Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Please Professor Dawkins tell me you have been misquoted!
The life of a clergy sexual abuse survivor seems, at times, to be one long battle! It is nothing but a constant a pain in the ass for survivors of clergy abuse to have to fight 'ignorance" There is so much of it, and we seem to spend a lot of energy actually even defending ourselves, despite being the wronged party.
One of the commonest and most awful "side effects" of childhood sexual abuse is "hyper-vigilance" -Trust mechanisms are so impaired that we are either overly wary of others, or trust inappropriately, but rarely get it right. And the one thing that survivors of clergy abuse fear most is further abuse! Hardly surprising when further abuse is usually what we face!
We are called liars, accused of having "false memories" personality disorders, etc etc, and then we face further abuse with the church's determination to discredit us and anyone who would destroy their narcissistic desire to save face at all costs.We become "collateral damage" and then even when a case against them is proved beyond question, we face years of legal wrangling, every delaying tactic, every loophole they can muster up.Then we get to watch as pedophile priests hide behind their office and canon law and escape any kind of real justice, thanks to a church that protects them.
We withstand many stupid comments like "It was a long time ago" "can''t you put it behind you?" "Can't you learn to forgive?" "You must have asked for it"! "the church does so much good, you should forget about the small issues" and on and on..
When we rebuff the half hearted, lip service grudging "apologies" we are seen as ungrateful and are once again abused!
We accept as unfortunately necessary that we will need to talk graphically about the very disgusting things that happened to us and still haunt us, and the ensuing "images" that people must have in their minds when they think of us.
We know that sometimes we are used to further other peoples agendas, a convenient hook to hang their own battles on, and we accept that as part of the package of having spoken out.
But what is infinitely worse is when we feel we have to defend ourselves against comments by someone who we have perceived as an"ally"!
I refer, of course, to the reported comments of Richard Dawkins who "allegedly" said that the catholic church's teaching of hell to children was " worse than child clergy sexual abuse," which he supposedly described as being "a bit yuckie"!
Now I have met Richard Dawkins on a number of occasions, I share his beliefs in evolution and atheism, and in fact have shared a platform with him, and I have never found him to be a stupid man. Detached perhaps, a little "other planetish", acerbic maybe and single minded, but certainly not stupid.
So can I really believe that he would make such an ill informed and profoundly stupid remark?
He is a scientist, and so surely he would understand the current knowledge and neuroscience research which shows how childhood sexual abuse causes lifelong damage? The Harvard research into the permanent brain damage caused , UCLA research which shows the implication to longevity and shortened life expectancy for abuse victims, and the Mc Gill University research which demonstrates that child abuse victims suffer damage to their immune and metabolic systems as well as damage to various brain regions., that childhood trauma causes damage at the level of someones DNA?
Would he really consider that to be "a bit yuckie"?
I have to examine this, to start with, because I must really really hope and prefer to believe, that he has been "misquoted" or his comments taken out of context.
A distinct possibility I am sure, especially when you look at where it is coming from! The fiercely right wing MAIL which is not famous for it's unbiased reporting or passing up on a chance to use anyone to further a witch hunt. Not the most reliable or compassionate of sources.
And then I have to look at who they asked to comment further! They chose that rampant papist, the increasingly ridiculous Anne Widdecombe (currently appearing in pantomime which says it all) who said that " bringing up children in the church which is such a "force for good" can't be compared to abuse" .
Anne Widdecombe who has never brought up any children, was not actually brought up in the fear filled superstitious indoctrination of catholicism, but adopted that religion in later life , who has, I very much suspect, never been raped,( and certainly not by a fat smelly drunken priest who was considered " next to god")
Now I have no illusions about the church's brainwashing and bullshit, having been subjected to it myself. In fact I would wholeheartedly agree that the very culture that it has created and fiercely defends, fosters the environment which is ripe for abuse. Most of the abuse survivors I know have also had the abuse of the catholic indoctrination!
The Hell Fire and Damnation culture, ruled by fear and where practically everything but breathing is considered sinful is, I believe, itself child abuse. Where the priest was on a pedestal, and a "blessing every time he crossed your doorstep"Where I was asked to pray for a cousin to die because he was about to marry a divorcee, and it was considered better that he should die rather than live in sin, where I was given as much self esteem as a worm, where I was even told to "pray" for the priest who raped me.
Some of the appalling attitudes and superstitions I was asked to swallow were themselves the stuff that "disturbed brains" were made of, and there is no doubt in my mind that as research grows and we continue to learn more and more about the effects of trauma imposed on children, that kind of fear-filled indoctrination cultivated by that organisation will no doubt be shown to also cause profound physiological damage.
But to give these things a "hierarchy " is stupid. As stupid as saying that the holocaust was not as bad as the Nazi regime, to compare these things in this way is just quite stupid.
Now I don't need any more disillusion! I grew up with this catholic poison being force fed me on a daily basis. it took me years and years to shake off those shackles, and even longer to be able to talk about my abuses at the hands of a catholic priest.To get over finding that everything I had been force fed was indeed poison, and to be so disillusioned that I may easily have joined those other victims, of whom there are many, who found their "a bit yuckie" experience too much to bear and so committed suicide.
So please please tell me, Professor Dawkins that you were misquoted, that you are not going to do exactly what you accuse the church of doing by disregarding vulnerable human beings and sacrificing them at the alter of " point scoring" , to join that list of abusers that continue to make us fight- for our lives in so many instances.
If you have been misquoted, as I sincerely hope, then I urge you to join me in putting that record straight, before it does irreparable damage to our cause for justice. I hope that you are incensed enough do so.
If not then please know that you have hurt and offended me, and people like me, who have enough battles going on without the need to add another. Ignorance that could set our cause back even further and play right into the hands of the church which continues to abuse us.