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Church Abuse – Overview

από Stewart Dixson (2019-08-19)


Priest Abuse encompasses a wide-range of immoral and unacceptable behaviors commonly perpetrated on children and tweens by predatory clergy or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying amounts. The sexual assault might be a one-off, non-consensual scroll barencounter or it can include many acts within an ongoing interaction. For example, an ongoing "trusting" interaction with a young child spawned by the predatory intent of a church abuse Pennsylvania associate, blanketed by the trust and reverence imputed to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.

In nearly all alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the failure by the Church member’s superior to fully, adequately and immediately disclose the crime to police and other authorities, or the continuing failure to research, address and resolve entirely with the occurrence increases the harm on the assault survivor, the community and potentially others. Recent Church Sexual Abuse cases covered in the media show these short-comings, including "pass-the-trash" situations when the predator commonly a priest in the Catholic Church, is secretly moved from one parish to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal behavior on an unaware parish community.

Priest and Clergy Sexual Assault & Justice
Not a day passes without a news headline coverage regarding sexual assault and molestation of children by pedophile priests, or the aftermath of the abuse on the victims and their families. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse from a priest or other church member, these reports are most likely to act as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, embarrassment, guilt and other unwanted thoughts harming your wellness. Encouraged by the social movement and other pathways that encourage them to disclose the assault they suffered, survivors of assault are more frequently employing the legal system to compensate them for the lifelong harm and injury they have suffered.

If you are a survivor of abuse perpetrated by a member of the church, the impact of the abuse on your life and core belief system can be immeasurable. Regardless, holding the responsible church and institutions to blame for their crimes and indifference may offer an amount of justice and recompense to assault victims. Oftentimes, survivors can assert their legal rights through confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. However, if litigation is required, a motion can be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.

Abusive Behavior

All predators, to varying amounts, use predatory methods which are generally referred to as grooming, tracking a possible assault victim. Following is a survey of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate child.

Grooming

Grooming is a significant piece of a predator’s ploy. In a church environment, the clergy member is viewed as God’s representative. In this environment, the predator frequently works closely with small numbers of children, identifying each child’s needs, vulnerabilities and circumstances. Once a target is located, these vulnerabilities – such as tumultuous family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically leveraged in the following ways:

Trust

A predator will first work to gain the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to notice as church communities are frequently tight-knit and personal relation with clergy is commonplace. Here, the priest can feign sincere concern in the child’s wellbeing and groeth – both emotional and religious.

Reliance

As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential target and oftentimes their family members, the child will start to rely more and more on the predator for any need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling. The child will spend increased time with the predator, feeling more comfortable with the relationship and relying on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the possible victim might receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents like blessings and special recognition.

Isolation

As the grooming escalates, the predator might try to isolate the potential victim. This might mean solo counseling sessions, meals or other methods of one-on-one isolated moments.

Sexualization

The predator will start to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and other actions that lead to sexual interaction. This may begin with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to gauge the victim’s response to the progression. This will escalate until the relationship gets to one of a physical, sexual nature.

Maintenance

Once the sexual relationship is established, the predator will try to keep control over the child and the continuing interaction. The predator will likely want to manipulate the child by continuing to make the target feel special and worthy. The predator will keep exploiting the target by whatever means needed to maintain the inappropriate physical relationship.

Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors

The impact of childhood assault on the victim can be severe and life-altering. Many priest abuse survivors suffer from long-term effects of the abuse including depression, disturbed sleeping, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and eating patterns, and problems creating and maintaining healthy relationships. Individualized treatment and support groups can help victims overcome these effects.

Legally, a victim of Clergy Sexual Assault can gain financial compensation from the abuser and, more commonly, from the church for its failure to protect the child from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its method of reviewing and responding to reports of assault. If you are a survivor of Priest or Clergy Sexual Assault and would like to confidentially discuss your experience and your legal options, we are ready to talk with you.