Sarah Davis has broken months of silence with a video apologizing to victims of her father's abuse, as well as to staff and supporters of the ministry. She also called out to other abusers to come forward and confess their sins.
Davis is the eldest daughter of Ravi Zacharias and was named the CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in 2019. She has been publicly silent since the ministry published a report confirming that accusations of sexual assault and rape brought against the apologist were true.
"We have committed these months since the report to learning, to private reconciliation, and to restitution," Davis says in a video posted to the ministry's social media accounts. "And for this reason, I have not wanted to address publicly what has been happening in recent months or what we've been journeying through as a ministry."
In the video, Davis recounts how her father's ministry helped her solidify a relationship with Christ, replacing what was once simply "head knowledge" with a loving relationship with God the Father through Christ. She also shares how hearing the many stories of the ministry's work around the world and witness the impact it's had was a privilege. "It has been one of the greatest gifts of my life," she says, "but now there's so much brokenness it feels extraordinarily painful and even shameful to recall."
"I made serious errors"
Davis says that in August 2020, five months after her father's death, the ministry first learned of allegations of abuse from workers of a spa Zacharias once owned. "These allegations came to us three years after the allegations were brought by the Thompsons in 2017. And I'm grieved that in 2017 and initially in 2020 I made serious errors that only furthered deep wounds."
In 2017 a Canadian woman, Lori Anne Thompson, and her husband came forward with allegations that Zacharias had carried out an inappropriate relationship with her online. Zacharias sued the couple and they settled with a non-disclosure agreement, something which Thompson has since attempted to be released from.
"My goal and my heart were not to attempt to cover up the sins of my father or any sin to further a call or a mission. I earnestly wanted the truth... I caused pain, I did not serve well, and I did not love well. And for this, I'm deeply sorry."
Davis says she felt she knew the truth before the investigation because she had a lifetime of watching her father, and believed him to be beyond reproach.
"But I was wrong and it's been said that it's easier to be fooled than to convince someone that they've been fooled. And now I know that more than ever to be true. When I was first presented with the evidence that the allegations were true, it quaked my very being... For the rest of my life, I will have to hold in tension this man that I knew and loved with the man that we know now committed these actions."
Davis seemingly confirms she will continue on in leadership at RZIM, saying that "As the CEO of RZIM and his daughter, I want to help to right the wrongs where possible. Where God allows, I desire to be a conduit of healing and to move forward with truth and transparency."
She directly apologized to and thanked the victims of Zacharias' abuse, saying "to the women who are victims of my father's abuse, I think of you every single day. I am utterly devastated. I am sorry that I did not see you. I am sorry that you were made powerless and rendered voiceless when you did speak up. I didn't believe you and I am deeply sorry for this. I want you to have a voice. Thank you for having the courage to speak up and to bring this into the light.
"Each one of you was created by God with purpose, with dignity and intrinsic value, and anyway, that you have been treated otherwise is a direct violation of God's purpose for you. This is by definition abuse and I am profoundly grieved and deeply sorry for this."
She also took time to directly address abusers, encouraging them to break their "cycle of sin" and come forward in confession of their sins.
"My challenge to you is to bring it into the light and to confess, and I know we live in a time where fear of confession is real. In one instant you can be shamed, cancelled, silenced. And there are real consequences to confession. The world may never accept you again, but the acceptance of the consequences and a recognition of the damage that has been done is a vital part of repentance. Confession is always better because it ends a vicious cycle of abuse."