How Seminaries Can Prepare Future Pastors to Prevent and Respond to Sexual and Domestic Violence

90% of protestant pastors report encountering sexual or domestic violence in their congregations, but only 50% believe they are prepared to respond to it.* If 9 out of 10 pastors will encounter domestic or sexual violence situations at work, then 10 out of 10 pastors must receive training on how to respond. However, only 45% of pastors believe that their seminary training provided sufficient resources to address domestic or sexual violence. Your seminary can be part of making sure that 10 out of 10 pastors are equipped to respond to situations of domestic or sexual violence in their congregations and communities!

Our free webinar series prepared future pastors to prevent and respond to sexual and domestic violence. While half of pastors say they do not have adequate training or resources to address situations of domestic or sexual violence, 83% report that they would take action if they did have adequate resources and training. 

Webinar 1

The first webinar took place on June 25 and featured presentations from Lyvonne Proverbs of beautiful scars and Sarai Crain who is the City of Oakland’s Deputy Chief of Violence Prevention and covered:

  • Important definitions of sexual and domestic violence 
  • Dispelling common myths around abuse 
  • A theological framework for abuse 
  • Advice for planning how your seminary can include or improve sexual and domestic abuse training in preparing pastors for ministry. 

Watch Webinar Recording

Webinar 2

The second webinar took place on August 18 and was a follow up facilitated conversation that gave participants an opportunity to :

  • Ask more in-depth questions of the webinar speakers 
  • Connect with other participants about implementing the ideas shared during the webinar 
  • Share experiences of implementing abuse prevention and response training into seminary programs or courses

Because the second part of the webinar was more of a conversation, a recording of it will not be made available. However, we do hope to continue the conversation that we started through regular calls!

One of the goals of the 10 Out of 10 webinar series was to connect a community of people who are working to eliminate sexual assault and domestic violence, and we are hopeful that we can continue these conversations through our new 10 Out of 10 Monthly Call series. Stay tuned for more information coming soon about the day and time for these monthly calls!

During the 10 Out of 10 Monthly Calls, we will continue sharing how we’ve been incorporating sexual and domestic violence trainings into seminary courses, institutionalizing these trainings into a consistent theme across seminary curriculums, asking questions, troubleshooting, and brainstorming.

These calls will primarily be for seminary faculty, staff, and administrators, though they are open to anyone who is interested in connecting with others who are training future pastors in sexual and domestic violence response and prevention.

Webinar Speakers

Lyvonne Proverbs graduated from Seton Hall University, Yale Divinity School, and Columbia Theological Seminary. A former pastor and spin instructor, Proverbs offers consulting for sacred and secular institutions, as well as individual and group spiritual life coaching. She has partnered with Lyft, Auburn Seminary, the Atlanta University Center, San Francisco Department of Health, Young Women Social Entrepreneurs and more. Proverbs is the founder of beautiful scars, a healing-centered online storytelling agency focused on fostering resiliency. She is on the board of Art and Abolition, an organization that exists to heal, empower, and protect young girls in Kenya who have survived male sexual violence.
Rev. Dr. Sarai S. Crain
Rev. Dr. Sarai S. Crain is an ordained minister, social justice advocate, and author. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and education from UC Santa Cruz, a Master of Theological Studies from Berkeley’s Pacific School of Religion, and a DMin from San Francisco Theological Seminary, writing her dissertation on psycho-spiritual healing for female survivors of sexual violence. She is a California state-certified Sexual Assault Counselor and a certified member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She served as an Associate Pastor at Abundant Life Christian Fellowship (ALCF) in Mountain View, CA between 2007 and 2014. She was appointed Executive Director of Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) in 2016. BAWAR is the nation’s oldest rape crisis center. BAWAR provides 24-hour crisis intervention services, community outreach and education, state-certification training, and advocacy throughout Alameda County and the greater Bay Area. Crain was recently appointed the City of Oakland’s Deputy Chief of Violence Prevention. There she will direct the City of Oakland’s public health approach to the reduction and prevention of gender-based violence. 
*Data from 2018 Broken Silence 2.0 study by We Will Speak Out, IMA World Health, and Sojourners