"There is a child abuse problem in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and within Boy Scouts of America," McNamara said. "In Utah, and in other States with large LDS populations, there is evidence of a culture of non-reporting and of protecting perpetrators. This has kept justice from being served and has impeded the rights of survivors by preventing access to counseling, treatment, and to due process. Restore Our Humanity intends to address this head on and has a legal team in place to help."
Restore Our Humanity (ROH), a Utah-based 501c4 organization announced Tuesday its launch of a new initiative aimed at providing support and awareness to survivors of child abuse, especially childhood sexual abuse —specifically those inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon, LDS) and Boy Scouts of America (BSA). ROH is looking for the media's help in urging victims of abuse worldwide to come forward and stands prepared to offer physical, emotional and legal support where and when needed.
A hotline has been set up at 801-215-9748 as well as a survivor registration form at www.restoreourhumanity.org the purpose of which is to identify survivors who are looking for resources and support. ROH is seeking to assist survivors of abuse whose perpetrators were representative of the LDS Church or BSA or whose abuse was covered up or kept from authorities, due process or counselors in any way by representatives of these organizations.
Survivors or individuals representing minor children who are survivors can register their experiences with ROH by clicking on the yellow “Survivors of Sexual Abuse” button and filling out the form on the corresponding page or by calling the Survivor Hotline. Anonymity, unless the survivor chooses to go public with their story, is of utmost priority.
Legal counsel has been retained to provide comprehensive legal support to survivors in order to help them better understand their rights and if necessary choose the best path of support and possible litigation consistent with pursuing those rights. ROH has retained the pro bono consultative service of lawyer Matthew Long of Rowley, Chapman & Barney, Ltd., a firm located in Arizona (Matt Long is featured here speaking about child sex abuse cases with Mormon Stories Podcast host John Dehlin). In addition to legal support ROH is consulting with national support groups, trauma care professionals and other experts in the field to put together resources for survivors for the duration of this program and beyond.
It is the goal of ROH that any services offered or litigation pursued may be done at no cost to the survivors.
Volunteers, especially in the healing arts professions and especially those with trauma and/or child abuse experience, are being recruited now. Individuals interesting in volunteering are asked to contact Volunteer Coordinator Karen Crist at Karen@restoreourhumanity.org. The next volunteer informational meeting will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Salt Lake City Public Library, 1 p.m. MST. If you are not able to make the event, please contact Karen for more.
Finally ROH is teaming with media and documentarians nationwide to offer survivors, who feel ready, the opportunity to share their stories with the world.
It is the hope of ROH that through believing first, then providing survivors with the resources they need, cycles of abuse in the LDS Church and BSA can be addressed. Restore Our Humanity invites members and leaders of both communities, who have shown such great compassion and commitment to activism, to join ROH in this endeavor, to encourage their loved ones to come forward for help, to love those survivors in their communities through this often difficult process of healing and to themselves commit to bravely confronting this difficult issue. Together we can offer voice, justice and healing to survivors and we can do the work so that our communities become safer for our children.
Utah based non-profit, Restore Our Humanity led marriage equality to victory in Utah and across the nation as the progenitors of the groundbreaking 10th circuit case Kitchen v Herbert. ROH advanced a public education campaign to expose the discriminatory practices and agenda of LGBT hate-group the World Congress of Families and was the first Utah based organization to apply for a charter with the BSA under their new inclusive guidelines, which were announced in 2015. Since 2012, Restore Our Humanity has been committed to human rights through grass roots actions to make Utah and the world a better place.