Social Question

LuckyGuy's avatar

Why is there no #metoo like movement for those sexually abused by members of the clergy, i.e. ministers, priests, rabbis, etc.?

Asked by LuckyGuy (35772points) 1 month ago

Should there be? In recent news a coverup by Catholic that lasted for decades was exposed in the state of Pennsylvania involving hundreds of victims. That is only one state.
It is likely there are many more.
Why isn’t there a #metoo like movement to expose this abuse?

(Maybe there is one already but if there is I have not heard about it.)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

83 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Because the victims were children when it happened, so there is too much shame involved.
It also is being actively suppressed by the church, which also engages in victim blaming, saying that the priests were seduced by the kids.

janbb's avatar

I think as loli says there is much shame involved in coming forward. There certainly are victims who have spoken out but not that many. The film “Spotlight” has some good insights into this issue.

When you were abused as a child, it is not always easy to confront it or your abuser as an adult.

filmfann's avatar

http://www.ascasupport.org

Certainly there are support groups for victims of sex abuse.

Honestly, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t suffered sexual abuse of some kind.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There 100% should be, for any form of abuse that is not normally brought to light.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Probably because, right or wrong, the clergy of (any) religion tends to be accorded respect and adulation, and a can-do-no-wrong attitude (until, of course, they do!).

This is largely because religious people purposely ignore misbehaving clery, because they can’t feel that their church or their rabbi or their minister would possibly be doing something wrong. And that’s because it would reflect directly on the religious person him or herself, for making the decision to pray at that house of worship with that leader.

In essence, a bad preacher would make the parishioner look stupid for having been a member of that congregation. So they ignore it or sublimate it.

When will people learn that clergy are regular people like you and me with a little bit of specialized education? They aren’t gods and they aren’t perfect.

janbb's avatar

I do think the abuse issues are coming out more because victims are coming forward; they’re just not doing it as publicly as the #MeToo movement because of shame. And as #filmfann says, there are support groups.

Jeruba's avatar

Hasn’t something like “me too” been going on in the Catholic church’s domain since long before Twitter was founded? There have been many reports and investigations. But I don’t know how anyone could answer a question about why some individual victim has not come forward to launch a movement.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Most of the victims were male. There is even more stigma for males that are sexually abused, than there is for women.

@elbanditoroso When will people learn that clergy are regular people like you and me with a little bit of specialized education? They aren’t gods and they aren’t perfect.
Could you clarify what your point was?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Dutchess_III – my point is that people (big picture) appear to expect their ministers to be above doing things like sexual harassment, sexual abuse, graft, embezzlement, and so on.

But their ministers are human – not godlike – and some of them are just as craven and given to doing bad things as anyone else.

The issue is that congregation members tend to put their clergy on a pedestal. That’s wrong.

Jeruba's avatar

@elbanditoroso,

> The issue is that congregation members tend to put their clergy on a pedestal. That’s wrong.

That’s the issue? Not abuse of trust, not criminal behavior, not betrayal of vows, not pleasuring oneself at the expense of others, not reprehensible conduct toward children? It’s the fault of the congregation for expecting the people who are supposed to offer them moral and spiritual guidance to practice those same moral and spiritual principles themselves?

I don’t think anyone expects clergymen to be perfect. But blaming the congregation? You’re right, there sure is something wrong here.

JLeslie's avatar

After the huge reveal about the pedophilia in the Catholic Church years ago, there was at least a small movement for people to come out. I remember Oprah having a show with where the studio audience was completely full of people who had been abused, and yes it’s mostly men. Gaydar tells me they were mostly gay. Not that it matters, but it just makes me wonder if these horribly clergy pick their target with some of the same gaydar, or if the event has an effect in sexually identity. I’m sure some people will be angry with me for saying that.

When that big story went down about the Priests, it didn’t surprise me at all that some Priests we’re doing this, I was a little surprised by the cover up, and parents going along with being paid off.

I think there is still more difficulty for adults to admit sexual abuse when they were children just as jellies said above. If you say you were sexually abused, or had an incident as a child the reaction of people is sometimes very odd. It feels like maybe they view you differently now, even if they don’t.

Plus, if you are gay, but not out, you might be hesitant to talk about same sex abuse, and if you are straight, you may be hesitant to talk about same sex abuse. Women being taken advantage of and sexually abused by men is a story well known and as old as time.

Plus, there is still peer pressure in communities to keep things quiet. Taking down clergy with accusations can severely disrupt a religious community, that’s a big responsibility for some. Not only clergy, but coaches, teachers, and other men who are revered in a community.

There should be more of a movement probably; it would help shed any shame. Shame harms the soul, it is a horrible thing. None of these abused children should be feeling shame.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It seems that people are sweeping it under the rug. On the radio today I heard people saying things like “This happens all over. It is not just the Catholic church.” “This was a long time ago..” “People are imperfect.” “This is past the statute of limitations.”

Isn’t this type of abuse occurring today?

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Jeruba. I disagree. The congregation, is what gives a church it’s power. Why not hold them accountable for keeping their own house in order?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Are you making excuses for the clergy @MrGrimm888? Are you suggesting the responsibility should be shared? Are you suggesting the congregation knew what was happening and did nothing about it? Are you suggesting members of their congregation sent their sons to become alter boys, or to private Catholic schools knowing they were going to be sexually molested?

Jeruba's avatar

A church is not a democracy.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Something like that. Yes. I find it hard to believe that so many kids were being raped, and NOBODY suspected ANYTHING. Male on male rape can result in multiple injuries. Even “consensual” anal sex, can result in medical issues. Combine that with kids suddenly acting different, and other signs. I think there must be a lot of faith, optimism, and denial going on. Like @elbanditoroso said. Nobody wants it to be their church. I’ve been around families, that have had a sexual predator in the fold. They are largely ignored, until the issue becomes too big to hide.

Yes. The congregation is ultimately responsible. Just like with Trump. Trump is only POTUS, because of his supporters. They empowered him. And despite all his atrocities on our country, and the world, they still back their guy. It takes powerful denial, and being willfully obtuse, or willfully blind/deaf. But it can be done.
Without that third-%20 of shitty American people, Trump would be just a bigot screaming to nobody on a street corner.

Religion is designed to control people. This is another example of how brainwashed followers are. The fear of opposing one’s church, is more powerful than the concern for their children.

Let’s take another example. Michael Jackson. People had a blind love for him. Yes. They allowed their children to go to a known (well, he had been to court for it) sexual predator, who built an amusement park on his property to lure as many kids as possible.

Shit happens…

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Jeruba . No. But it can be treated like a business. It can be boycotted into change, or failure. No excuses.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy As others have said, this has been coming out over many years. This is not the first accusation. Certainly the Catholic church hierarchy has been complicit in covering it up so it has not achieved the publicity of the #MeToo movement. But it is being confronted by the Church and others more and more.

Do see the film “Spotlight” if you wnt some more insight. It is about the Boston Globe’s investigation of abuse by priests in the Boston area.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Sad. God allows people who represent him, to rape and hurt, the most vulnerable of his flock. And in many cases, in a house of worship, or sanctuary.

Forget rape. God has allowed awful things to happen all the time. Where’s the #metoo for people God watches suffer and die? That would be a club in the billions. I wonder how many boys prayed for God to help them, as a priest raped them over, and over again, over years?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@janbb I will look into that movie. Thanks!
@MrGrimm888 I also can’t understand how a parent (a father) who hears about the rape does not go into the booth, or wherever, and twist the priest’s collar so tight he cannot breath and then softly whisper. “Stay the **** away from my son or you will be meeting your maker earlier than expected.”

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I don’t understand why people would take their kids there at all. I was just listing the top 5 places, that I would expect homosexual rape. Prison, and a Catholic Church, were in my top 5… Maybe that’s just my biases, but I think that would stand true with many.
So… If rape is a concern for a parent. They should hope to keep their kids away from both prison, and church… The reputation, would be sufficient to me.

JLeslie's avatar

I mentioned above that parents were paid off in the past, and for the life of me I cannot understand how parents did it. Maybe during a time when even the law did nothing to protect or prosecute these abusers the parents reasoned it won’t do any good anyway, might as well take the money, but still, I would think most parents would want to kill the offender.

Not turning these clergy into the law is criminal. Possibly, the parents didn’t understand that this was happening to other children too. That’s part of the problem with the silence, which is why this Q is important. Being able to speak up without shame is how we know that others have been hurt.

Some cultures around the world, or even subcultures in America, will not talk about this sort of thing.

I remind you that Susan B Komen partly started her breast cancer foundation, because her sister suffered practically in silence and “alone” because at the time you didn’t dare say breast in mixed company, let alone talk about breast cancer. Komen wanted itto be ok to say, to seek support, to let others know what the woman herself was going through with shame. Maybe the next movement will be childhood sexual abuse so people can feel free of the burden of holding in the secret.

It’s not only the Catholic Church, anyone who believes that is naive.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I see it as religious people pimping out their children, to save their faith….

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JLeslie wrote: It’s not only the Catholic Church, anyone who believes that is naive.

Definitely not. I have known two rabbis in the city where I grew up who had to leave in disgrace for doing bad things. One was embezzlement (which is a crime but not a sexual one). The other was beating his wife and kids. No pedophilia or sexual stuff, at least that came out, but there was the whiff of suspicion. He quit and left town in a hurry.

And here in Georgia, there have been any number of Baptist preachers that have had to resign their pulpits in disgrace for doing various things with children in their congregations. Most recently a youth minister in NW Georgia.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I completely disagree.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^They know it’s a place, that has a reputation (in regards to homosexual rape) in sync with our prison systems. And they send their children there… Did I miss something?

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso I think it’s especially tricky in the orthodox communities. So tight knit and protective from wanting outside people interfering.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 They didn’t know. They only knew that it happened to their child. People didn’t know how systemic it was in terms of cover up.

They weren’t pimping their kids. Pimping their kids would be offering them up to the Priests, they didn’t do that. They believed their children were in the safest place possible.

I’m sure my MIL when her kids were little had no clue that a Priest could do such a thing or that many Priests were gay. I want to clarify that I do NOT believe gay men are more likely to be pedophiles, it’s two separate things. She just had no ideas such things could go on in the church. Now, she knows differently, mostly because her oldest son is gay and tells her how he sees the Priests out in Ft. Lauderdale when he lived there. He also has half explained he became disenchanted with Catholicism, because they (the Priests) are hypocrites. That’s how he words it.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Again. I fault the congregation. They empowered these rapists. They sent their kids there. They are responsible.
They should have held their church responsible for each, and every infraction. And they damned sure SHOULDN’T HAVE GONE BACK! There is NO argument, in the world, that would have me bring my child back into a place of sexual misconduct, and cover up. I place the blame where it should be. On the parents. The congregation…

JLeslie's avatar

^^They didn’t know as a collective. It was individuals.

MrGrimm888's avatar

No… People talk. This has been going on for hundreds, or even thousands of years, in some cases. Sending your child to one of these places, is rolling the dice. And it’s ok. Versus questioning the integrity, or reality, of the whole organization. To it’s brainwashed members….

JLeslie's avatar

^^Are you Catholic? I think the problem is people didn’t talk. I could be wrong.

We would have to ask a bunch of Catholics I guess.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I am not catholic. But. From since I can remember, it’s been a “thing,” with catholic churches. And everything I have read, says it goes back, a LONG time. I know formerly catholic women, who claim rampant woman on girl sexual assault too.

None of it surprises me… People in power abuse it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think you live in some sort of fantasy world @MrGrimm888! I have yet to hear of one incident involving a female as the abuser. They are all men.

Brian1946's avatar

How many WOG sexual assaults, have been committed by female Catholic functionaries? My guess is nun. ;-)

MrGrimm888's avatar

Dutch . I know two females, who claim they were sexualy assaulted by women, in the Catholic Church. If you don’t want to believe the victims, that sucks, because that’s a big part of the problem in regards to any sexual assault.

If you need to see women, as equal to men, do some research on female teachers and their actions with underage boys. Take into account, that what you read, is just a tip of a massive iceberg, as males report these instances less often…

Sorry. You think women, can so anything men can. Well. You’re right. They manipulate young people for sexual reasons, but get called on it FAR less. There’s no way, you aren’t aware of this fact….

LuckyGuy's avatar

Pope Francis just made an announcement (8/20/18) that the Church should “acknowledge the past sins and abuses.” What does that mean? Are they going to do anything about it?
Just saying “OK. We did it.” doesn’t do much! Are they going to go after the priests?

Survivors deserve justice and help. And the perpetrators need to be punished. If they can’t be sued can they be put in prison?

ragingloli's avatar

I think that entire organisation should be treated like the transnational child abuse ring that it is.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought the church had acknowledged it already?

Of course Priests can be put in prison.

ragingloli's avatar

Oh, they “acknowledge” it every time another scandal happens, and then they do fuck all.

JLeslie's avatar

^^So, they are still paying people off and moving bad Priests around? Is that what you’re saying? Or, they acknowledging when it is found out there was another abuse? A recent abuse?

chyna's avatar

They are now giving them psychiatric care. I mean the priests. <eye roll>

MrGrimm888's avatar

If you have to tell your priest, not to rape the little boys in his church, maybe get a different priest….

Dutchess_III's avatar

You really think it’s that easy? Just get another dude who is also sexually repressed, frustrated and horny almost beyond control?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I don’t understand. If you’re addressing me…

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t see how horny has anything to do with molesting and raping kids.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You are the one who said “Get a different priest” @MrGrimm888, like it’s just that easy. The problem is within the entire hierarchy and individual priests are the manifestations of the problem.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Sorry. I still don’t understand.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not as simple as “getting a different priest.” Not in Catholicism.

ragingloli's avatar

Chances are the “new” priest was just shuffled around from another place where he diddled some choir boys.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly. The only way to keep your kids safe is to get the hell out of that religion! I don’t understand why anyone would find it so hard to do that…..

ragingloli's avatar

Fear of eternal damnation.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Fear. Fear indeed.

JLeslie's avatar

So, you all think the majority of Priests are child molesters and rapists? That all corners of Catholicism knew about the rapes and cover ups? The Catholic Church is huge. I’m sure they all knew how many gay men are Priests, but pedophiles? I don’t think so.

Are you saying all men who were alter boys knew? They all were exposed to bad Priests?

Most children who are sexually abused are abused by people the family knows or actual family members.

Basically, you gotta tell your kids not to be alone with adult men, and to run or tell if a person tries to touch them. Reassure them the bad people are liars and cannot hurt you or anyone else in your family no matter what they say.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I am NOT saying that all priests, are rapists. I AM saying that the church knew of most abusers, and covered it up, with little or no guilt…

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Have actions been taken to get rid of those in charge who were doing that? Is it handled differently now?

I can’t see hating and leaving a religion I loved, believed in, and strongly identified with, if my corner of the religion didn’t participate in the horrible acts and cover ups. It’s a huge part of people’s identity. Judging them for not leaving the church makes no sense to me. My Mormon friends think that crackpot Mormon compound in Texas where 14 year olds are married off is horrible, they don’t leave their religion because of it.

I guess they could become Episcopalians? Isn’t that where the Catholic Priests who want to get married go? Catholics don’t switch around religions like many Protestants do.

MrGrimm888's avatar

When I was a teenager, I hung a confederate flag on my wall. I had a couple shirts, with the image too. It represented a lot of pretty innocent things, to me. It felt like it made me fit in. I felt like it identified me as southern, and as someone who didn’t just fall in line. It was rebellious, and fun.

Then. I realized that there were a lot of terrible people, who flew the same flag. They flew it for hate…

Well… I had a decision to make. I could keep flying my rebel flag, and sadly/somehow show support for the bad people who flew it, or I could abandon what some saw as a symbol of hate. Well. I took my flag down. I threw my shirts away.

I’m still the same guy. Still southern. Still a rebel. Still don’t “fall in line.” I just don’t align myself, with hate groups, by flying the rebel flag…

I guess it depends on a person’s character. Are you strong enough to walk alone? If that’s what it means, to leave a place that is immoral?

I am very anti-religion. So, I am biased. But yeah. If I was contributing to a religion that had a track record of rape, I’d have no problems leaving it. I see only fear, as an obstacle…

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Do those who were sexually abused in the church see the Catholic Church as a symbol of their abuse? I understand the church might be traumatic to them, like anyone going back to a place that a traumatic event happened, but do they see a church and wonder if the people inside want to harm and kill them? I’m just asking, I don’t know how they feel honestly as a group about it.

That confederate flag means to me the people flying it might want to kill me, even now, it’s not just a thing of the past. I know a lot of Southerners who do display it don’t want to kill me, but I just don’t know who is who.

It’s not just fear that is the obstacle, it can be a large part of their social network, and they might find great solice in their church. My MIL loves going to church, it makes her feel safe and good and it’s familiar. If she found out her priest did something horrible I’m sure she would never want to see him again.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I have not been abused by a priest. I cannot speak for those whom have been.

I mentioned earlier, that I did a personal exercise, and tried to think of the top 5 places where I would expect homosexual rape. Prison, and church, were my top 2. Why a person would trust such a place with their children is ,I assume, blissful ignorance…

JLeslie's avatar

^^The Catholic Church fiasco was pedophilia. Calling it homosexual rape implies it is something homosexuals do more than straight men, and I think that’s a big problem, just like me having a problem with what someone said above about horny men. The average man, whether gay or straight, if he is so horny that he’s going to cheat on an SO, or pay for sex, he certainly would never think to go after a child. Child rapists are a different lot all together.

There were some instances of young priests having relationships with teen boys, that some argue shouldn’t be counted in the pedophilia scandal, I can see an argument for that, but like outside of the church, if there was coercion, or if the years between the young men was more than a few years, then it could be statutory rape. State laws apply even in the church.

Still, the upset regarding the church is pedophilia, not adult rape.

MrGrimm888's avatar

No. I COMPLETELY disagree. I was talking about places where homosexual rape was most likely. It had nothing to do with an ordinary homosexual. We can stop that stupid shit, right now…

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie Listen…the priests take vows of chastity. They are not allowed to have an S/O. They are not allowed to visit prostitutes. They do not have the outlets for normal sex that normal people have.
Do you see the problem now?
Some of them probably justified what they were doing wasn’t really sex, since it was with a child and not an adult. Also, I’d bet many, many of them were molested by priests themselves when they were younger so it’s kind of normal for them.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I don’t think homosexual rape is more likely in a church. I disagree with you. I don’t think adult men have to have too much worry about being raped by a Priest, but I guess you do.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I understand that the priesthood attracted pedophiles and gay men. It was like a haven.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you understand that it’s the vows of chastity that are at the root of this problem?

JLeslie's avatar

No. I don’t agree it’s the vow of chastity.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, you don’t think it’s a problem for a virile young man to swear he’ll never have sex? And for that same young man to think he’s going to hell if he does?

JLeslie's avatar

I do think it’s a problem, I think the vow of chastity is ridiculous. But, I don’t think it turns Priests into rapists and pedophiles. I think the church was a haven for gay men and pedophiles. That’s a different thing. The vow of chastity meant none of these men were questioned when they weren’t married by age 30. Out in the real world men and women who weren’t married by a certain age were looked at as if something was wrong with them, in the Catholic Church they had a position where they were looked up to.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie What?? A vow of chastity has nothing to do with marriage! It means to remain pure by abstaining from sex. Forever. They aren’t even allowed to touch themselves. The nuns have to take the same vow.

And further, the church actually makes some allowances for homosexuals within the ranks. From this site

Although there are no formal requirements or bans, anyone with “homosexual tendencies” must generally “overcome” these for at least three years before ordination.[1]

MrGrimm888's avatar

@JLeslie . May I ask, which are the top 5 places that you might expect homosexual rape?

ragingloli's avatar

Prison, Church, Military, Frat House, and Kevin Spacey’s trailer.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Ok. Got me there…..

chyna's avatar

Private schools.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Are we talking about homosexual rape or child molestation and rape?

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III The religion isn’t ok with masterbatiom or sex outside of marriage, so a vow of chastity and not being able to get married are one in the same in Catholicism.

I agree probably many of those who are abusing were likely abused themselves. Someone said that above.

I’ve already said the church was a haven for gay men and pedophiles. I don’t see why we are still arguing. Pedophiles are attracted to positions of clergy, teachers, coaching, stepfathers, etc. it’s not that being a teacher makes you a pedophile. I don’t know how else to explain it.

@MrGrimm888 That is such a weird question to me, maybe because I’m a girl. Prison, men’s bathrooms, military, fraternities, I think @ragingloli got most of them. Of all of those, the men’s room is a worry for children too. Homosexual rape is different than pedophiles. My guess is homosexual rape is almost always extremely violent, not that rape isn’t always a form of violence, but pedophilia usually the kids are worked on over time and coerced. The perpetrator becomes their friend it’s very difficult for children because they feel conflicted because they like the person, it’s often more complex than a random criminal sexually assaulting a stranger or a ducked up criminal alpha man in prison demonstrating his dominance.

Where do women worry about getting raped? Everywhere.

I’m having a bad day, nothing to do with this Q, but I don’t have the strength to go back and forth about it right now. If anyone answers again I’ll try to look at it tomorrow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Whatever @JLeslie! They’re extremely sexually frustrated men. Per the church, they have no way to relieve themselves of the pent up stress….but it’s going to come out one way or the other.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am a director of a not for profit support group for Prostate Cancer survivors, so I talk with a lot of men in various stages of the disease including initial diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and rehab. Many of the guys were treated with hormone therapy, And every. single. one. of them said that while on it they had no desire to have sex. They didn’t even think about it.
Once, I was standing with one of the guys watching a healthy, tanned young woman mowing her large lawn on a riding mower that bounced up and down as she zoomed over the ground. (It was a beautiful sight.) The guy said to me: “I know I should be interested in that but I can’t remember why. It’s all gone.” He was totally serious.

Maybe priests should have a little of that added to their food. It would certainly make celibacy easier.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^But it’s supposed to be challenging, and controlled by faith, right?

The Catholic Church, should probably be illegal. Where else, has SO much rape, but still is allowed to operate, and not even pay taxes? Like, NOWHERE. Shut them down. They have had a couple thousand years, to get their house in order. They should be banned, like with people from certain Muslim countries.

LuckyGuy's avatar

^ @MrGrimm888 Come on. Tell me how your really feel. :-)
“Sex is like air. It becomes really important when you’re not getting any.” – Anon
It is so hard to resist and so futile. A little bit of hormones in the holy water would help.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Or…. Make these places illegal. Let’s say you worked in a hospital, or a office building, and the only way to reduce rape there, was to drug the people into being sexually placid?

This kind of thinking, only excuses churches. No other place in our country, would be allowed to legally operate, with the amount of sexual misconduct, if it wasn’t a religious thing. They occasionally rape our kids, they undermine the government, they don’t pay taxes. What exactly do churches contribute to our society? ...

ragingloli's avatar

I mean, why should a member of the Nazi Party, who strongly disagrees with the Holocaust, leave the Party? You can not ask him to make that sacrifice!~~

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