Members of the Catholic Clergy in France sexually abused an estimated 216,000 minors over the past seven decades.
A CNN article suggests “the Catholic Church is the place where the prevalence of sexual violence is at its highest, other than in family and friend circles.”
There are many factors that lead to this shocking situation. Because of the Catholic tenet, children in churches are more likely to be obedient, submissive, and innocent. The Clergy or other adults linked to the church had “easy access” to these vulnerable children. Unaccompanied minors in the Catholic church are also clearly in a lower power position than church leaders because their parents or guardians are not with them. Church leaders have ultimate control over them.
It is ironic that the most degraded work has been done to children in the holiest place. And the Clergy’s position, which is expected to enlighten and save people, provided cover for the polluted immanence.
I was fifteen almost sixteen when I met this boy. He was great, he was everything I could have ever wanted, at least, that’s what I led myself to believe. I had a crush on him and, lucky for me, he liked me back. We started to date, but I remember that on the day that he asked me to be his girlfriend, something felt a little off. I first found out how pushy he was that night.
He was all over me. Like most teenage boys, he wanted more and I wasn’t ready for that. That night, nothing more than kissing happened, but it was too much kissing for me and I tried to tell him that, but he didn’t seem to care. I tried to brush it off and think nothing of it. After all, he was my first boyfriend and I could not mess it up; I was finally cool.
Later on in the relationship the pushiness only got worse. My friends even started to help him in weird ways. On my sixteenth birthday, after only being together for a month, he had my friends lay roses on my bed and light candles. Anyone that saw that scene knew what was going to happen, but it was not something I was ready for. When I walked in, I yelled at my friends so loud that my mom came downstairs. Luckily, he wasn’t too pushy when he came over and I did not have sex with him, but some other things happened.
Every time he would come to my house, he would force me to please him and then text his dad to pick him up. After two months, I finally couldn’t take it any longer and wanted to break up with him. But, whenever I talked to anyone about breaking up with him, they told me not to. I know I shouldn’t have listened to other people, but I had no clue when or how to break up with him because he was bigger than me and I was scared of him. I didn’t want to find out what he would do to me.
Eventually, I broke up with him. I made sure it was in a very public place and it was actually okay. But, an easy breakup doesn’t mean I left without baggage. He sexually abused me. Him being my first boyfriend made it so I had no clue how relationships were truly supposed to be. He took my innocence away from me. Everyone talks about how one’s first relationship is full of love and innocence, but I never got that.
I hated myself for months after everything happened. I used to cry myself to sleep because I would think of him and what he did to me. At first, I was scared to tell people everything that happened. No one believed me and that made talking about it harder. I wanted to get him in trouble for what he did to me, because what he did to me is something I will carry the rest of my life; but, there was no way to get him in trouble. I wanted him to hurt as much as he hurt me. But, I was never able to do that, so I grew more mad as time went on. Pretty soon, I no longer saw myself as a person; I saw myself as an object for people to use.
About ten months after everything happened, I went to church camp. While I was there, my youth leader talked about how in Christianity one is supposed to forgive everyone as God has. Hearing that was very hard for me, so I talked to my leader more and he helped me work through everything that happened and cried with me. He was the first person to cry with me. I felt like he truly cared about me and, from that week, I learned to forgive my ex. It wasn’t easy; some days, I still get mad at him for the things he did to me, but I want to be a better Christian, so I am working as hard as I can to forgive him.
I have not fully overcome the conflict, but I have learned to deal with it and have started to forgive. One day, I hope I can say will full certainty that I forgive him, but until that day comes, I will be looking to God to get me there.