This is actually a very sad one because it is believed that one of the reasons a catholic will decide to become a nun or a priest is to keep themselves for God and to dedicate themselves wholly and completely to God.
If that is the case, then the last place that should record cases of rape or abuse should be a catholic church. Sadly, that is not the case as nuns were being abused by priests and some of them were even forced to abort their pregnancies in a bid to cover the evil act.
Doris Wagner was a victim who decided to speak up and this encouraged other victims to also speak up. In an interview she granted, Doris spoke about her experience being abused as a nun before she finally decided to leave. Her story is an insight into what some of these people go through. Doris was abused at the age of 19 in a religious community in Germany.
She started sharing that she experienced two types of abuse; the spiritual abuse and the sexual abuse. She relayed her experience in the interview saying,
“Actually, I experienced two kinds of abuse, and the first abuse I experienced is spiritual abuse. I wasn’t allowed to think for myself and to have my own relationship with God. It was all dictated by my superiors, you know? This really actually prepared the sexual abuse because it put me in a position where I was not able to say I, I want or I don’t want something because that was just not possible in that kind of spirituality that I was obliged to follow.
So the sexual abuse really happened when I – it was in Rome. I was given a new task. I was the librarian in the house. And the male superior of the house started to visit me in the library. He would come up, regularly. He would hug me, and I really got frightened. And I decided to talk to my female superior about it. And I was frightened because she had told me at the beginning when I joined the community that we had to be very careful that nothing sexual – feelings or sexual relationships or anything like that and that it is the sisters who have the greater responsibility.
Eventually, he came into my room in the evening and just started to undress me. And it was in this very moment when he started to undress me that I realized what was going to happen. And I just completely froze, and there was only one sentence I was able to say to him. It was, you’re not allowed to do this. But it obviously didn’t help. And then, he just went on.
I thought I’m obliged to be silent because when I speak out, the community and the church will be damaged. Well, the first time I spoke up was with my female superior. And she was really – she was crazy, you know? I’ve never ever again seen a person like that. She was completely out of her words. She was red in her face. She was jumping on her feet. She was shouting, screaming. What’s really extraordinary to watch her reaction? And, in the end, she simply refused to understand that it was rape. In the end, she came up to me, took me into her arms – which was very unusual, never happened in the community that anybody would touch anybody else, usually. So she took me under her arms and said to me, I forgive you.”
She expressed that it presented to seem like the rape was her fault with the reaction of the female superior. The painful this is that it feels like these priests are made to go scot-free because she said,
“The priest who raped me is still a priest. He’s still in the community. And there was another priest who sexually assaulted me during confession, and he became head of the unit of the doctrinal (ph) at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And he stepped down, recently.”
She said she was glad that she spoke out because she had had a lot of people talking about it and she had women who victims were also calling her.
On the other hand, she felt that the statement didn’t help in a way because the pope did not present a plan.
“He did not say anything concrete, what he is going to do about it or what he has – would have done and has done in the past. There were no concrete action, nothing about persecution of perpetrators or compensation of victims. And that’s, really, what I’m still waiting for and many others, too.” She said
This is a situation that needs urgent attention and for as many who have been abused or who are still being abused, now is the time to speak up.
The religious houses, especially the catholic churches, should be free from all these detestable acts.
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