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Old 01-06-2003, 07:51 AM   #1
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Default 34,000 Catholic nuns report sexual abuse, St. Louis newspaper says

The story continues...

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34,000 Catholic nuns report sexual abuse, St. Louis newspaper says

08:41 AM EST Jan 06
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A little-publicized 1996 survey of Roman Catholic nuns in the United States estimated that at least 40 per cent had suffered some form of sexual trauma, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in a copyright story Sunday.

And some of the abuse, exploitation or harassment has come at the hands of priests or other nuns, according to Saint Louis University researchers who conducted and reported on the survey, which was partly funded by several orders of Catholic nuns.

The researchers told the newspaper that the survey was the only national scientific study dealing with the sexual victimization of Catholic nuns.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the conference was unaware of the study and that its members have not addressed the issue.

One of the study's researchers, Ann Wolf, said she believes it is vital that the Catholic Church recognize the problem.

"The bishops appear to be only looking at the issue of child sexual abuse, but the problem is bigger than that,'' Wolf said. "Catholic sisters are being violated - in their ministries, at work, in pastoral counselling.''

The survey data and the researchers' conclusion that at least 34,000 nuns had suffered sexual trauma were released to two specialized publications with limited readerships.

A summary of the results appeared in the May-June 1998 issue of Review for Religious, published at Saint Louis University. The full results were reported in December 1998 in Review of Religious Research, an academic journal published by the Religious Research Association.

The two publications were chosen to get information to the people who needed it but "not out in front of everybody's eyes,'' said Paul Duckro, the Saint Louis University professor who headed the survey team.

Researchers "guaranteed'' religious communities "that we would not handle this in any way that sought publicity,'' Duckro said.

John Chibnall, a Saint Louis University research psychologist and associate professor who co-authored the study, said researchers agreed not to prepare a press release about the findings because a national Catholic women's group believed the information would be sensationalized.

"It was like this: 'We don't wash our dirty laundry in public; we'll take care of it,''' Chibnall said.

The study was the result of a 15-page survey returned by 1,164 nuns representing 123 religious orders throughout the United States.

Among the key findings, based on the survey's replies:

- Nearly one in five nuns said she had been sexually abused as a child. While most of the abuse came at the hands of a male relative, about nine per cent of the cases were attributed to abuse by priests, nuns or other religious people.

- One in eight nuns said she had been sexually exploited. Of those, nearly three of every four maintained she was victimized by a priest, nun or other religious person. The exploitation ranged from pressure for "dates'' to requests for sexual favours to sexual intercourse.

- Slightly fewer than one in 10 nuns said she was subjected to sexual harassment at least once during her religious life. Almost half of those were reported to be at the hands of priests, nuns or other religious people.

The survey's results appear in line with many other surveys of women. National surveys indicate that about 20 per cent to 27 per cent of all women were sexually abused as children.

On one of the surveys returned to the university, one woman wrote that after a priest fondled one of her breasts during confession, she remained so upset that she did not return to confession for the next 18 years.

Another wrote that as a young girl, her uncle - also a priest - insisted on inappropriately touching holy oil to her skin ``to keep me safe while dating.'' Later, she said, her superiors forced her to attend religious retreats with the same uncle.

"Thanks for taking the time to admit there is a problem in this area,'' one respondent wrote. "Best wishes. God bless.''

The Canadian Press, 2003

http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/030106/w010618.html
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Old 01-06-2003, 12:27 PM   #2
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"The survey's results appear in line with many other surveys of women. National surveys indicate that about 20 per cent to 27 per cent of all women were sexually abused as children."



THIS, to me, is the most significant thing reported in this article. We should be outraged that so many women are sexually abused, exploited and harrassed--not just nuns and not just by religious authorities. This is a major problem in our society; and I think that focusing (i.e., sensationalizing) this as a problem of the Catholic Church distracts from the overriding problem: the physical and sexual abuse of women and especially children in society...it sickens me that more is not being done about this
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Old 01-06-2003, 08:49 PM   #3
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Right.

And a good place to start dealing with it is with the obvious identified predators. I'll leave it to you to infer who I meant by that.
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Old 01-06-2003, 08:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by CJSTora
I'll leave it to you to infer who I meant by that.
::waves hand wildly in the air::

Ooh ooh! Me! Can I try??

Sure, sexual abuse toward any woman or child is horrible. I think we agree there. Ok.

However, I find it ever so much more angering when it occurs at the hands of those who are supposed to be trusted as noble, good, god fearing men and women.

These are supposed to be the people we can turn to in times of crisis. They aren't supposed to be the ones who create trauma.
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Old 01-06-2003, 09:12 PM   #5
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and Oz gets this week's "Master of the Obvious" award

I agree with you 100% Oz. These are suppsoed to be THE people you're supposed to be able to trust. (if you follow that faith)
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Old 01-06-2003, 10:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by CJSTora
a good place to start dealing with it is with the obvious identified predators
for the record, I am just as sickened by priests and religious leaders who prey on children and the emotionally weak as I am by all pedophiles...as a society, we should be especially vigilant about all adults who deal directly with our children and tolerate NO abuse on any level
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