Communicating constructively and effectively about clergy sexual misconduct (CSM) is delicate work. Feelings run high and it’s all too easy to devolve into the destructive language of blame and shame.
Our church knows first-hand. In 1994, the level of hostility was so intense that our then District Executive noted that we had a “level 5 conflict” — level 6 being war. In time, though, we learned. And we have flourished. For example, our church has become a stronghold of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in our local community. And we of Safety Net use these same principals in our work. Sometimes we call it nonviolent communication and sometimes speaking the truth in love, but usually we call it shared ministry.
We hope that with our 2014 redesign, Safety Net’s website will nurture communication about clergy sexual misconduct throughout our beloved faith. And so we encourage everyone to comment on our posts.
Please be mindful of how you express yourself when you do. We will not post comments that we believe have a tone of blame, bullying, or the like.
We know this can be very challenging to do. It’s not the norm in our society. For those unfamiliar with these techniques, a simple formula is to (1) stick with “I statements” — talking about your feelings and unmet needs, and (2) remove the names and other clear identifiers of individuals who have hurt you.
Also, we also do not post essays disguised as comments, so please be reasonably brief.
A Note to Survivors of UU CSM
If you have been a victim of clergy sexual misconduct, first and foremost we of Safety Net wish to express our profound sorrow that your trust has been so egregiously violated by a Unitarian Universalist minister. We grieve with you over this breach of sacred trust that has threatened your connection to life and love.
If you wish to make comments, please know that we are here to support you in finding ways to express your truth in a spirit of love. We know it can be difficult to downplay emotions like anger when you write of these experiences. We encourage you to breathe, know that we are here for you, and let us help you in framing your truth. It is fine to use “Confidential” as your name. Just be sure to use a working email address so we can follow up with you and verify that you are not a spammer.