The archbishopric of Madrid has published this Monday a video with which it intends to debunk “false beliefs”“ on the sexual abuse of minors by religiousin which he also urges to report these cases and supports the investigation because the victims “need to heal their wounds.”
“The complaint helps”, “A single case of abuse is already too many”, “The victim is not guilty” or “The pain of the victims does not prescribe”, are some of the messages that the video released by the Archdiocese of Madrid, which is directed by Cardinal Archbishop Carlos Osoro, within the framework of his Repara Project for the care of victims of abuse.
“Repara dismantles in his new video some false beliefs about abuse https://t.co/L9E6pXUAVa“
– Archdiocese of Madrid (@archimadrid) February 14, 2022
The video is released three weeks after announcing that In 2021, this project assisted 103 victims of abuseand in it the members of the Repara team have collected some of the most heard statements when dealing with this drama in order to “dismantle” them.
Complaints “help to confront and prevent”
According to the Archbishopric, “the prejudices of society and the stigmatization of the victims hinder the proceedings which are necessary and urgent”, so that “in order to leave false beliefs behind, truthful information, communication and transparency are required”.
Thus, for those who maintain that denunciation harms the Church, Repara reminds them that “in reality, Reporting possible abuses helps to deal with and prevent this type of situation from occurring“, and regrets that “what really harms him is the silencing and mistrust of the victims.”
Faced with those who defend that “there are currently no cases of abuse in the Church, he recognizes that the fact that there are no complaints does not mean that there are no cases”, and stresses that “past cases are present cases, especially especially when the victim’s wound is still open and even though the abuser has died”.
The project of the diocese of Madrid also criticizes the justifications that abuses also occur in other environments and that in the Church “the percentage is minimal.”
Although “abuse occurs mostly within the family”, when these “occur in the Church it is even more serious and more scandalous because it contrasts with his moral authority and his ethical credibility,” the video adds.
The accusations, according to him, are “founded”
“Not believing the victims implies double pain”, according to one of the conclusions fruit of the daily work with the victims, that what they need is to “heal their wounds”, so deep that many times “they even resist giving the name of the person who abused them” or else they do not dare to “name what they have suffered until 30 or 40 years later. The passage of time does not heal wounds, “they point out.
In this line, denies that there are false allegations of abuse, but, as he emphasizes, “they are well founded” because “whoever declares himself a victim of abuse and denounces it has little to gain and much to lose”.
It also reflects the concern for the “double pain” that implies not believing minors, who “rarely make up stories related to their intimacy” and that they cannot “fantasize details of sexual activity the knowledge of which is totally inappropriate for their age”.
In relation to the age of the victims, the project emphasizes that “seductive behaviors for sexual purposes cannot be discharged on the child not to mention consent”, since “there is no minimum or maximum age for the victims” and because “in an asymmetric relationship based on the abuse of power, and which ends in sexual abuse, there is no consent”, emphasizes the video.
Vulnerability “is not something that the victim has, as if it were a defect, but something that causes the abuser. It is the abusive relationship that leads the person to a situation of vulnerability,” says Repara.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.