As SBC Continues to Ignore Victims, Survivor Calls for Action

As SBC Continues to Ignore Victims, Survivor Calls for Action

Survivor of Sexual Assault by SBC Pastor to Attend SBC Convention

“It is time for action, not more discussion,” she says

WHAT: At a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention aimed around abuse prevention, survivors and advocates will

  • Push SBC leaders to act on abuse instead of continuing to just talk about it,
  • Urge them to take seriously the ideas of abuse prevention advocates, and
  • Pass out flyers touching on how the SBC has consistently ignored survivor outreach

WHEN: From Friday, October 4 through Saturday, October 5

WHERE: Outside the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, TX (1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, Texas 76051 USA). Advocates will be at the Hotel, please contact for specific location.

WHO: Debbie Vasquez, a survivor of sexual assault at the hands of an SBC pastor, along with 2-3 other advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

WHY: More than a decade ago, survivors of abuse at the hands of Southern Baptist Convention preachers travelled to Indianapolis to beg the SBC to institute reforms that would protect children from being harmed. Church officials ignored those survivors and their calls for reform. Now, as the SBC meets in Texas to once again confront their abuse crisis, one of those survivors is pleading to be heard.

In 2008, SBC leaders callously ignored the abuse of and calls for change from Debbie Vasquez and other survivors. In 2019, SBC leaders again ignored calls for change from other advocates for Baptist survivors. This weekend, when church leaders gather in Grapevine, TX to once again discuss the abuse crisis, Debbie will be there, hoping that her story is listened to and that church officials will act. We urge those leaders to listen and take action.

The SBC has apparently been following the playbook of the Catholic Church when it comes to their response to abuse within their churches. Rather than listen to survivors, they instead choose to discuss reform amongst themselves, proudly announce internal investigations, and then conclude those investigations quickly while proclaiming victory. But investigations by secular sources have made it clear that abuse is still an issue within the SBC.

If SBC leaders truly want to learn how to confront and solve this problem, they should be listening to people like Debbie who has been talking about and asking for reform for decades. We are glad that they have at least invited some survivors to speak at this conference, and we applaud those survivors who are sharing their experiences in Grapevine. At the same time, we believe that SBC leaders should also be listening to experts like Christa Brown and Ashley Easter who have time and again provided suggestions, ideas, and frameworks for change.

Debbie will be in Grapevine, TX on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5. She will be sharing information and passing out fliers to meeting attendees. We hope that SBC leaders will not just take her information but invite her in and ask her to speak to their full assembly. We urge them to stop following the playbook of an institution that has repeatedly failed to institute meaningful reforms and instead follow in the footsteps of Christ by listening to Debbie with full attention, love and care. Finally, we hope they will act on the suggestions that survivors have suggested instead of continuing to just talk about them.

CONTACT: Lisa Kendzior, SNAP DFW (snapdfw@verizon.net, 817-773-5907), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Kimberly Osment
    commented 2019-10-03 22:09:50 -0500
    Debbie
    I’m inside.
    I have a FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. SHIRT ON MY CHAIR.

    FIND ME. SIT WITH ME.

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