Sex therapist offers insight after allegations of sexual abuse surface against Southern Baptist Convention

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – An Alabama licensed counselor who works with victims of sexual abuse gave new insight on the unique challenges they face when the accused predator is a person of power.

This came after the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee released a 288-page independent investigation into decades of sexual abuse claims.

The report is the result of a seven-month investigation by Guidepost Solutions, a group picked by the SBC’s executive committee after calls for an independent investigation.

According to the report, leaders at the denomination stonewalled investigators and lied about victims to protect themselves.

The report also says SBC leadership kept a secret database of leaders in the pulpit who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Licensed professional counselor, Misty Smith, is certified in sex therapy and said survivors of assault or abuse by clergy members often find it difficult to come forward, especially when taking on powerful, large institutions.

“I have many people who – I have been their first point of contact after 30, 40, and 50 years of holding on to that secret,” said Smith

“It’s exhausting. It’s invalidating. It’s scary because they don’t know if they are going to be shunned; if they are going to have support. How publicized is it going to be because we know things are going to be more publicized in this country when it comes to religion.”

Smith said victims of sexual abuse often suffer from PTSD, depression and substance abuse due to the trauma.

Often, she said she counseled survivors that they can begin the healing process at any time and that speaking out doesn’t have to be the initiation of that process.

Smith encouraged survivors to seek a professional for support.

She said one of her clients offered words of advice to anyone coping with sexual abuse.

“Find someone who believes you and forces you to believe in you, is really important,” Smith said.

The SBC executive committee told WBRC, the board would meet Tuesday to discuss the report’s findings.

We’ve reached out to the president of the SBC, Alabama pastor, Ed Litton, for comment and we are waiting to hear back.

Report: Top Southern Baptists stonewalled sex abuse victims

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https://www.wbrc.com/2022/05/24/sex-therapist-offers-insight-after-allegations-sexual-abuse-surface-against-southern-baptist-convention/

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