You might have seen Baylor’s name in the news recently attached to a study on clergy sexual misconduct that found 3% of adult women who regularly attend religious services have been the victim of clergy sexual misconduct. (For example, stories ran in the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and Associated Press.) The study found that the problem is much bigger than previously thought, occurring across most all denominations and religions.
Aside from the frequency of such misconduct, the other thing that struck me about the survey was the thought process behind it. The lead researcher was Dr. Diana Garland, dean of Baylor’s School of Social Work, and funding for the study came in part from the Baptist General Convention of Texas (as well as the Ford Foundation and the JES Edwards Foundation). Garland says the study was conducted not just for the sake of knowledge, or to expose the church’s sins to the world, but rather to bring the issue to light “so that the Church can be the Church.” She hopes that by raising awareness of the issue, the Church can be proactive in educating its members and thus avoid future abuses of power such as this.
For more on the survey, including videos of five abuse survivors telling their stories and resources that congregations can use, visit www.baylor.edu/clergysexualmisconduct.
Sic ’em, Dr. Garland and Baylor researchers whose work makes an impact!