Catholic Church ("NUMB") Offering Help To Victims Of Rape, Incest, & Spousal Abuse.

In my ongoing efforts to set up a ministry in my local Archdiocese to aid equally both female and male Victims of Rape, Incest, and Spousal Abuse.
Regrettably; this has over time and effort all left me up in the air feeling disheartened with little hope as a direct result from the overall indifference in reference to finding sincere assistance from my parish Priest and my venerable Archbishop; both of whom I have had private meetings with very little success of achieving a positive understanding with an accomplished outcome. As for myself being a heterosexual male victim of gang-rape at gunpoint and torture. I have been in contact with many female and male Catholic victims of rape, incest, and spousal abuse for years.
These same victims orignate from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and my own country Canada.
Both my Archbishop and parish Priest though very sympathetic have informed me that the Catholic Church presently has no room for such a ministry due to the greater lack of any victims coming forward to search for help.
I countered by stating that if the Church chooses to remain virtually silent on such issues by not making any visibly motion to publically offer a safe haven where trained priests can talk tactfully to traumatized victims; no victim Catholic or otherwise will step out of their stigmatized shell to find a trusting clergy member to converse with.

Thus most Catholic Victims are left to the secular brain-washing psycho-theraputic theories of psychiatrist and psychologist whose mainstream science stays clear of Christian spirituality.

Another reason I find as to why victims of rape, incest, and spousal abuse stay away from finding trust with the Catholic Church is resultant of international news with todays Catholic Clergy being crimminally charged in secular courts with the disgusting sexual abuse of minors. Many people criticize these minors who are now adults coming out of their shell to report such heavily laiden crimes against the Catholic Clergy.
Damned ! It took me twenty-three years to come out of my painful silence to report
my torturous Gang-Rape at Gunpoint.
Maybe there is no room in the Catholic Church for Victims of Rape, Incest, and Spousal Abuse. Has any Catholic here on this site ever heard (“Prayer Intentions for The Faithful”)
being said for Victims of Rape, Incest, and Spousal Abuse. NEVER in my 52 years in the Catholic Church have I heard this.

centurianguard,

Please don’t give up your efforts, even if you feel like you’re beating your head against a brick wall. You’re so courageous and the people who have been victims and suffer need you. God may be asking this of you. Who else has your perspective? With enough time and persistence, even your poor head can cause brick walls to crumble…

Maybe you’re being asked to organize, too, and to support other victims to the point where they can find the courage to come forward and ask for help from the Church. Many voices are better than one, as your archbishop and priest have implied. If it takes more people coming forward, be their encourager.

Meanwhile, may I recommend that you ask for ongoing prayer for your efforts and for this need on the CAF prayer intentions forum?
I’ll keep you in my prayers. May God reward your efforts and sanctify your suffering.


Dear FickleFreckled;

I sincerely appreciate your encouraging words which do indeed inspire hope to press on with my mission dispite present bleak circumstances. Such a mission requires an immense amount of prayer. This mission belongs to God alone not me. But I will not give up. Many priest feel they are out of their field and expertise to help victims of rape, incest and spousal abuse; to which I disagree. What (“more”) does a victim of rape, incest, or spousal abuse seek from the Church but profound spiritual counseling in moments of such paralyzing stigma. Demographically; very few Archdioceses offer professional (“Spiritual Psychotherapy”) to individual Catholics of great suffering in need.

It is (“Not”) easy for any victim of such trauma as rape, incest, or spousal abuse to come forward seeking help out of there stigmatized very vulnerable personhood.
The reason such victims seek secular professional help from shrinks is because it’s more publicized and suggested by family doctors from their patients afflicted by such laiden psychological trauma.

The Catholic Church does not make any extra effort to reach out to victims of rape, incest, and spousal abuse perhaps because it feels out of it’s capacity and considerable efforts of time to do so. Regrettably; in the end it seems the Catholic Church essentially washes it’s proverbial hands in this matter and leaves it to secular professionals.
This is where I find the biggest fault in the Catholic Church concerning all victims of rape,
incest and spousal abuse. But Why ? is it that the Catholic Church doesn’t take the suffering of victims of rape, incest and spousal abuse more seriously is any persons
guess.

I’ve heard some Catholics say why should victims of rape, incest, and spousal abuse receive more special care than any other person afflicted by suffering ?

I don’t believe it’s a case of victims of rape, incest and spousal abuse wanting more special help any more than any other Catholic who greatly suffers in the Catholic Church. The existing problem is that spiritual counseling that is much needed for victims of rape, incest, and spousal abuse is presently extremely lacking in the Church.

centurianguard - Please do not give up. The Church NEEDS people with your vigor at a time like this. The Church is not doing enough, I, as an individual am not doing enough. It is saddest that those who were abused at the hands of Catholic clergy are among those being ignored. I totally agree with your point… we are not giving Catholics a place to come for help and so they are turning to new age or similar treatments that can only lead them into further turmoil.
There IS room for you and other victims of in the Church… those who have suffered are the heart of the Church.

It’s interesting to note that the relatively small American owned western side of the island of Somoa in the South Pacific Islands would bring good faith and news of Hope for Victims of Rape and Incest.

Check out this article: rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=49111

It may be out of the expertise of local clergy to provide psychological support, but it’s not out of their expertise to provide spiritual support geared toward victims of these kinds of abuse. Ultimately what this abuse causes is a breakdown of any kind of trust, even trust in God.
Surely with proper specific training they could learn to address that in pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. However, it’s a very uncomfortable thing to address because of the sexual connotations. I wonder how much that discomfort actually contributes to whether or not the Church ministers to the victims?

Ultimately what this abuse causes is a breakdown of any kind of trust, even trust in God.

I think that what you state here above puts a lot of responsibility on just how effective the Catholic Church practices what it preaches. And rightly so.

However, it’s a very uncomfortable thing to address because of the sexual connotations.

Rape is not primarily sexual but, a violent heinous act against both the human body and soul using power and dominance over the victim.
Seperating rape from sexuality has been a crucial step in developing a particular feminist analysis of rape. As long as rape remained associated in the common consciousness with other, allegedly consensual sexual encounters.
Rape Victims were biasedly assumed to be partially responsible for their own victimization. The sexual connotations have made it’s brutality, and its sheer violence and destructiveness, virtually invisible.
Victims of rape are always interrogated reguarding their sexual behavior, history, and preferences.
Rather than being constructed as sympathy-worthy persons who had been viciously brutalized.
Rape victims even today in many Christian circles are assumed to be voracious, manipulative, and untrustworthy women who have lied about their sexual encounters they came to regret.
This of course has in no way proven to be true at all.
I believe that the means by which the violence and cruelty of rape should be articulated
(“without”) reference to the victim’s sexuality, a reference which has served to only obscure a woman’s horrid experiences with rape.

centurianguard,
I understand that a sexually-aggressive crime is motivated by power, anger, manipulation, demeaning and destruction of the other person and not with sex. That’s why I used the word “connotation”. It’s still uncomfortable to talk about, especially, I would think, for celibate clergy. Even more especially if the victim is a woman looking for support from male clergy.

Were you able to get much support for yourself from the Church? What would you have liked to have happened? What could your clergy have done to help you more effectively? As someone who has gone through it all, what would the process of effective help from the Church “look” like? Do you mind saying?

Such acts of toture, rape, incest, and child abuse are always disordered attacks upon the moral order established by God; whatever the circumstances or subjective motive of the human agent. It is nonetheless true that “not” every human action is so essentially connected with the truth of the person as to possess an intrinsic morality.

Society in general today has adopted the “Playboy Philosophy”, which considers sexual activity to be something as entertaining and enjoyable as a gourmet meal, and believes that all sexual expressions between consenting adults are both healthy and morally good. Futhermore; such activity is viewed as a basic human right. Our popular cultural acceptance of this philosophy or “story” is clearly in evidence today, as “society” appears less and less interested in stable marriages and more tolerant of any form of sexual expression. Only Rape, Incest, and Child Molestation are matters of social concern, (“and then, “only” as a protection of individual rights”)

“It’s still uncomfortable to talk about, especially,
I would think, for celibate clergy. Even more especially if the victim is a woman
looking for support from male clergy.”

Personally; I don’t believe it would be any easier for a male rape victim any more than it would
be for a female rape victim to confront a celibate priest about the demoralizing embarrassing
effects of rape on ones personhood. In actuality it takes a lot of humility and trust even
with the threat of not being received well by the priest. Trust makes a rape victims broken
personhood very vulnerable with the possible fear of being rejected.

What would you have liked to have happened? What could your clergy have done to help you
more effectively?

My mission to see a clergy more “Publically” and compassionately receptive to spiritually counsel
rape victims, did not entail myself solely as the only individual benefitting from several counseling encounters. I am not a priest, so I cannot presuppose what they would do professionally from a spiritual prospective to bring encouragement, hope, and faith to a rape victims shattered soul. This can only be effective through a tremendous amount of gentleness, compassion, and patience. In hindsight; given a priest’s very taxing schedule it’s difficult to imagine when a priest might alot the time for such consuming endeavors. But surely there are priest who spiritually counsel individual persons privately from their parish communities.

what would the process of effective help from the Church “look” like? Do you mind saying?

It would be somewhat difficult to embrace the full scope of help from the Catholic Church
because the Church has not fully embraced the idea of effectively helping all Catholic
rape victims hidden today in painful silence amongst our very congregations.
I can only reiterate Understanding, compassion, respect, and sincere concern as to the most basic needs innocent rape victims are in serious need of. These are often denied in a society and places in the Church that still tends to look upon victims of rape with suspicion, as some how guilty of having, or even having “asked for it”. These victims have serious spiritual, psychological, and legal needs. It’s not enough for the Catholic Church to be primarily concerned with woman who might have been impregnated as result of the rape. Too often in these cases the spiritual and psychological needs of the female rape victim fall by the wayside into oblivian.

On a final note: of all the wars, catastrophes, bloodsheds, and inhumanities that have happened in great proportions. None so far through history even accounting for God taking his beloved Jewish people out of bondage can account for the amount of woman, children, and men who have fallen victims to rape and incest.

FickleFreckle;

I thought you deserved a more direct answer to one particular question you had asked
Namely: ("

What could your clergy have done to help you
more effectively?

Having already spoken lengthy with great respect to both my Archbishop and Parish Priest. The only thing I came away with was unequivocally knowing beyond a doubt that they were both significantly sympathetic and I knew by their body language and facial expressions that they were very moved feeling sadness themselves. Did it take away any inner pain from my past ? No. As you said before it can be utterly a difficult topic to convey to concernedly priest who can only begin to sense and feel just how overwhelming such a heavily laiden stigma that rape and incest can be. And though I have been bountifully and thankfully blessed with strong Faith in God it does not remove the yoke of pain but, makes it somewhat easier to bear. I have overcome my anger bouts with God but still continue to fuss and complain to Him about not doing anything to stop multi-millions of women, children, and men in this world from being afflicted by Rape, Incest, and Spousal Abuse. Are such heavy Crosses acts permitted by God hoping many broken souls will reach out to the only Divine Physician who can heal such pain ?
Perhaps so even though such acts were wrought through human sin. And though many of us will complain like Job, what happens to us does not go unseen. If we but join our sufferings with Christ nailed upon that Redemptive Tree our lives will surely have meaning in the Love of Christ our Savior.

Different people need different help. Churches are good places to get help.http://www.photosnag.com/img/4673/n09x0302vnsn/clear.gif

Have you made any progress yet toward developing this ministry? Has the Church been responsive yet?

Peace,

Kelly

This thread has been dormant for a considerable period. With rare exceptions, reviving threads after a protracted period of inactivity is discouraged because:

[LIST]
*]the issues that spurred them are often no longer “hot” or current topics, explaining why thread activity ceased originally.
*]posters originally involved in the discussion are sometimes no longer active on the forum and, therefore, unavailable to reply to comments added to the thread.
[/LIST]

Our experience suggests that, when a topic merits revival, it is best accomplished by initiating a new thread that draws on recent events and can be posted to contemporaneously. This eliminates the baggage of folks being frustrated by asking and not receiving responses to issues raised in early posts (because the new poster didn’t notice that the post he was responding to was made a long time ago).

Posters are very welcome to open a new thread on the subject or any other topic, as well as to actively participate in the myriad active threads in the fora.
**
Thank you to all those who have participated in this discussion. This thread is now closed. **

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.