Judy De Wit discusses abuse and its effect on the church
Jan. 24—Northwestern graduate student Judy De Wit recently published her book Breaking the Silence within the Church: Responding to Abuse Allegations.
The first part of her twofold discussion is about understanding where abuse may come from in the family system and the second part is about how to identify abuse, respond to abuse and recover in the aftermath of abuse the context of the church. The book provides a step-by-step process for church councils and elder boards should they face abuse allegations in leadership.
“Abuse in the church is real,” said De Wit. “No church can make the claim it would never happen to us. It’s crucial for church leaders to answer the question: “What would you do if one of your church leaders abused?”
De Wit’s book is endorsed by Dr. Melissa Mork, Northwestern professor of Psychology and Rev. Nils Friberg, retired professor of Bethel Theological Seminary. Much of her education and experience about the subject of abuse in the church comes from her training by the Minnesota Council of Churches and her work as a victim advocate in the Christian Reformed Church.
She works as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Nystrom and Associates, Ltd., with prior work experience of being an elementary school teacher for fourteen years. She is a 1984 graduate of Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, received an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1999, and an M.A. in Theological Studies from Bethel Theological Seminary of St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2007. Currently she is studying Organizational Leadership at Northwestern.