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5-14-14 enditnow Summit Calls for Church, Supporters, to Break Silence About Abuse
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by Julio Muñoz

 
 
Filmmaker Daniel Wahlen and his mother Gina Wahlen [Photo by Julio Muñoz]  
The Women’s Ministries Departments of the Adventist World Church and North America hosted nearly 200 church employees and lay members attending the second enditnow Summit on Abuse which took place May 1-4. The training event, which took place at the Adventist World Church Headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., focused on educating attendees on how to respond to the abuse of women, children, and men, in churches and their local communities.
 
“Too often we don’t know what to do when someone confides they’ve been abuse or when we suspect someone is being abused. Generally we do the very worst thing—nothing,’’ said Carla Baker, director of women’s ministries in North America. “Doing nothing allows the abuse to continue and intensifies the consequences to the victim. It also sends a message that the church doesn’t care about victims.”
 
The summit included a variety of experts on abuse including attorneys, health care professionals, physicians, social workers, and therapists.
 
The 4-day event was launched with the premier of the award-winning short film “The Hideout” introduced by the filmmaker, Daniel Wahlen and his mother, Gina Wahlen. Daniel shared how the film was inspired by a close childhood friend who was abused. As an adult, Daniel discovered that a family member was the one who abused his friend.
 
The Wahlen’s shared their experience, urging attendees, that breaking the silence about abuse was critical both to recovery for the victim, and to break the cycle of abuse.
 
“I would really like to encourage those who are survivors to tell someone about it, to find healing and if they’ve found that already, to share it with others so they can also find healing,” said Daniel about what he hoped his film would accomplish. “[I want it] to really open up the discussion of something that is taboo and really shouldn't be.
 
Gina opened up to the opening night audience about the very personal matter of being related to someone who sexually abused children and stressed the importance of breaking the silence.

“It’s important, because I hope by my speaking out publicly, it’s going to encourage many other people, that it’s okay to speak out, and in fact, it is by speaking out that we can end the abuse.”
 
The Abuse Summit is part of the enditnow Campaign which is co-sponsored by the two Women’s Ministries entities and was launched in October of 2009.
 
EndItNowNorthAmerica.org
North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 USA
Telephone: 301-680-6400
Fax: 301-680-6464
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