VOTF provided a name and identity for an organized lay response to the crisis of child sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church. The movement mobilized a burgeoning nationwide momentum to say and do something about the abuse of children by clergy and irresponsiveness of the Catholic hierarchy. This chapter follows this momentum into local VOTF groups (called VOTF affiliates) in California, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Examining the organization and decision-making processes of these affiliates reveals how VOTF structured its relationship to the church, established boundaries around its collective identity, and negotiated tactics for supporting survivors that reflected the movement’s intrainstitutional positioning. Affiliates’ attempts to support survivors of clergy abuse elucidate the ways in which IISMs are limited in how they address movement goals.
As the VOTF movement grew in Boston and garnered attention nationally, it resonated with Catholics throughout the country already searching for a way to connect with like-minded people and formalize a response to the scandal as committed lay Catholics. While many had been dealing with news of the crisis on an individual or interpersonal level and had seen the barrage of media coverage, they