BY JULIO MUÑOZ,
associate communication director, North American Division
The Women’s Ministries Departments of the Adventist World Church and North America Division hosted nearly 200 church
employees and lay members attending the second Enditnow Summit on Abuse, which
took place May 1-4. The training event, held at the Adventist World Headquarters
in Silver Spring, Maryland, focused on educating attendees on how to respond to
the abuse of women, children, and men, in churches and their local communities.
“Too often we don’t know what to do when someone confides
they’ve been abused or when we suspect someone is being abused. Generally we do
the very worst thing—nothing,’’ said Carla Baker, director of women’s ministries in North America. “Doing nothing allows the abuse to
continue and intensifies the consequences to the victim. It also sends a
message that the church doesn’t care about victims.”
The summit included a variety of experts on abuse including
attorneys, health care professionals, physicians, social workers, and
The 4-day event was launched with the premier of the
award-winning short film “The Hideout” introduced by the
filmmaker, Daniel Wahlen and his mother, Gina. Daniel said the film was
inspired by a close childhood friend who was abused. As an adult, Daniel
discovered that a family member was the one who abused his friend.
The Wahlens shared their experience, urging attendees that
breaking the silence about abuse was critical both to recovery for the victim,
and to break the cycle of abuse.
“I would really like to encourage those who are survivors to
tell someone about it, to find healing and if they’ve found that already, to
share it with others so they can also find healing,” said Daniel about what he
hoped his film would accomplish. “[I want it] to really open up the discussion
of something that is taboo and really shouldn't be.
Gina opened up to the audience about the very personal matter of
being related to someone who sexually abused children and stressed the
importance of breaking the silence. “It’s important, because I hope by my
speaking out publicly, it’s going to encourage many other people, that it’s
okay to speak out, and in fact, it is by speaking out that we can end the
The Abuse Summit is part of the enditnow Campaign which is co-sponsored by the two
Women’s Ministries entities and was launched in October of 2009.