Lifting Up the Voices of Female Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Listening to the Voices of Survivors

October 25, 2021
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

In a newly released historic report on the rates of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France, Jean-Marc Sauvé, the main investigator, stated that listening to survivors was key to this effort. Pope Francis reiterated that listening to survivors is essential in a September 2021 address to church leaders: "[O]nly by facing the truth of these evil practices...will the Church find its way to a place where it can be relied upon once again as a place of welcome and safety for those in need... [These discussions] truly touch the future of the Church ... – not only the Church’s future, but the hearts of Christians as well. This is our responsibility."

This conversation focused upon female clerical abuse survivors' perspectives. How can such a perspective help to heal the wounds of abuse and institutional betrayal in the Church, faith communities, and other institutions? A panel of female clerical abuse survivors addressed the prevalence of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and its effect on the mind and body, its impact on one's relationship with their faith and with others, effective strategies for prevention of sexual violence against children and adults, and how to care and advocate for survivors. Dr. Jennifer Wortham of Harvard University introduced the dialogue, which was moderated by Kim Daniels of Georgetown University and Sara Larson of Awake Milwaukee.

This event was co-sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life; Office of Mission and Ministry; and Georgetown Law Office of Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University with the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science and Awake Milwaukee.

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