The Prime Minister of Australia
Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC
The Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia
Robert McClelland MP
The Attorney General for Australia
Premier of Queensland
Mr Kerry Shine
The Attorney General of Queensland
Ms Quentin Bryce AC
The Governor of Queensland
NSW Attorney General
Professor Marie Bashir AC, CVO
The Governor of NSW
John Brumby MLA
Premier of Victoria
Professor David de Kretser, A.C.
The Governor of Victoria
Rob Hulls MLA
The Attorney General of Victoria
Premier of Tasmania
Attorney General of Tasmania
Peter Underrwood AO
The Governor of Tasmania
Premier of South Australia
Michael Atkinson MP
Attorney General of South Australia
Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR
The Governor of South Australia
Premier of Western Australia
Attorney General of Western Australia
DR Ken Michael AC
The Governor of Western Australia
Tom Pauling AO QC
Administrator of the Northern Territory
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Northern Territory
Chief Minister and Attorney-General of the Australian Capital Territory.
Let me firstly state the following lest I be judged to be anti-catholic, anti-christian or other.
First and foremost is the protection of all children from pedophiles, sexual abusers and their enablers.
Together with that is the provision of continued safety of our own children.
I support section 116 in our constitution in the spirit in which most Australians understand it. I oppose the use of 116 and do call for for your support for its removal whenever it us used to further the position of one religion over another or as an aid in furthering the coverup of the extensively documented murder, sexual abuse and exploitation of children, or when it is used to protect pedophiles or their enablers within a government, religion, police service or any other area of society.
I call for and seek your support in the removal of all statute of limitation laws in relation to sexual and personal crimes.
I call for and seek your support in establishing a Truth Commission in Australia to investigate the depth of involvement of elements across the spectrum of Government, Charity, Community, Business and religious life in all States of Australia and to have that commission make all its recommendations, investigations and material continuously public to ensure transparency when the depth of and the systemic nature of these abuses is so evident.
I call for and seek your support in the establishment of proper regulatory measures to ensure these crimes against humanity are immediately discontinued in this country.
Submitted to QLD Health via Psychiatrist interview
Duty of care
I believe that QLD Health has a duty of care to investigate the matter of misdiagnoses and the subsequent outcomes of that misdiagnosis and abuses of authority enacted against me.
Some issues resulting from misdiagnosis and subsequent mistreatment:
Refusal of treating psychiatrist to acknowledge a history of childhood sexual abuse and PTSD.
Refusal of treating psychiatrist to acknowledge a possible misdiagnosis reported through my GP.
Refusal of treating psychiatrist to acknowledge a possible misdiagnosis reported through specialist psychologist.
Threats to extend my time in the facility and to enforce other medications on me whilst I continued to make remarks, comments or to speak of sexual abuse by clergy and the past relationship of my mother-in-law with the current bishop of Toowoomba - treating psychiatrist, case manager.
Threats to isolate, restrain and to enforce other medications on me whilst I continued to make remarks, comments or to speak of sexual abuse by clergy and the past relationship of my mother-in-law with the current bishop of Toowoomba - treating psychiatrist.
Forced injections of incorrect medications.
Failure to recognise and treat side effects of incorrect medications.
Refusal of treating psychiatrist to obtain history or to communicate with GP, treating specialist counselor or psychiatrist.
Refusal to document reported side effects.
Refusal to document report of life threatening side effects.
Threatening to falsely report a refusal to accept medication.
Falsely reporting a refusal to accept medication.
Repeatedly displayed inability of case manager to delineate between health issues and religious issues.
Repeated misuse of the authority of QLD Health to enforce a religious stance or position in the stead of proper medical practices.
Threat by case manager to issue warrant for my arrest based on the issue of my speaking of the Bishop of Toowoomba.
Issuing a false warrant for arrest.
Financial costs incurred.
Psychological harm and damage.
Psychological distress and harm to my family.
The role played by Toowoomba Police QLD Police
After repeated failures to obtain the interest of QLD Police in regards the sexual assault of my son and the ongoing threats against his sexual safety by his grandmother and others.Magistrates court Toowoomba
More than 12 visits over almost 14 years in this regard to QLD Police Toowoomba.
Responses ranged from "he is too young to remember" with "no action will be taken" on the occasion of reporting the sexual assault on my son, through to "fuck off trouble maker" and several other variants, [name]seems OK - no action taken, that I was a trouble maker through to threats and verbal abuse.
Duty of care
I believe that the QLD Police failed in its duty of care through its refusal to conduct a proper investigation on the initial and subsequent reportings.
"After more than 12 visits to Toowoomba police over the previous 12 to 13 years in regards this and other related matters producing the responses above I determined that I would remove my son from the situation or do all that was within my power to ensure that he was safe".
I believe it was a dereliction of duty to place me in the care of the Toowoomba Acute Mental Health unit on the occasion of my attempting to ensure the continued safety of my son.
I believe the circumstance whereby I was charged with motor traffic offences instead of conducting a proper interview or investigation was a dereliction of duty and in contravention of the requirement of the QLD Police to report such matters to Child Safety.
"On the evening prior to my arrest my son rang me expressing his anxiety due to him having to be alone with his grandmother on the following day".
"He had been instructed by both his mother and myself since an early age that he was never to be alone with his grandmother, her husband or her son. This was due to assaults and threats by her husband and her son to sexually interfere with my son as and when they chose and to repeated threats from his grandmother to "fuck your boy" whenever she chose".
After more than 12 visits to Toowoomba police over the previous 12 to 13 years in regards this and other related matters producing the responses above I determined that I would remove my son from the situation or ensure that he was safe. This resulted in traffic offences, a domestic violence order and incarceration within the QLD Health system.
Statute of LimitationsQLD Attorney General
The turning down of my request in the magistrates court Toowoomba to obtain a restraining order because of the repeated threats and an assault. This being turned down due to the statute of limitations, however the turn down was determined from the first few lines of my statement, had the magistrate read the document he would have found that the matters in the complaint were within the statute of limitations.
A number of visits to the QLD Attorney General on certain of these and other related matters. [to be included links to these documents] QLD Police response
Issuing a domestic violence order [to be included links to these documents]
Issuing of Traffic offences [to be included links to these documents]Not documented in QLD Police response
The disappearance of recording of encounter was due a police officer reaching into the car to release the seat belt. This apparently caused the recorder to slip down beside the seat. This was recovered 19/09/2008. This was described as me holding onto the steering wheel and resisting. There was no ability to resist. A police officer was leaning into the vehicle across to the seat belt - he was between me and the steering wheel - at the same time I was being pulled by the right arm - where else does ones hand go to steady ones-self in this type of situation?
The decision making process whereby I was submitted to QLD Health (see above).
Previous communication with more than 20 letters delivered to QLD Police Toowoomba. All failing to gain a response. [to be included links to these documents]
CCTV of interviews of John Brown 12/07/2007
More than half of JPs psychiatric orders not justified
More than half of JPs' psychiatric orders not justified
July 05, 2008 12:00am
JUSTICES of the Peace have ordered psychiatric assessments on more than 2500 Queenslanders in the past three years but less than half were justified.
People forced to undergo a psychiatric assessment are also routinely refused all information about their case, including the name of the JP, the complainant, or what prompted the action.
Only magistrates and JPs are allowed to issue justices examination orders (JEOs), which allow police to enter a person's home and take them away for psychiatric assessment against their will.
More than 95 per cent of the orders are issued by JPs, who need no medical qualifications.
However they must hold a reasonable belief that "the person has a mental illness".
David Solomon, who reviewed Freedom of Information laws for the Bligh Government, said he was surprised at the high JEO error rate, adding that the role of JPs should be reconsidered.
Queensland Justices Association (QJA) president Bob Pilkington said he was aware of the statistics and supported a review, but JPs' safety had to be taken into account when providing information to JEO subjects.
Dr Solomon's review also criticised the lack of informaton available to people subject to an order, saying it was unfair for someone deprived of their liberty not to be told what was alleged about them.
Original psychiatrist interview
Original psychiatrists report
Subsequent interview at the behest of QLD Health
Outcome by QLD Health
"The Independent Commission into Sexual Abuse"
"The Towards Healing" process
Approximately 1200 Internet based articles
Range of Internet based audio files
Range of electronic files
Compendium of printed and other material
Additional material on areas raised in this document
To: The Hon. Morris IEMMA, BEc, LLB MP
The Hon. Morris IEMMA, BEc, LLB MP
* Member of the Legislative Assembly
* Member for Lakemba
* Premier, Minister for Citizenship
| Papal Visit - Australia :: To The Parliament and the People of NSW re: Papal visit to World Youth Day |
Does the NSW Government through its provision of road signs, multi-million dollar funding and other services to the Papal Visit and World Youth Day enable the largest single identified group of pedophiles and sexual abusers on the planet? Is it in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child? Is it in breach of The NSW Charter of Victims Rights?
Many feel that the supply of millions of tax payers dollars to support a religious group which on a global scale has been shown to be responsible for the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children is not only in breach of the above but also in reach of many items in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Why should a religion be provided with millions of tax payer dollars when no formal plan has been put forward by that religion to ensure the safety of children from the pedarists and sexual abusers in their midst?
What are the stated positions of the NSW Government on the issues of clergy sexual abuse and the treatment of victims of clergy abuse by religions?
Will the NSW Government publicly address the issue of identification and reporting of sexually abusive priests in NSW with the Pope on his upcoming visit?
Will the NSW Government take the opportunity of the papal visit to seek the release of all documentation held by the Vatican pertaining to Australian victims of clergy sexual abuse?
The Charter of Victims Rights
States as its first premise that a victim "should be treated with courtesy,compassion, cultural sensitivity and respect for the victim's rights and dignity".
1. Courtesy, compassion and respect
A victim should be treated with courtesy, compassion, cultural sensitivity and respect for the victim's rights and dignity.
The Australian Government (and subsequently the NSW Government) is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and as such has a responsability under Article 19 of the Convention which states:
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative,administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglector negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
Australia is recognised globally as being one of the hardest hit countries for clergy sexual abuse.
Figures for Australia are not publicly available. Substantiated figures are emerging in the United States, Canada and Ireland with a lesser range of figures coming from more than 70 other countries.
Canada Sunday, 1 June 2008
A truth and reconciliation commission examining what native leaders call one of the most tragic and racist chapters in Canada's history has begun ... The state-funded religious schools were often the scenes of horrific physical and sexual abuse ... The federal government admitted 10 years ago that physical and sexual abuse in the once-mandatory schools was rampant ... Suicide rates are three times higher than the national average, and teenage pregnancies are nine times higher ... BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7430270.stm
USA Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Thirty-twocases alleging clergy abuse have been filed against the diocese since 2002. Ten have been settled or resolved; 22 are pending ... http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080603/NEWS/80602035/-1/NEWS05
USA Tuesday, 3 June 2008
The Vatican passed down its most severe penalty -- laicization -- to George Beaudet, 69, and Michael Plourde, 57, stripping them of their authority to minister and cutting their ties to church ... the diocese announced it had removed six priests from the ministry since accusations surfaced. Diocese officials decided to disclose the names because of"how long it was taking for cases to be resolved and the possible risk of re-offense in the cases of those who had not previously been publicly identified," ... http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/news/local/5116798.html
UK Tuesday, 3 June 2008 LONDON
Margaret Kennedy, chair of Minister and Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors, an organisation that helps survivors of sex abuse by clergy, said: "It is with horror and shock that survivors sexually abused as children or as adults within Christian churches and by Christian clergy and ministers should hear their own bishop declare that perhaps buying oranges from South Africa is the equivalent to being locked into a dungeon and being raped repeatedly for 20 years by an evil father.
"In many respects it does not surprise us since all calls to Anglican bishops to recognise the sexual abuse, exploitation and rape of adult women by their clergy are consistently ignored.
USA 9/8/2007 LOS ANGELES
more than 100 people who were sexually abused by members of the clergy ... and 144 victims of priest abuse ... "This settlement recognises the enormous courage of the survivors and all parties hope that this settlement will bring some relief for the pain that the survivors have endured for so long,"http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/news/local/5116798.html
The Catholic Church in Australia is believed to own assets worth more than$100 billion. It is the largest property owner in Australia ... If it were a corporation,
it would be one of the biggest and fastest-growing in the country, accounting for more than $23 billion in revenue in 2005 ... And earlier this year, the Federal and NSW governments announced they would each contribute $20 million to the Catholic Church for the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney, to be attended by the Pope.http://blogs.theage.com.au/managementline/archives/brw2906p042-046.pdf
IRELAND DUBLIN March 8
The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, rocked for a decade by sex scandals,on Wednesday made its biggest admission yet: 102 of its Dublin priests past and present, or 3.6 percent of the total, are suspected of abusing children ... a probe into how church and state authorities conspired,by negligence and design, to cover up decades of child abuse ...http://www.beliefnet.com/story/187/story_18707_1.html
members of various religious orders including the Christian Brothers, the Sisters of Mercy, the Good Shepherds and many others, took advantage of their position of power to sexually abuse the young people in their care ... The aforementioned revelations were dwarfed by emerging revelations regarding widespread sexual abuse of children in the care of Ireland's Catholic clergy.http://escholarship.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=church21_papers
USA BOSTON - IRELAND
So far, the compensation board has received more than 1,900 applications, nearly all from Ireland ... http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/092203_irish.htm
VATICAN CITY 28/10/2006
denounced what he called "filth" in the Church "even among those ... in the priesthood." ... Benedict told the bishops that as they continue todeal with the problem, "it is important to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected and, above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes."http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2006-10-28-pope_x.htm
"The priest is meant to be a direct representative of God, so the child feels like they are being abused by God. They think 'How bad must I be if even God is abusing me?"'http://www.stuff.co.nz/4492526a11.html
The report says church officials killed children by beating, poisoning,electric shock, starvation, prolonged exposure to sub-zero cold while naked, and medical experimentation, including the removal of organs and radiation exposure...http://snapsurvivorsnetwork.yuku.com/topic/3766/t/Canadain-church-leaders-involved-in-decades-of-genocide.html
children experienced a devastating litany of abuses, from forced assimilation and grueling labor to widespread sexual and physical abuse ... "It is one of the grossest human rights violations because it targeted children and was the tool for perpetrating cultural genocide. To ignore this issue would be to ignore the human rights of indigenous peoples,not only in the U.S., but around the world." ... A 2001 report by the Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada documents the responsibility of the Roman Catholic Church, the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the federal government in the deaths of more than 50,000 Native children in the Canadian residential school system.http://www.amnestyusa.org/amnestynow/soulwound.html
- Kostka A Catholic boys' college in Canberra allowed Marist Brother Kostka Chuteto continue working with boys even after the school learned that he was molesting students, a court has been told (updated 12 May 2008,with new material from the court).
- Barnett An Australian Catholic priest, Charles Alfred Barnett, is facing extradition from Indonesia to South Australia on child-sex charges (posted 27 April 2008)
- Toomey A Christian Brother, Peter John Toomey, molested students in public in their classroom (posted 27 April 2008)
- Goldsmith Former trainee priest Paul Ronald Goldsmith jailed- he held "prayer meetings" for his victims (updated 19 April 2008).
- Dyson The Marist Brothers recycled sex-offender Brother John Desmond Dyson to a new position of trust (updated 19 April 2008)
- McLachlan The Catholic Church had a child-abuser, Father Paul McLachlan, as its spokesman in Queensland (posted 12 April 2008).
- Glennon This is the full story of Father Michael CharlesG lennon,one of Australia's most notorious child-abusers (posted 8 April2008).
- Penn Jones Monsignor Penn Jones received high praise from his archbishop but now(thanks to Broken Rites) the church admits that Jones was an abuser (posted 4 April 2008).
- Van Klooster This priest abused young people in two Australian states - and he had pornography on his computer, filed under 'Parish Business' (updated 4 April 2008, with a footnote containing new information).
- Connolly A Tasmanian priest, Father Paul Anthony Connolly, who was in charge of preparing future priests, pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a child (updated 4 April 2008).
- Brother Norbert The case of Marist Brother Norbert Mathieson demonstrates how church sex-abuse can continue affecting the victims and their families for many decades after the abuse (updated 4 April 2008).
- Ibar Keating The De La Salle religious order knew that "Brother Ibar" (Frank Terence Keating) was abusing boys but it allowed him to continue teaching(updated 22 March 2008).
- De La Salle The De La Salle religious order has apologised to an ex-pupil who complained about Brother Wilfred De Cruz (updated 15 March 2008).
- Vincent Kiss This is the full story of Father Vincent Kiss, who admitted that he committed sexual crimes on boys while he was working as the Director of Youth for his diocese. (updated 15 March 2008).
- Murrin A Marist Brother sexually abused boys in a Catholic primary school and one boy ended up as a drug addict, dying through an overdose when he was 22, the Sydney District Court was told (updated 15 March 2008).
- Monk Research by Broken Rites has revealed how one of Australia's most influential Catholic leaders - Bishop James Patrick O'Collins - transferred asexually-abusive priest (Father Leonard Monk) to another diocese (posted 15 March 2008).
- Morey Father Sydney Morey was a sexually-abusive priest who flourished in the Ballarat diocese in western Victoria (posted 15 March 2008).
- O'Donnell How the church covered up for Father Kevin O'Donnell - until Broken Rites helped the victims. One victim died tragically in January 2008 (updated 1 March 2008).
- Bellemore Victms of Father Roger Michael Bellemore succeed in publicly revealing this priest's crimes, despite an attempt by church lawyers to stop them. This case demonstrates how church victims can triumph over a powerful institution through determination and persistence (updated 1 March 2008).
- McAlinden Broken Rites helped to expose an abusive priest, Fr Denis McAlinden, who was allowed to transfer from New South Wales to Western Australia (posted 9 February 2008)
- Christian Brothers This article, written for the Broken Rites website by a victim of the Christian Brothers, gives a victim's view of Catholic Church sex-abuse in Australia. (posted 9 February 2008)
- Daly The Sydney Catholic hierarchy allowed a troublesome priest to roam free - and one victim later committed suicide (posted 9 February 2008)
- Murray Monsignor James Murray pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a vulnerable woman but the church re-instated him (posted 9 February 2008)
- Goldsmith Former trainee priest jailed - he held "prayer meetings" for his victims (updated 9 February 2008)
John A Brown
Seeking Justice for victims of sexual and clergy abuse
"We do not oppose legitimate clergy."
"We oppose those whose actions enable the continuation of and
or the covering up of clergy, sexual and spiritual abuse."
"We oppose processes which cause further harm to victims."
Email response received
Please see attached for your info.attached PDFReply
General Manager Stakeholder Relations
World Youth Day Co-ordination Authority
Level 16, 201 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Website: www.wydca.nsw.gov.au ( http://www.wydca.nsw.gov.au/ )
Thankyou Chris for your response, however the attachment appears to be incomplete. Can you send the complete document.Second emailed response
attached PDFResponse to the the signatory and the Premier
General Manager Stakeholder Relations
World Youth Day Co-ordination Authority
Level 16, 201 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Website: www.wydca.nsw.gov.au ( http://www.wydca.nsw.gov.au/ )
Chief Executive Officer
World Youth Day Co-Ordination Authority
201 Elizabeth Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Your reference: eA1307729
It appears that your department has been well silenced in regards the sexual abuse of children by pedarist priests and also on the topics of justice for victims of abuses perpetrated by pedarist priests, together with other issues such as basic human rights, the rights of the child and the rights of victims in NSW.
If that is the case then I am pleased that my inquiry has taken some of your time and hope that you are inundated with so many outcrys that the entire time of your department gets taken up with the process of avoiding or defending such an indefensible response.
Please forward my wish for a pox to descend upon the Premier of NSW for the obvious off-handed and cavalier approach to a situation which concerns every parent - the sexual safety of their children.
With absolute disgust,
The Experience of the Victim of Sexual Abuse
"The Experience of the Victim of Sexual Abuse:" A Reflection
Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, Ph.D.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
June 14, 2002
Good Morning. I am honored to join the groups of speakers we have heard so far today. It has been a morning filled with great gifts and great grace. My own offering to you today is to contextualize the characteristics of childhood and adolescent sexual abuse; to present the experience of early sexual trauma through the lens of the victim; to make accessible the most common after-effects of childhood sexual abuse; and to suggest a few vital components of the healing process. I do this based on fifteen years of clinical work with men and women who were sexually violated as young people. To succeed, however, I need your help and a brief story best conveys what I mean by that.
Several years ago, my stepson, Daniel Patrick O'Dea, recommended that I read a fantasy trilogy authored by Terry Brooks. In the first book of the series, the young hero sets out on a quest in search of the magical Sword of Shannara (Brooks, 1978). A weapon of enormous power, the secret of the sword is that, when lifted by the sword bearer, it reveals to him every aspect of his being. All the good, unpleasant and truly hideous facets of his personality are reflected back to him in the blade of the sword. If the sword carrier can stand what he sees, he then can wield the sworn to do great good and to fend off the worst evil. Most who raise the Sword of Shannara, however, cannot bear to see themselves so fully revealed and are destroyed.
Today, I ask each of you metaphorically lift a Sword of Shannara; to open your hearts and souls to all that the Catholic Church has been, is, and could be under your care. I ask you to stare courageously at the full complement of great good and great harm enacted by you and your, brethren and especially, to reflect on your role in the devastation of childhood and adolescent sexual abuse perpetrated by priests.
Claude Levi-Strauss declared that, "the prohibition of Incest stands at the dawn of culture," and, if fact, represents culture itself. Make no mistake about it. The violation of child or adolescent by a priest IS incest. The sexual and relational transgression perpetrated by the father of the child extended family; a man whom the child is taught from birth to trust above everyone else in his life, to trust second only to God. Priest abuse IS incest.
Despite the cultural universality of the incest taboo, violation of sexual boundaries between adults and children is a universal phenomenon. Data collected over the past two decades inform us that about one third of all females and one fourth of all males are sexually abused in some way prior to the age of 18. These numbers hold up worldwide. From Italy to Ireland to India; from Thailand to Mexico, in Canada and the Middle East, children's physical and psychic boundaries are violated sexually with alarming frequency. Thus, the sexual victimization of minors is not just an American problem nor is it just a priestly problem. Rather, sexual exploitation of the young is a worldwide scandal in which Catholic priests have participated as fully and as secretly as have other men across the globe.
So far in these remarks. I have used the commonly accepted term,"sexual abuse," to describe an adult's sexual traumatization of a child or adolescent. In fact, however, "sexual abuse," is shorthand terminology for what more accurately is named the relational betrayal of a minor by an adult who is in a position of authority with the child and who exploits his own and victim's sexuality to subjective empower himself by utterly dominating the physical, psychological, and spiritual experiences of the victim. No wonder we use shorthand. From the victim's perspective, however, sexually executed relational abuse is the most meaningful way of conceptualizing that which we call sexual abuse.
As we have read in the media and heard today, sexual abuse victims often are young people for whom something or someone is missing. They yearn for an adult who sees them, hears them, understands them, makes time for them, and enjoys their company. Unfortunately, the sexual predator is exquisitely attuned to the emotional and relational needs of the potential victims. Like Fr. Geoghan seeking out fatherless children, sexual abusers ingratiate themselves into the lives of their victims, evoking respect trust and dependency long before the first touch takes place. When the confused child or adolescent is frequently so emotionally entwined with his victimizer so fearful of losing the abuser's affection or simply so terrified that he readily and silently complies with the sexual activities imposed upon him.
There are those who devalue survivors of childhood and, especially adolescent sexual abuse for not disclosing their victimizations when they were occurring. Secrecy, however, is the acknowledged cornerstone of sexual abuse. Some perpetrators overtly extract secrecy by suggesting that the victim will be blamed for the abuse, then taken from her home and placed in an orphanage. They say that telling would destroy and even kill the perpetrator, or they threaten that if the victim discloses, the perpetrator will harm her or members of her family. Sexual abusers may also blame the victim, accusing her of seducing the predator, thus filling the victim with the shame and self-loathing more appropriately experienced by the victimizer. In a traumatogenically more covert covenant of secrecy, the abuser provides the victim with gifts and special privileges that both silence and instill terrible and long lasting guilt.
In addition many abused minors maintain silence because they accurately perceive that there is no one in their environment who will help them if they disclose. It is more hopeful for a child to preserve a fantasy that IF he told, someone would protect him than it is to reveal the abuse to another who ignores, blames, or re-abuses him. Finally, children and teenagers do not disclose the sexual abuse secret because they care for the perpetrator. A central cruelty of sexual abuse, in fact, is the perpetrator's trampling of the young person's generously and freely bestowed affection or respect.
It is from this epicenter of betrayed trust that the mind splitting impact of sexual abuse ripples outward. The victim, of early sexual violation simply cannot reconcile the respected figure who may help him with his homework, teach him how to throw a curve ball, or take him to the local hockey game with the sexually overstimulated and overstimulating man presenting an erect penis to suck. It is simply too much and the resulting fracture of the victim's mind and experience often leads to a debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder that affects every domain of the victim's functioning and lasts for years and years after the abuse has stopped.
Let me now guide you on a tour through the corridors of a psyche twisted by sexual transgression. It is a trip through a traumatogenically constructed, psychological House of Horrors in which experiences of self and other are grotesquely distorted and terrifying images unexpectedly pop out from seemingly safe places. The visitor lurches from one emotional shock to another in an interior atmosphere of darkness, one punctuated only by frightening flashing lights and nightmarish unreality. Our first stop is the organization of the victim's images of self and others.
When a young person is being abused, the psychological shock is so great that the normal self cannot absorb or make sense of what is happening to it. In a valiant attempt to cope with the overwhelming over stimulation and sense of betrayal literally embodied in sexual trauma, the self splits using the psychic mechanism of dissociation. The normal operation of dissociation allows, for example, each of us to drive ten miles and then "come to" with no memory of the time just past. For the victim of child or adolescent sexual violation, however, dissociation is an exponentially more dramatic process, one that serves as both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, by entering into an entirely different state of consciousness while being abused, the victim preserves a functional and safe self who is removed from the trauma and is therefore able learn, grow, play, and work. Many a patient has reported for instance, that she--the self recognized as "I"--floated above the bed on which that "other kid"--the alienated victim self--was being abused. On the other hand, the curse of dissociation condemns the state of self who experienced the abuse to a trapped existence in the inner world of the survivor, a place dominated by terror, impotent but seething rage, and grief for which there literally are no words. Because trauma impels the brain to process events quickly and in a state of hyper arousal, verbalizing pathways are by passed. Instead, the sexual violations are encoded by the child and retrieved by the survivor as non-verbal, often highly disorganizing feelings, somatic states, anxieties, recurring nightmares, flashbacks, and sometimes dangerous behaviors.
Often, the adult survivor's life is wracked by unexpected regressions to his victimized self that are triggered by seemingly neutral stimuli. Much as the Vietnam Vet who hits the floor during a thunderstorm is, in a very real way, back in the Mekong Delta seconds before his buddy's skull is blown off, so too the sexual abuse survivor may be triggered into a regression by something or someone reminiscent of his earlier traumas. No longer firmly located in the present, the survivor thinks, feels, experiences his body, and behaves as the victim he once was, badly confusing himself and those around him. For victims of priest abuse, a Roman collar, the scent of incense, light streaming through stained glass at a certain time of day, organ music, or most certainly, interacting with priests and bishops about their abuse may well evoke the appearance of usually dissociated self states.
Coexisting with the violated, terrorized, grief stricken victim self, the adult survivor of sexual abuse has within her a state of being that is identified with the perpetrator. Through this unconscious ongoing bond to the predator, the survivor preserves an attachment to the abuser by becoming like him in some ways. When threatened by experiences of helplessness, vulnerability or anticipated betrayal, the survivor unconsciously accesses this self-state to gain a sense of empowerment. Subjectively experiencing themselves as righteously indignant, survivors may enact at times breathtaking boundary smashing, cold contempt, and red-hot rage. Not surprisingly, survivors are sickened by the thought that they resemble in any way their perpetrators and therefore avert their gaze from their own Swords of Shannara for long periods of time lest they fragment even further at the sight of their own abusive tendencies. I want to be clear that, here, I do not mean that survivors become sexually abusive. While that can happen, it is exceedingly rare. Rather, they enact some aspect's of there abuser's lack of respect for others. It is important for therapists and, in this case bishops, to recognize that the clay of the survivor's abuser self was molded quite literally by the hands of a master - their own sexual and relational victimizer. While those in relationship with survivors can model setting limits on what they will tolerate in relationship with another, an empathic understanding of the source of the survivor's sometimes outrageous behavior is essential to hold in mind.
Finally, the sexual abuse survivor sometimes may enact an aspect of self that is greedy, grandiose, and insatiably entitled, an element of self that remains out of awareness for a long time. There comes a day in every survivor's recovery upon which he fully comprehends what was so cruelly taken from him. Further personal growth and healing requires that the survivor then mourn the childhood or adolescence that never was, the defensively idealized caretakers who never existed, and perhaps most poignantly, the self that could have been had trust, hope, and possibility not been so brutally shattered.
I cannot exaggerate nor can I adequately convey the soul searing pain of this phase of recovery. One patient, at this point in treatment, cried, "This is too much. I can't stand it - I won't -- you can't make me. I can deal with the abuse -- maybe, perhaps. But the idea that I can't go back, that my childhood is broken forever -- I can't live with that. I won't know that I never was and never will be just a kid."
Quite understandably, the sexual abuse survivor may act to avoid the ultimate mourning necessary to move on from the abuse and all that was stolen from him. Launching a lawsuit against the perpetrator or against those who abetted the abuser may be one strategy employed to deny unrecoverable loss, while instead pursuing an illusion of full restitution of that which, tragically, never can be restored. No matter the amount of the ensuing financial settlement, a residue of emptiness and lost hope persists. At the core of the survivor's being, the worst has happened yet again; he has been paid off to go away while life goes on relatively untouched for the perpetrator and those who shielded him.
Now let me be absolutely clear. Money can be a little better than nothing and is what the Church too often historically offered victims. Many survivors, in fact, resorted to lawsuits only after being stonewalled in their quest for more personal reparative gestures. Legal action, in this situation, represents a last ditch effort by the survivor to become an agent in his own life. Further, a lawsuit, when all else has failed, puts into action an understandable demand that the truth be told one way or another. In addition, many survivors need financial assistance for therapy, substance abuse rehabilitation, and educational or vocational training previously unattainable because of post-traumatic stress symptoms plaguing the victims. But money is not nearly enough, no matter how much it is, and lump sum payments that are not individualized to meet the specific needs of each survivor fail to meet recovery needs. Rather, what serves healing well is much more difficult, much more personal, and much more humbling for clergy.
Real healing for survivors requires that priests, bishops, and cardinals conform to the template upon which rests the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the ritual cleansing of the soul in which Catholic priests profoundly believe. Real healing thus demands that Catholic clergy apologize personally to each and every victim of priest abuse; not through eloquent public letters but in face-to-face encounters. Bless me, my son or daughter, for I have sinned. The Vatican recently cautioned that the administration of group absolution is not an acceptable venue and that confessions should be heard individually and in private. So, too, survivors deserve to meet with those who have harmed them and to hear from clergy genuine confessions of failings and remorse.
Real healing must draw from the Church a deeply meaningful commitment that every priest, bishop, and cardinal will do everything in his power to prevent further priest abuse, and that he will act swiftly, decisively, and above all, publicly to remove abusers from his ranks. Finally, cardinals, bishops and priest must do penance to restore each survivor's trust in humanity as well as in the Church. Retreats and group processing sessions that include survivors, clergy, and professionals are just some possible approaches to restorative penance. Whatever penitential road is chosen, it is essential that the clergy of the Catholic Church put their mouths, souls, and physical beings where heretofore mostly only their money has been. It is right and it is needed for survivors of priest abuse to heal.
Leaving the realm of sexual abuse survivor's organization of self, we enter a related corridor on our tour, one in which we explore typical characteristics of the victim's interpersonal relationships.
A survivor's relationships with other people are hued and shaded by expectations and anxieties forged during their traumatic experiences. Approaching others from within the psychological confines of post-traumatic stress disorder, the trauma survivor exhibits rapidly shifting relational stances, painfully lurching from periods of extremely dependent clinging, to those marked by vicious rage aimed at the same person. Stark terror and tears can switch in an instant to cold aloofness, while warmth and vivacity may turn kaleidoscopically to paranoid suspicion. All this, of course, leads to many chaotically unstable relationships, often alternating with stretches of the loneliest isolation.
Perhaps needless to say, normal sexual functioning is almost impossible for most survivors until well into their recovery. Too often, sex, even with a trusted other, triggers terrifyingly disorganizing flashbacks during which survivors sometimes literally see the face of their abuser superimposed on the visage of their sexual partner and experience dreadful relivings of their sexual traumas. In addition, survivors frequently are disgusted by and ashamed of their own bodies and sexual strivings. Unreasonably blaming the abuse on their own sexuality, they often desperately insist that it never would have happened were it not for their self-perceived horribly seductive bodies and deplorable sexual desires. Heterosexual boys abused by men additionally are tormented, wondering what it was about them that attracted the perpetrator. Sexual abuse survivors of all genders and sexual orientations are deprived of the right to grow gradually into a mature sexuality and, instead, are forced or seduced into premature sexual encounters they are emotionally ill equipped to handle. As adults, therefore, these men and women often spin between periods of promiscuous and self-destructive sexual acting out and times of complete sexual shutdown during which, like burn victims, they experience the gentlest physical contact as excruciatingly painful.
Finally, there is a characteristic relational stance assumed by many sexual abuse survivors that is particularly germane to these proceedings. It involves others who did not abuse them but also did not protect them.
If it takes a community to raise a child, it also takes a community to abuse one so that whenever a minor is sexually violated, someone's eyes are closed. Throughout history and in every segment of society, the most common response to the suspicion or even the disclosure of childhood sexual abuse has been self-defensive denial and dissociation. No one finds it easy to stand in the overwhelming and destabilizing reality of sexual abuse. Thus, blindness, deafness, and elective mutism responses endemic to many confronted by a victimized child, an adult survivor, or a perpetrating adult. To the extent, however, that the sexual victimization of a minor depends upon the silence of adults who knew, suspected, or should have known about the abuse, the burdens of shame and reparation reach beyond the perpetrator. In the case of the Church, it is not just abusing priests and abetting bishops who must lift a symbolic Sword of Shannara and face what is reflected back to them in its blade. Rather, every rectory housekeeper, every parish maintenance man, every religious woman or lay teacher, every parishioner - any of these individuals who once felt uneasy about a priest's relationship with a young boy or girl and said nothing need ponder their inaction and resolve to behave protectively in the future. Zero tolerance must include the silent as well as the predatory.
What is important to recognize at this conference is that adult survivors of sexual abuse frequently are, at least initially, even angrier with adults who failed to protect them than they are with the perpetrator himself. Because the survivor's internal relationship with his abuser often is organized around competing feelings of attachment and hate, he often feels freer to turn the full blast of his long pent-up rage and bitterness on those who did not protect him and who, in addition, failed to provide for him in ways the perpetrator seemed to, albeit at an unholy cost to the exploited child or adolescent.
How turning down another corridor on our tour of a psyche ravaged by early sexual trauma, we examine the impact of sexual abuse on the cognitive functioning of the victim and survivor. Part of what is overwhelmed during sexual abuse is the young person's ability cognitively to contain, process, and put into words the enormity of the relational betrayal and physical impingement with which he is faced. It is striking and often bewildering to observe in adult survivors completely contradictory thought processes that ebb and flow with little predictability. One moment, you are speaking with an intelligent adult, capable of complex, flexible, abstract, and self decentered thinking. Under sufficient internal or external stress, however, or in situations somehow reminiscent of past abuse, the cognitive integrity of the survivor shatters and becomes locked in rigidly inflexible,self-centered thought patterns, simplistic black and white opinions devoid of nuance and an immutable conviction that the future is destined to be both short and unalterably empty. For example, one survivor patient who worked as an investment banker was so intellectually gifted that she was considered a brilliant whiz kid in the competitive New York world of finance. When beset by psychological or interpersonal stimuli linked to her uncle's sexual abuse, however, she became in her own words, "stupid minded." At those times, she literally could not think at all or could access only immature, disorganizing and panicky ways of thinking.
If a survivor's cognitive functioning is severely ruptured by sexual abuse, his affective life, the next stop on our tour, is even more impaired. When a young person is sexually traumatized, the hyper arousal of the autonomic nervous system and the body's subsequent attempt to restore order disrupt the brain's neurochemical regulation of emotion. In addition, we are now learning that attachment relationships also impact upon the brain's ability to modulate feelings, with traumatic attachment experiences interfering with effective neuropsychological regulation of affect. The brain of the sexually abused minor thus suffers a double assault. Both the sexual traumas themselves and the betrayal of an attachment relationship assail the flow of affect modulating neuro chemicals.
As an adult, the survivor shifts--sometimes quite rapidly--between states of chaotically intense hyper arousal and deadened states of psychic numbing. This inability to modulate emotional arousal often leads to interpersonally inappropriate verbal or motoric actions when the survivor is hyper stimulated, and to similarly inappropriate emotional and psychomotor constriction as the individual moves into psychic numbing. Further, autonomic arousal becomes a generalized reaction to stress in the midst of which the sexual abuse survivor is unable to discern realistically the severity of a perceived threat. Instead of reacting at the actual level of psychological danger, the survivor may engage in seemingly irrational behaviors like temper tantrums or terrified withdrawal. These behaviors do no fit the present day situation but are perfectly complimentary to the now affectively revived earlier trauma.
Because of the damage done by sexual abuse to affective brain functioning, adult survivors often need psychotropic medications for periods of time during recovery. For some, their impairments are sufficiently intractable to require lifelong medication. These drugs are expensive and it would be a specific and reparative use of Church funds to provide survivors who are under the care of psychiatric professionals with the medications they need to function more adaptively.
We now are almost finished with our psychological tour and are about to enter what can be the most shocking corridor of all. Also partly due to disrupted brain functioning, sexual abuse survivors often display a truly spectacular array of self-destructive behaviors. They slice their arms, thighs, and genitalia with knives, razors, or shards of broken glass. They burn themselves with cigarettes, pull hair from their heads and pubic areas, walk through dark parks alone at night, play chicken with trains at railroad crossings, pick up strangers in bars to have unprotected and anonymous sex, drive recklessly at high speeds, gamble compulsively, and/or further destroy their minds and bodies with alcohol and the whole range of street drugs. Both male and female prostitutes tend to have backgrounds of early sexual abuse. Survivors also are two to three times more likely than adults without abuse histories to make at least one suicide attempt in their lives (Briere& Runtz, 1986). Sometimes they die.
Survivor self-abuse performs a myriad of functions too complex to address adequately today. A quick inventory of a survivor's motivations to act self-destructively includes: punishment for the abuse he blames himself for; mastering victimization by taking charge of the timing and execution of harm; self-medication of turbulent affective storms; and unconsciously seeking states of hyper arousal that then trigger the release of brain opiods, providing the survivor with a temporary sense of calm. At an even more deeply unconscious level, frighteningly self-destructive sexual abuse survivors want to turn the table on present day stand-ins for those who violated and neglected them. Unconsciously, they long to see their own terror, helplessness, impotent rage, and shocked recognition of utter betrayal reflected now on the face of someone in their lives. Who can blame them?
As we exit now from our tour of the terrifyingly disorienting psychological House of Horrors, constructed amidst sexual abuse, and maintained by its aftermath, it should be clear that a survivor's recovery is a long, complicated, sometimes treacherous process. There is a cohort in this country of professional men and women who have labored long and hard in the clinical trenches of trauma since the sexual abuse of children was dragged out of society's skeleton closet in the early 1980's. The bishops and priests of the Catholic Church need the expertise of professionals to effect healing both within the Church and in relationship with survivors. Please call on us to help you.
Psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold entitled his book on the effects of childhood sexual abuse, Soul Murder (Shengold, 1989). I do not think that early sexual trauma necessarily has to result in soul murder but it most surely batters and deadens the soul of the young victim and the adult survivor. That this ravaging of souls has been administered by priests entrusted with a sacred covenant to protect and enliven souls is despicable; it is evil itself.
The Catholic Church and you, its American shepherds, are at a crossroads. Like the recovering victim of sexual abuse, you can choose to defend, deny, retrench, and rigidify. You can refuse the reflection of a Sword of Shannara and turn away from all your decency, all your love and generosity, all your arrogance and indifference. When a survivor takes that familiar and well-worn road, further fragmentation and diminished integrity of mind and soul ensues. But, as is the case for so many sexual abuse survivors, another road can be chosen. Collectively wielding a blade shining with truth and courageous determination, you can decide to lead the American Church on a path of recovery, growth, and restored faith. This conference could become a new epicenter from which ripples the revitalization and restoration of souls. It is a matter of your will which road is taken. May great grace walk with you and guide you in the days to come. It has been a great grace to me to address you today.
A Fair Dinkum Letter To the Pope, Leader of The Roman Catholic Church IGFA: A Fair Dinkum Letter To the Pope, Leader of The Roman Catholic Church
A Fair Dinkum Letter To the Pope, Leader of The Roman Catholic Church
24th April 2008
I heard the other day that you apologized to five people in America who have been abused by Roman Catholic priests. Unfortunately, I feel that, like all of the Catholic Church's efforts to deal with clergy sexual abuse, this was a gesture designed to protect the good name of the church.
But, you were not the one who had to lay awake at night, wondering if the car traveling at breakneck speed, disappearing in the distance, was the last time you would hear your son, a victim of a Roman Catholic priest, alive.
You were not the one who had to take your son to hospital at 2.30 in the morning, because he had broken three bones in his hand, in a fit of anger and guilt, because his mind had been so poisoned, that the priest was able to convince him everything was his fault.
You were not the one who had to work harder than any man should have to work, to keep a fractured family together. And you were not the one that was forced to watch your son's belief in God smashed beyond repair. This and much, much more happened to me.
It has caused me to go completely blind in the left eye, following the realisation that the same priest who molested my son, baptised my seven day old daughter a couple of months after he first molested my son.
All this was capped off by the priest I reported it to, saying to my wife and I, "Oh yes, this man has a reputation for this sort of thing, "I can't possibly express the anger I feel when I think about this, knowing that this priest and other people in the hierarchy of the organisation you head, knew of this man's reputation as an abuser of children, yet chose to let him loose among our children.
I was forced to agree to bring my children up as Catholic, so my wife could marry in the Church of her faith. I took this promise seriously, only to find that the Catholic Church feels it has absolutely no duty of care or sense of protection towards my children.
The Church has shown a blatant disregard for my son's welfare, and the welfare of my family, so the family I envisaged that I would have as an old man, is vastly different from what Iperceived. The sexual and psychological abuse by the priest, and the disregard from the Church shown towards my family, especially to my son, means that he will never know what comfort could be possible to obtain from the church.
I know of people who have lost young family members, who could not face the world with the guilt instilled in them by the priests who raped, sodomised and abused them.
I know teachers who have lost jobs, because they felt it was their duty to report priests, when children in their care reported to them, that they did not like the way priests touched them.
With one fraction of the effort you put into a press release, you could pick up a pen and make it possible for priests to marry; you could announce a zero tolerance policy for child molesters; you could prevent pedophile men from signing up to train for the priesthood.
How can it be that your organisation can train a priest for seven years, and not pick up any psychological problems in that time, but teachers with minimum training in pedophile behavior, can recognise enough grooming signs to sound their warning bells, after a few weeks. However, if they do what any parent would expect them to do, they willbe forced out of their jobs, their careers, with their futures in tatters in every possible way.
My son was sexually and psychologically abused by a parish priest, of your Melbourne Church, for over three years. My son lived with the guilt for another three years, and then was further abused for another five years, by the system that the Catholic Church has in place in Melbourne.
The use of time as a weapon; keeping victims waiting for months and months, even years; is just another form of abuse, but this time organised by the Melbourne Church Response.
The efforts of the Melbourne Response professionals to minimise abuse can only be regarded by victims, as collusive self-preservation by the Melbourne Archdiocese operating like some large corporations. The Melbourne system needs thorough evaluation and overhaul by truly independent professionals.
Dear Pope, if you are genuinely sorry about the lives of victims, their families, parishioners and others affected by clergy abuse, I ask that you do something constructive.
- Don't allow any more false promises, and let parents know who does accept responsibility for the welfare and protection of their children.
- If you're fair dinkum about Human Rights, let your espoused concern be directed, to the hurting masses of people, whose lives have been decimated by this great hidden scourge of the Church's sexual abuse scandal, and allow the true figures of the numbers of clergy sexual abusers to be published.
- If you're fair dinkum, provide funding for education of hierarchy, clergy, teachers through the school systems, for parents and children in parishes. Use programs from the community, already developed by secular professionals. This would take up a fraction of the energy and finances the Catholic Church is investing World Youth Day.
- If you're fair dinkum, fund true listening and healing programs for the sexually abused, their families and people in the parishes. This would take seriously the need for restoration and reconciliation across all these important and neglected people.
- If you're fair dinkum about providing healing and hope for us all, and you have no ulterior motive to attract young people back to the church, introduce a broad-spectrum policy of absolute truth from the absolute beginning.
Pope Benedict, you can be the first Pope in history to recognise the historical enormity of the wounds of clergy sexual abuse and to move the Church forward to act to heal these wounds.
For the last five years your bishops refused to meet with us, leaving us with absolutely no option but to communicate with you by these public means. Will you meet with us, or instruct your bishops to match their actions to your recent promises?
There are already over one hundred Australian priests convicted of sexual abuse and many more have been dealt with secretly by the Church...
BEFORE ANOTHER CHILD IS ABUSED PLEASE ACT!
From Ian Lawther who is a member of HEAR : Healesville Education and Awareness Raising re Clergy Professional Misconduct and Sexual Abuse.
Tel 0427 511 702
I believe it would be a deliberate act of high treason against the Commonwealth of Australia and the people of Australia should any individual at any level of Governance, Justice, Charity, Religion, Business or Community fail to act in accord to bring about an immediate halt to these human rights abuses.
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