Sandy was just a teenager who loved her church. It was a place she felt accepted and celebrated. When a new youth pastor was hired, he saw Sandy’s love for the church and used it against her. He started grooming her for a long-term abusive relationship before her sixteenth birthday. When the abuse was finally discovered, the church moved the pastor on to another congregation (after celebrating him with a big going away party) and they asked Sandy to worship elsewhere. Sandy’s story teaches us that church is a place where victims are susceptible to predators because the institution is set up for inherent trust—something predators know well.
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- How do you feel after hearing Sandy’s story?
- What have you learned about the grooming process used by sexual predators?
- Do you know any sexual abuse survivors? Are you a survivor yourself? Reflect on that.
- How does the fact that Sandy’s abuse happened through the church impact your connection to the story?