If you believe you, or someone else, is a victim of sexual abuse by a religious leader: How can I help my church or synagogue prepare for the possibility of sexual abuse by clergy? will benefit from examining the issue of sexual abuse within the ministerial relationship.Midwestern Seminary, located in the heart of the Midwest, is one of the fastest growing seminaries in North America and offers a fantastic array of academic programs, including multiple online and residential options at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.Is sexual contact between a religious leader and me ever okay?Meaningful consent can occur when two people are relatively equal in power and when fear, coercion or manipulation is completely absent from their relationship. The pastor who left his church after a two-year affair with another church member.The student pastor who has been out of vocational ministry since he had a brief sexual encounter with his assistant.These patterns become warning signs for any of us, lest we be so naïve to think we have no vulnerabilities.Because the conversations were informal, I cannot say for certain which among them were the most frequent warning signs.
How do some religious leaders justify their sexual abuse? What should I do if I am sexually attracted to my religious leader?
What is sexual abuse within the ministerial relationship?
Sexual abuse happens when someone in a ministerial role (clergy, religious or lay) engages in sexual contact or sexualized behavior with a congregant, employee, student or counseling client in the ministerial relationship.
Questions that need to be asked to evaluate if it is possible to pursue this type of romantic relationship include: What should I do if I am sexually attracted to my religious leader? Your religious leader may be a very attractive, sensitive, caring person.
Should you choose to share your feelings of attraction with your religious leader, it is his or her professional responsibility to help you to understand that to preserve the integrity of the ministerial relationship, he or she cannot reciprocate your interest in an intimate relationship.