Voiceless Victim

A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse speaks out for those who can't speak for themselves

The Vatican doesn’t want victims to recover

The treatment of child sexual abuse victims by the Catholic Church is not only not helpful, it is immensely harmful. The Catholic Church’s denial, cover-up, lies and obstruction of justice in relation to the years of terrifying child sexual abuse I suffered  exponentially increased my suffering. Their refusal to acknowledge the harm inflicted on me magnified that harm. Their withholding of any assistance whatsoever to help me recover significantly reduced my chance of ever recovering.

Ask any counsellor with experience or knowledge about helping victims of child sexual abuse. They will confirm that what victims actually experience from the Catholic Church (not what the Church pretends they experience) is precisely the opposite of what victims need to be able to heal.

And that may not be an accident.

Victims too damaged to to ask for assistance save the Church billions of dollars. Victims bullied into silence enable the Church to avoid public censure and scandal. Victims overpowered by a widespread, all powerful conspiracy are unable to focus public scrutiny on the web of lies about this issue.

Lies about the existence and scale of the problem.  Lies about the systemic protection of criminal sexual predators. Lies about their callous disregard for the safety of children in their care. Lies about the additional victims abused as a result of deliberately re-assigning known abusive priests. Lies denying the Church’s policy of cover-up. Lies about the re-abuse of victims who dare to tell the truth. Lies about the lies.

The Catholic Church has consistently lied about this issue . At last some of their lies have been publicly exposed.

The Pope claims he has learned from the past. He has changed the systems that allowed abuse to flourish unchecked. He is taking it seriously now. Trust the Catholic Church. Trust the Pope. Il papa will look after the children.

No. He won’t. He is still lying.

The Catholic Church are still sparing no expense to cover-up, obstruct justice and ensure the truth never comes out. They are still doing less than nothing to help victims. They are still bullying victims to intimidate them into silence. And they still don’t care about the suffering of children.

The Catholic Church preys upon victims’ vulnerability and feelings of powerlessness to ensure as many as possible never come forward, never recover and never heal. They would like nothing better than for victims to continue to suffer in silence, and die off as quickly as possible.

All victims have a right to heal from the damage inflicted upon them. All victims have a right to counselling to help them recover. The Catholic Church denies that right to all but the most insistent of victims. Victims bullied into decades of silence by predatory sexual abusers and their enablers are those most in need of help. Thanks to the Catholic Church’s callous disregard of their ongoing suffering, they are also the least likely to receive it.

If the Catholic Church was not self serving, power obsessed and abusive, it would have set up a universal free counselling service for victims decades ago. It would not refuse to deal with families or representatives of victims when victims are too fragile to speak for themselves. It would not demand victims take the traumatic step of confronting the denials, cover up and intimidation consistently offered by a heartless, deceitful bureaucracy concerned only with protecting the Church’s interests. And it would not put every possible barrier that obscene wealth and unbridled political power can command in the way of victims’ achieving justice.

It would be relatively easy for the Church to reach out to known victims, conduct simple research to confirm suspected victims and advertise for unknown victims to come forward. If victims were promised they would be treated with respect, offered genuine assistance to heal, and assured they would not have to deal with the Church unless they chose to do so, the Church would be inundated with revelations of abuse.

But that is the last thing the Church wants to happen.

The Church chooses to help itself and its corrupt, pampered hierarchy rather than those whose vulnerability was so ruthlessly exploited for the sexual gratification of adults. Adults who claimed to be morally superior, and demanded to be treated with godlike respect. While secretly committing the most heinous of crimes.

Because while it tries very hard to be Catholic, the Catholic Church has no desire whatsoever to be Christian. At least not in the way anyone familiar with the teachings of Christ would recognise.

One question lingers in my mind. Is the Church’s steadfast refusal to do the right thing, to take concrete action to fix this problem rather than just papering over the cracks with more lies, the result of the callousness, stupidity and incompetence of the Vatican? Or is the full scale of this scandal even bigger and dirtier than anyone imagines?

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