Adults are groomed for abuse as weell as children. Grooming techniques are different for adults.
Many are made to believe that they are the only friend in whom the priest can confide. Relationships are often built on secrets, gradually creating a situation where the abuse may become sexual.
A true consenting adult relationship can ONLY occur between EQUALLY EMPOWERED individuals. A relationship of spiritual direction, confession, counseling, or any relationship in which one member knows or refers to the other as "Father" or "Reverend" or "Pastor," etc. is NEVER a relationship of equal empowerment. If there is impropriety, it is ALWAYS AN ABUSE OF POWER. And abused person is NEVER A CONSENTING PARTICIPANT.
Whenever you go to a clergy member for help there is a legal and moral boundary the clergy member is NEVER, under any circumstances, to cross.
Many adult survivors are abused within just such a "counseling" situation. Please know that because of the imbalance of power, "consent"is not a defense for the perpetrator.
All licensed caretaking professions operate with ethical codes that, for the most part, prohibit sexual acts of any kind with clients under one's care.
The official code of the State of Georgia, for instance, reads, "Consent of the victim shall not be a defense to a prosecution (of the perpetrator)."
Few people are more vulnerable than those who are receiving treatment from a counselor such as a doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist. For this reason, it is illegal in Texas for a mental health services provider to have a sexual relationship with a patient. Adult victims of sexual exploitation have specific rights and remedies under Texas law.
Whatever your story, please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Please feel free to contact us. And keep watching this page as our list of resources for adult survivors grows.
Also, see on the SNAP national website:
- Understanding the Abuse of Adults by Catholic Clergy and Religious.Kathryn R. Byrne. Loganville, GA: Open Heart Life Coaching, 2010.
- Is Nothing Sacred? The Story of a pastor, the women he sexually abused, and the congregation he nearly destroyed. Marie M. Fortune. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1999.
- Christianity, Patriarchy, and Abuse A Feminist Critique. Joanne Carlsoin Brown and Carole R. Bohn. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 1989.
- Sex, Priests and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis. Richard Sipe. NY: Brunner/Mazel Publishers, 1995.
- Celibacy in Crisis: A Secret World Revisited. Richard Sipe. NY: Brunner-Routledge
- The Rape Recovery Handbook Step-by-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault. Aphrodite Matsakis, PhD. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2003.