SNAP has worked for years to educate the public that sexual abuse happens in #ChurchToo

For immediate release Thursday, December 7, 2017

Statement by Melanie Sakoda of California, Volunteer Member of SNAP’s Board of Directors (925-708-6175[email protected])

Recently Hannah Paasch wrote a heartfelt piece for the Huffington Post, sharing her truth that sexual abuse happens in #ChurchToo, and that the “purity culture” teaches women that when it does, it is their fault.

SNAP, the Survivors Network, agrees wholeheartedly with Ms. Paasch. We have been working to educate the public and hold religious leaders accountable since 1988. We have decades of experience in providing a safe place for victims to meet and share their experiences. But, there is still much work to be done.

The hashtag #MeToo hit a nerve across the country and the world. Powerful men are being removed from their positions in the wake of allegations of sexual assault and harassment. But in many religious organizations, women continue to be valued and accepted only when they are quiet and compliant, accepting all blame and responsibility for the sexual actions of the men in their communities. 

The “purity culture” purports to protect women. However, when the everyday, innocent actions of a woman --where she went, what she was wearing, whether she was drinking – become more important to the community than the criminal actions of the man, that religious group becomes a prime breeding ground for sexual abuse and misconduct.  The blame for an act of sexual violence should rest on the perpetrator, not on those who are attacked.

We encourage those who have been writing about their experience under the hashtag #ChurchToo to continue to speak out, file lawsuits, and report criminal behavior to the police. We also hope that they will reach out to groups like ours for support and help.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Our website is


Melanie Sakoda 925-708-6175 [email protected], Joelle Casteix 949-322-7434[email protected], or Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314-503-0003[email protected])

Showing 1 comment

  • John Nesbella
    commented 2017-12-08 10:56:41 -0600
    In the Roman Catholic Church the vast majority of those sexually abused by priests-are males-boys-young male children. Who is helping them? This entire sexually abuse thing is becoming more and more of a woman versus man thing. It reminds me of growing up in the 60’s-70’s when ‘feminism’ exploded. Woman hated men and spread the hate. At the same time world had it’s sexual revolution and everybody was doing it with everyone and everything. If SNAP becomes a woman versus man movement-then I would say it has lost its original mission and purpose and is becoming a ‘feminist’ mouthpiece.

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