Child Sexual Abuse: A World-Wide Issue
by SO on February 19, 2014 - 8:55am
In recent news, all attention is turned towards the Olympics and other major issues. However, this unfortunately means other subjects are ignored. Child abuse in one of them. The two news articles, from the New York Times and The Gazette, that will be summarized in this post relate to child sexual abuse in relation with the church.
This month in the New York Times, an article was published summarizing a recent report by the U.N. to the Vatican on the ongoing child sexual-abuse scandal. The U.N. wants the Vatican to ‘‘remove all child abusers from its ranks, report them to law enforcement and open the church’s archives so that bishops and other officials who concealed crimes could be help accountable’’. The U.N. hopes the report will pressure the pope into taking on the necessary measures to make changes. The Vatican responded saying the report was outdated and that they have been making changes. However, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is not satisfied with their claim. According to Kristen Sandberg, the chairwoman of the united Nations panel, ‘‘tens of thousands of children around the world [have] suffered abuse by priests.’’ This number is outstanding. The Vatican claims the child sexual-abuse scandal is the shame of the church, but no other public statements have been released on the topic leaving us to think that they haven’t taken on any steps yet. A member of the SNAP organization (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) thanks the U.N. for brining light to the issue, saying the report was ‘‘long overdue’’.
Here in Quebec, the issue still applies. Last year, a settlement was reached in Montreal courtrooms between the religious order and 206 men who were abused by priests as minors. The Montreal Gazette article states the $18 million settlement is the largest amount ever paid by a religious order in Canada. The issue, brought many victims to testify in court, forcing them to relive unbearable memories. One of the 206 men, Luc-Richard Archambeault, says: ‘‘I’ve seen a lot of men cry’’. Even if the settlement only involved men, others were abused as well. The worst part being that victims of abuse, especially children, never talk about the experience because they are too afraid. The Catholic Church was an important figure of authority in Quebec when these men were young and child sexual abuse was a current issue. And although the process was long and painful, the end results were important to the victims. They will never be able to change what happened, but they got a little bit of closure. Better late than never I guess.
Child sexual-abuse and the church have had a long history together causing great psychological impacts on the children, as many testified in court for the Montreal settlement. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, a scholarly journal published by BRILL, is proud to publish articles contributing to a ‘‘greater understanding of children’s rights and their impact on the concept and development of childhood’’. The articles cover a wide range of disciplines, including psychology. The American Psychological Association defines psychology as ‘‘the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged’’. This discipline could help us greater understand the psychological impacts that these victims live during and after the abuse.
New York Times Article:
By: Laurie Goodstein, Nick Cumming-Bruce, and Kim Yardley.
Original Montreal Article:
Abuse victims settle with catholic schools; Church stalled process: lawyer
By: Riley Sparks
(This isn’t the same article, because the original article was found on ProQuest, however, this article summarizes the same main points).