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I agree completely with Fr Michael Shadbolt (July AD2000) about the media's ongoing prejudice towards the Catholic Church for all manner of reasons, but most of all because of the sexual abuse by clergy. And while there should be an open and unbiased inquiry, which we as Catholics welcome, it needs to be said that sexual abuse is by no means confined to the Catholic Church, since it occurs in all religions and groups where children are involved, not least in some family situations.
As a grief counsellor, and mostly postabortion grief counsellor, I encounter daily the issue of sexual abuse in the lives of many of my clients.
Today when a current, ongoing client tells me, "Anne I have had seven abortions", I know that I'll find something other than abortions. There are always wounds to the person's sexuality and usually in the formative years.
Four abortions, six abortions, seven abortions, up to eleven abortions, mean that clients are trying to bring attention to something else that is hurting in their lives. Only this past week my client with seven abortions said, "I don't see them as babies, they are not babies, they were not babies, just bits of men." As I said, this client has a wounded sexuality in her history, and when that occurs then abortions just involve more wounds to sexuality, meaning "life", "innocence" and getting rid of "bits of men."
I have also worked with a "street worker" and her reason for her work: sexual abuse as an eight-year-old child by an older brother. Indeed, stories of fathers and step-fathers, neighbours and friends, and even baby sitters, are normal in the area of sexual abuse. However, there is no money to be made from these situations as with the Catholic Church, so these wounded ones don't seem to matter as much. Their suffering remains embedded within society, perhaps waiting to pass on its effects to the next generation so that in turn a new generation may grieve for the loss of innocence, normal childhood and life.
Incidentally, I have developed a beautiful program which has proved effective in helping people recover from sexual abuse trauma.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 25 No 8 (September 2012), p. 15
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