Boz Tchividjian, grandson of the Rev. Billy Graham and an activist who speaks out against sexual abuse in churches, has opened up about some of the horror stories victims have shared with him.
“My focus is on the church because that’s where I grew up, that’s where I’ve seen some of the horrors. That’s where I’ve encountered survivors who, in tears, tell me that they can’t pray to God because the man who abused them was praying when he abused them, or reading Scripture while he was raping them,” Tchividjian told Vice.com in a recent interview.
Tchividjian leads the Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment organization, which investigates sexual abuse in Christian circles.
A common thread in much of his research is that many churches do not have policies to deal with accusations of abuse, and often times the abuser, and not the victim, gets protected.
He pointed to data from insurance providers that shows that sexual abuse goes on in Protestant churches just as much, if not more so, as in Roman Catholic ones.
A major problem, he said, is that too many pastors still don’t want to talk about and ignore issues related to abuse.
“We have to educate our church leaders about this issue so we can try and eliminate victim blaming when disclosures are made. Telling the victim it was their fault because of how they were dressed or were acting, or forcing them to forgive the offender, just compounds the shame they are already going through,” Tchividjian said.
He said that males get abused as well, but often times they are silent because of shame.
SOURCE: Stoyan Zaimov