Peter, Notify us
There is a large opinion out there which holds some very strong views on the system to which they have been subjected to.
In a manner I am expressing the views of many victims of clergy abuse.
I feel the anger they feel and when I talk with them I hear very loudly that they feel very cheated and the general consensus is that one has been re-abused by the system as it currently is.
There are grave doubts as to the independence of the Commission and very grave doubts as to the veracity of the Compensation panel system.
When these things can be referred to as general knowledge in that group it must reflect very badly upon the Archdiocese and very badly onto all those who in their own way work for justice.
These people are very angry that their lives have been so disrupted by simply being the target of a sexual predator - that is difficult enough for them to come to terms with and yes counselling does help and is a necessity indicated by all, however it is only a part of the healing process. Many books and lectures have been made on this aspect of childhood sexual abuse and they indicate a range of severe outcomes for those victims, those outcomes are debilitating in many instances and have led to a many suicides. There are many aspects here which I will not elaborate on at this point in time save to point out the ability for such a widespread phenomena to initially exist, but to also remain unabated for many years and for that phenomena to be still occurring today literally beggars belief - that it can do so in an institution such as the one the Catholic Church purports to be is beyond the comprehension of those many victims.
When victims have this as their introduction to the process and with the lack of information available to them, many turn to the Internet for information and they find others - unfortunately many others - who feel the same way - they are people trying to mend 10, 20, 40 or more years of a mainly dysfunctional life and they feel very strongly that they should be given an opportunity in this life now that many of them understand the cause of their lifelong issues. It is understandable that they are angry, and it is understandable that they feel badly cheated.
Few of them look to the legal system as a means of gaining some peace of mind, they invariably have to weigh everything up against those things they were taught during their time in a Catholic school or Institution. The greatest difficulty I hear from many is that they themselves have absorbed the good aspects of those early teachings and many have lived their lives in good ways and yet they see the teacher of those things acting in what the teaching says is a most despicable way.
As I said they do not look at the law as an avenue in gaining what they feel is natural justice, recognition and to be compensated for the lifelong harm caused to them. During their childhood they experienced two extremes, on the one hand they heard of the wisdom and empathy and so much more from God, on the other they had to rationalise the soul murder that was happening to them, the incestuousness of their experience. They experienced a range of circumstances from attempts to report their situation - there were many, unfortunately a large group who have turned to the Internet to express themselves as they have come away from the assistance provided by their Church and then they face a Compensation Panel made up of legal experts. Many would prefer to face a panel of religious, bishops and priests and they would like to ask them many questions and to perhaps to let them hear of their hurt and the pain they have experienced through the initial abuse and then through an entire lifetime of what is described by them as "a living hell", the only thing they can equate their feelings to are to those things taught by the Church. This adds to and exacerbates the problems these victims encounter, the personal issues and fears, the mistakes and the missed opportunities because many of them had been seriously affected by their experiences. I can only touch very lightly here on those effects, however I can provide for you the thousands of links and references gathered by those affected in their search for understanding and then for what is rightfully theirs in the manner of justice.
As I said they do fall back onto their religious teachings and that only brings them more hurt because they experience something that is alien and opposed to those good things they garnered from their childhood religious education.
They feel that here are the very people who stand up and point the finger at Governments, at the many atrocities which are played out in our world and they see people who are saying this is the way to go, this is the humanitarian thing to do, this is the way Christ teaches, yet immediately they feel the same depth of injustice and pain once again when they look at their own dealings with their Church and their own attempts to obtain at the very least the appearance of justice. They feel they are amongst those whom the Church teaches should be the subject of the Churches' assistance when instead they are met with none of those things when they actually are assessed and compensated (none use the word in the same way as the Panel, the Church and perhaps the Commission - they simply don't know how to reconcile the teachings of the Church as opposed to the actions of the Church and they feel they have not been met with compassion, understanding, justice, aid, succour or more importantly to them a Christian.
They will always remain to the side whilst their being feels those injustices of the current system, they perhaps believe in God, but their experience says to them that they cannot trust the words of those men and women who represent to them here in this life the word of God. They feel very strongly about the fact that they hear the words of God from the same people whom they feel have cheated them initially of their childhood and each and every subsequent day of their life, and they feel cheated when those same people set what for a victim is the most gruelling of all human experiences, something they fear and loathe, something they and all human beings detest - to be the subject of someone else's sexual deviations - to be humiliated in the most serious manner possible - yet they understand that that is them - this is their life - it is very often not pretty, it is on all but a very rare occasion where a victim of sexual abuse, let alone clergy abuse achieves well in life.
The statistics show that they are a marginalised group of disaffected people who have ongoing, lifelong issues as a result of the trauma due to their sexual exploitation as children or teenagers.
Many victims feel that if they were dealing with the earthly representatives of God then they would feel the open arms of the Church, the priesthood, bishops and all of the employees of the Church in its many roles, instead many feel that they have been paid off in some manner, they feel cheated and they feel that they have been treated in the manner of someone who has had to bypass the double jeopardy that the law provides - they feel they are tried again and again.
They have in the first instance provided information and responded to questions from the Commission, for those who have satisfied the commission and have been assessed as having been sexually abused it does not end there, they are as they state subjected to further examinations and assessments, they feel de-humanised by these experiences and resent strongly the need for such assessments and more so the need to put them through a situation which enforces on them the need to once again experience the most painful and humiliating experience a human being can encounter.
They feel the rape again as they have to prepare for an appearance before a panel, no matter its constitution, and be judged - not by their priests, not in the manner taught to them as children by those very same priests - instead they are met with the highest in the legal profession, they are met with psychologists and psychiatrists - all they want to be able to comprehend is how come Christianity and all that it teaches does not exist for them - how come?
They cannot understand how it is that on the one hand the Church stands up for victims of injustice and abuse in so many areas and it works very hard to alleviate the pain those people feel, yet they can see none of that for themselves, they cannot even see the appearance of justice from the entity that taught them about justice, the entity that preached to others about justice, the entity that will supposedly stand up to Governments, dictators, against whomever carries out those injustices, yet those very victims of the worst possible abuse a human being can experience - death brings an end to the pain so it cannot be more devastating to a victim when she or he has to live, deal, manage every day of their existence with the pain of being used in the manner they have.
Victims simply cannot understand how this situation can exist because they see what is happening to them and they use words such as "abused", "exploited", "used", "deceived", "lied to" - they get to a point where they cannot understand how an entity can perpetrate such a fraud and deception and still be able to, with the approval of the Government of the day to continue to preach the word of God whilst it practises something which it preaches should not be done. They see that as deception, they do not see that as the word of God. They see the decision makers of the system they have to endure as unjust men, people not worthy of the status of manhood, yet they are the "upholders of justice" and many other descriptions. They wonder and ask, why can I not be treated in a just and proper manner.
Peter, I would like the opportunity to open up a dialogue between victims and those who make the decisions - the bishops, priest, nuns and others who form either a part of the Church who abused them or the part of the Church who fails to treat them as it has preached and taught them or the part of the Church who does not discriminate against all other groups of victims, yet it does discriminate against those it has abused and the part of the Church which is actively attempting to - what a terrible pun to use in such a grave circumstance - "practice what it preaches".
I believe that if such an opportunity were to be made available, then those "men of the cloth" would be able to hold their heads up high and those who have been injured are afforded justice and are truly compensated for the immeasurable pain and suffering they have experienced and the terrible pain and suffering they will experience in their future has been addressed and justly dealt with in the manner taught by those decision makers and those representatives of God - else they should stand down from their untenable position.
I call on you as the Independent Commissioner to convey these words to His Holiness The Pope, and to each and every Bishop and religious person in the diocese of Melbourne and to make these words of those victims available to each and every employee of any aspect of the Catholic Church, its Charities, Schools and other worthy institutions and to every parishioner within the diocese of Melbourne.
I would like to provide free of charge a secure voting system [which I can make open for qualified technical review] to poll the opinion of those people mentioned above and to provide a means to determine what the congregation of the Archdiocese of Melbourne determines to be appropriate compensation.
I would like to have your opinion on this.
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.Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia