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Ginger Strickland’s bishop, Pierre Whalon, clearly considered her a protégée.As a candidate for bishop, he had asked Strickland to give his nomination speech.I hope they will understand my experience better, but even more, I hope they’ll join the growing number of churchgoers who are willing to “see something, say something.” An informed congregation can help keep clergy from crossing the line. It took me years to be able to write about my experience, and he is sharing the horrors of his church’s response only months later.He has had to overcome the same stigma we all do, and more: if it’s difficult for a woman to come forward, it’s even harder for a man.“If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim.
After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it on herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on.
And while I choose not to name my abuser in my writings, he holds his abuser, church and denomination publicly accountable. You can read Erik’s interview with another survivor, Michele, at his blog, Accurate and Courageous Journalism of Religion.
For you particularly daring boys out there who my be considering asking that cute, adorable priest out for coffee or drinks or a movie - some tips just for you. Avoid detailed and ongoing references only to Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, your current view on church issues, which liturgy you prefer, or other theological and/or spiritual talking points. We don't want to spend the evening doing what we do every day and twice on Sundays.
In Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman eloquently describes what the Episcopal Church may be doing to Erik Campano.
“Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense,” writes Herman.