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The church reforms when sufficient numbers of men and women demand integrity and honesty from themselves and force transparency and accountability from those who aspire to serve and lead. It has always been so. A.W. Richard Sipe
The Mennonite Abuse Prevention List (MAP List) is a resource provided by the Anabaptist Mennonite Chapter of SNAP. As part of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, we are a group that seeks to serve survivors of abuse who come out of an Anabaptist or Mennonite tradition. We resolve to do all within our power to prevent abuse by church officials, employees or lay workers from within Anabaptist or Mennonite families, communities, agencies or institutions. We are not governed by or affiliated with any church institution or agency.
The life of a child, a teenager or an adult of any gender can be forever altered by an experience of abuse. A child, a teenager, or an adult of any gender can also become a perpetrator of abuse. They can be partnered, married, single or divorced and are often loved and respected members of our communities. Perpetrators can have hundreds of targeted victims in a lifetime. If a sexual assault occurs one time, there is risk of it occurring again.
The Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient” and it is against the law. Children under the age of 18 are not considered by law to be capable of giving consent. But predators are well aware that children can be groomed during childhood to ensure “consent” for sexual contact as soon as they become of age. Even though these scenarios are not likely to gain a conviction in court, they are deeply damaging, especially when the perpetrator is ordained by the church as a “servant of God.” We believe a sexualized relationship of any kind and at any age with someone who holds authority over one’s spiritual well being and care, regardless of perceived consent, poses a serious risk of long term harm. SNAP Mennonite leader Dr. Cameron Altaras describes the experience in her speech at the 2015 annual SNAP convention in Alexandria, VA (video here).
Unlike an accidental injury to the physical body, sexual abuse causes an emotional and spiritual wounding that becomes extremely difficult to diagnose and treat. It often takes years, decades, even lifetimes, to make the connections and process the insidious impact on one’s life. The damage and pain from the event(s) ripple out beyond the victim and perpetrator to their families, friends, congregations, colleagues, significant others, denominations and whole communities. Those who have taken their own lives are the true victims. Those of us who have lived to call ourselves Survivors feel humbled, grateful, and extremely fortunate. We want to help others heal and prevent further abuse from happening.
Were you violated by someone in an Anabaptist community of faith? Maybe it happened a long time ago and you have never told anyone. Maybe it happened to someone in your family and you carry their pain. Maybe you are currently being abused by someone or love someone who is being harmed. Maybe the only evidence you have is your own experience.
We believe you. It is not your fault. You are not alone. We will support you in finding your voice, telling your truth in whatever setting and timeline feels right for you. Our goal is to help you review the many options available for you to find healing and seek justice. By breaking their silence, victims, witnesses and whistleblowers like you can become empowered to help protect others, expose wrongdoers and deter cover ups.
Our email at email@example.com is confidential. You may also write to us anonymously or by name at MAP List, P.O. Box 442632, Lawrence, KS, 66044. Your name and contact information will not be shared without your permission.
We welcome additional documentation and information on suspected, known or admitted Mennonite predators. Your identity as our source will also remain confidential.
We are grateful this MAP List can be housed under the umbrella of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. You may have seen the Oscar winning Best Picture film Spotlight, which tells the story of how SNAP survivors helped the Boston Globe expose the clergy abuse crisis in Boston. Even though “Priests” is in its title, SNAPnetwork.org is open to religious and nonreligious persons who were sexually violated by anyone inside or outside a faith community. SNAP is the world’s oldest and largest support group for sexual abuse victims and their loved ones. It was founded by survivors of Catholic priests in 1988 and now has more than 21,000 members in over 79 countries.
Finally, if you have come to this website because you are actively engaged in predatory behavior or fear you may become so, we urge you to seek help immediately from an independent, intensive, experientially-based, inpatient treatment program like Patrick Carnes’ Gentle Path at The Meadows in Wickenburg, AZ. If you believe you have broken the law and are truly repentant, you will voluntarily submit yourself to civil authorities and find others to support you in doing so.
SNAP Survivor Support Groups are both anonymous and confidential and open to survivors and their loved ones. A survivor group meets in Harrisonburg, VA the first Thursday of every month. Call 540-214-8874 for more information.
Or call the SNAP Help Line at 1-800-SNAP-HEALS
PUBLICLY ACCUSED CLERGY AND CHURCH WORKERS
Please click on names for more information about each individual. (The latest names to be added are in bold.)
FAQs about the Mennonite sexual abuse crisis and our strategies of prevention (coming soon)
Anabaptist Mennonite Chapter of SNAP Press Releases (Archive)
For the Anabaptist Mennonite Chapter of SNAP: Barbra Graber (firstname.lastname@example.org, 540-214-8874), Stephanie Krehbiel, Tim Nafziger