SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Standing up for Oneself: Mona Randolph
This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.
As a child, Mona Randolph experienced horrific and terrifying violence at home, where her father beat her regularly and, as she grew older, her grandfather sexually molested her. Vulnerability, fear and victimization were the dynamics that Mona lived with constantly, always looking for a loving place where she could belong.
At 19, during her second year of college, Mona was invited to attend a church gathering at the Cathedral of The Holy Spirit, a charismatic, Pentecostal megachurch in a suburb of Atlanta. This church was founded by Earl Pearly Paulk, Jr., who would later become a self-proclaimed “archbishop.” Because of the liturgical arts of dance and drama incorporated into each gathering, and because of her love of singing, Mona became a member of the church and eventually the church’s lead vocalist. At this place of worship, Mona thought she had found a new home among the more than 20,000 congregants. However, darkness lurked within the walls of the cathedral.
Slowly, Mona came to realize that Paulk had created a cult in which he used mind control techniques to perpetrate and perpetuate immoral sexual activities and abuse. Being the church’s archbishop, he would force women to marry men who already had a wife or encourage men to abuse women, whether wife or not. Mona learned that Paulk himself had several wives. At age 29, Mona was lured into to having sex with him and then forced to marry an associate who abused her regularly. But the worst situation was that of an 11-year-old girl who was being sexually abused by Paulk, who had also had sexual relations with the girl’s mother and grandmother. Eventually, a law suit was filed, but church congregants were told by Paulk that the allegations were false so money was raised to pay for Paulk’s attorneys to battling the law suit.
In time, the news media learned that Paulk had been involved with many sexual scandals spanning several decades. In 1992, six women accused Paulk, his brother Don, and two other nephews who were ministers at the cathedral of sexual manipulation. News of these scandals was reported by numerous media outlets. When Mona’s dear friend Cindy filed suit against Paulk in 2003 for sexual manipulation, Mona had had enough with the church, realizing everything she had been told was a lie. Two years later, Mona did similarly and filed a suit. During this time, David Clohessy of SNAP had heard of these lawsuits and flew down to Georgia to meet with survivors and journalists and to assist survivors with finding attorneys. David encouraged Mona to seek out a therapist who specialized in trauma-related situations.
For more than 10 years now, Mona has been working with her therapist to address the emotions related to sexual abuse and manipulation. Throughout the past decade, Mona finished her college degree and even started her own business. She has also created a Facebook page that focuses on sexual abuse so other survivors can reach out and find guidance about their own cases. Mona has also been a longtime sustaining donor of SNAP in gratitude for what SNAP does to help sexual abuse survivors. Mona wants all survivors to stand up for themselves, speak their truth, and find a loving place, such as SNAP, where they belong.