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Breaking the silence

Breaking the silence

Bern, Friday 29 October 2012 [CD-EUDNesw]. On Friday, October 27, the staff of the Inter-European Region (EUD) attended a very special presentation, organized by the Women’s Ministries’ Director, Denise Hochstrasser. It was a very sensitive topic: “Abus

October 29, 2012 | CD-EUDNews, Pictures C.Cozzi; EUD Archive

Bern, Friday 29 October 2012 [CD-EUDNesw]. On Friday, October 27, the staff of the Inter-European Region (EUD) attended a very special presentation, organized by the Women’s Ministries’ Director, Denise Hochstrasser. It was a very sensitive topic: “Abuse and violation,” including any kind of abuse, such as physical, sexual, psychological, religious, etc. The presenter, Ruth-Susanne Niedermaier, is a consultant in Life & Social Help, in Salzburg, Austria (Left in the picture)


“Taking time to talk about abuse is not only a matter of informing people about the topic, or spreading awareness of its seriousness, but above all it gives a message of solidarity to all who are deeply hurting,” said Corrado Cozzi, EUD Communication Director.

Very often we consider abuse especially in its sexual meaning. However this issue can be found in all human relationships: in the family, at work, among friends and in a religious context, etc.
“No area of abuse is less important than the others,” said Ruth-Susanne Niedermaier to all the EUD staff present at the meeting, “abuse is abuse and we must be very well aware.”

For some years, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany has been facing this problem in a serious way, organizing a team to work under the direction of Martin Knoll, former national Adventist youth leader and now Conference president.
Adventists in Germany produced a booklet - Facing Sexual Abuse - to promote a large campaign to inform and increase public awareness about abuse, considering that “We, as Adventists have also had to accept the fact that in our local churches there are persons who are guilty of committing sexual abuse as well as victims of such,” said Martin Knoll.

It is time to break the silence. At every level the leaders of the church have to make time to talk about this issue, and to work to find a refuge for those who are experiencing this terrible turmoil.

“Pastors are in a key position,” said Mario Brito, EUD Ministerial Director (a department that coordinates the pastoral ministry in the church), “to help the church understand and implement this initiative at the first and most important level of our structure – the local congregation.”

Addressing words of thanks to Ruth-Susanne Niedermeier, Denise Hochstrasser affirmed, “I hope we will no longer sweep this topic under the rug, but that we will try to find words to express and speak up when something needs to be said.” And she concluded, “Today was only a beginning, and I hope it will continue with an open-end.”

Adventists around the world have created a large promotional campaign to face abuse. It can be found at www.enditnow.org. Another campaign on the same topic, but more related to children has been launched. For more information see www.thesevencampaign.com. One more contribution in the Inter-European Region can be found online at www.itfaces.me

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