TESTIMONY. For Sophie, victim of sexual abuse in Toulouse, “the Church is unable to apply the measures of the CIASE”
The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) issued its report on Tuesday, October 5. A difficult moment for Sophie, sexually assaulted in a private school in the Toulouse region. She does not believe the Church capable of fighting against pedocriminality.
The CIASE just returned, Tuesday, October 5, 2021, son report. The figures revealed by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church send shivers down the spine. 216,000 victims of clerics or priests have been identified since 1950. Between 2,900 and 3,200 perpetrators of pedophile acts have been identified. “Overwhelming numbers“for the president of the commission, Jean-Marc Sauvé who during his restitution will underline that during nearly 70 years, until the beginning of the years 2000, the ecclesial policy will have been able to offer only”indifference, deep, total, cruel towards the victims“.
– franceinfo (@franceinfo) October 5, 2021
Disappointment and bitterness
Faced with these statements and the forty recommendations presented, such as the duty of the Church to repair and “recognize at least victims, even for prescribed cases“, Sophie (loan name) confesses”remain skeptical“. In February 2020, she came to testify in front of the members of the CIASE about the sexual abuse presented to her by a Dominican sister while she was a student in a private Catholic establishment in the Toulouse suburbs.
Bitter, for her, these “floor figures“evoked by the CIASE are a half-word confession: the work”colossal“of the commission did not come out”sufficient“Pain sometimes.”too lively“did not allow him to stay focused during the two hour playback.”It seemed to me that Mr. Sauvé said in a way that not everything was necessarily admissible. I should have taken some notes, but I wanted a first listen in order to grant myself the right to let go of the floodgates, she justifies herself. So maybe at times, I misunderstood, under the intensity of my emotion.“
The failed act of the president of the Conference of Bishops of France
A moment remains in spite of everything: that of the submission of the report to the president of the CORREF (Conference of Bishops of France and of the Conference of Men and Women Religious of France) and to the President of FEC (French Bishops’ Conference): “they took it in hand to put it down immediately. It is certainly stupid, but simply, this gesture makes me think that it is a form of rejection. That’s it ! On the ! On the pose. I would have liked them to come to the pulpit weighed down with this weight as if to send the clear message that these were valuable indications. Obviously. How can they thank for such a heavy report? I remain deeply disappointed.“
The question now is whether the Church is able to evolve, to reform itself. In Toulouse, even before the rendering of the conclusions of the CIASE, the Vicar General of diocese of Toulouse, Father Hervé Gaignard, sent to the priests of the diocese, a message dated October 2 evoking “the convictions that animate (the) diocese“. Not having”not intended to be disseminated to the general public“, they are “intended to help“priests facing revelations.
A report difficult to expect in the diocese of Toulouse
“In general: this report is going to be difficult to hear“, explains this note where the”risk that many Catholics remain in denial“is also mentioned.
This document mentions “the enormous suffering over time which has psychological and sometimes physical consequences“victims and”the fundamental and necessary step“what does this report represent”in the fight against sexual abuse within the Church“. The measures put in place to assist the victims are designed there: the creation of a listening cell in 2016 (06 30 26 94 01, [email protected]), the opening at the national level of ” an endowment fund (SELAM), the establishment of training in seminars (psychology and sexology courses) based on the directives of Rome and during two days devoted to the priests of the diocese, the accompaniment and follow-up of abusers by Bishop Le Gall, the establishment of a national canonical tribunal and the inauguration of a memorial in Lourdes.
The deep mistrust of the Church
Since December 2016, 17 testimonies have been collected by the Toulouse listening cell. “Most of them concern deceased priests, i.e. cases that have already been investigated.“said a member of the diocese.
– France 3 Occitanie (@ F3Occitanie) March 20, 2018
But the management by the Archbishop of Toulouse of previous cases in recent years has left the victims and their relatives skeptical. The nun that Sophie accuses of having abused her, for a time put aside, has finally found a place in the Toulouse school where she will have worked for many years.
I am not one of those people who seek financial compensation, but awareness and strong consideration. In my opinion, pilgrimages, temporary withdrawals are useless. These people must be judged and excluded from the vulnerable. The compensation fund will never be equal to the damages. We are impacted for life. Our sexuality is too. (…) I have never known sexual pleasure, because this trauma is felt in my flesh. I am for people whose cases are prescribed to be recognized as victims this seems the most important. But I don’t think the Church is in a position to apply the recommendations made. They will be worn for a while. The Church will repent and then the shortcomings will reappear again, if at any point they end.
A mistrust vis-à-vis the religious institution which makes that today, Sophie still hesitates to file a complaint in court, for non-prescribed facts.