Lori Anne Thompson Ravi Zacharias
Lori Anne Thompson shares an emotional account of how her abuse at the hands of Ravi Zacharias impacted her.

Video: Victim of Ravi Zacharias Publishes Emotional Statement

By Julie Roys

The Canadian woman who alleges that the late apologist Ravi Zacharias lured her into a sexting relationship in 2016 has released an emotional video statement, recounting the impact Zacharias’ abuse has had on her and her family.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) initially denied any impropriety by Zacharias in the relationship. However, an investigation commissioned by RZIM recently found  “credible evidence” that Zacharias “engaged in  sexual misconduct over many years.”

The woman, Lori Anne Thompson, has asked the Zacharias family repeatedly to release her and her husband from a nondisclosure agreement the couple signed in 2017 to settle a lawsuit Ravi Zacharias had filed against them. To date, the Zacharias family has refused to do so.

Thompson told me the existing NDA leaves her and her family vulnerable to legal retribution from the Zacharias family. 

With Thompson’s permission, The Roys Report is republishing Thompson’s full video statement and transcript below:

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Transcript of Video:

I can’t imagine something that I would like to talk about less, but need to talk about more.

I was born into the home of a serial sexual predator. I took my first beating in the womb. Abuse has been my birthright. I managed to survive a home of substance abuse, domestic violence, parental abduction, sexual, physical, emotional abuse, medical, educational, physical, environmental neglect, spurning and psychological abuse that bordered on torture. Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) have been robustly studied and scaled in severity. Individuals can have an ACE score of 1-10 — mine is a perfect ten.

Outcomes in adulthood for children like me are abysmal. Lacking the average expected environment, my personhood and personality were formed not only in lack, but in deprivation of all that would fashion growth — but grow I did. I was clever, quiet, and compulsively compliant — all things that helped me to survive. Deep rivers of ruin ran under my intelligence and undermined my every effort to overcome. I tried hard to run away from the ravages, but they ran through me.

I left home when I was fifteen, not because I wanted to, but because I had too. Previously incarcerated for sexual abuse, my father was tried for sex crimes a second time and this time was set free. I had every reason to fear for my life and I did — daily. I would be preyed upon by men in positions of power over the next twenty five years. Early and well developed patterns of compliance were complicated by the very real and human need to belong. Predators possess. The abused very often do not know the difference between the two. I survived a series of ‘possessions’ as a student, as an employee, as a patient, and as a parishioner. I wish this had of been different for me and for many. I hungered for it to be different. I hunger for it to be different still. I wanted each of those individuals to be trustworthy and true. They weren’t.

I met Ravi Zacharias (RZ) in the fall of 2014 at a UCB Canada businessman luncheon in Kingston, ON when my husband Brad, a businessman and avid listener of RZ’s work, regular annual donor to UCB Canada, sponsored and hosted a table. At the time we lived an hour away and I was weary of travelling back and forth everyday to Kingston, ON, where I was a mature student at Queen’s University. It is my belief that RZ targeted me from the moment that he saw me. He had his assistant take my email at that event and an online seemingly innocent dialogue ensued for an extended period.

Many survivors of childhood abuse have a profound spiritual wound and questions about God, myself not withstanding. RZ appeared to be one of the safest, most well respected, and honourable persons in whom to confide and seek wise counsel. His position as a global representative of the gospel was one of extraordinary and unquestioned trust. I simply had no reason to suspect that he had nefarious intentions. I think this position of naive trust is equally understandable and relatable.

I was a married mother to five children in a blended family and I was also finishing my undergraduate late in life, and launching into my dream career, all during this same time period. When I met RZ, my youngest child was 5, at the time of this writing she is nearly 12. It has been well over six years since that day. I wish I had never had the misfortune of meeting RZ in person. In hindsight, attending that luncheon was one of the worst days of my life — and as you can imagine — I have had a few.

The details of the grooming process and subsequent online sexual abuse have been released in The Roys Report in a narrative that I wrote in late 2016/17. Even to revisit and retell of that traumatic time, wounds me. I feel all the same nausea as the world spins in savage slow motion. I wrote them then. They still stand now. There is no need to repeat myself nor do I wish to.

I tried to tell a Christian counsellor what was happening to me. He told me not to tell anyone, especially not my husband, that he could see RZ’s draw to me, and that if anyone ever found out, the kingdom of God would be irreparably damaged. I became suicidal. When I heard news of someone in our old church getting a diagnosis of terminal cancer, I longed to be her. We visited Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia for my fortieth birthday and I researched how best to slip off the rocks and succumb to the deep —such was the depths of despair. It was not just what was happening to me, but whom it was happening by. I didn’t die, but if wishing to die could kill you — I’d be dead repeatedly. Even after the abuse stopped, I stayed in touch with RZ. He was the only person who knew what happened to me. In time, I told my sister but I was never going to tell anyone else what happened.

I travelled to a counselling intensive with Jerry and Denise Basel (they were recommended by friends in the ministry.) I had no intention of telling them what exactly happened or whom it happened with. When I finally disclosed to them, together we drafted an email to cut off all contact with RZ and to tell my husband about the abuse. I was contacted by text, email, and phone from RZ once I had sent a final email to him. He threatened to commit suicide if I broke my silence. I was terrified in that moment and for a long time to come. To my betrayer, telling anyone was betrayal. Abusers not only demand silence — they enforce it.

When I disclosed that same day to my husband what happened to me — he was devastated. Brad had already experienced a protracted history of breech of trust, early abandonment, shaming, and interrupted attachments in his own life. He was crumbling at home with our children and I was in another country in complete collapse. He wasn’t sure he wanted me to come home. I wasn’t sure I would make it home. No one slept that Saturday night and for many years of Saturdays to come. Life as we knew it was ripped apart. We were torn asunder. I can hardly find the words to describe the complete and utter relational, emotional, psychological, and physical implosion.

I took a leave of absence from my much loved work as I/we could hardly function. A handful of friends knew. We contacted an advocate who put us in contact with a trauma informed therapist. Daily I was not sure if my husband would come home. Daily he was not certain I would be alive when he got home. The lack of any cognitive framework for clergy sexual abuse mixed with deep attachment wounds of his own, leaving my husband drowning in shame and excruciating pain. This led to him to bitterly blame me — even as I struggled under the crushing weight of it all. The intensity of our individual despair, outrage, and felt shame drove us each intermittently deeper into despair. Our whole family was ruptured. All semblance of normal biological and relational rhythm was obliterated. Daily life ground down to trying not to die or kill each other. We did not understand what had happened to me, to him, and to us. It would take a full year and a half of very hard work just to establish some semblance of safety and stability.

Post disclosure, we started looking at our options for accountability. What were we going to do? We could go to the media, survivor bloggers, the board (which included some of RZ’s family), hire a lawyer to confront him privately, or do nothing. Given the expansive power differential and our desire for privacy we chose to confront RZ with a lawyer. It was not then, and is not now, about the money — it was about accountability. We held the view that powerful people who target, groom, exploit others should be held accountable.

We (and our legal team) underestimated the level of retaliation and backlash we would receive. RZ kept asking for more time to respond to our demand letter — this time was granted. The day after the final extension expired, RZ filed a federal lawsuit against us alleging that he was a victim of an elaborate extortion scheme for money that we didn’t need. We were also accused of racketeering, which I still do not fully comprehend. We were dumbfounded. I remember when we were served the lawsuit. I was terrified. I was certain that RZ had sent someone to kill us both.

RZ used a former local church abuse experience where my husband and I had been victim of financially and spiritually abusive cleric, to support his fantastical claim that we were a litigious couple who sued people for financial gain. While this narrative is as verifiably false as it is reprehensible — it was also widely parroted and propagated by RZIM. RZ as an individual and RZIM as an institution took a prior abuse situation that had fractured my husband and I years previously, and used that information to publicly and falsely crucify us. The consequences of trying to hold RZ to account for his abusive and predatory behaviour was that my husband and I not only had to endure endless interpersonal atrocities — we were also widely publicly humiliated and vilified.

When RZ sued us (victims) as alleged extortionists, my husband and I were still staggering under the weight of trauma and struggling with extensive PTSD symptoms. While we were horrified and outraged and had some financial resources to use, we also had limited personal resources with which to fight an individual with as much power as RZ and virtually limitless resources. We were barely surviving as it was. RZ reported that he had a donor who was willing to fund the full cost of litigation and that this process could take several more years. To settle with RZ out of court seemed like the only viable and practical option. Both parties signed a NDA and we had no idea that he would break it almost immediately. Even when he broke it so flagrantly, we were still unable to collect ourselves enough to even think about the protracted litigation process we were promised.

Being abused costs far more than can ever be properly recompensed. It has been reported elsewhere that I had received a financial settlement from RZ. More than half of the money reportedly received was spent on legal fees, approximately another $33,000 was spent on therapy (which is ongoing), and a further $30,000 was invested in a Masters of Child Advocacy in Policy from Montclair State University. I have also lost my annual income as a health professional. Yet, astonishingly, there remain some who still accuse me of being in this “for the money.” This false narrative was started by RZ, but has been widely circulated publicly and privately by RZIM.

When we met RZ, we no longer attended church, but our children were still attending faith based schools, and we took our summer holidays in a faith based community. After the press release issued in Christianity Today on Dec 3, 2107 it became untenable to remain in the same community. RZ portrayed my husband as a man who pimped his wife virtually for monetary gain. This was not only widely believed, it was also untenable. By March of 2018 we had decided to sell the home we built together at a loss, and moved to a smaller home at a higher cost, in another city. I left the work that I loved as a registered health professional and went to grad school to study abuse. The hope was that we could enjoy some semblance of local anonymity and daily safety and stability.

I knew the world to be an unsafe place before I met Ravi Zacharias — but I yet had hope that there were some safe and sacred spaces. I no longer live with that hope. I trusted him. I trusted Christendom. That trust is irreparably and catastrophically shattered. I yet believe Christ, even if he be not true, as he is the highest ethic I can find. They (the religious elite) stripped him, beat him mercilessly, called him all manner of names, and publicly crucified him too.

Even though I was a survivor before I met RZ, having met and come to know him was one of the most traumatizing, soul destroying, faith crushing seasons in my life. He tore down everything I had built and that I thought was beautiful. My marriage, my husband, my home, my faith, my family’s faith, my capacity to mother, my mental and physical health, what little good repute I had, and ultimately my entire career path.

Most of what matters in life is held together by healthy relationships, secure attachments, and trust. The betrayal trauma that we incurred because of RZ and RZIM crushed our relationship to each other, to God, and severed our connection to the wider faith community. While I am immensely grateful that we still have each other, I am grieved that we have lost much of faith, nearly all of our friends, and are inhibited in the process of making new ones.

My privacy has been expunged and has been replaced with secrecy. Never again will I be hired for work without someone reading about what happened to me at his hands. Never again will privacy be fully mine. I accept that as my new reality, but I will never come to agree with it.

RZ’s secrets, sins and public shame do not belong to me and I verbally and publicly send them back to him and RZIM. I have repeatedly requested to be released from my NDA. To date, no release has come. So be it. My words belong to me, and I take them back today.

To my fellow advocates — thank you for speaking for me where and when I could not speak for myself.

To my fellow survivors, hold fast. There is hope. There is help. All will not always be lost. What happened to you does not have the last word. You do. It is my hope that this is my final statement on my own behalf — I will never stop speaking on yours.

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53 thoughts on “Video: Victim of Ravi Zacharias Publishes Emotional Statement”

  1. Thank you, Ms. Thompson. Now we shall see if the RZ family will have the nerve to sue her about the NDA, which lawsuit I think would more fully expose Zacahrias’ moral bankruptcy to the world.

    1. Lori Anne, my words are inadequate but I hold your pain with tenderness in my heart. Thank you for so eloquently sharing your story. You are a gifted writer and communicator. I am praying for your and your family’s continued healing. May God restore and bring overflowing blessings of peace, joy a sense of true safety, belonging and wholeness to you. I earnestly am praying this for you. Against tremendous odds, you are not only a survivor but a thriver. I am so glad you and your husband are alive and did not succumb to suicide. Both of your lives matter deeply. Thank you also to Julie for bringing this story to light and being a safe place for the Thompson Family.

  2. Ms. Thompson, I grieve and sorrow with you – to whatever extent that is even possible for me to do. I pray for you, your husband, your precious children, and your faith. May God walk together with you all as you grieve and adapt to life going forward.

    In the spirit of full disclosure – you need to know that I also pray for the Ravi Zacharias family and the organization that bears his name.

    May God heal you all.

  3. Dear Lori…you are truly loved, believed, and validated beyond comprehension. Romans 12:19 reminded me today that God indeed is ON THE CASE!!!!

  4. Good morning. I viewed your video with great sadness. You have been abused by one in whom you placed trust. I pastored for several years and now serve as a volunteer at Calvary Chapel in West Houston. One rule that I have always used and we currently use is that we never counsel women alone. Nor do we counsel them by phone or by email. Nor are we ever alone with them. This is to avoid situations like the one you were placed in. There are very evil men in the world and unfortunately they are in the church as well (as you know).
    I pray that God would heal the hurts of the past so that you and your husband and children can move forward. Healing is a process. There is no time limit. It may take a lifetime. But God is able and we will leave it with Him. God bless you for bravely sharing your story so that other women will not be taken advantage by men in authority. Blessings…
    Randall Slack

    1. Lori Anne Thompson, thank you for being so brave to share this, and thank you, Julie, for publishing it.

      “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
      — Matthew 11:28-30

  5. Lori Ann, I am so sorry that you have experienced so much pain from someone in Christian leadership that you thought you could trust. I am glad that you are able to speak your truth. I will pray for your continual healing.

  6. I am so sorry for all you and your family have gone through. My heart breaks for you. You are a brave woman. Thank you for sharing. May you and yours be held in the Everlasting arms and see beauty come out of ashes.

  7. Thank you for your honesty.
    Please allow the Man who died for you, took upon Himself your sins , your shortcomings … He arose from the Tomb. John ch 3 v 16 is the love of God to you , Brad and your children. RZ is not JESUS
    God bless you all.
    Allan J ( United Kingdom)

  8. Lori Anne, so beautifully, powerfully, succinctly, and humbly said. Your words are yours. Always.

    Love always,
    Alex Keefe

  9. Dear Lori Anne,

    I apologize for initially dismissing your allegations and believing, without question, the narrative RZIM painted of them and you.

    I pray God’s love, healing, and joy for you and your family.

    Sally B.

  10. Thank you Lori Anne for allowing Julie to republish your heart-wrenching video. I pray for safety and security for your family. I have prayed for you in the past and I believed you from the very beginning. I stand with you.

    I love my wife but we have gone through some tough times that were quite painful. I can only imagine the difficult family dynamics and land mines that you and your family have gone through and will continue to experience. Thank you Jesus that there is love, forgiveness and charity in relationships. I would be in trouble if my wife was not a forgiving lady. I think most men can attest to that concerning their wives and children :)

    Sincerely,
    Vance

  11. It is truly heartbreaking to hear of all you’ve experienced. It is beyond comprehension. I pray that somehow, someway, someday you are able to find justice, peace, and healing and are able to trust once again. May God surround you with loving, safe, kind and wise people who can come alongside to support and help. Praying that the continued investigation, even if they didn’t speak to you, will only bring your experience to light and that you will be released from the NDA.

  12. Dear Mrs. Thompson, cannot find the words to say how grieved I am for you and your husband and your family and for all that you’ve been through and continue to be wounded by this whole situation. It appears that people who were supposed to help you actually victimized you. I can’t even imagine such a thing. And I just wonder how these people and especially RZ were able to get away with their filthy disgusting ways for such an extended period of time and not get caught. I too am a survivor but my victimization comes nowhere even close to what you, your husband and your family have endured. And then to top it off, RZIM will not admit guilt or responsibility or even so much as participate in your healing process. Of course they wouldn’t because they’ve buried their head in the sand and in all likelihood will leave it there because those in authority there are nothing less and a bunch of cowards. I pray that the Lord will abundantly bless you and your husband and family and restore you all to full physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

  13. Dear Lori Anne,
    I am at a loss for words in expressing my grief for you and your family. Other commenters have conveyed my sentiments of your bravery and prayers for healing.
    Thank you for allowing Julie Roy to post your impact statement.

    1. I’m an very sad for all the pain this has caused. Can you please explain something and this is an honest question? I understand you were victimized and were you so manipulated that you had no choice but to send Ravi photos of yourself? Couldn’t you have shut that down the first time he asked? I feel his wife was victimized in all this as well. I have no doubt she is in pain beyond belief and yet can not speak out because of all the implications.

      1. Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story. I cannot imagine the amount of pain and anguish you are dealing with. I will be praying for you and your family to find healing and joy and God’s peace.

  14. When words fail or seem inadequate, as now after watching the video and following the various developments regarding these things over years, to convey a diverse mixture of feelings not only about the evil perpetrated by RZ, his family, RZIM and its leaders, and many other lesser actors who abetted and enabled him, but also the inspiration the Thompsons have been through this as a vision of hope, strength, and perseverance through the darkest of days, I’m reminded of this:

    “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” (Rom. 8:26)

    May the Thompson family continue to find hope through the Holy Spirit and take comfort in the fact that nothing can separate you from God’s love, and that He will bring good out of this in His eternal perspective, as countless biblical and other illustrations demonstrate, the epitome being of course in Jesus’ death and resurrection. You too are rising in Him out of what evil forces plotted to abuse, silence, and destroy you, and God is already using your story for good as a powerful testimony to others on both sides of this spiritual war, the ultimate outcome of which is sure.

    For others, here is a link to sign a petition urging the Zacharias family to finally show a shred of conscience and decency by releasing the Thompsons from the NDA:

    https://www.change.org/p/ravi-zacharias-international-ministries-release-lori-anne-thompson-from-her-nda-regarding-ravi-zacharias?redirect=false

      1. Thank you. God, have mercy on us. And enable us to change our leadership structures and culture to more accountability and transparency.

  15. Hello Lori: I hope this note will be received by you. My pastor sent me a link to your Victim Impact Statement video because he knows I identify with your situation on so many specific points you shared. And I know something of the hard place that you and your husband are in and have been living in for these past several years. I am now in facing my 69th birthday, and am still dealing with many of the same issues you made in your presentation. (nothing to do with RZ) (everything to do with sexual abuse at the hands of a predator). I’d like to offer a few windows to equip you to stay the course.

    – Hang on to Jesus. Don’t let go. He will bring this to a place where tears dry, where the pain is lost, where purpose grows, where you and your husband stand tall, with head held high.
    – Keep taking pen to paper. Write it all down. All of it. Consider sharing your stories in book form. (you do have more than one story to tell, that need to be told and read.) Find ways to language your story without breaking the NDA.
    – There is a group in the USA called Flourish Writers who launched a writers course that just started in January/21. They guide new authors through the process of working out an idea to a published document. Sincere Christian women founded the group and are attracting women internationally. They coach you, teach you, and provide community while the attendees work through their process of creating a viable product. Prayer support is a big part of what they do. They have a website. Just google Flourish Writers.
    – I’m in the throws of writing my own book and stand amazed at all that Jesus has brought to my situation on so many levels. HE is the ultimate healer.
    – I would be open to providing you some prayer support. Feel free to connect.

  16. God’s got you in the palm of His hand, Lori Anne. Hang on.

    I will show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

    A promise from God that I have kept in my heart over 50 years. He never leaves us, even in our most lost moments.

    Thank you for your truth. God is truth and He is using you, and me also. As I too am one of RZ’s victims. I recognize everything you say as honest. The Lord, my God, the father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is with us. I have no strength but His.

    God bless you and all those you love my dearest Lori Anne.

    VickiBlue

    1. Lori Anne Thompson

      Ms. Blue,

      You are one of my personal heroes. You came to my aide anonymously when I was completely crucified and alone. Never will I forget. To you a debt I owe.

      With tenderness and respect,
      Lori Anne

  17. Only the kingdoms of corrupt men suffer “irreparable” damage when the truth is exposed. The kingdom of God rejoices in the truth.

    1. Exactly! That statement from the “counselor” (in name only!) was SHOCKING! Completely carnal and worldly-minded. Absolutely nothing to do with God.
      As you said, love (i.e God) rejoices in the TRUTH (1 Corinthians 13:6)! It’s the kingdoms of MEN that are “damaged” by transparency, openness and truth. God is exposing many “ministries” in these end times and the one thing they have in common is summed up in 1 Timothy 6:5-11. Carnality, covetousness and pride are inextricably linked. Material gain never entered the minds of Jesus, the Apostles, Paul and the other disciples. Elevation of SELF and endless funds are incompatible with actual BIBLICAL Christianity

    2. Lori Anne–I have a note I keep in my Bible always, ever since I found out my daughter was harmed by a pastor. It says, “searching for Jesus, beaten by the watchmen” and it refers to Song of Solomon 5:6-7. It is some comfort to me to know that, centuries ago, a woman searching for her real Beloved was hurt by those who claimed to be His defenders. It is, I guess, an old story. But, in Jesus someday, *someday*, all the sad things will come untrue. Prayers for you and yours…

      “…they beat me, they bruised me, they took away my veil, those watchmen of the walls…”

  18. Apparently the big final report on Ravi’s behaviour has landed, but the RZIM US Board are 50/50 split on whether to release it — “totally devastating” is how it’s being described. Far, far, more serious than many of us had imagined.

  19. Heart breaking. I read Ravi’s Auto Biography and I would say his adverse childhood experiences (ACE) would also be a 10 and that he was in the grip of sexual addition. He never dealt with the pain of his life but continued to medicate hurting others through the insanity with denial, delusion and blame.

  20. I’m no Ravi fan nor of any other “preacher” but Lori should return the money and she would have more credibility.

  21. Mr Grey. Please remember the great expenses (financially, personally, emotionally, spiritually and physically) of going through this. Many of us are praising God that we lived through it. Thank you for your consideration Mr Grey. Lori Anne has 100% credibility. Ask any of the many many many RZ survivors.

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