Voiceless Victim

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

Category Archives: sexual abuse victims

Catholic church opens Commission hearing with a slap in the face for survivors

Last week survivors, many of whom had travelled long distances, crowded into the hearing room for the historic first Royal Commission hearing into how the Catholic Church handles child sexual abuse. Many lasted only until the well paid Church lawyer first opened his mouth. What emerged was so offensive, so deliberately designed to undermine and to harm survivors, that it prompted a mass walkout and a flood of tears in the foyer.

I absolutely agreed with their actions and was equally as offended, but decided to stay to hear what other tricks the trained monkey would pull.

Below is a transcript of that low point of the legal profession in Australia. I have added my translation of each section, for those who do not have the benefit of a lifetime of suffering at the hands of callous and deceitful church officials. The lawyer who uttered these carefully crafted passages was Peter Gray SC.

-o0o-

This is a searing and decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Well, we certainly never thought this day would happen, especially after all our efforts to prevent it.

The sacred place of children, their innocence and their trustfulness is central to the Christian tradition and to the Catholic faith.

The punters love this fantasy stuff about innocence and trust. It keeps the focus on what they like about religion, and not on our behaviour.

Many will remember from their own childhoods the ageless words from the Gospel of Mark:

First let me throw in the obligatory quote from the bible – takes the high moral ground immediately and undermines both victims themselves, and the tendency to support them.

Let the little children come to me; do not

stop them; for it is to such of these that

the kingdom of God belongs.

Isn’t that clever of us, taking the very quote seen so often on signs outside this and other hearings and using it against those pesky victims. Though of course we prefer a different translation, to avoid that unfortunate word, “suffer”.

And again from Mark, driving home the point:

Whoever causes one of these little ones who

believe in me to stumble, it would be

better for him if a great millstone were

hung around his neck, and he were cast into

the sea.

Now, if the first verse hasn’t slapped victims hard enough, here’s the second to really undermine them. Plus the millstone bit makes us look like we take this issue seriously.

The Catholic Church comes before this Royal Commission acutely aware of its failures in this fundamental part of its mission.

I guess denial is really no longer an option, is it?

For many Catholics, the realisation that some Catholic priests and religious, of all people, have betrayed the trust of children and their parents by abusing them in sexual ways has been almost unbearable.

Let’s get Catholics thinking about their own suffering and not that of victims.

 The further bleak realisation that such behaviour was sometimes covered up, with wrongdoers protected while victims were disbelieved or treated coldly, has made an already disgraceful situation even worse.

Oh yeah, these days we have to refer to this aspect as well, but we can get away with going pretty soft, because understanding of our cover-up is still limited.

For the vast majority of priests and religious, dedicated and selfless and innocent themselves and truly faithful to their vows and their vocations, the revelations of recent decades have been heartbreaking.

Pow. Two of our most effective excuses. “Good” priests, and non abuser priests as victims. We’re going hard on this because it is so effective at distracting from what happened to victims. And we get it in first to leave many minds less inclined to listen to rubbish about victims.

But for the victims and their families, the effects have obviously been, and continue to be, shattering and devastating. Terrible wrongs have been done to them.  Complex, ongoing damage has been caused, the real extent of which may not, even now, be fully appreciated.

We don’t usually go here because it creates sympathy for victims, not us. But if we want to pull off the “we have changed” con, it is unfortunately necessary to sound a bit better informed than previously on the effects of abuse.

 A great poet and priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins, found words which capture something of this nightmare:

No worst, there is none …

Comforter, where, where is your comforting?

Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?

We position Hopkins as an authority, then use his quote to soften the facts of our criminal coverup, while demonstrating that we get this i.e. no further action needed.

I will say something in a moment about the way in which the church intends to participate in and contribute to the work of the Royal Commission.  But first, let me repeat the unequivocal commitment made by the leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia.  It is on page 1 of our written submission to the Commission.  It is in the following terms:

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia recognise and acknowledge the devastating harm caused to people by the crime of child sexual abuse.

Much as it hurts, we are going to have to state the bleeding obvious, which we have studiously managed to avoid doing until now.

We take this opportunity to state:

1.         Sexual abuse of a child by a priest or religious is a crime under Australian law and under canon law.

2.         Sexual abuse of a child by any church personnel, whenever it occurred, was then and is now indefensible.

3.          That such abuse has occurred at all, and the extent to which it has occurred, are facts of which the whole church in Australia is deeply ashamed.

4.         The church fully and unreservedly acknowledges the devastating, deep and ongoing impact of sexual abuse on the lives of the victims and their families.

5.         The church acknowledges that many victims were not believed when they should have been.

6.         The church is also ashamed to acknowledge that, in some cases, those in positions of authority concealed or covered up what they knew of the facts, moved perpetrators to another place, thereby enabling them to offend again, or failed to report matters to the police when they should have.  That behaviour, too, is indefensible.

7.         Too often in the past, it is clear, some church leaders gave too high a priority to protecting the reputation of the church, its priests, religious and other personnel, over the protection of children and their families, and over compassion and concern for those who suffered at the hands of church personnel. That, too, was and is inexcusable.

8.         In such ways, church leaders betrayed the trust of their own people and the expectations of the wider community.

The words stick in our throats, unused as we are to honesty on this topic, but that just shows how damaging and irresponsible those blasted victims really are, selfishly promoting their own interests, no matter the damage it causes the church.

 9.         For all these things the church is deeply sorry.  It apologises to all those who have been harmed and betrayed.  It humbly asks for forgiveness.

We’ve said sorry about this so many times. Once more through gritted teeth changes nothing. They can force us to say it but they can’t force us to mean it.

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia commit ourselves to endeavour to repair the wrongs of the past, to listen to and hear victims, to put their needs first, and to do everything we can to ensure a safer future for children.

We commit ourselves to nothing specific, just a lot of PR friendly concepts, all heavily qualified. Naturally, there is no means for anyone to measure success or even track if we actually do anything. The imbeciles fall for this one every time.

When this Royal Commission was announced, the leaders of the church – that is, the bishops and religious leaders from all around Australia – appreciated that this Commission would be, as it is, a watershed in church history and, indeed, in Australian history.  They realised that the issue of abuse within the church is so fundamental and so serious that at least three things needed to happen.

We knew this damn commission would be bad. That’s why we undermined all efforts to hold one for so many years.

First, the church must, wherever possible, speak with one voice at the Commission.

We need to tightly control the message. Individuals could say anything, even, God forbid, the truth.

Second, any of the old ways that still remained, shrouded in secrecy, defensiveness or damage control, must be renounced.

Yeah, the Vatican’s really going to let us break with the long tradition of coverup. I should be a stand up commedian.

Third, the church should seize the opportunity provided by the momentous circuit-breaker of the Royal Commission to renew itself, to look closely at the ways in which it has responded to the issue both in the past and up to the present time, and to do so with humility and openness and generosity of spirit.

If we really have to do this, we are going to bury some smelly old skeletons, and bury them deeeep. They’ll never come back to haunt us.

As to the second and third of these, time will tell, and the community will ultimately be the judge.

As time passes, everyone will forget about any commitments we make now.

As to the first, let me say something about the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.  The council was established in February this year by the peak body of bishops, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, known as the ACBC, and the peak body of religious, Catholic Religious Australia, known as CRA.  It is the council which will represent and speak for the many dioceses and religious institutes which have authorised it to do so.

The Catholic Church in Australia is not a single discrete entity or thing.  It is made up of people in complex and disparate groupings, the millions of lay people, as well as the priests and bishops and religious. There are some 34 dioceses and over 180 different religious orders and congregations.

Each individual diocese and each individual religious institute is basically autonomous and independent of every other.  For example, no archbishop or bishop has any authority or control over any other bishop.

Not surprisingly, to achieve a consensus amongst so many different and independent people and bodies and groupings has, in the past, often been difficult, but on this issue, that of the tragedy of child sexual abuse, differences of view have been put aside.

Good luck with finding anyone ultimately responsible, or tracing the chain of command. We have centuries of practice in dodging responsibility, amateurs.

The first major demonstration of that approach was the development of a uniform national protocol for responding to complaints of this kind.  I will say something about that shortly.

The second is that the Truth, Justice and Healing Council has been brought into existence.  Every diocese and well over 100 orders and congregations have authorised the ACBC or CRA to represent and act for them in the engagement of the church with the Royal Commission.

The ACBC and CRA have, in turn, delegated that authority to the council.

For practical purposes, therefore, the council will ordinarily speak for the whole church, its dioceses, its religious institutes, its priests and religious in the Royal Commission.  All of them are united in their support for the principles stated in the commitment which I reiterated at the beginning of these remarks.

Talk to the hand.

Let there be no doubt about the attitude and approach of the church to the work of this Royal Commission.  The church, through the council, intends to cooperate with the Commission fully, without reservation.

Of course, co-operation only applies to in front of the cameras. Behind the scenes we’ll fight as hard as ever to prevent the truth getting out.

Tens of thousands of documents have so far been produced from all around the country.  Witnesses have been and will be made available.  Bishops and archbishops and religious leaders will participate as the Commission may require.

We are going to bury you in paperwork and delay this baby till we can convince you that all the current office holders are too old or too dead.

The council’s aim is to do everything in its power to ensure that the Royal Commission has available to it from the church all the material that it needs for the work it seeks to do, so as to ensure that a light is shone on dark places and times and events – in the words of St Augustine nearly 2,000 years ago, to flood the path with light to ensure that nothing is concealed or covered up in respect of what church personnel did or failed to do, and so to give the victims and also the church itself a better chance to heal.  In that way, in the end, something good may be able to emerge from the awfulness and suffering which have occurred.  If it does, it will be the victims and their families who will have brought that about.

Another biblical reference. Another fine sounding but impossible to measure or assess PR objective. Don’t we sound like we are open and honest about this? All without actually having to be open and honest. Brilliant stuff.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Coming soon: Part 2 – specific comments on the cases to be studied and Chair, Justice Peter McClellan, reprimanding Mr Gray for repeatedly trying to dictate to the Commission what to conclude.

AO is a hero and his mum AN is a hero too

Today the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard from the amazing mother of a child victim of the child sex offender, Jonathan Lord.

AN was the first witness in Case Study 2, which started today, into Lord and the YMCA, which employed, and then promoted him.

In measured tones, though occasionally struggling with her emotions, AN told of the experiences she and her son AO went through as a result of AO being targeted by Jonathan Lord.

But like so many of those put through this nightmare by powerful and well protected criminals, the trauma did not end with the arrest of Jonathan Lord.

AN clearly, intelligently and compassionately identified serious problems with how police dealt with these matters, serious problems with the law including the law of particularity which effectively denies victims access to justice, problems with inadequate or inappropriate support for victims and their families, especially in terms of access to counseling, and the lack of proper and compassionate communication with victims and their families.

She fought back tears as she read her statement. I bawled as I watched from home over the live feed. I wish I could have congratulated her in person but would have found being in the room and hearing her evidence very hard.

She also told how the Principal of her Catholic school was able to be supportive to her sexually abused child. I note that this is possible because in this case the Catholic Church was not responsible for enabling and protecting the offender.

Many other Catholic school principals will have some very hard questions to answer from the Royal Commission about their own, very different, actions.

But despite briefing everyone she could at the school about the support her child needed, the teachers ignored this and shut her child down when he, inevitably, disclosed about his abuse. This was not done as brutally as they usually silence the victims of Catholic religious, but still this response was completely inappropriate and likely to be damaging to AO, and hinder his recovery.

Luckily AO has AN to keep an eye on his progress and to speak up for him and demand changes when other adults demonstrate how poorly qualified or suited they are to hold positions of responsibility over children.

AN was strong, determined, angry where appropriate, took immediate and responsible action, sought professional help when needed, and communicated AO’s needs to the adults around him. Through all this, despite dealing with serious trauma of her own as a result of AO’s father’s suicide at this time, AN kept her focus firmly on AO’s needs.

How wonderful, and how unfortunately rare in such situations, to see an adult mature enough to put the child’s needs first.

I note here by comparison the horrifying detail that Jonathan Lord was promoted in gaining access to children by the efforts of his mother Jill Yankos, who was quite pushy in approaching and recommending young, vulnerable mothers use her paedophile son as a babysitter. Based on the evidence so far, it is impossible to judge whether this mother knew of her son’s criminal activities, but experience would suggest that we cannot just assume she did not.

I will end with a quote from the brave victim AO, who is still in primary school.

“My mum is a hero because she listened to me.”

How I wish my own mother had been even a little like AN. How different my life would have been.

AO has every chance to recover fully from his abuse thanks to his mum AN.

Vote 1 AN for Australian Mother of the Year.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Fire’s Too Good for These Devils

As much of Australia prepares to face catastrophic bush fire conditions today, I hope everyone is safe from fires and comes through unscathed.

That even includes the church’s carefully protected child rapists and those who sacrifice additional children to cover up their crimes.

Fire is too good for these devils.

I want them to make it to the Royal Commission and to face the music, and their own responsibility, for their, until now, hidden actions.

I also hope the imminent announcement of the terms of reference for the Royal Commission and the all important names of the Commissioners are not announced today.

Because if they are announced on a day when everyone is so preoccupied, and many are still on summer holidays, it can only be bad news.

It can only mean there is something in the announcement that needs to be buried under other issues on a busy news day.

An announcement today will mean those who benefit from the coverup have managed to subvert the search for truth before it even begins.

Stay extra safe today everyone. And if possible on such a scorcher, stay cool as well.

VV

Papists protect child rapists

Papists protect rapists 

by Voiceless Victim

Papists protect their child rapists
but won’t protect kids – like me.

Papists pretend. What rapists?
Who cares what those lies do to me.

Papists revere holy rapists
but won’t even listen to me

Papists stand up for their rapists
the one they attack is me.

Papists still hide their child rapists
so no-one can ever see me.

Papists tell lies for their rapists
to drown out the truth from me.

Papists are good mates with rapists
and brag about silencing me.

Papists buy lawyers for rapists
use loopholes to keep them scot free.

Papists speak up for priest rapists
when I speak, watch ‘em sue me.

Papists sure value their rapists
no-one’s more worthless than me.

Power obsessed papists choose rapists.
The price of their power is me.

Why does the catholic church continue to abuse children?

Every now and then I come across a summary of the catholic church’s exploitation and abandonment of children that pulls it all together so accurately, or captures the horror of honest, ordinary people at the atrocities committed by the Church of Child Rape. When I respond to a piece of writing on this subject with, “I couldn’t have said it better myself”, I don’t try, but instead share the original.

Following is a long piece by an Australian survivor, John B, who has been fighting this battle for a long time, and clearly has an excellent grasp of what it is really all about. John tells me this piece is being used in protests in Ireland, where it has been reproduced as a poster.

It is reproduced in full, with John’s kind permission.

The toll taken on the global Catholic church through its failure to respond appropriately, justly and humanely to the victims of abuse is mounting on a daily basis. The clerical abuse, abuse by nuns and in its institutions through forced adoptions and the sale and trafficking of children and a litany of other crimes extending through to genocide and the theft of lands from Native peoples along with the abuse of trust by everyday parishioners in every diocese across the world who unanimously and consistently reject the victims and the reality of their stories and who go further in actively enacting, upholding and continuing a cover up of those crimes and its effects on our society must be held to account and be brought to justice for the sake of not only democracy but for the sake of all the children of the world. This criminal cover up throughout the catholic church continues unabated to this very day.
In the battle to hold on to their worldly possessions the church has expended many many billions of dollars and is quite willing to spend at that rate for however long it takes for the outrage of the world to subside. The only beneficiaries of the church’s largesse in this area of course are the law firms and their service providers whose best interest is served in maintaining this lucrative style of business and a similar income. The church has the resources to hold out at these or higher levels of spending for generations. It has also meagerly and begrudgingly paid out some victims though only sufficient to obtain a legal closure against further criminal action or liability; nowhere has it willingly made restitution at a similar rate for similar crimes to those dealt with in the courts. The church’s response shows clearly how little value it places on the well-being of fellow human beings and their right to justice and repair.
When the crime of child sexual abuse has been carried out with immunity in such a blatant manner and when it is shown to be on a global scale of horrifying dimensions yet governments and some politicians consistently fail to acknowledge the origins of these wholesale abuses against children. Few in the population of any country are unaware of these abuses and few are unaware of the toxic effects they have had and continue to have on our society.
When the perpetrators of horrible child crimes can be shown to be guilty at all levels throughout the church yet the church is unable to clearly identify the problem or to act on a particular area of its operations or dogma with any form of a structured, moral, ethical or best practice approach. It’s response is clearly a moral and social failure of global proportion.
Instead of progress, healing and restoration the world is left to the machinations of hundreds of sexually inadequate, misogynistic men who have repeatedly failed to address the issue in a mature, moral or ethical manner. How the church and its followers expect to solve the problem of the lack of justice and the moral and ethical failures it has forced onto our society in its failed response to the many millions of survivors of abuse at the hands of those the church educated remains a complete mystery to the church and to the world and as such will cause further disastrous harm to vulnerable children.
Too big to fail has been shown to be a myth in the case of the Catholic church and the child sex abuse cover up as there simply are too many everyday Catholics actively repressing knowledge of criminal events and actively shunning and repressing those who speak out about the abuses they have and are currently experiencing to be considered anything other than a failure. Too fractured and divided to survive may describe this more accurately.
Seen today by much of Christianity as a pariah church that is sexually and spiritually broken and dysfunctional to the core, where the chant of a few bad apples can never in any manner of reality describe the full horror of the systemic and endemic abuse of children and their rights at the hands of Catholics, their church and their church hierarchy across the entire planet. There is no greater social disease possible than the demand that the world’s population should follow the current example of the Catholic church and its followers.
The only means of survival for the Catholic church is to cling to its education holdings and its media spin and denial of a public platform for survivors so that it can attempt to continue to indoctrinate those it can; just as it has done in its past of covering up its crimes throughout its history.
In the battle for the hearts and the minds of the people the Catholic church has suffered the loss of dignity, status and power in the United States of America. They have lost the hearts of the populations in Canada, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and many more countries with more to come as more speak out.
In the battle of social media the inescapable roar of logic and reason and the ability for survivors to openly speak has driven religious groups into more and more closed communities willing only to engage with those similarly indoctrinated as to venture into the world of reason and logic simply brings them a swift and staggering defeat.
A growing number of followers have been forced to look further afield than their church for answers and an understanding of the scale and what has brought about this comprehensive global failure towards children endemic in their church and religion. On the Internet they find a bewildering volume of evidence that simply will not go away and in the meantime they swell the ranks of the atheists, agnostics and non-believers on a regular and consistent basis.
In fact the swell in numbers has been quite staggering as victims seek out and connect with other proactive survivors. For those who take the time to look into this world they begin to see exposed the world of entanglement of religion and all areas of community, health and policing. Not only in those areas but increasingly in our political systems – the very places where governments themselves became involved in these atrocities and today is involved in maintaining the status quo of religion through the manner in which it has developed and operates redress and support schemes and programs.
Christian groups, who themselves are dragged into the quagmire of child abuse and brought down by the failure of the church and through their association with the Catholic religion acts no differently today towards the survivors than they did only 5 and 10 years ago. The only things that have changed are the contents of the apologies. The same operations and thinking with a few cover up adjustments is still in operation just as it was when children were sold for a few pence for medical experimentation or sold to a needy Catholic family.
Politicians have attempted to remain aloof and detached from the reality of the harm this situation brings to society as they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge and to openly discuss the reality of the horror and the scale and the harm of its effects on the rest of the community in that they too suffer from the failures of our justice and health systems as they must if the church and the everyday Catholics who support it are to keep the truth of the failure of their God and their religion towards humanity a supposed secret. That secret is out; never to go back into the bottle.
The survivors stories clearly tells of their efforts and the volumes of insurmountable and undeniable evidence they have provided to both church and governments to no avail. A closer look clearly shows that party politicians will never address this issue unless the community demands it and no politicians will dare ask the community.
Neither Liberal nor Labor will offer the community a chance to have their say as to how the country should respond to these atrocities and crimes against humanity and subsequently all those in the community who have given their life and their labor to bring about reform in child welfare, child sex crimes, domestic violence and rape laws, reform in our courts along with all those who have toiled ceaselessly for reforms in the judicial and policing processes and those seeking advancement and reform in mental health practices, teenage suicide and so much more in the essential areas of life for families. All will continue to labor in vain while party politicians are willing to play smoke and mirrors with all or any other aspect of life except in the areas of child safety and protection, their rights and the rights of women.
The story of survivors is a much more positive one than many might imagine with real heroes and heroines and real survivors in plain sight. The good work of these many survivors is both vibrant and evident and stands in stark contrast to the harping of Catholics and their supporters to look at all the good work the church has done and is doing – the absence of religion is openly evident and is where Christianity constantly hemorrhages its damaged goods. The obvious lack of work by the church and its parishioners will always be measured against the stories of those speaking out and the many more supporting them and following their example.
One of the more intriguing observations is the amazing amount of relevant and helpful reference material distributed amongst survivors and the support they obtain from fellow survivors and non-believers.
The harsh reality message from survivors for both politicians and for the church hierarchy and church supporters is that it is only a matter of time before they are brought before an open forum similar to the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II where the death penalty will be sought for those who knowingly conspired to defraud the population of their moral right to justice and redress in a child safe environment.

Rare Opportunity for the Real Truth to be Told

It was less than edifying this easter when the feeble monarch of the Church of Child Rape pronounced from his viciously defended high moral ground atop St Peter’s Square, tottering under the weight of pathetically opulent gold encrusted vestments and symbols of status, that

‘Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2126720/Pope-Benedict-XVI-ushers-Easter-candle-lit-vigil.html#ixzz1rWSOMPn1

They are indeed.

But does the obscenely wealthy and power obsessed Paedophile Protector in Chief even realise that he personifies death, evil, hate and lies in this ongoing struggle?

I think not, for only someone utterly lacking in self-awareness, compassion, insight, understanding, wisdom, respect, honesty and humanity could behave as he has behaved throughout the decades of his mishandling of the rampant despoilation of millions of children by his fiercely protected, enabled and rewarded rapist priests and other religious.

Not satisfied with heartlessly sacrificing our safety without a thought, without a qualm, without a moment’s consideration of our immense suffering, not satisfied with denying us help, denying our experience, and denying our very existence, not satisfied with branding us liars for telling the truth and unleashing the most horrific bullies his abusive organisation can spawn to brutalise us and exploit our defencelessness, our damage and our vulnerability and terrify us into silence, he also, to our very great detriment, pretends to care, to be sorry, and to have made changes to his dangerous and illegal practices.

But this habitual liar, this hate filled, entitled, intolerant fancy dress wearing misogynist, this evil murderer of children will not be the only voice heard this year, despite the most strident efforts of the Vatican’s PR army and their legions of lies.

Because this year, in Australia, the voices of his victims are being listened to, and our experiences noted down.

Because this year there is a genuine attempt to record the truth of what has happened to us and our experience with the catholic church, with law enforcement and with the courts and the criminal justice system.

Our suffering and our first hand knowledge of this issue will not be lost every time one of us succumbs to the relentless pressure to pretend we don’t exist and to wipe us out of existence.

What we went through will no longer be buried under piles of steaming PR ordure liberally shovelled about by those in the employ of the powerful, corrupt and wealthy organisation that sacrificed us in the first place.

Even if only a tiny sample of the many thousands of affected innocents come forward and tell their story, still our abuse is so consistent in its pattern and in its cover-up, that some aspect of everyone’s suffering will be there on record for our politicians to dare to continue to ignore. And supported by an increasing number of official, properly investigated records of the worldwide scale of this atrocity.

Of course the catholic church does not want our truth to be told.

What better reason is there to ensure your story is included, than to thwart the efforts of this most secretive, inhumane, criminal organisation to keep you forever a victim, forever a silent, terrified child denied help, denied even existence?

If you are able to participate, please contact the researcher, Judy Courtin, a PhD candidate in the Law faculty at Monash University, at jcourtin@netspace.net.au. At present Judy is looking for victims of catholic church child sexual abuse in NSW and Victoria. I have personally spoken to Judy a number of times, and have participated in her research. She treats victims with the courtesy, respect, understanding and compassion we have never received from anyone associated with the catholic church.

Judy’s research is being conducted with a careful eye to proper scientific methodology and is supervised by an ethics committee from Monash University to try to minimise harm to victims from speaking about their traumatic experiences. She is not able to approach victims directly, they must first contact her.

The catholic church are not involved in the research in any form, and are certainly not funding it. As most victims know from first hand experience, church leaders and many of their supporters will stop at nothing, no matter how harmful to victims, in order to silence us, and will not be happy at the truth seeing the light of day.

And as even Pope Pinocchio acknowledges, “Truth is stronger than lies.”

I hope he is ready for the consequences when the truth finally makes its presence felt.

Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops just as guilty as their precious child rapists

In my personal experience as a victim of catholic church enabled child sexual abuse, as a child protection activist, and as a member of a victim support self help group, I have always known that I was not abused solely by the cunning predator who went to such lengths to regularly torture me and at least 49 other little girls. I, in common with every other catholic victim/survivor, was abused, abandoned, blamed, bullied and victimised by the entire catholic hierarchy from the pope on down.

Every day, the catholic hierarchy and their unthinking apologists go out of their way to try to add to the mountain of harm already heaped on my shoulders.

My experience demolishes their protective facade of sanctity and moral superiority, and since they are unable to face the truth bravely and compassionately, they instead deflect their church imposed self hatred onto the defenceless, the already damaged, the innocent victims – those most deserving of compassion. Their twisted belief being that if they can drag us down to their level with their lies, they will seem less loathsome by comparison, and will thus feel better about themselves.

They cannot make my experience, which makes them so very uncomfortable, not exist, so instead they settle for attempts to make me not exist, to make me appear to be other than who I truly am, or to drive me to suicide.

A friend sent me an article by Tom Doyle, written more than a year ago, which expertly expresses this.

The Vatican spokesman keeps telling us the pope is deeply concerned about the clergy abuse “crisis,” There is little doubt that he is, but not because of the massive harm done to countless victims and their families and to the disappointed faithful who are tired of waiting for the “church” to do something meaningful.

He and the cardinals are deeply concerned, but they’re concerned for the wrong reasons. They see their credibility, their power and their relevance eroding at an ever increasing rate. They see a rapidly growing number of Catholics who refuse to be treated as children by the bishops and who pose a very serious threat to the crumbling myth that the pope and the bishops know what’s best for all. They see the growing chasm between the moral code the hierarchy is trying to persuade everyone, even non-Catholics, to accept and the reality of what is really happening out there in the world they are so afraid of.

The pope, the Vatican and the rest of the world’s hierarchy will not bring about the needed change because they are unable and not simply unwilling to do so. Their personal interests are far too deeply ingrained to allow them to make the sacrifices needed to step down from their thrones and be for the suffering and marginalized rather than for themselves.

The pope and the cardinals have betrayed the real church. They have perpetrated the sexual and spiritual violence just as much as the priests who physically violated the victims. They need to be willing to say “I hurt you” and not hide behind Vatican mumbo jumbo and double-speak.

They need to acknowledge that the formalities and legalities they have relied on to protect their own interests have been secondary and equally vicious acts of violence against the victims.

They need to admit that restitution is essential and deserved by the men and women abused by the immediate perpetrators but also by the church.

They need to acknowledge that they have intentionally tried to shift the responsibility for this worldwide debacle to other persons, to societal forces and even to the victims themselves and they need to admit without qualification that they, the hierarchs of the church, are solely responsible for the horrific damage to the victims and to the Body of Christ.

See the full article by Tom Doyle in NCR.

Taste of justice at last for state victims, but will Church victims be tossed to the wolves?

The most horrifying evidence in recent weeks from a West Australian inquiry into the reign of terror of convicted serial child rapist Dennis McKenna at the head of a state run hostel at Katanning is not about the abuse itself, but about the complete and utter betrayal of dozens, possibly hundreds, of abused children. Every responsible adult the children turned to while trying to find a way out of their nightmare put their own interests above child protection. It seems there was no-one brave enough, or strong enough, to stand up to the influential and highly respected dangerous criminal, McKenna.

Those who sent defenceless kids back to be repeatedly raped, bullied, humiliated, emotionally abused and economically exploited included teachers, principals, Board members, parents, social workers, councillors, police, leading politicians and even the head of Anglicare.

In many cases there was absolutely no question what was going on. But all these powerful adults deliberately turned their back on innocent children’s right to safety and to not have their lives stolen from them.

What this says about Australian culture is shockingly challenging to our misguided perception of ourselves as a caring and compassionate society. Even those who do not knowingly participate in a conspiracy to cover up serious child sex crimes, are still happy to ignore the suffering of victims, to not talk about this issue, to not demand we do better to protect today’s children from sharing the terrible fate of so many of yesterdays victims.  Or to offer victims justice and healing.

The fact these adults were threatened by, or afraid of the influence of McKenna is no excuse. It is always, unquestionably, wrong to sacrifice children to protect adults. To rely on children’s vulnerability and their silence to avoid facing responsibility for your own actions.

The result? Destroyed lives lasting for generations, a community with its heart ripped out, and a swathe of needless, preventable suicides.

It is imperative the inquiry by Justice Blaxell does not just expose the appalling suffering of McKenna’s victims, and their disgraceful betrayal. It must lead to additional jail time for McKenna, who has only been convicted of a tiny fraction of his actual crimes, to criminal charges for those who covered up his crimes, and to unstinting help with healing for all his victims.

As well, the Victorian State Attorney-General Robert Clark needs to pay close attention to the evidence as he considers the clear recommendation from the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry, also known as the Cummins Report, earlier this month, for a formal investigation of the response of religious organisations into the criminal abuse of children by religious personnel within their organisations.

And every other Attorney-General should also, finally, put this issue under serious consideration, particularly since the WA head of the Anglican Church’s Anglicare, Ian Carter, has been implicated as part of the coverup of McKenna’s crimes. And particularly since church protected rapists benefit from, not just apathy, negligence and influence, but also the entire resources of wealthy, powerful and highly secretive organisations who regularly lie to and obstruct law enforcement, believe themselves above the law and will stop at nothing to hide the truth of this issue.

In fact, if the Catholic Church was not a paradise for paedophiles, and the breeding ground for a poisonous rape culture, McKennna’s victims may have been spared all their suffering. McKenna’s experience of bullying and sexual abuse at a Catholic school is very likely to have inspired his own crimes. If the Catholic Church had stopped just one of their thousands of child rapists, hundreds of dead or damaged victims would have been able to live long and normal lives, with every possibility of realising their full potential.

How well I remember, like McKenna’s victims, the feeling of being trapped in an insane adult controlled world with no hope of help from anywhere. I remember with the intensity of long years of terror that those supposed to protect you, supposed to be custodians of justice and morality, just couldn’t give a damn. That every single adult you know is a liar and a hypocrite and a rapist protector. No wonder it is so hard for us to feel worthy of living, worthy of trying to have a future of our own choosing, or worthy of ever elusive justice.

Surely by now we have finally learned enough to understand the importance of delivering justice to all victims of these monsters, and protection from influential predators for all our children.

How Many Dead Children Are Too Many?

An average of 50 children die from drowning in Australia every year. This figure is considered unacceptably high. Generously funded multi million dollar public education campaigns called Swim and Survive and Swim Kids aim to teach children about water safety in order to bring that shocking number down.

Royal Life Saving’s CEO Rob Bradley says, “The safety of children’s lives has to be the highest of priorities.”

But only when their life is at risk of unfortunate accident.

When adults who should protect our precious children instead prey on them, the rights of powerful adults not to be held responsible for their crimes take precedence over children’s rights not to be abused.  In some cases vulnerable and defenseless children are so traumatised by abuse they cannot bear to live with the resulting long term pain.

Nearly 2,000 children and young adults commit suicide each year in Australia. This is forty times the unacceptably high drowning rate.

Most, if not all, will have experienced some form of child abuse or bullying during their short lives, including child sexual abuse in many cases. And since most of the abuse originates from family members, family friends and trusted, powerful adults such as priests, teachers, and coaches, nobody wants to talk about this issue, face the horrifying truth or do anything to protect the nearly 2,000 abused children who will commit suicide this year.

Or the children who will be murdered by their abusers, or the children and adults who will die from dysfunctional and avoidant coping behaviours resulting from childhood abuse, which are not recognized as suicide.

Two rapist priests in Victoria are personally responsible for the suicide deaths of over 30 of their victims over a number of years. But this number is not considered unacceptably high. Allowing even one child to be raped, then re-abused until they commit suicide should be absolutely unacceptable. But no-one is willing to hold the obscenely wealthy and powerful Catholic Church responsible for its crimes.

The Catholic Church created the conditions which presented these predators to unsuspecting communities as above question, holier than ordinary mortals, incapable of doing wrong, and above the law.

The Catholic Church insisted on the special treatment and undeserved respect for priests, and the sacrifice of unimportant children, which resulted in them and their colleagues continuing to prey upon scores of young boys for decades.

The Catholic Church is also responsible for deliberately withholding the affirmation, support and counseling that may have helped these 30+ kids to be able to live with their pain and work towards recovery. Or even believe that they deserved help and recovery.

And if these cases are typical of the callous treatment routinely given to innocent and damaged victims the world over, Catholic leaders and employees would have called these abused children liars, threatened them with dire consequences if they told anyone what happened to them, and perhaps drove their message home with a brutal physical punishment or additional sexual abuse.

This is just one example among thousands.

Unfortunately it is impossible to provide more details because the Catholic Church also insists on the ability to deal with these crimes in house and in secret.

The Church’s official punishment for those who publicly reveal such details is much swifter and far more severe than any action against the rapists who ruin so many lives.  Avoidance of scandal is far, far more important to the Catholic Church than children’s safety.

In fact it is rare for any internal action at all to be taken against child sex predators, except to move them to new locations where unsuspecting communities once again provide privileged access to their favourite prey.

They are certainly not reported to child welfare authorities or the police. If law enforcement tries to investigate their crimes, church members and leaders obstruct the investigation. If a criminal case makes it to court, the Church funds a vicious and expensive defence.

But very few cases survive the loopholes, legal technicalities and horrific toll on already damaged victims, all of which the Church ruthlessly exploits to keep most cases out of court.

Once in court, the Church funded defence deliberately tries to inflict as much additional harm as possible on victims, in order to make them break down and give up, or else to accidently refer to facts that are not allowed to be heard in court and thus trigger a mistrial.

A mistrial means starting all over again with a new trial. It means the victim’s suffering must be exacerbated yet again, with no guarantee of justice in return for their immense bravery, or even of success in protecting other children from at least this one predator. The only purpose of trying to trigger a mistrial is to push a victim beyond breaking point so that they cannot continue to put themselves on the line for justice for all the victims of the same abuser who cannot come forward, and for protection for his future victims.

Yesterday a report was released into improving child protection in the state of Victoria, and soon in NSW a private member’s bill will be introduced aiming to offer NSW victims of Catholic Church sexual predators their first taste of justice.

Undoubtedly the Catholic Church will mount a well funded campaign to fight any child protection measures that affect the Church, and ensure they remain free of any official responsibility for the safety of the children they expose to the predators they protect.

It is up to the people, the politicians and, most importantly, the Catholics of Australia and the world to show them that this is unacceptable.

Towards Deception and Denial: Vatican PR Parading as Global Summit

Vatican PR is in overdrive again, trying to drown out any unauthorised commentary of the so-called “Global Summit on Sexual Abuse” this week, with an avalanche of their own carefully manipulated spin.

Vatican PR has finally realised this stunt cannot be taken seriously without the involvement of victims, and has taken the unprecedented step of inviting one lone victim to participate. Though this single voice is not the headline speaker and she is all too likely to be ignored amongst all the rapist protectors pretending the catholic church has any intention of doing anything other than provide a new set of excuses and denials to help catholics feel better about supporting this criminal regime

Surprisingly, Marie Collins, the victim who has been invited, is a real spokesperson for victims, not an indoctrinated dupe of the regime.

In this, Vatican PR is following the well worn precedent of previous criminal regimes such as Hitler’s Third Reich. Invite someone with real credibility to an event purporting to be trying to enact real change. By the time the guest discovers there is no intention to do anything other than claim PR brownie points for changes they have no intention of implementing, the guest will be in an untenable position from which it is almost impossible to extricate themselves with honour.

While the criminal regime will forever misuse the guest’s usurped reputation for the purposes of coverup and deception.

We victims wait nervously to see just what further insults parading as apologies, excuses pretending to be taking responsibility, and lack of action disguised as ground breaking changes we will be forced to endure.

But underneath the cynicism born of harsh experience with these heartless, careerist, hypocritical, narcissistic princes of the church that all victims share, we still hold our breath secretly hoping despite so much first hand evidence to the contrary, that well hidden beneath those expensive silk gowns, beat the hearts of fellow human beings capable of acting with compassion.

We long to be proven wrong. We wonder whether we just misinterpreted the abusive way we were treated all these years by those claiming publicly to be doing everything to help us. That they really have been trying all this time, working through complex internal politics. And not just lying, waiting for the heat of public exposure to cool so they can get back to business as usual, the same disgraceful way their business has been conducted for centuries.

But that hope is fleeting, the pattern is too consistent, the charade of compassion too unconvincing. Ignore the words and examine only their actions. In their actions the truth is plain to see.

This organisation that proclaims itself a moral leader for all the world, is the slowest learner in all human history in the field of understanding that children are an innocent and precious resource, not cannon fodder for your favourite rapists.

There will be no gasps of shock, no pleasant surprises, no tears of relief that we can abandon our crusade to save the children because finally the catholic church is going to do the right thing.

There never has been any question about what needs to be done. There is absolutely no need for this sham of a summit to work out what to do.

The only reason the Vatican has not acted before this week to protect children, offer justice and healing to victims, and hold child rapists and those who protect them accountable for their crimes is because they lack the will to do so.

And there is absolutely no reason to believe that this has suddenly changed.