BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Baptist Press) — The Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse Advisory Study issued a report Saturday (June 8) after 10 months of work with the hope that God will use it to “spark a movement of healing and reform.”
The 52-page report — produced by a fluid study group formed last July by new Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear — was released three days before the SBC’s annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala. Sexual abuse has been increasingly revealed to be a significant problem among Southern Baptists the last two years, and it will be a focus before and during the meeting. The Advisory Study will make a presentation at the SBC meeting Wednesday afternoon, June 12.
The Advisory Study, which worked in collaboration with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), conducted interviews with hundreds of sexual abuse survivors, as well as church leaders and national experts in the field, according to the report. The report — which includes testimonies from several survivors — seeks “to begin to educate our churches on the abuse crisis, equip our churches to care well for survivors, and prepare our churches to prevent abuse.”
While acknowledging the report is not intended to be either exhaustive or “fully prescriptive,” the Advisory Study says one of its aims “is to begin to illuminate the evil that has occurred within our midst by sharing the stories of survivors of sexual abuse.” The report expresses gratitude to the “brave men and women” who told their stories of abuse so the SBC could understand the scope of the “sexual abuse crisis” it faces.