Church leaders in Florida and around the country are just as capable of committing sexual abuse as any other member of society. Therefore, when allegations of abuse are made, it’s important that they are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. There are a number of steps that individuals within the church can take when allegations are made against their leaders or members.
Act in a transparent manner
It’s not uncommon for abuse victims to be labeled as liars or to be talked about as though they have an ulterior motive. At the same time, church leaders may attempt to protect the name of the abuser and obstruct any attempts to investigate that person or the alleged conduct. However, church leaders are encouraged to be open and honest about alleged sexual abuse by clergy as it may encourage other victims to come forward. It can also prevent others from being harmed as they know to stay away from a potential abuser.
Put people above the church
A sexual abuse scandal will likely cause people to think negatively of the church. However, the only way to begin rebuilding the church’s reputation is to admit what happened and make changes. Generally speaking, people are willing to give other people and institutions a second chance if real change is made to right the wrongs of the past. Trying to pretend that nothing is wrong also provides a potential abuser with a chance to harm others in the future.
If you were abused by a member of the church or anyone else, you have the right to pursue legal action. Depending on the details of your case, it may be possible to file a case in both civil and criminal court.