Thoughts from just a few of the many North American Division leaders who are speaking out against abuse and violence — and urging Adventists to watch the Sept. 24 (Spanish) and Sept. 25 (English) enditnow Summit on Abuse
She was 16 and attending a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school where I had been speaking for the weekend. Her shoulders were hunched, her eyes on the ground. “I’m sorry. I just need a minute,” she whispered.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she looked up. “Am I still a virgin if I was raped?”
I wish I could tell you this was a singular incident, but sadly, that’s not the case. Our schools are not immune to sexual abuse, harassment, or date rape. This is a reality we can change. Join the #enditnowNAD movement and help us break the silence about abuse:
- Hold an enditnow Emphasis Day at your church/school. www.enditnownorthamerica.org/ein-emphasis-day
- Watch the free, live-streamed Summit on Abuse, September 24 (Spanish) and 25 (English) www.enditnownorthamerica.org/pastors-summit
- Talk to your youth groups about the warning signs of dating violence. www.loveisrespect.org/for-yourself/safety-planning.
— Erica Jones, assistant director, the NAD Women’s Ministries
We had a child abuse situation right there in the middle of camporee. It involved one of the clubs from my conference. The police were already on their way, but as an official representative of the church, I had the responsibility to make sure that the proper steps would be taken.
The reality is that abuse will happen, and yes, it will happen even at church-sponsored events and in congregations.
— Armando Miranda, an associate director of the NAD Youth and Young Adult Ministries
Are You Ready for When They Share?
Many young people open up relationally and emotionally at youth events, and make life-changing decisions for themselves and for God. They share some of their deepest and darkest experiences with adults they trust — whether it's their youth pastor, their Pathfinder Club staff, their Bible camp chaperone, their summer camp counselor, or other supervising adult.
It’s mandatory that youth professionals and volunteers report any stories that are shared with them where a young person (minor) is being injured, abused, or molested. And the leaders have a civic, moral and ethical responsibility to protect young people in response to these stories. For youth professionals and volunteers, it is not a matter of "if" someone shares with them a situation where they need to take action, but "when."
The NAD Summit on Abuse will be an experience that will provide the resources and a network of professionals who will help you follow practices of care and protection for those who have been abused. It will strengthen your ministry and our church.
— Tracy Wood, director of NAD Youth and Young Adult Ministries
We want our churches, homes, and schools to be places where people experience God’s love, where everyone feels "safe and secure from all alarms!" The reality is that churches reflect our broken society. Understanding the threats of abuse and being intentional about solutions can lead us to become healing communities.
— Debra Brill, a vice president of the NAD, chair of enditnow summit committee