Fe­males protest at Mora­vian Church ... say church too silent on sex­ual abuse

The Star (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE - TA­MARA BAI­LEY STAR Writer

Agroup of 14 women who were once vic­tims of sex­ual abuse staged a peace­ful protest at the Nazareth Mora­vian Church yes­ter­day, cit­ing the si­lence of the church fol­low­ing the ar­rest and charge of their pas­tor for sex­ual mis­con­duct.

The women, who were there in­de­pen­dently of the dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions they rep­re­sent, were clad in T-shirts bear­ing mes­sages against sex­ual abuse.

DIF­FER­ENT IN­TER­VALS

They said their main aim was to show sup­port to the vic­tim. Ac­cord­ing to one, Caitu Heron, the women ap­peared at dif­fer­ent in­ter­vals dur­ing the ser­vice, but were not all read­ily ac­cepted.

“They weren’t forced out of the church or any­thing, but they def­i­nitely re­ceived some ver­bal at­tacks ... we pressed on though, and we sat in the church in the front pew. The women who came af­ter en­tered with­out any op­po­si­tion,” she said.

Heron said mem­bers of the Mora­vian Church hi­er­ar­chy ac­knowl­edged them and af­forded them the op­por­tu­nity to speak.

“The Pres­i­dent of the El­ders Coun­cil of the Mora­vian Church wel­comed us and made an ef­fort to list the church’s strate­gies to move for­ward, and was open to the as­sis­tance of ex­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions,” she said.

Heron says the si­lence of church mem­bers can no longer be ac­cepted as the prob­lem of sex­ual mis­con­duct among min­is­ters is not new to the coun­try.

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