Sexual Abuse Cases in Organized Religions
According to an article on shoebat, “Tina Anderson, a 15-year-old who lived in New Hampshire, was raped and impregnated in 1997 by one of her church’s deacons, then in his late thirties, while she was a babysitter for his family”. This isn’t a rare story for churches and religious organizations. An organized religion is a place where a community gets together to grow their faith stronger and form a safe haven away from the burden of their lives. These types of organizations are held to a certain standard where it’s easy for malignant cases to be ignored or overlooked. Sexual abuse is still happening and has been disregarded in these organized religions. There have been many accusations brought up, but these churches continue to look the other way for the sake of their church’s reputation. I will be discussing current headlines on how religious organizations have dealt with rape cases and sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse is a serious issue alone but has become an apparent problem in organized religions. Sexual abuse cases have been paid off to protect churches and their members. The way churches handle these cases have forced the sexual abuse victims to relive their experiences as demonstrated in the following article, “Sexual abuse victim re-traumatized by Catholic church compensation process” a sexually abused victim talks about the repercussion of having been abused under the church’s watch and it being covered up by them when it came out to the light. She states, “I had no idea that there was even such a notion of sexual abuse…I did know that he was being horribly, horribly manipulative and abusive and it was absolutely awful at the time.” This sexual abuse happened during the 1980’s and it was sustained for two years, when she was 15. An investigation on this was initiated in 2014 after the victim was diagnosed with severe depression and post-traumatic stress at the age of 35. After a thirteen-month investigation, the victim was compensated 110,000 dollars for the incident, but on the terms, that the church played no fault in the abused that had happened on their grounds. Although it was a financial gain for the victim, she was re-traumatized with the ongoing case that forced her to re-live the scenarios.
Money has been used as a solution to thousands of sexual abuse cases among religious communities. Compensation is used as a tactic to prevent the cases from going public and to keep the victims and abusers hidden. In another article, “Across the nation, priest sexual abuses cases hunt Catholic parishes” the author exposes past and undergoing investigations that goes on in Catholicism. Victims who won their case were compensated with a large sum of money to “help” their healing. Many of these churches who lose these cases have to file for bankruptcy due to the large amount of cases being paid off. These won settlements leave the churches no option but to take out long-term loans that pay out millions for multiple victims. According to the article, “the 51-year-old former pastor…was charged in July 2016 with 500 counts of possession of child pornography after investigators say they found hundreds of images on his personal computer.” This is just one example of a case from one priest who was actually found guilty. There are so many incidents where sexual abuse has happened or is still happening under the supervision of these churches. But at what cost will they stop? These high settlements are costing the church more than they can afford to and it affects the people part of the church and as well as those who voluntarily follow it. The tactics these churches employ to handle sexual abuse cases affects their victims mentally and causes extreme debt for the church.
Many of these victims are members in the community and find it difficult to come forward to face their abuser. It can be difficult to have to question the faith you grew up in. In addition, in the article, “Jehovah’s Witnesses criticized over handling of church abuse case.” With so many cases that are brought to light about these tragic events what are people within these organized religions willing to do about it? In this article that author explains how the people part of this church foundations failed to provide accurate and complete responses regarding the victim’s allegation. Not only that, but in cases where the abuser was “caught” the victims were forced to confront each other within the boundaries of the church. The church influenced external forces to their benefit and handles justice accordingly to their morals. These churches are more concerned with the image their church has to portray than to protect these victims or others that may be attacked by the same predator. The author states, “The trustees of the Manchester New Moston congregation failed on several fronts to deal properly with allegations of child sexual abuse, the commission found: it did not identify Person B’s allegation as child sexual abuse, or take this into account when considering Person A’s account; it failed to suspend Rose from activities; it did not consider the trustees’ conflicts of loyalties; and it did not keep proper records.” The church abides by their made up moralities to cover the reputation of their church and ensure that people within the system stays protected.
Sexual abuse cases are handled to profit the church rather than the victim. While victims are paid off, their abusers are free to continue sexually abuse other members. These organized religions need to find better protocols that will start protecting its followers more than the predators within their system. These poor judgment calls have created an easy for these sexual abusers to continue their malicious ways and make easy targets out of their followers. These articles demonstrate the impact of the handling of sexual cases and how it continues to affect the victims since they don’t receive justice with their abuser.