I heard a heart warming story from my colleague Ton from Holland today. It is rare that I can recount a good outcome for any survivor really, but when it does happen we need to talk about it too, despite the hundreds more that aren't good.
Ton was talking to a friend of his, a survivor of a Jesuit run school where at least forty boys had been horribly abused.
In Holland there are two things going on, there is the "official" survivor group , the leaders of which are busy dividing up between them any money they get from the church, by creating payed jobs for each other and their wives, while arguing with everyone about how the rest should all be spent. Then there is THIS story which came from Ton's friend Raymond.
The head of this particular order has been pro-active and willing to REALLY deal with the shit caused for people by the the clergy abuses.
They employed independant and qualified mediators (with NO affiliation to the church)who saw each survivor individually for about six sessions, before they were ever expected to be in the presence of anyone from the order.
They went into each survivors story, every little detail of how their life had been destroyed, and how they had REALLY suffered. Only then were they asked to talk to the head of the order, who humbly asked "what sort of figure could they each consider for their suffering? Raymond said he did indeed have a figure in mind, but when he told them what that was , he would only be happy if they would just add one euro to that sum. Then he would feel as if they were sincere.
In the end they added far more than one euro, and actually these men, for once and at last feel they have been fairly treated. It wasn't a quick process, it took about four years in total, but it felt as if there was some kind of justice.
This surely is a model to emulate, instead of the church fighting tooth and nail to get out of their responsibilities and give up as little as possible, instead of them giving over lump sums to the heads of "survivor organisations" who can then create incomes for themselves.Instead of this cottage industry that has been created to exploit this tragedy, this is simply a way of doing the RIGHT thing.
Now I do NOT have any illusions, I do NOT believe in their god , and I abhore their arrogant tactics of indoctrination and trauma bonding.
I will never see the church as anything but a force for bad in the world, and the Jesuits particularly have a lot of things to answer for, but for one small group in Holland, and for whatever motive, I for once thought that they were actually trying to practice what they preach.