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 The Vatican responded saying the report was outdated and that they have been making changes.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:

U.N. Panel Critisizes the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse 

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).


I highly agree with your point of view. Child abuse is wrong, even though some people believe they can get away with it. It saddens me to see that that still goes on in present day, especially so close to home. Child abuse has so many harmful repercussions, issues that can last - and most of the time do- a lifetime. Just because you are a man of god does not give you the unearthly power to reign terror over an innocent child.

There are multiple Human Rights that are violated by committing such an act. Children who fall victims to these vile acts are stripped of their security of person, are denied their dignity and are denied privacy. Although these men are indeed members of the church, I don't believe the church itself is responsible to fix the damage done. A church is still, for many, a sacred place of refuge. Child abuse, unfortunately, happens everywhere. We shouldn't condemn an institution for the wrongs done by only a few members. I believe the person who committed the crime is liable to giving compensation out of their own pocket to at least cover the help the victims need in order to move on with their lives.


I’m in total agreement that child abuse is really a serious issue, and child abuse can definitely be a traumatizing experience when dealt with someone the child is supposed to trust. The article summarized in the post is a perfect example of how traumatizing child abuse can be. The idea of a priest from the church molesting a little boy is very disturbing, and that makes me wonder can that boy ever go back to church? Will he be able to trust others? These are honestly terrifying thoughts for a child to have. In the article 206 men were compensated for their abuse as children within the church, but I don’t think compensation would ever be enough. These men had to be reminded of that moment in their life, and they may never forget that pain and suffering they had to undergo as if they were scars.

I think child abuse is such an important issue and it is much more prevalent than most people think or want to believe. The aspect you took in your article is really interesting and not something that is talked about very often. Priest make up a large number of abusers which can be shocking to some considering we are taught to trust those in the church.

It doesn’t make sense to me how these priests think they can do this, to children no less, and still be alright in God’s book. In my opinion, child abuse is the worst form of abuse because they simply do not have the strength or power to fight back. The worst part is that children trust their priest so much that they may not believe what is happening to them is wrong.

I loved how you took such a large-scale issue and brought it back home. It’s amazing what can happen when victims have the strength to speak up and stand up for themselves.

I agree with this article as well as many others would as well. I have heard and known about priests being abusers but up until now I never realized how big of a problem it actually was. My dads side of the family is very religious so thinking about this situation is very disturbing to be. I have grown up and been raised to believe that church is a safe and trusting environment. Child abuse would obviously effect ones life forever but coming from a priest could be extra traumatizing especially if their family was religious. Something like this wouldn't just effect the child, the whole family would be effected. So therefore, if the family was religious everyone's lifestyles would be changed. I hate thinking about how one this all could be done by someone your supposed to trust with everything. In my opinion this is an issue that should become more well known and more people of authority should do what they can to fix this.

Abusing a child is harmful. There should be zero tolerance on child abuse anywhere around the world. Hitting or touching a child in any harmful way is disrespectful and unimaginable. I can not imagine myself doing any harm to a child or anyone in particular. Everyone has the right to feel respected and given a fair chance at protection in society, Therefore, hitting any child regardless of an action is uncalled for and highly unnecessary.

The idea of child abuse is one of the most depressing topics that our world encounters. Punishing a child is one thing, but taking it to the next step by hitting them is absurd. For some reason, priests have become more of the predators for sexual and physical abuse it seems opposed to any other adult. Children are supposed to make mistakes, they most definitely are not perfect and do not deserve any sort of physical abuse.

You're a hundred percent correct when you said that more people are more focused on different issues in this world and not even considering the harm that children go through every single day. If more people were informed of the child abuse that actually occurs daily, I think that changes would actually happen and less children would have to feel like they don't have a place in the world. Their rights as a child are being taken away because they are so little that they have no control over anything. If your facts that you explained in your blog were presented to others, I honestly think that the awareness of people would greatly increase because of how major this issue could actually be. I think you picked a great topic to discuss and hopefully soon enough the issue will spread throughout the world to put an end to child abuse.

Any kind of abuse is simply wrong and it’s devastating just how prevalent is in our world today. I think that it is crucial to continually stress the importance of revealing and shine light on this issue because of the destruction and tribulation it causes. Unfortunately it is not possible to rid the world of this evil entirely; however, there are always ways to progress away from the issue.
You bring up an excellent point on how this issue is often taken out of focus and undermined behind big headlines like the Olympics. Although it is not a “happy” subject per say, it is something that happens too often and not enough is done about it. Society cannot just rid the world of all abusers because it is impossible to figure out and find every abuser that lives in our world. However, awareness and education has the potential to improve the devastating statistics. I enjoyed how you focused on how sexual abuse happens within the church. It is ironic that someone of such an organization can go through with such a terrible evil thing when they preach something entirely different. These corruptions within these individuals create doubt and controversy in the church and this doubt creates lack of trust between everyone. Your article inhibits an extraordinary use of pathos and draws a reader in especially because of the topic you chose. I truly believe it is necessary to have as many people as possible strive to uncover the truths and help those who were ever victim and who are ever will be victim to this crime.

I decided to read this article because sexually abused children is not acceptable. I agree with everything being said. It really disgusts me that priests are sexually abusing children. It’s giving a bad rep to the Catholic Church. I’m Catholic, and if I ever found out that my parish’s priest was sexually abusing kids, I would be sick to my stomach, confused, and betrayed. How does someone teaching about God every Sunday take away children’s innocence?
I feel like the Pope can’t really control it happening though. If men dedicate their lives to God, it doesn’t seem like they would do such a despicable thing. Any person that sexually abuses a child is terrible. It is so wrong on so many levels. The children who were abused will be scarred for the rest of their lives. Why would an adult even want to do that to a child? It’s absolutely repulsive.

It's hard to believe that child sexual-abuse still exists in our society. It's even harder to believe that priests are committing these crimes. Priests are supposed to help children and teach them how to live a life of good, but instead they abuse them. The church in general needs a change and they need to stop hiding these crimes. And we as a society need to help our children and recognized when they're suffering from these types of sexual abuse.

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