Tuesday, March 29, 2016

REVICTIMIZATION OF THE ABUSED




                                                                                              
"I will be cross-examined, up before the public again with efforts to confuse me, trick me and this sort of thing. It’s a mental battle and emotional battle all over again” 

– 70 year old retired professional, Mount Cashel Alleged Abuse Survivor previously
                                                                                                                                                                                   


The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s will be in court next week fighting 60 claimants of physical and sexual abuse who claim they were abused by the Christian Brothers from the 1940’s to the late 1960’s at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's.

Yea, I know, wasn’t this all settled in the 1990’s?  Apparently not, the New York-based Christian Brothers Institute Inc. went bankrupt in 2011, leaving the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s to pay for the orders sins. The corporation says it was not involved in the operation of the orphanage, however the survivors disagree.

The courts offer an adversarial remedy, the further pain inflicted on survivors seems not to be a real concern - there are bigger issues at play than 60 people's ruined lifes.

The result is a test case where four alleged victims will be forced to go to court to be re-victimized by recalling, reliving and enduring vigorous cross examinations by aggressive defense lawyers determined to undermine and destroy their credibility - to create doubt.

While only four alleged victims will face the brutality of the court system, hundreds of other victims of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy will be forced to deal with demons that did not go away. 

They will be reminded of their suffering through daily media accounts of the trial. Men will be dragged before the cameras to rehash their anger with the church. They will accuse the church of being only concerned about it’s financial well being as opposed to the needs of  these poor lambs that were slaughtered by the white collared Sheppard’s of God.

After the revelations of the 1990's can there be any doubt about the sadistic sexual and physical abuse that occurred at this institution that was covered-up by the Justice System for decades.  Surely, there has to be another way.

Males, both as children and as adults, can be victims and survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. Sexual abuse is not just a women’s issue. The burden of coming forward  to report is not a women's issue. The impact of sexual abuse is not just a women’s issue. 

It is a societal issue.   It is estimated that the majority of sexual assaults against males and females (88%) are not reported to police. 

These abused men suffered  emotionally, suffered depression, suffered from Post traumatic Stress Disorder and many contemplated and attempted suicide.

They were extremely ashamed of what had happened, feeling guilty as if it were their fault and feeling unworthy of anyone’s love. Some turned to negative coping strategies like disassociation, alcohol and drug, and sexual promiscuity

Should a caring, loving church force these alleged victims to walk the gauntlet, again?

Mount Cashel, The Presentation nuns – they are all Roman Catholic entities, the public does not see the legally defined differences.

All they see is the church protecting it’s perceived wealth at the expense of those abused by clergy.

The church, not the Christian brothers is on trial. The official  church has been shown to have been complicit in the past when it came to the abuse of boys in it’s parishes. They cut deals, ignored the abuse and moved the perpetrators around to abuse new victims. 

Even if they are not “legally responsible”, the Church has a moral imperative to settle with these men. Perhaps Rome itself needs to step in.

This trial has the potential to undo decades of compassion and healing. Those that have returned to the church will once again have their faith challenged.  

This to me is about institutional abuse, the sick people who perverted justice, protected pedophiles from prosecution and a lack of compassion for the child victims.

Why do we continue to support the Church with our time, talent and treasure?

I am so angry. So disillusioned. So confused. So hurt.

Will it ever end?





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