Miranda McKinnon posted an update 5 days, 19 hours ago
Clergy Abuse comprises a wide-range of immoral and heinous behaviors frequently commited on children and tweens by pedophilic clergy or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying degrees. The abuse might be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barencounter or it may involve several assaults within a continuing interaction. For instance, an ongoing “trusting” interaction with a child created by the predatory behavior of a clergy member, cloaked by the trust and reverence provided to a member of the clergy, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.
In nearly all claimed Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse scenarios, the short-coming by the Clergy member’s employer to fully, adequately and immediately report the crime to police and other authorities, or its further failure to investigate, address and deal entirely with the situation amplifies the effects on the abuse survivor, the community and possibly others. Recent Priest Sexual Abuse cases reported in the media uncover these failures, that includes “pass-the-trash” situations when the predator frequently a clergy in the Catholic Church, is silently moved from one church to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal action on an innocent parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse and Justice
Not a week goes by without a news announcement coverage regarding sexual assault and molestation of young children by predator clergy, or the aftermath of the abuse on the victims and their families. If you are a victim of sexual assault from a priest or other church member, these stories are most likely to act as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, shame, guilt and other unwanted emotions staining your well-being. Encouraged by the societal movement and other channels that encourage victims to disclose the abuse they suffered, victims of abuse are increasingly employing the legal system to compensate them for the lifetime harm and injury they have experienced.
If you are a survivor of assault perpetrated by a priest, the impact of the abuse on your life and core belief system might be immeasurable. Nonetheless, holding the responsible clergy and institutions to blame for their crimes and indifference can offer a measure of justice and recompense to assault survivors. Oftentimes, survivors can assert their legal rights in confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is necessary, a motion might be filed where the survivor can remain anonymous.
All predators, to varying amounts, employ predatory tactics which are commonly known as grooming, aiming at a potential assault victim. Following is a survey of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate young child.
Grooming is a significant part of a predator’s strategy. In a religious setting, the priest is held as God’s representative. Within this setting, the predator often works closely with small amounts of children, identifying each child’s needs, weaknesses and situations. Once a victim is located, these vulnerabilities – like violent family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – might be systematically exploited in the following ways:
An assaulter will initially work to gain the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as religious communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the priest can feign sincere interest in the child’s wellness and groeth – both emotional and religious.
As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential target and oftentimes their family, the child will begin to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling. The child will devote increased time with the priest, feeling more comfortable with the relationship and counting on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the potential target might receive presents from the priest, including valuable, intangible gifts like blessings and special recognition.
As the grooming progresses, the predator might work to isolate the possible target. This might mean solo counseling meetings, meals or other forms of one-on-one isolated encounters.
The predator may start to de-sensitize the child from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and various behaviors that lead to sexual interaction. This could begin with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to determine the victim’s response to the progression. This will continue until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
As the sexual relationship is established, the predator will work to maintain control of the child and the continued interaction. The predator may likely want to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the victim feel special and worthy. The predator will keep exploiting the target by whatever means needed to maintain the immoral physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The effect of childhood assault on the survivor can be severe and life-changing. Several priest assault survivors suffer from lifelong effects of the assault including depression, disturbed sleeping, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and eating patterns, and problems establishing and keeping healthy relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can assist victims overcome these effects.
Legally, a survivor of Clergy Sexual Assault can recover financial compensation from the abuser and, more commonly, from the church for its failure to protect the victim from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its process of reviewing and resolving to reports of assault. If you are a victim of Priest or Clergy Sexual Assault and would like to confidentially discuss your situation and your legal options, we are prepared to speak with you.