News Release

"I am Not Alone": How Survivors of Abuse Found Healing through Faith and Fellowship

“These groups aren’t just a name on a bulletin board in our churches. They are real, living groups that represent a real need in our world.” This quote was shared by a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France who recently participated in the Church’s first recovery group for male victims of sexual abuse in Europe.

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This online group gathered Latter-day Saints from multiple stakes in France for 12 weeks to discuss ways to overcome past trauma, guided by principles informed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and led by member volunteers who are credentialed therapists. At the conclusion of the 12-week program, participants shared the comfort they received and the necessity of this avenue to heal from instances of abuse.

“I wondered if I had a place here. I wondered what I would find here and what to expect,” said one participant. “This group is a place of love and support. It is a manifestation of what the gospel is, and a manifestation of Christs love.”

Participants were not closely acquainted before taking part in the recovery group but got closer as they discussed different topics each week. In recent years, Welfare and Self-Reliance- Family Services in the Europe Central Area have made many resources available to help victims, Church leaders, and members better prevent instances of sexual abuse and serve those who have suffered. These resources can be found on a special landing page prepared by Church Welfare and Self Reliance for Europe, at On the site, specific resources catered to each European country can be found, along with an option for victims to join a recovery group in their language.

The group participants ranged in age, background, and perspective but found common ground through their experiences and the healing power of Jesus Christ. At the conclusion of the planned time frame, participants shared that they were not ready for their discussions which have bonded them together to end, and that they would continue to talk together beyond the original 12 weeks which were planned.

“There has been a link made between all of us. I remember in our first session everyone was a bit shy, and now after our last session it is hard to imagine leaving everyone,” shared a participant. “I felt a lot of love. I felt listened to. This unbreakable link has been created and you can’t take it away. This group is extremely important and allows us all to rebuild ourselves together.”

Many victims face these challenges alone and often undergo professional assistance such as therapy as individuals as well. A goal of local leaders and Church Family Services is to help victims discover the benefits of relying upon others to overcome a common struggle. While no situation is ever the same, participants in the group resonated with one another and found the love discussed in the Bible.

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

One participant stated, “I didn’t realize how much I needed this group. I had worked on myself a lot in the past, but this group helped me understand where some of my problems came from. I realized how much the abuse I lived impacted my life, but I also realized that I am not alone in this.”

Another goal of this group was to better train Church leaders who serve local congregations and help victims of abuse. Moderators and participants shared ways that their leaders can better minister to these victims, such as by encouraging professional counseling, assuring comfort of victims by not pressuring them, having regular contact, and making sure they know they are loved and are not alone. In the final session, group participants were encouraged to invite their congregation leaders, spouses, or a support person to hear about the progress made over the course of the program. Church leaders hope for these groups to continue to be held worldwide to support victims.

“There are other men like ourselves who have lived things that we understand,” shared a participant. “We can help each other and shed light on what we have lived. Not just light on what happens in darkness, but also the light of peace and understanding.”

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