*Trigger warning: This post is about child sexual abuse and may cause distress for some readers.
by PETE DILLON
So Joe Hockey doesn’t think a Royal Commission will help survivors of clerical sexual abuse? I, for one, disagree.
For decades, thousands of Australians have suffered immeasurable mental, emotional and psychological trauma because of rape and abuse committed by members of the Catholic clergy. For decades, the church has covered up, hushed up and hidden those abusers. The survivors, or victims, if they had not taken their own life or suffered through incredible amounts of mental anguish have been mostly forgotten and forced to pick up the pieces on their own. The perpetrators were allowed to move on and be hidden by the organisation that should have been protecting its flock.
If this was another organisation, like the Boy Scouts for example, there would have been a Royal Commission well before now. There would be thousands of these criminals imprisoned rather than simply being moved on to another parish where they can continue to abuse other children, or collude or cover up with their colleagues, the abuse of women and children in the church.
I know because I survived.
I was an 8-9 year old when I was sexually abused by a member of the Catholic Church. I was an altar boy at a small parish in regional Victoria, and I was forced to commit acts that I did not understand. I had no idea what I was being forced to do. All I knew was that I knew it was wrong, I knew it did not make me feel special like the priest said it would. I did know that I was being told not to tell anyone, for fear of getting in trouble, that no one would believe me if I told them and that I was bad.
It took me 22 years to tell anyone and it was only during a session with a psychologist during a particularly difficult time in my life that I dealt with any of what happened. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, I felt as if I no longer had anything to hide.
Oddly, this was during the time I was also dealign with my sexuality – or more to the point, my homosexuality. I had spent a great many years not being able to be myself because I thought it was my fault. I carried a great burden of guilt that I never should have been forced to carry. I was just a little boy and in the years that have passed, I have been forced to mourn the loss of that innocent little boy.