Southern Baptist Abuse Report Describes History of Coverups

ChurchLeaders | 6/10/2019 | Staff
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Just ahead of its annual meeting this week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) released a 52-page report about sexual abuse within the denomination’s churches. The SBC’s Sexual Abuse Advisory Group, commissioned by President J.D. Greear, published the “Caring Well” report Saturday and will make a presentation Wednesday during the meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.

The “Caring Well” report, produced in collaboration with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), comes after 10 months of research and interviews. In three sections titled “Share,” “Care,” and “Prepare,” the pages offer insights into the sexual abuse crisis, describe effective ways of caring for survivors, and detail how to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place.

Report - Advisory - Group - Goal - Evil

Though the report isn’t exhaustive, notes the Advisory Group, one goal “is to begin to illuminate the evil that has occurred within our midst by sharing the stories of survivors of sexual abuse.” The report reinforces the SBC’s commitment to “becoming churches that are safe for survivors and safe from abuse.”

Greear calls the report “a good first step at capturing where we have come from and where we must go to serve the vulnerable.” In conjunction with the report’s release, the SBC has announced a “Caring Well Challenge” for churches and is offering a free curriculum that trains people to care for abuse victims.

Testimonies - Victims - Caring - Well - Report

Testimonies from victims are printed throughout the “Caring Well” report, adding urgency to the problem and insight into the culture that allows abuse—and silence about it—to occur. Some victims are named, while others remain anonymous, and the report commends their bravery and assistance. Readers are warned that the report contains some graphic content in the form of descriptions of abuse.

Abigail, who was raped on a Southern Baptist college campus, describes having administrators—all men—downplay her claim and discourage her from making a police report. “I can’t remember the...
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