Some Common Convictions
Abuse can be physical, verbal, psychological, or emotional. Sexual abuse is the sinful use of power to dominate or control another person sexually. Victims of abuse are vulnerable because of their age, status, and emotional or physical condition. All forms of abuse are sinful — whether heterosexual or homosexual, whether by a spouse, family member, person in authority, date, acquaintance, or stranger.
- Rape and other forms of non-consensual sexual activity are sinful — whether this occurs in the home, on a date, at work, on the street, or in prison. Coercion, threats, intimidation, and manipulation are inappropriate responses to "no."
- Trust and confidence are betrayed when a person of greater age or status manipulates one who is younger or more vulnerable to engage in sexual acts. Such acts are not mutual because of the power differences involved. This includes the sexual abuse of children and the sexual exploitation of clients by professionals or parishioners by clergy. Those who engage in such conduct sin against God and against the persons who are their victims.
- Sexual harassment is another way sexuality is used to hurt or control. Harassing words or behavior interfere with wholesome interaction and create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating environment in which to work, learn, live, or worship. All forms of verbal or physical harassment are sinful and must be confronted.