Clergy Sexual Abuse Research



What is Clergy Sexual Abuse?

Clergy Sexual Abuse happens when a person with religious authority intentionally uses their role, position, and power to sexually harass, exploit, or engage in sexual activity with a person. This involves sexualizing conversations (including on the phone, through social media or email), asking for or transmitting unwanted sexual images/text, touching or hugging people who do not want to be touched, pushing for sexual involvement, creating pressure and hostility when boundaries are set, using sexual language and jokes, pressing or rubbing up against a woman, or invading personal space. The sexual activity can include but is not limited to touching sexual organs (over or under clothing), kissing, oral sex, masturbation, intercourse, and rape. Clergy Sexual Abuse is about the misuse of power by the perpetrator and the inability of the victim to provide consent because of the power differential.


Where can victims find help?

If you believe you have experienced clergy sexual abuse, we encourage you to seek help from a licensed mental health professional. Links to reputable national resources can be found here.


Much of the research found here has been made possible by the Grant Me the Wisdom Foundation and The Hope of Survivors organization.