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"For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds"

(Under construction)

Recognizing the Red Flags

Once the predator gains their victim's trust through coercive tactics, the victim becomes a "complacent" victim, which means the victim is participating but not consenting. Consent can never be given with a clergy because of his position of power and authority over their congregants. For Orthodox Christian faithful, clergy stand-in as a reflection of Christ. This means consent is completely dissolved for the parishioner abused by the clergy.


Offenders use "grooming" as a prelude to committing sexual assault and abusing their victim. Grooming is a method to build trust with a child, teen or adult with the intent to gain alone time and create a "special relationship" founded on manipulation. The cycle of abuse involves escalation, intermittent violence and small rewards to break down the sense of identify of the victim. 


The punishment/reward cycle functions to instill gratitude in the victim for the abuser talking to them. The coercive control involves (1) isolation of the victim, (2) degradation, and (3) forcing victim to violate their moral code (see the Milgram experiment on obedience to authority).

Step I

Removal from the noxious environment--the community in which the abuse happened.

Clergy abuse does not take place within a vacuum, rather, it is part of a system.  Often the system is a dysfunctional church community where a priest has been enabled to abuse a parishioner(s).  This can be too hard for a community to accept, so it is often much easier to simply blame one person---the victim.  If you know that a community most likely will reject hearing about your experience of harm, it does not make it any easier, but you will know that you cannot find healing there.  This leads to an important point about healing---healing is quicker when we mute harmful voices and step out of the communities where we experienced harm.   

Step II

Align yourself with a community that acknowledges your experience you have been through because research shows healing takes place quicker when the harm is faced, named and accepted. 

Step III

You are not alone. There is a lot written about betrayal trauma caused by clergy abuse. Educating yourself and finding out more about what happened helps heal.

Step IV

Self-Care. Prayer and movement by exercise to lower stress cortisol levels and improve sleep.

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