Women protest at Moravian church - say church too silent on sexual abuse
A group 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.
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.