Survivors: Many, like Mr. Rozzi, are resilient and accomplished.

Sex Abuse and the Catholic Church: Why Is It Still a Story?

Shared from Google News & Weather

As I rushed to gather up my notebook, laptop and recorder, I realized I had no idea what he was about to reveal, but I had just gotten the answer to another question I am often asked: Why does the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church never seem to go away? Why is it still a story? It has been 31 years since National Catholic Reporter, an independent Catholic publication, broke the first story, about a serial abuser in Louisiana. It has been 22 years since I reported my first article about abusive priests (out on an Indian pueblo in New Mexico, for The Washington Post). Why is the news media still covering this?

The answer lies with the victims. Many, like Mr. Rozzi, are resilient and accomplished. (He is a businessman, a husband and a father, as well as a legislator.) Some are basket cases, unable to hold down a job or romantic relationship. But no matter where they are on this spectrum, the abuse they suffered is often so searing that it is the formative experience of their lives. Even if they have supportive family and friends, a financial cushion and plenty of time in therapy — all big “ifs” — they never entirely leave it behind.

I have met survivors who would prefer never to speak of it. But many more find salvation in telling their stories. This is not simply catharsis. They want to be assured that their abusers are known to the world and can never hurt another child. They want to know if their abusers had other victims. They want other victims to know that they were not alone, and that it was not their fault. They want to put their trauma to some use. Only then can they rest.