea.
It has been 58 years and I have tried ... but the bitterness is too strong and the wound is still too raw.
Gistin ... I get it.

All that being said I propose a second idea.

A forum dedicated to boys who were abused in an organization like the scouts or sports ... etc.
That leaves out the thorny issue of religion.

I believe both ... equally ... deserve a special place in MS where one can relate directly to another man under those very specific circumstances.

* It's not like there aren't enough of us to support both
 
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I too have difficulty with the Spirituality and Survivors forum though not because a clergy member sexually traumatized me. But the fact that each Sunday I was required to say "I am by nature sinful and unclean" after I'd done something sexual rooted in trauma produced shame that practically killed me. I have the same problem with 12 Step fellowships though I've been a member for many years. I rely on Take what you like and leave the rest. I read about the struggles survivors of clergy abuse have in coming to terms with their spirituality with great empathy. Healing that wound will happen only after the original trauma has been acknowledged and healed. The easy piety of believers can be offensive... not helpful in any way.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
I AM HORRIFIED !!!

It occurs to me that my opinions may have been offensive to people of faith ... that I may have been dismissive and disrespectful of their beliefs.

That is simply not my truth.
Most of my family are good, pious Catholics who practice their religion with piety and fervour.
I have great love and respect for them ... but if I'm visiting over a weekend I do not go to church with them.
We understand each other. We have a right to believe as we choose and although I know that some are very sad for me they realize that it's
none of their business and we keep the peace. Mostly all of them have no idea of why I left the church.
We're not going to talk about that ... probably ever.
Some of my dearest friends are ... um ... for lack of a better word ... religious.

Please ... I in no way wished to disparage the Spirituality forum or those who enjoy going there.
 
It occurs to me that my opinions may have been offensive to people of faith
not offended at all. I know Spirituality can be very triggering for many who experienced clergy abuse.
 
@Shyshark I didn't mean what I said to have that kind of impact on you, but probably a good signal of the need to have a space for those types of discussions. I understand spirituality is a big part of people's healing, and why I don't find that space "Spirituality and Survivors" comfortable.
 
Remember Gistin... dirt roads are often the ones that lead to the most interesting places... :) We don't want to pave them all...
 

Shyshark

Registrant
Crap ... I wasn't logged in so I lost the whole damn response it took an hour to write. I'll try to recreate it.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
I guess I'm being given a little cosmic hint to shut up ... "You've said enough"

I'll finish.

I believe there is a significant number of men here who were abused by clerics ... as boys and young men ... from every and all faiths.
I also believe there is a significant number of men ... from boys to young men ... who where abused in an organization like scouts and sports.
Of course they are not mutually exclusive.

They each deserve a 'home'.

I'm done.
 
@Visitor - You have managed to take my signature and gave it a new meaning, I like that, my friend.

Of course, those thoughts came to mind because you've told us about your work, your life, your beautiful, wild world. You KNOW where those dirt roads lead... the ones you are excited to take. We know the other roads and none of us want to go there ever again.
 
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