Focus on survivor’s trauma, not church’s reputation

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Re: “Pastor arrested on child porn charge,” front page, Friday:

While we never want to have a story about sexual abuse be necessary, it is one of the dark truths that we sometimes find ourselves facing.

I recognize that the article published May 10 might have been edited for length and/or you may have asked a specific question to the church deacon, but I must admit disappointment at reading only how the church’s reputation and abuser’s family have been hurt. We must not forget the biggest victim in this whole thing — the child who was manipulated and abused by this man. No reputation is as important as the reality the child must live with for the rest of her life.

We owe it to our community to all be champions for survivors who have experienced trauma. I ask that in the future you please show more compassion for the victim and use the newspaper’s public platform to spread awareness of resources for other victims. Given how low reporting and prosecution rates are for sexual abuse and assault, we must always show support for and empower victims. They do not need to worry about what it will do to the reputation of their abuser’s community to come forward.

I can only imagine how reading that article could make one reluctant to report an abuser for fear of upsetting your support network within the church or anywhere else.

Ceci Petrella