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‘This Is Only the Beginning,’ SBC EC Member Assures Survivor After Abuse Investigation Update

Litton responded that the task force members are doing all they can for the time being. “When they get the report,” he said, “the report will have suggestions and recommendations, and that’s what they’re going to deal with. Of course, one of the things they’ll look at is how any decisions will be fit into our polity and how we function as a convention. And so that’s the best answer that I can give you. And it is confined from 2000 up till the Nashville convention.” 

The last person to speak from the audience on this topic was EC member Mike Keahbone, who did not ask a question, but addressed Williams. Keahbone said he did not want anyone to think the EC saw the investigation as being sufficient to address the problem of sexual abuse in the SBC. “This investigation and findings of it is not the ending of where we stand regarding sexual abuse,” said Keahbone. “Regardless of how votes went in the past, we are united to stand against sexual abuse wholeheartedly,” and the EC is determined to “move forward aggressively.” He assured Williams, “This is only the beginning.”

After a pause, Litton asked the EC members, “Would you like to affirm that statement?” and they responded with applause. 

On Monday, Feb. 21, Williams led a protest and a gave a speech in which she said that survivors of sexual abuse in the SBC have seen many promises, but little commitment or action from those not directly affected by abuse. Such inaction makes other sentiments, such as offers of prayer, hollow. “Prayer without action is mockery,” said Williams. “Prayer without effort is a lie.”

Despite obstacles such as behind-the-scenes decision-making and being told “it takes time,” Williams expressed her determination to “pursue policies that enable accountability.” But she also said that effecting change in the SBC is not her main goal. 

“I’m not here because I believe I can change the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Williams. “I do not believe I can change the Southern Baptist Convention. I do not believe I have power or influence. I do not believe that I’m doing anything groundbreaking. I’m here because I’m a person. I’m a person who loves God and believes God has called me to fight for those around me.”

“If you are a survivor of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Williams, “please hear me say, you have people in your corner.” Her desired outcome for her actions at the meeting was not change in the SBC per se, but that “some survivors saw me fighting for them.”