Here’s a depressing statistic:
One in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader, a survey released Wednesday says.
The study, by Baylor University researchers, found that the problem is so pervasive that it almost certainly involves a wide range of denominations, religious traditions and leaders.
It found that more than two-thirds of the offenders were married to someone else at the time of the advance.
Carolyn Waterstradt, 42, a graduate student who lives in the Midwest, said she was coerced into a sexual relationship with a married minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 18 months. He had been her pastor for a decade, she said, and told her the relationship was ordained by God.
I’m shocked. Who knew sex scandals in the church involved women?! (*cue rim shot*)
But to take this more seriously…
I wonder how many of the women who are taken advantage of leave their churches after something like this happens.
How many pastors are seriously punished?
What constitutes a “sexual advance” here? Based on the comments in the article, the Baylor study never defines this and it is all subjective data… I wonder if there is anything included in the category that is just misinterpreted as an advance.
What goes through the pastors’ minds when they take advantage of these women? The article says they say the relationship is “ordained by God”… do they really believe that? Or do they just use that line to prey on the women? Either way, it’s disturbing as hell.
Is a clergy/congregation relationship any different from a boss/employee one?
The whole article makes me queasy.
(Thanks to Kriss for the link)