At least 3% of church members report having been a victim of spiritual abuse.
In one study, 67% of subjects were Christians before their involvement in a cultic group or abusive church, but only 39% after the abusive experience.
Eighty respondents (42%) in this same study sought help from religious organizations.
But 40% of those who sought help found these services to be not at all helpful.
Approximately one percent of the population has had at least a transient involvement in a cultic group or abusive religious organization.
Therefore, each year tens of thousands of spiritual abuse victims who would seek help from religious organizations do NOT receive such help.
Sources: The Results of the International Cultic Studies Association’s 2008 Questionnaire - International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Research Survey on Spiritual Abuse. http://www.icsahome.com/articles/prevalence
These research findings explain why ICSA strives to reach out to churches and other religious organizations. Though they may not realize it, they are vital gatekeepers. Former cult members and other spiritual abuse victims often turn to religious organizations and religious professionals for help.
ICSA's religion committee is headed by Rev. Robert Pardon. The committee's goals are:
Help those who wrestle with spiritual, religious, theological, or philosophical issues in their attempt to recover from an abusive experience.
Maintain, develop, and promote ICSA's subsidiary website, www.spiritualabuseresources.com
Maintain, develop, and promote ICSA's special program, the Spiritual Safe Haven Network, which helps religious organizations (e.g., churches) become healing refuges for spiritually abused individuals.
Organize events to educate religious professionals and help spiritual abuse victims.
Rev. Neil Damgaard is currently compiling an edited volume on spiritual abuse.
If you would like to learn more or become involved, please contact ICSA: firstname.lastname@example.org.