A church is where an insecure sixteen-year-old girl should feel welcome, happy, and most importantly, safe. Tragically for some, the church can become a place of great harm.
In her book, Let Me Prey Upon You, Sandy Phillips Kirkham details her account of how a charismatic youth minister preyed upon her, a betrayal which left her broken, with a shattered faith, and the ultimate shame of being blamed and forced from the church she loved. From their very first meeting, the new youth minister slowly and methodically turned the sacred relationship of a trusted spiritual leader to one of abuse: sexual, emotional, and physical. When his actions were discovered, he was simply moved to another church, leaving Sandy to pay for his deeds. She was not his first victim, nor would she be his last.
Despite a successful and happy life as a wife, mother, and friend, Sandy successfully concealed her abuse for twenty-seven years until a trigger forced her to face the truth. Sandy’s story will take you on her journey of healing which began in 2004, first by seeking justice and closure from both the pastor and the church. Her strength and courage will inspire you. Let Me Prey Upon You details Sandy’s journey from innocent sixteen-year-old victim to survivor and advocate.
Sandy Kirkham and her husband Bill enjoy life with their two grown children, two beautiful granddaughters, and two fairly well-behaved dogs. Sandy continues to use her voice to help victims of clergy abuse. She currently serves on the board of Council Against Child Abuse. Sandy has spoken before the Ohio Senate, a Maryland court, and appeared on a local television show in Boston. Her story, “Stolen Innocence,” was told in a documentary produced by The Hope of Survivors. Sandy works with survivors conducting victim support conferences. She has participated in The Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) panels moderated by SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), sharing her perspective from the non-Catholic point of view. Sandy has been a presenter/speaker at major events on clergy abuse including the Hope & Healing Conference.
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