Clergy Survivors (Should be a Forum Topic)

@Shyshark - Sorry for the slow reply, work, parenthood got the best of me - and I wanted to think about what you're saying.

I can see the similarities of abuse, people in authoritative positions misusing their power. I think all abuse at some levels attacks our spiritual center's similarity. I'd given thought to this when I first started this post. Personally speaking, and I know I'm repeating myself, but I find it difficult to take a conversation to a deeper level in other areas of Male Survivor, that the self-editing as not to offend, yet to extract the most out of post responses becomes challenged. God is at the center of all this, and what I'm pitching to create a target-rich subject area and safe space to discuss would make a difference.

What is the difference between being abused by a spiritual leader vs. a layperson - It's also spiritual abuse. An abuse period is a monstrous act, one is not worse than the other, but each brings its own complex issues I think.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
Hi Gistin ...

It's my belief that being abused by a cleric shakes your faith in God ... whether you realize it or not.
At some level you feel betrayed by your faith.
That was certainly my situation.
To my little 9 year old soul it was a sin ... sin being the operative word.

I didn't feel that way about the 4 others. (older teens and a young man)
If #5 had been the man next door it would not have had the same repercussions.
Being abused by ... say a coach ... does not have the same impact.
Ones religion is besides the point.
That's not to say that any kind of abuse won't shake your faith.

Each brings up the issues of trust and betrayal.
But ... you will eventually get away from your coach ... but how do you get away from the loss of your faith?
Some recover ... I did not.

I believe in something greater than all else.
I believe in being a good person as best I can and doing no one deliberate harm ... I'm accountable to myself ...
so one could say I'm a spiritual person.
I have a spirit.
Whether I believe in God or not is not the point.

It can be said that categorizing abuse can be a quagmire.

Father abuse brings it's own ramifications and is equally if not worse than the two we are speaking about ... (one should not use the word 'worse')
and we certainly cannot overlook the special harm that comes with a Mother.
I must admit that after all these years and all the stories I have heard a Mother still makes me cringe.
I just can't wrap my head around how a woman could do that to her child ... her son or daughter.

Then we have siblings ... uncles/aunts ... grandparents ... a loving relative ... family ... a trusted special person ...
really ... where does it end?

Where do you go in MS where these things are understood without having to spell it out?

Those are tough questions.
Having added my own suggestion of a second forum for institutional abuse doesn't help.

Frankly I'm glad I'm not the one who will have to make a decision.

However ... if I had to choose only one it would unequivocally be ... cleric abuse.

That deserves a forum of it's own ... and thank you Gistin for suggesting it.
 
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I really appreciate the conversation happening here. Thanks everyone. Trauma is unbelievably destabilizing. Finding our way back is not easy... but we're doing it together. Deep respect everyone.
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
In favor a separate forum for clergy abuse. It has been pervasive across the different religions. What makes it difficult is because many are reared in a particular faith, putting clergy above others and some of their followers unable to accept the truth of the abuse a child suffered. It is a complicated situation faith and abuse. I believe parent child abuse is also unique in that there is a bond created from birth, a societal expectation children to love a parent and a parent to love and nurture a child.

I struggled with faith for many years. In the years of denial of the abuse I was a regular church goer. Then as I unraveled and then those Catholics that wore their pseudo faith on their sleeve and denied the abuse, I drifted away from the Church. I have slowly gravitate back as I attended with a special person who never put any pressure or influence that I attend. It helped me to separate the institution from the person--the abuser and followers who denied the abuse.

Kevin
 
My signature line has the quote from T.S.Eliot's Four Quartets tells me the truth you're finding Kevin... that it is possible after opening our eyes to what was horrible to look at those people, places and things with fresh eyes and come to a new relationship with it all. The horror was real and we lived with the consequences. But especially with regard to our spiritual life, we really are lost without some connection to the ineffable. I wasn't abused by a clergy but the church I attended was not a place of comfort for me... it was a place of judgment I couldn't endure... and so I left. But much of my healing journey has been trying to find a different relationship with spirit. That didn't bring me back to the church of my youth but it did open me to the mystical tradition within Christianity that touches me. I trust every man here will find his own truth in this regard. I honestly believe having a forum devoted to clergy abuse will make that search easier. First we need to tell the truth... then we may be able to lay down the burden we've been carrying. NOTHING is more important than that.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
Hi ...

I just noticed that I left out a few lines in my last comment but it seems I'm no longer able to edit it.
I will recreate that small section ...

"Then we have siblings ... uncles/aunts ... grandparents ... a loving relative ... a trusted family friend ...
It could be argued that a forum dedicated to parental abuse alone could be relevant
separate from 'family and friends' ...
but ...
really ... where does it end."

So I guess a third forum could be added ..."Parental Abuse" ... but as I've said ... where does it end?

I still maintain that clergy abuse is paramount in the decision making.
 
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Shyshark

Registrant
Sheesh ... I have never gone to 'Family and Friends' so I misunderstood it's purpose.

I guess "Parental Abuse" stands on it's own.
I'm sorry if this kinda takes over Gistin's post ... but it is all food for thought.

I have no idea what it takes to create a forum ... easy or hard.
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
We have given this topic a LOT of thought and have collectively agreed to a solution that we feel will address the concerns expressed here. The first step was to define those concerns, and we went so far as to quantify the points brought up in this thread. Some of them, such as a proposed forum header denying other survivors from initiating threads (but being okay with them adding posts of support in established threads) were not consistent with the inclusive nature of fostering a support network for all male sex abuse victims. We also realized that the arguments made for a separate Clergy Abuse forum could also be made for establishing forums for other types of victimization as well - those abused by a trusted coach or teacher, by a parent or sibling or close relative, or by a stranger. This does not minimize the very unique aspects of clergy abuse, but highlights the fact that every type of child sex abuse has the potential to carry profound consequences. The power of MaleSurvivor's discussion venue is that resonant "yeah, me too, bro" and finding the connections that help the journey. Accordingly, splintering the forums is not, in our opinion, the way to go - and in fact, we feel that some forums currently separated should be merged into the main forum where they will get the traffic and attention they deserve.

In the quantification of reasons for a separate forum for Clergy Abuse survivors, the most consistent concern expressed was access. Many comments were made about desire to find others who have shared the experience and connect with them. To wit...

"I find it really hard to search the success of others, or relate to on MS whom have experienced abuse in Church...I have no idea whom has survived this kind of abuse until I post something, which inspires someone come forward."

"It feels like a buried subject"

"the desire to connect with others survivors of clergy abuse"

"creating a space for Survivors of Clergy Abuse" will "help [us] navigate these complex issues together."

"I feel it should accessible to all seeking support."

"I trust every man here will find his own truth in this regard. I honestly believe having a forum devoted to clergy abuse will make that search easier."

We believe that support is a two-way street, and that the strength of MaleSurvivor lies in the intersecting rings of experience. In that intersection is where real healing takes place. Accordingly, we have decided to employ a function of the forum that uses prefixed threads. Prefixing a thread is simple as this short less-than-two-minute video shows. This will allow threads to remain in the more active main forum and give access to other survivors from different experiences who may wish to learn something from the journeys of clergy abuse or offer support. At the same time, we feel that it addresses the main concerns expressed by you in this thread.
 
I experimented with this a moment ago by initiating a thread in the Male Survivor forum just to see how it works. I didn't post the thread but I see where you are going and it seems doable. So do you have plans for collapsing existing forums, like Survivors of Female Abuse (648 threads), Sexual Identity Issues (893 threads), Men Abused/Assaulted as Adults (325 threads), Military Survivors (153 threads), Sexual Abuse/Exploitation in Media (45 threads)? It would seem the approach you're taking doesn't leave much room for maintaining these separate forums... which some think of as home on MS. Mmm...
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
I experimented with this a moment ago by initiating a thread in the Male Survivor forum just to see how it works. I didn't post the thread but I see where you are going and it seems doable. So do you have plans for collapsing existing forums, like Survivors of Female Abuse (648 threads), Sexual Identity Issues (893 threads), Men Abused/Assaulted as Adults (325 threads), Military Survivors (153 threads), Sexual Abuse/Exploitation in Media (45 threads)? It would seem the approach you're taking doesn't leave much room for maintaining these separate forums... which some think of as home on MS. Mmm...

We will not be dissolving every subforum, but there are some that simply are not generating the traffic they deserve - and traffic is the commodity that drives discussion, insight and support. If there is less traffic, those are the things that tend to suffer as a consequence. Just moving to prefixed threads was a big move, so we are fine watching how they progress (limited for now in the main MaleSurvivor forum). I suspect any move to merge a subforum will not be made until we have had some time to fully study, debate and discuss how this new strategy works.
 
Thanks for the attention and care you're giving this and everything else related to the health of this forum. I'm forever grateful that I found Male Survivor and that it has been so carefully tended for so long. Thanks Eric.
 
I have mixed feelings about the decision, but this isn't my forum, so who am I to complain or attempt to make a case. I was not surprised by this decision, I heard your response between the lines on the earlier post.

I will depart this thread and say I'm hurt. This should not be about “the traffic deserved” and is far from the point. Once again clergy abuse remains the unwanted child few want to give attention to, and I mean that in every aspect.

Thanks for all that showed support in this suggestion.
 
I agree with @Gistin, but I can understand and appreciate the compromise. Searchable Tags/labels would be very helpful.
 
My response above is a knee-jerk, that inner boy feeling shut down -- so that's what you're hearing.

I just made a post to demonstrate where I think tagging will not work for all cases. I like the feature, I do, but it's not a safe space. Still bothered about the value placed on "Traffic Deserved" when it's not about the traffic. At least in a dedicated room is away from all the noise and feels safe? I don't know . . .
 

Shyshark

Registrant
That's not it NC ... I understand the new format.
I hope it works well for people who want to use it.
 
That's not it NC ... I understand the new format.
I hope it works well for people who want to use it.
so why are you "confused"?
 
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