A report on the sexual abuse committed within of the Catholic Church in the Foral Community carried out by the Public University of Navarra commissioned by the Government has identified 31 alleged abusers and 52 victims who could only be “the tip of the iceberg”.
The study indicates that the identified abuses were committed in 17 educational centers or institutions of 10 congregations in 12 municipalities and its authors were a center director, 21 teachers, a friar, two priests, three nurses, three regents of school supplies or candy stores and a doorman.
Regarding the victims, the report has identified 52, although in recent days another seven have contacted the UPNA to be interviewed, which reflects that they are “the tip of the iceberg”, which is why the Minister of Justice, Eduardo Santos, has opted for a legislative initiative to officially recognize the condition of victims through a commission in Parliament that can prepare a “complete and exhaustive” report that also allows restorative justice to be made available to victims.
30% are considered serious cases
The study was presented this Friday at a press conference in which the UPNA researcher and report coordinator, Mikel Lizarraga Rada, and Mariví Martinikorena, participated together with Santos. victim of sexual abuse by a nun when she was a student at a religious school in the 1960s.
Lizarraga explained that, to prepare the report, interviews were conducted with the victims who contacted the UPNA through the channels set up for this purpose. The investigator specified that the data collected in the report “must be understood as presumed, since these facts have not been judged and it has been impossible to compare the information obtained from the interviews with the victims due to the impossibility of accessing the ecclesiastical archives”.
In total, 43 victims were interviewed and identified. nine other cases through other channels. “Once the report is finished, in the
last week, given the ‘boom’ of cases that has occurred in the press, seven people have contacted us to request to be interviewed and to be included in the future report that will be published, so we have the number of about 60 cases of victims of sexual abuse,” he explained.
As detailed, “around 30% of cases are considered serious (penetration, fellatio or chemical submission, understood as the use of some type of sleeping pill to carry out the abuse), 58% of the cases are intermediate abuses (touching or masturbation) and 12% are mild (kisses). or light touching)”.
Mikel Lizarraga explained that “a total of 31 alleged religious who committed sexual abuse have been identified, involving 17 educational centers or religious institutions in 12 municipalities that affect ten congregations, in addition to the Archbishopric itself“.
Difficulty identifying victims
The UPNA researcher points out that they have found “a manifest difficulty in identifying the victims of these crimes”. “Based on the set of interviews carried out, we have concluded that these victims have their own characteristics, which makes it extremely difficult for them to signify themselves as such and denounce the abuses suffered in the past. Are victims are between 60 and 80 years oldand after so much time has elapsed and after so much time in silence, many of them have no interest in remembering events as painful as those suffered in their childhood”, he pointed out.
It has also pointed out that several victims of abuse have received in their homes “letters with obscene or threatening content”. “This does not contribute to the encouragement of victims to report,” she said.
The Counselor for Migratory Policies and Justice explained that the steps being taken by the Provincial Executive “have the objective of protecting the victims within a context of defending and promoting human rights.” “The Government of Navarra does not act against anything or anyone, but acts in favor of something. We cannot say that we are talking about very few cases, we are facing the tip of the iceberg of a series of cases that are emerging and that they will continue to appear to the extent that the victims have the courage to take steps, lose their fear and decide to speak”, he indicated.
A woman who was a victim: “There were abuses, there were rapes, there was mistreatment”
Santos has affirmed, “much of the knowledge that may currently exist of the events that took place is in ecclesial archives and the collaboration of the Church is essential“. “In countries around us there has been collaboration of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. We want the Catholic Church to be involved in the commission that can be generated -at the state level- in order for us to work together to clarify the facts and recognize the victims”, she stated.
Marivi Martinikorena, victim of sexual abuse when she was a student at a religious school in the 1960s, participated in the press conference as a representative of the victims. “It is not easy for me, at 73 years old, to start talking about what I experienced when I was 11 years old, and even more so when it is a part of the issue of abuse that does not come to light, that is not presented as a problem to be solved. or what happens in the church. The abuse of girls by nuns has not come out anywhere. In nun schools there were abuses, there were rapes, there was mistreatment, an immeasurable abuse of power and many girls suffered it, because I don’t think I’m the only one, “she said.
Mariví Martinikorena has recounted what she experienced as a victim, explaining that “they make you so dependent, they annul you so muchthey choose you because you are the most vulnerable in the world, because you have rock-bottom self-esteem, because emotionally you have horrible shortcomings, you are the wonderful victim“. “They have the right to do what they want with you, mistreat you in any way. The consequences of abuse They have a lifelong impact. I began to have stomach problems, respiratory problems, sadness, anguish “, she has affirmed.