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For Abuse Survivors Like Jules Woodson, the Indiana Pastor Video Is All Too Familiar

Woodson said videos like the one at the Indiana church reveal a “toxic theology” that treats pastors as heroes and uses theatrical acts of confession and forgiveness to cover up pastoral misconduct. She said the video shows no sign that Lowe actually felt any repentance or responsibility.

“If you were repentant, you would walk yourself to jail,” she said.

She said that those who rush to forgive leaders send a message that abuse survivors don’t matter. And churches often move on, leaving survivors on their own to pick up the pieces of their lives.

“The trauma does not ever go away,” she said. “Healing is a process and it can get easier. But it doesn’t go away.”

Woodson said she started shaking while watching the video from the Indiana church, half out of sorrow for what the survivor suffered, half for the courage needed to get up and confront a pastor.

“She was so brave,” Woodson said. “I just wanted to wrap my arms around her.”

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This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.