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Healing Corner

If you’ve made it here,

welcome!

This is the official blog for the NWA Center for Sexual Assault. Here you can access all things sexual violence awareness, prevention, education, and self-care. Being here is the first step in creating a community of knowledge seekers, activists, allies, and survivors. We will be posting blogs every week, and for special events, we may post extra, so make sure to sign up for updates or check back weekly.


 

A Guide for Faith Communities in Responding to Sexual Violence

Sexual assault and sexual violence are worldwide epidemics that have been a part of our society for centuries. According to the Rape Abuse and Incident National Network, in the United States, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men are survivors of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (RAINN, 2020). Knowing this hard truth, the odds are high that your faith community is a place of refuge and hope for many survivors. Sexual violence does not discriminate; it is an issue that transcends gender, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and faith.

In 2018, IMA World Health and Sojourners co-sponsored a LifeWay research survey of 1000 pastors to gauge awareness of and response to sexual violence in their congregations. Broken Silence 2 (2018) found that 81 percent of participants knew someone who had experienced sexual or domestic violence. In addition, 51 percent say that they speak to their church or community about domestic or sexual violence several times a year (We Will Speak Out, 2018).

It is becoming the norm for pastors and faith leaders to share information with their communities regarding sexual violence. In response to this shift, GRACE for survivors, the faith-based outreach project within the NWA Center for Sexual Assault, has put together this guide as a resource to faith leaders who want to create safer spaces for survivors within their communities.

For many religious or spiritual survivors, the first place they will go for healing and hope is to their faith leader. Thank you for your commitment to supporting and believing survivors and to improving your response to sexual violence in your community.

Responding to Survivors of Sexual Assault

 

Get the survivor to a safe space

Listen appropriately and believe the Survivor

I believe you

It is not your fault

You are not alone

Suggest the option of seeking medical attention

Recognize your responsibility to report the incident

Child abuse

Connect with crisis counselors and advocates

 

II.         Educate Your Faith Community

Preaching and Pulpit Leadership

Dedicate dialogue around sexual violence

Equality and respect training for youth 

Healthy relationships

Consent and respect for others

Make resources available

Bathroom flyers

 

III.  1. Create a team

Passionate advocates, prayer warriors

Establish a Policy

Background checks

Counseling guidelines (mental health vs biblical counseling)

Stance on abusers and sex offenders

Protection and children and vulnerable adults

IV. Training your staff 

Clergy training

Childcare training

 

We hope that this guide is a helpful tool in combating sexual violence in faith communities. GRACE for Survivors is always ready to partner with all faith groups in efforts to support survivors and promote a safe culture.

OUR IMPACT IN 2020:

  • Individual Counseling Sessions Provided:

    1,270

  • Forensic Rape Kit Exams Completed:

    116

  • Hotline Calls Answered:

    845

© 2021 NWA Center for Sexual Assault

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