Forums to help victims impacted by Grand Jury report on clergy sex abuse

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There are a series of forums this week to help victims and others impacted by the Grand Jury report. They’re at the YWCA in Lancaster.

Administrators and counselors are holding the forums to provide victims with a space for healing. 

“We have some coloring pages and coloring books,” said Wendy Gaunt, Sexual Assault Counselor for YWCA Lancaster. 

Those are some of the healing tools inside the YWCA on North Lime Street in Lancaster this week. They are there as counselors lend a listening ear after last week’s release of a Grand Jury report which detailed child sexual abuse carried out by leaders at Pennsylvania Catholic churches. 

“These conversations are vital to our strength as a community and to affecting the change that we really need to address the oppression and the systemic issues that we have that are coming to light as a result of the grand jury report,” said Gaunt.

The closed-door forums are seen as a proactive way to help those who were upset by hearing the report. 

It’s also for survivors of sexual assault. The YWCA also has counselors on hand for anyone who may have been abused, and who has yet to share their story. 

“If someone who walks through those doors who has been specifically affected by this we have that opportunity to provide them the help and healing as well,” said Mandy Billman, Director of Counseling Services for YWCA Lancaster. 

Only one person attended Monday morning’s forum. He was not an abuse survivor. Administrators are hoping to talk to more people as the week goes on. 

“We want the community to know we’re here, we believe you, we support you, and we’re trying,” said Billman.

Those forums will happen through Friday. They happen twice a day from 10 a.m. to Noon, and then again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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