We understand the devastating and lifelong effects that victims of professional exploitation face. We have witnessed the lasting pain that has been suffered at the hands of abusive professionals.
Professional care providers fulfill a vital function in helping vulnerable individuals. They have a fiduciary duty to help, not harm, the patients who trust in them for treatment and guidance. Unfortunately, however, cases of abuse and exploitation are all too common. Therapists sometimes abuse their positions of trust and authority, leading to negligent acts due to defective judgment and impaired integrity. Such abuse can inflict lasting physical, psychological and emotional harm on its victims.
Professionals serve an essential and noble function in society. They fill a vital role in improving the lives of individuals and families. However, because their clients are often in the vulnerable circumstance of seeking help and guidance, professionals also have the unique power to exploit their position of authority for harm rather than good.
All too often, professionals violate the fiduciary or trust-based relationship that exists between them and their clients. Abuse can take many forms. Sexual and financial exploitation, invasions of privacy, and violations of trust and loyalty take place in all types of fiduciary relationships.
Mental health practitioners have the power to inflict great harm as well as good on their patients. Their position of authority combined with the vulnerability of their patients creates the potential for countless forms of abuse, exploitation and misconduct. The damage inflicted on patients through such misconduct can be lasting and irreversible. We understand the significant harm that stems from therapist abuse, and we know firsthand the doubts and difficulties that victims of such abuse face.
Few cases are more devastating than those involving clergy abuse. Members of the clergy, such as priests, pastors, rabbis and imams, hold powerful positions of spiritual authority. Their parishioners and followers trust in them for guidance on foundational spiritual and life issues. When a clergy member violates that trust, the victim often suffers lifelong ramifications ranging from damaged self-esteem to loss of faith to a lasting inability to sustain normal, trusting relationships.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of professional exploitation or clergy abuse, you may feel reluctant to come forward. You may feel ashamed or afraid. You may feel like everyone has betrayed you and you will never be able to trust others again. However, you are not alone.
No matter what words you may use to describe it, this is abuse… it is exploitation…
If you have been sexually or romantically involved with a professional who was originally helping you, then you may now be dealing with a complex set of issues and emotions.
Victims pay a tremendous price for this abuse, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, socially, sexually, physically, and financially.
For someone who has been sexually exploited by a professional, reactions are unique and individual, but the consequences sometimes can be devastating, with many resultant problems, symptoms, and emotions.
“One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each others stories.” ~ Rebecca Falls
You Are Not Alone!
AdvocateWeb is a nonprofit organization providing information and resources to promote awareness and understanding of the issues involved in the exploitation of persons by trusted helping professionals. We are attempting to be a helpful resource for victim/survivors, their family and friends, the general public, and for victim advocates and professionals.
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