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Voice of the Victims: Sex Abuse Survivors and the Church

Tom White's recent suicide brings to light the priority of healing the abused over restoring the offender.

The news rumbled like an earthquake through evangelical circles. Tom White, the 64-year-old director of religious-persecution group Voice of The Martyrs (V.O.M.), had committed suicide after allegations that he'd molested a 10-year-old girl. For those of us who have no connection to the case or the ministry, the sad news may have been, say, a 4.0 on a spiritual Richter scale - enough to rattle a few pictures and shift our routines for a moment or two. I wonder what number on the spiritual Richter scale the little girl and her family would give to this news.

There is a predictable arc to the way many Christians talk among ourselves about high-profilecases of children victimized by high-profile spiritual leaders. We recoil in shock as the revelations of the leader's misconduct unfolds, while simultaneously reminding ourselves of the size of his organization and the impact of his ministry has had on congregation, community and world. (In most cases, it is a "he" we're discussing.) Days or ...

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