Welcome to Survivor Sanctuary's new website!
Survivor Sanctuary

More than 20% of churchgoers are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, but sadly, church is the last place that most victims of abuse feel safe to go for help. I'm Kelly Downing, a survivor and advocate who wants to see that change. Survivor Sanctuary is a community for survivors of sexual abuse who are navigating the road to healing, and for anyone who wants to be a part of the major heart renovation the church needs so that our faith communities can truly become sanctuaries for survivors.

Recent Episodes

When Mothers Side With Their Child's Abuser

Aug. 3, 2022

Is it a trauma response? A mental health disorder? What on earth would cause a mother to stay with and support a man who sexually abuses her kids? It happens more than we care to believe, and on today's episode we try to unp…

Counterfeit Confessions: How Abusers Use DARVO to Turn Churches Against Victims

July 20, 2022

Deny. Attack. Reverse Victim and Offender. It's a tactic used by many abusers to shame their victims and make them feel guilt over speaking out. But DARVO is also used to turn others--often entire religious communities--agai…

Sexual Abuse Survivors and the Church's Phony Compassion for the Unborn

June 30, 2022

With all the high-fives flying and churches celebrating in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, survivors of sexual abuse in the church may be left scratching their heads. Forgive us if we find the claims that the church…

The One Time It's OK to NOT Believe Survivors of Sexual Abuse

June 23, 2022

Believe survivors. We hear it often, and it's very important advice. But there's one time it's perfectly acceptable NOT to believe survivors... and that's when they tell you the abuse was their fault. On this episode we'll d…

Sheltered But Not Protected: A Chat with Justin Woodbury (Part 2)

June 1, 2022

Today on the podcast we continue our chat with Justin Woodbury of the blog and book, Sheltered But Not Protected. RESOURCES: Sheltered But Not Protected --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/survivorsanctuary/mess…

Sheltered But Not Protected: A Chat with Justin Woodbury (Part 1)

May 25, 2022

Today on the podcast we are chatting with Justin Woodbury of the blog and book, Sheltered But Not Protected. Justin shares his experience of surviving sexual and spiritual abuse in the IFB. RESOURCES : Sheltered But Not Prot…

Recent Blog Posts

The Problem of Abuse in the Church is Much Deeper than Lea…

An abusive religious leader is removed from his position of power. A victim, traumatized at his hands, is finally vindicated. Women, long ready for chang…

The Real Reason I Speak Out About Sexual Abuse in the Chur…

The statement was a reaction to an article that detailed a sexual abuse scandal involving a prominent pastor. When I read Anonymous Commenter’s wor…

5 Reasons Your Pastor Should be Talking about Sexual Abuse

“I wish I had talked about sexual abuse from the pulpit.” It was one of the first things my dad said to me when he woke from an induced coma…