Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 08:16 am
The recent events in Boston concerning sexual abuse of kids by clergy brings to my mind and I hope to yours, the following questions:

To what extent are parents responsible for this abuse of kids lasting for so long?

Why didn't parents educate their kids about abnormal sexual acitivites and when encountered, to report them to their parents and to their teachers?

Why was there so much silence? Should not all of this been discussed openly at home and then reported to the police?

If blame is to be appropriated, to what extent should parents be held accountable due to their inactivity, in this ongoing sexual abuse by clergy?
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maxsdadeo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 08:40 am
Excellent questions, and I have wondered the same things myself.
The parents have to be in their own private Idaho, for they truly share the blame for these dastardly deeds if it was anything more than a singular event.
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 08:45 am
Max:

I agree. Why didn't these kids talk to their parents? Was it an unusal event for the kids to talk to their parents? Did the kids ever talk to their parents about anything? Crying or Very sad
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chatoyant
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 08:56 am
Most Catholics are very devout people. They put all their trust in their clergy and the Pope, and they teach their children likewise.

From what I've read and heard, the priests who committed the sexual abuse acts convinced the children that they were doing something "in the name of God." What sickos! But children are easily persuaded by those they look up to, especially if those people are Godlike, in their eyes.

Of course parents should educate their children about unwanted or unusual sexual advances. I'm sure many, if not all, of the parents of the children who were abused are wondering why they didn't detect something was going on. But they are so wrapped up in their religion, they can't see the forest for the trees, to use a well-worn cliche.

I have a friend who is a devout Catholic. His boys were altar boys years ago. We got to talking about this subject, and I asked him if he ever wondered if this had happened to his boys. He was totally aghast. His reply was of course not! I would have known! This is just a small percentage of priests! It couldn't happen here! But how would he have known unless his children were able to get past their religious teachings enough to believe their priests weren't direct appointees from God, people who do no wrong?

If the parents had any indication their children were being sexually abused then yes, they should take responsibility for it. But my guess is that the vast majority had absolutely no idea, and if they even thought something might be going on, they would convince themselves that it just wasn't possible.
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:04 am
How many ads have you seen recently on TV, billboards etc that instruct parents to talk to their kids about HIV and drugs?

Why not talk about everything? What's wrong with the parents of 2002, that they don't communicate with their kids? When a child is young, parents need to talk about sex, both
normal and abnormal with their kids, like they used to do in the "old days".
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:24 am
Well, I have no kids, but if I had some, I would find it very embarrassing for both sides to discuss with them anything pertaining to sex. I would be merely unable to talk about this, just as I cannot talk on these issues with my own mother (we are both adults, I am 40, she is 66). I guess, the parents that did not teach their kids of possibility of sexual abuse had the same approach.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:30 am
Many children do not report such things to their parents - often even if abuse has been discussed with them frequently. The so-called "protective behaviour" programs that are popular in kindergartens and schools seem to have little, if any, effect in assisting children to report sexual abuse.

It would be interesting to see if any research has been done to differentiate the kis who do tell from those who do not - although the latter group is harder to gather, except very retrospectively!

The reasons are complex, I think - adults have a lot of power - kids feel ashamed and as though they are bad... fearing they will be punished for doing something dirty - many abusers threaten children with terrible consequences to them and their families if the abuse is disclosed - kids are often not sure if it IS abuse - often, unless abuse is violent, children receive physical pleasure from the abuse, and this confuses them - often the abuse comes with a rather pleasant "special" relationship with the abuser, which is something kids enjoy having with an adult - and so on.

Having said that, it seems often to be the case that the kids singled out for abuse are the vulnerable and needy ones, for whom not all is going well at home etc.

This does not necessarily mean that they have "bad" parents - (although it is comfortable to blame parents rather than look deeper and more widely for contributing factors which may be uncomfortable to acknowledge) - although some may have parents who could meet such a description - relationships within families may be compromised because of a multitude of factors, both internal and external, and some kids who are abused have families who provide excellent nurture and care.

'Tis a complex area - and the last thing these families need is blame to add to their other traumas. Be aware that this problem is wide spread enough that several people reading this may have suffered in some way from clergy abuse -and not necessarily by catholic clergy.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:33 am
chatoyant wrote:

From what I've read and heard, the priests who committed the sexual abuse acts convinced the children that they were doing something "in the name of God." What sickos! But children are easily persuaded by those they look up to, especially if those people are Godlike, in their eyes.



I've not heard that, there may have been incidents, but I think it is more likely, these children were anxious for any attention and thrilled to have it be from their priest.

Maxdadeo has it absolutely right. Where were the parents? I love that phrase... their own little Idaho. Hah.
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:36 am
I can say, that my mother never discussed sex, as such with me. What I ended up knowing, prior to reading books, came from other kids, who were full of adventure and information.

Relative to abnormal sex, my mother told me about what to report to her about any abnormal acitivites. As a matter of fact, once when I was a kid growing up in the inner city, a man rode by my car, where I was seated and exposed himself to me. I reported this to my mother and she told the police.

In my neighborhood, we had an old guy, the kids called "Mr Pinch". Everytime, we kids got near him, he would pinch our butts. So we made it a point of running when we saw him and yelling "Pinch Man" is out.

Kids know what's normal and what's abnormal They don't need a PhD in biology to know that many acts are abnormal and shouldn't be indulged in.


Shocked
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:40 am
Piffka:

The Boston Globe reported about some priest(s) who was having sex with girls in a nunnery. The priest(s) said that sex with him was an important step in the advancement of their sprituality and their union with the body of Christ.

I don't know how old these girls were, but at 13 or 14 years, why didn't they see that this was all nonsense?
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:42 am
Piffka:

No communication in the home. Both parents working to hold the home together. No real family time, that was meaningful.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:45 am
There was an informal poll done of Parochial School girls in, I think Chicago a few decades ago. It was found that most of them were in love with and fantasized about... first Jesus and then their priest.

It is not without precedent.

oops Embarrassed
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:50 am
New Haven is right about the priest who convinced girls in the nunnery to engage in sexual acts with him in a way to commune directly with god.

But, I don't think that other priests had the same kind of method.

As for the question pertaining to the girls realization that this was wrong.... these girls were in a nunnery - they were innocent, had given themselves to god, were isolated there, I imagine.....
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:54 am
littlek:

I would agree with you about the "innocence" aspect if this were the 1950s.

Today's the 2002s. What are the stats about pre-marital or sex amongst teens. Something like 60% of boys and 40% of girls ( as best I remember) have engaged in sex prior to age 18.

If all this sex is being engaged in, these kids must know something about sex and thus should know that sex with priests ( older guys) is prohibited.

What's missing here? Are these girls who grew up in total isolation from the real world? Rolling Eyes
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:56 am
They're in a nunnery! Do you think these are your average american girls?
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 09:59 am
littlek:

The girls weren't born in a nunnery. They had to come from the real world at some time.

Embarrassed
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 10:04 am
yes, but I'd guess that their real world is very different from mainstream real world.
0 Replies
 
New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 10:06 am
littlek:

Yes, their world was different after they went into the nunnery. But what about before?
TV,Books, Movies? Where were they? Rolling Eyes
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 10:09 am
Ok, New Haven - we aren't getting anywhere, I desist.
0 Replies
 
celticclover
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Dec, 2002 05:00 pm
I think that back then, things werent talked about. And maybe, they were of the opinion, that this sort of thing doesnt happen to our family, we are a god fearing family.

My mother was raised in a Catholic family, where her Uncle was abused as a boy (he has since passed away), my mother herself was abused (not by any priest, but a friend of the family) and her brothers and sisters were as well.
My mother raised us in a Christian home after finding a faith more suited to herself, we had a secure home, and I believe she thought she had all bases covered. However, evil lurks in all forms and a long time family friend came to stay, and he chose to do things to me that are what this post is about. My mother was devastated that this occured.
Now, Im a mum, and I believe Ive got an open mind to boot, my children are taught now, and have been for the last 2 years that this sort of behaviour is not accepted. Ive told them that they are to tell me, even if they are bribed by lollies, money or the fact they will get into trouble. The first big person they know, whether it be myself, their father, or my brothers and sisters, they are to tell them. And I emphasise the fact that they will not get into trouble for anything.
We definitely have to educate our children, there is becoming more harm than good out there in all forms. The schools are not the only place to educate, it all starts in the home.
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