My mum died three years ago. My dad died, in 1981, not long after I came back from Uganda, where I worked for a couple of years as a Verona Brother.
If my mum and dad were alive today, and, if, they had become aware of the Mirfield abuse that took place – not only in the 1970’s, but also, as it now seems, throughout the 1960’s – they would feel totally betrayed, devastated and saddened in a way that words, from me , cannot begin to describe.
There are men, I am communicating with, that tell me they are unable to ‘go public’ about their experience at Mirfield, because, either, one or both of their parents are still alive. It would be too difficult for their parents to comprehend and accept what their children experienced. Their parent’s pain would be enormous. They prefer, therefore, to remain silent “until they have died”
People often ask, why those that were being abused did not report the abuse, or at least talk to their family about what was happening to them, why wait decades before they talk?
It can be a monumental and courageous task, to talk about the abuse suffered, and even more, I believe, to write about it on the internet. It can take years and years to come to that position. I hope the blog gives, those people, that have not been able to talk or write about what they experienced at Mirfield, the message of support, solidarity and courage, and more importantly the knowledge that they are not alone.
“People often ask, why those that were being abused did not report the abuse, or at least talk to their family about what was happening to them, why wait decades before they talk?”
Many reasons. Here are some.
The feeling of guilt, although you know it was the priest to blame not you, you somehow feel guilty for letting him, although it was not your fault. And the fear of others thinking it was at least partly your fault, that you were a willing victim.
The feeling that “I am the only one, he has not abused others, so I am on my own and can do nothing” – when you seldom are, you just don’t know about the others.
The feeling that no-one will believe you. “He’s just making it up, a priest would never do that” is a sentiment I still often hear.
The fear that he will turn and accuse you of seducing a holy priest – and that he will be believed, not you.You think you will be blamed for being the pervert.
The fact that it happens in private and it’s your word against his – if he denies it, he is more likely to be believed than you.
The question “Why has he taken so long to report it” when the answers are above.
The opinion an old aunt of mine used to express “they must be lying, God would never allow priests or nuns to do that”. I suspect my mother believed that too, that priests were automatically sinless and could do no wrong, as God would not allow them to.
The blackening of character which the church STILL is using against accusers – a campaign of lies and false accusations from the pulpit and by bishops, usually casting doubt on the sexuality and mental health of the victim.That has been seen in many recent press reports. Tell enough lies about a victim from the pulpit and people might stop believing him – this tactic is still being used in churches.
A tactic used by a Scottish bishop this year to cover up sexual abuse by his pals in the clergy. If you are a bishop and the accuser is a priest, throw him out of his house onto the street with nowhere to go, even if he is an invalid recovering from cancer but bravely working on – this was disgracefully employed by a Scottish bishop this year.. Punish the victim, not the abuser, and let the guilty go free. See http://bit.ly/1p2sAgi