Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) President Michael Ramsden posted a video a few days ago apologizing for his own role and complicity in the Ravi Zacharias sex scandal.
In the video, which is unlisted and not available for public searching, Ramsden shares how he has been “stunned at the depth and duration of his (Zacharias) abuse and deception” and that “I completely trusted various deceptive narratives and accounts. And I was wrong. I realize that in passing on those false accounts to others, and in speaking in his defense, I have greatly multiplied the pain, the hurt, and the damage that’s been felt and experienced by many.”
He tells the victims of Zaharias that “I believe your testimonies about the horrific abuses that you suffered, and also the terrible consequences you’ve had to endure and live with” and apologizes to Lori Anne Thompson as well, confessing that in his pride he thought he knew Ravi better than she did, and believed he could perceive Ravi’s heart to know he would never do these things.
He also apologized for the lack of discernment and follow-up of accusations, explaining:
“…while at times I did question Ravi about his life on the road, and time away from family and the challenges that brings, I realize now that I fail to see beyond the superficial answers or to take his defensiveness as a potential sign of a more serious struggle. I consistently misinterpreted him. I also failed to consider the effects of my admiration for him, and the approval I sought from him. I allowed the good that I saw in him publicly and privately when we were together to dictate my conclusions as to whether he was innocent or guilty.”
In February of 2021, RZIM released the report detailing years of sexual abuse and secret sins that Ravi Zacharias was embroiled with, including sexting and repeatedly propositioning women for sex and sexual activities during and after his massages, effectively living a double life for decades.
While RZIM CEO Sarah Davis, daughter to Ravi Zacharias has released her own statement apologizing for the role she and her organization played in covering up the abuse, his son Nathan and wife Marge have not apologized, but rather have insisted that their father and husband is innocent of all charges and has been set up.
In a post on Twitter, Lori Anne Thompson responded to Ramsden’s video, telling him that she accepts his apology “unreservedly”
We have posted and transcribed the video below.
Thank you for taking a few moments to allow me to share a few things with you.
In February 2021, the RZIM board made a statement, acknowledging the pride and arrogance that led us to trust Ravi Zacharias, his account of his actions. I made this statement my own earlier this year, and would like to reiterate my wholehearted agreement with it.
In that statement, we recognize the need for us to listen, learn, confess, repent, and make restitution. Over the past few months, I have begun that journey. And while I know I have much left to learn, there was a great deal I am convicted of, and wish to openly share and repent of now. What I’m about to say is far from being complete, or comprehensive, there are so many things I still have yet to learn to see, recognize and process. And I realized it’s also taken a long time to get here.
In making this statement now, I do know that there is so much more yet to come. I look to Ravi Zacharias as a mentor and spiritual father, and have been stunned at the depth and duration of his abuse and deception. It has taken this time to even begin to process this. I’m sorry for my long silence, and recognize that my own processing pales in comparison to that of Ravi’s victims. Not only because of the agony that you have personally experienced but because I recognize with great sorrow, that for many of you, silence was not a choice.
I completely trusted various deceptive narratives and accounts. And I was wrong. I realize that in passing on those false accounts to others, and in speaking in his defense, I have greatly multiplied the pain, the hurt, and the damage that’s been felt and experienced by many.
To each and every one of you who has been abused by Ravi Zacharias. I believe your testimonies about the horrific abuses that you suffered, and also the terrible consequences you’ve had to endure and live with. During the course of the 2020 investigation, many of you decided to remain anonymous. But we know that you are real people with real names, and that real damage has been inflicted, both on you and your families. What happened here matters so much, because you matter. And I’m so sorry that I failed by not hearing you sooner.
I admired Ravi Zacharias as a person, and as a leader. I trusted him and thought I knew him. I was wrong. In 2017, I believe the false accounts that he gave, and came to the conclusion that he was a victim, when in fact, it was actually Lorie Anne Thompson, who had been victimized by him. I’ve come to recognize many failings during this time, which I need to confess now.
First, I failed to treat Lori Anne Thompson with the respect that she deserved, by not hearing her or understanding what she was saying. Many times increasing the hurt and pain that she had already suffered. And in doing this, I failed not only her but also her husband, Brad, her family, and those who spoke up for her and on her behalf. This failure also deeply impacted our team and donors, because in failing to hear and see her, I grossly misrepresented what she was communicating and who she was. I am sorry, and I can only ask for their forgiveness.
I also failed to recognize my own weaknesses, and need to learn. I was convinced that Ravi Zacharias was trustworthy when it came to the issues of his sexual conduct and behavior. As a matter of fact, I believed him to be very naive when it came to these areas. I now realize that I was the one who has being naive. I’ve never been more wrong in my convictions, convictions that hurt and demeaned all of these victims as well. The conviction I carried led many people both internally within the organization and externally, to believe that they could trust Ravi’s account. Because of my trust in Him, many now feel let down not because we now know, but because in 2017, we failed to discover what he had done.
I now realize that I was wrong to trust Ravi for so long. I was wrong to repeat his false narratives, and I was wrong to rush to his defense when his integrity was questioned. At the time, I assumed that the absence of other allegations added weight to the idea that Ravi was innocent. However, I now realize that my assumptions were based on ignorance of the chilling and silencing effect, that Ravi’s lawsuit and the NDA had on any other victims coming forward.
Not only did I think of Ravi more highly than I ought, I also thought of myself more highly than I ought. I thought I’d correctly discerned his weaknesses and struggles. I thought I knew him. In this, I must confess my pride. I mistook his defensiveness for tiredness. I thought this was due to his extensive travels, the pressure he put himself under and tried to speak so often and write so much. And while at times I did question Ravi about his life on the road, and time away from family and the challenges that brings, I realize now that I fail to see beyond the superficial answers, or to take his defensiveness as a potential sign of a more serious struggle. I consistently misinterpreted him.
I also failed to consider the effects of my admiration for him, and the approval I sought from him. I allowed the good that I saw in him publicly and privately when we were together to dictate my conclusions as to whether he was innocent or guilty. I categorically failed Ravi Zacharias and failed everyone affected by what he did. I commit myself to continuing to learn from this and to see the mistakes, errors, and sins that I have committed to do all that I can to ensure that restitution is made.
In 2017, in my role as International Director based in the UK, my responsibility was to look after the leaders of our speaking teams around the world. As I look back, I wish I had used the influence I had to more deeply question the investigative processes that looked into Ravi’s behavior. I regret the weight that I placed on these processes that were examining him, especially those which were conducted by third parties. And I further regret that I didn’t question the rigorousness and efficacy of the outcomes of those investigative processes. I should have sought to assure myself of the nature of the processes and the strength of their outcomes, rather than accepting things at face value, and reassuring the team.
I realize my strong encouragement to others to put trust in these things as well, had a quelling effect on questions both internally and externally, and people felt silenced as a result. I also want to take this opportunity to apologize to our team. I did sometimes react with frustration and disappointment at the length of the investigative process. And I recognize that this will have been deeply distressing. And I’m so sorry for this.
I want to learn how to listen better and leave space for questions more. We are currently in the midst of a further external investigation into our processes and into our policies, as well as into our culture, how we conducted ourselves and how we acted. My commitment is that we will have the humility to recognize further failings as we see them and to continue on a path of repentance and confession, as we seek not only to learn from our mistakes but also to bring what we are learning into the future.
The only hope that we have in a situation comes from the hope that we do have in Jesus Christ, hope that is undeserved and cannot be earned. It is the only means of hope that I can see that could carry anyone who has suffered through what Ravi Zacharias has done into the future.
Thank you so much in being so gracious and giving me a few moments of your time.
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