“Forgive me Father for I have sinned.” How many times around the world have these, or words like these, been uttered by children sexually abused by clergy? How many times do these children need to confess their sins? Never. The sins are not theirs. The sins belong to the despicable people who hide behind God and sprout His will while they perpetrate heinous crimes against their flock.
Sexual abuse is an act of power. Incest generally carries heavier sentences because of the abuse of power and trust perpetrated by a trusted head of a family. How about abuse perpetrated by clergy, head of their places of worship? Far too often and for far too long, churches have closed ranks around their brethren and dealt with clergy abuse in their own way. How incestuous is that. Behind closed doors, they again screw over the ones who dared to say anything.
In response to continuous claims of clergy abuse, both the Catholic and Anglican churches in Australia have finally taken note. However, change did not begin until a non-profit, non-denominational organization, Broken Rites, began operation in 1993. Broken Rites publicized a telephone hotline for survivors. They began receiving calls from thousands of people (mostly Catholics), alleging cases of church covered up clergy sex-abuse.
Today, the Catholic Church’s “Towards Healing” process and pathways of care finally include prosecution (infrequently) of pedophilic clergy, compensation, out of court payouts and gag clauses for the victims. Often the sexually predatory priests are moved to a different parish: a parish unarmed with the alleged sins of their loving pastoral carer, a parish where our children become food for the powerfully lustful appetites of these deceitful heavenly devils.
Thumbs up, to Broken Rites for taking Corporate Social Responsibility regarding Clergy abuse to the positive extreme. I give you your dues. And speaking of Jews…
Long persecuted and often ostracized because of their beliefs, the long suffering yet tenacious Jews are not cleansed of clergy abuse either. In a similar vein to Broken Rites, child sexual abuse by perpetrating swine is made transparent through the commendable actions of Jewish individuals and groups:
- Vicki Polin of The Awareness Centre (where online surfers can find a listing of scores of Jewish clergy and hundreds of other Jewish officials in positions of trust or authority who are alleged to be sexual predators),
- Rabbi Mark Dratch (founder of the anti-abuse organization JSafe), and
- JTA News (Global News Service of the Jewish People).
JTA News has just released an excellent exclusive investigative series, Reigning in Abuse, addressing a balanced and harm focused policy view of what has happened, what is happening and what has to happen to become rid of Jewish clergy sexual misconduct.
Thumbs up to JTA for airing the black cloth hiding in Jewish wardrobes. Previously unaware of your News Service, you have now won me over as an interested reader. Well done and thank you for helping survivors of Jewish clergy abuse.
In Australia, there is no statute of limitation (time frame) for reporting child sexual abuse to the police. If you were abused five, ten, twenty, forty years ago, you can still report it. It makes no difference if the abuser was a family friend, an unknown person, a parent or clergy. Child Sexual Abuse is AGAINST THE LAW and the perpetrators are the ones to blame, not you. Lift the silence and break their ultimate abuse of power over you. Tell Someone.
I am unsure of the statute of limitations around child sexual abuse in other countries. Can somebody help here by leaving a comment please?
In a short, creative story, Dear God, a prayer from an innocent, sexually abused by her Clergy Uncle, portrays the confusion felt by children sexually abused by God-fearing people. On your day of worship, please spare a thought, prayer or affirmation for those people who have fallen prey to black collar crime – Clergy abuse.
Clergy abuse is despicable. I leave you with a quote from a 20-year-old female: “Of all the people, you would think you could trust some-one like that.”