Before I made the motion this morning, I shared the strategy and language of the motion to a few key survivors and advocates including Christa Brown and Rachael Denhollander. I otherwise kept both the strategy and the motion private so as to prevent bad actors in the Convention from strategizing against it. Because I did that, many survivors believed that the motion would come to a vote. Although I knew that it would not, I did not correct that understanding, because to do so would have revealed the strategy and leave it vulnerable to potential foul play. The ultimate goal is not an affirmative vote, but that the audit and assessment actually take place. As several of those of us working on this motion discussed strategy, we believed that this path provided the best chance of the motion actually be acted upon and not die an untimely death.
The referral of this motion to the ERLC is a good thing.
How the motion was written affected whether it succeed and who would have control of the audit if it were acted upon. Here were the options and why we chose the one we did.
- We could have asked only for the audit and assessment without determining who would act on the motion. The motion would either be referred to the Executive Committee, or would be scheduled for a vote and, if passed, be given to the Executive Committee to implement. I did not believe that the audit and assessment we seek would actually happen if the Executive Committee either had the choice or responsibility to implement. I also did not want to risk that the motion be voted down in this year of uncertainty.
- We could have asked for the newly elected president appoint a task force to hire the independent organization. That would mean that the motion, if passed, would be placed in the hands of our new president. Because we did not know who would be elected, and because we knew that not all the candidates were committed to addressing the sexual abuse crisis and at least one candidate would be hostile to the motion, I did not want to risk putting the motion in the hands of a president who may likely have killed or weakened the audit.
- We could request that one of our entities hire an independent organization, in which case the motion would be automatically referred to that entity. That was the course I chose. I spoke several times to the interim president of the ERLC as well as ERLC staff who had worked on the Caring Well initiative. They committed to act on the motion were it to be referred to them. While I understand why many survivors do not trust the SBC, and for good reason. But once I made the motion, it had to go to some person or entity to implement. I believe the ERLC will give this audit and assessment the best chance to actually be completed and not die somewhere along the way.
I, along with other survivors and advocates, will continue to lobby the ERLC to complete the audit, hiring an organization that survivors trust and to do so in the ways described in the motion. We will do all we can to assist them in this work.
It was my great privilege to stand for you and with you to make this motion to take action on the issue of SBC sexual abuse. Thank you for your encouragement and support.