We are #EpiscopalSurvivors. We’re here to share our story of
surviving abuse from our ordained parent, to seek your support
in calling for accountability and resignations, and to provide
other clergy abuse survivors with the opportunity to say me too.
Nivedhan Singh, Eklan Singh, and Roja Suganthy-Singh respond to the resignation of Bishop Prince Singh.
We survived 28 years of physical and emotional abuse from our father,
a bishop in the Episcopal Church. We are calling for his resignation
and deposition because of this abuse.
Our initial complaint to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
produced a substandard response that did not adhere to the church’s
Title IV canons. For this reason, we are also calling for a Title IV
investigation into the actions of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and
Bishop Todd Ousley.
The public part of our story emerged in the context of our parents’
recent divorce, but this is not a story about divorce.
We, the sons of Episcopal Church Bishop Prince Singh, seek the resignation
and deposition of our father from his role as Provisional Bishop of the Dioceses
of Eastern and Western Michigan after 28 years of physical and emotional abuse
of us and our mother; and we seek to launch a Title IV investigation of Presiding
Bishop Michael Curry and Bishop Todd Ousley for mishandling our serious allegations
of abuse and, rather, allowing our father to control the process that would
supposedly bring us healing.
We communicated our experiences of domestic violence to Presiding Bishop Curry on
December 29, 2022, and felt that it was his responsibility to identify our
experience as a Title IV offense, warranting an investigation and disciplinary process.
Instead, we were met with negligence, misdirection, and an unethical process filled
with conflicts of interest. With the help of Presiding Bishop Curry and our father’s
friends and colleagues, the power structures and public relations instruments of the
Episcopal Church were used to cover up and minimize the nature of our abuse.
As Indian Americans, we are a minority family in the Episcopal Church. Given that our
mother is a woman of color, and we are men of color, we see gross evidence of
patriarchal and racial biases at play here.
In the wake of an unethical therapeutic process launched by Presiding Bishop Curry
and rigged by our own father, and given our father’s increasing authority in the church
and changes in his own family situation, we felt we had no choice but to go public with
our experience to protect others and seek justice and healing for ourselves. Following a
confusing, unprofessional, and damaging letter from our father to the dioceses he
provisionally serves as bishop—published on the official channels of those dioceses on
June 19, 2023—we made the decision to expand our accountability efforts.
After reading our story, we hope you’ll stand with us. And if you have survived abuse
from a clergy or bishop family member, we hope to provide reporting resources and help
you realize that you are not alone. You can find out more about actionable ways to
support our cause on our Join Us page.
"My father would administer an Adi on me regularly. Adi is the Tamil word for ‘beating.’
I received an Adi as punitive physical abuse. When my father had been drinking or was hungover,
this would escalate to prolonged, hard hits across my thighs, arms, legs, and face. Reasons for the
physical abuse included:
being late for school
getting something wrong on homework
getting bad grades
misbehaving in church
misbehaving in front of guests
saying a bad word
speaking ill of somone else
asking for an expensive toy at the store
"The threatening question, Adi ventuma?! was yelled at me frequently. The English translation
is, "Do you want a beating?!" This was more than spanking. I remember the intensity of my sobbing
during the abuse. I found it hard to breathe, and remember gasping for air while being struck.
After the abuse, I would be sent to my room where I would cry myself to sleep. Sometimes I would
urinate on my own carpet in silent protest.
"My father grew up in a physically abusive household. I heard stories of how my grandfather would throw things
at my grandmother, bruising her. My father, at the age of 11, would get between the two of them to stop the fighting.
Instead of breaking the cycle of abuse, my father went on to abuse his own children. My father hit me often as a form of punishment
growing up. He threw things at us. I had cell phones smashed in front of me, glass chess boards shattered, and video
game systems ripped apart. Most of the physical violence was directed toward me punitively. I remember one day before
school when he kicked me while I was on the ground screaming in pain because he was holding my crying baby brother at the time;
so he could not use his hands. I was screamed at often. My mother was yelled at often. When my dad tried to spank my baby brother
for the first time, I got between them and said, 'No, not him.' I would not see the cycle of abuse continue. When I asked my
father (as an adult) why he used physical abuse as a form of punishment, his explanation was that I was a 'difficult kid'.
"While my father was an Associate Priest at St. Peters Episcopal Church in Morristown, NJ, I tied a lamp cord around
my neck and pulled it as hard as I could in a suicidal attempt to escape the beatings. I was 10 years old at the
time. Nighttime bedwetting became an uncontrollable problem for me and would continue until I was around 13 years
old, when I was able to live away from the abuse at boarding school. I have teachers and friends who can verify
I wore diapers at night until 7th grade. I have been in trauma recovery therapy, including EMDR sessions about
the physical abuse since 2018, and I can provide receipts from my health insurance to verify this."