Stand up for childhood sexual abuse victims

Stand up for childhood sexual abuse victims

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TwelvesNotEnough . started this petition to Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives and

 

On August 14th, 2018 Pennsylvania released a statewide grand jury report on sexual assault within the Catholic Church. The redacted document is composed of 900 pages of horrific details of child abuse at the hands of church officials. The grand jury’s report identifies over 300 church officials who sexually abused over 1,000 children. The abuse was documented across six Roman Catholic Dioceses, showing that this type of abuse is not the cause of a few bad apples, but is systemic.

To make matters worse the grand jury found that equally systemic was the Catholic church’s tendency to cover up said abuse. The grand jury’s report does not detail every account of abuse found, but just in the exemplary accounts included in the report, around 90 church officials are named as having known about abuse by another member of the clergy. Those implicated range from low-level priests, to monsignors, to bishops and archbishops, even to cardinals.

Since the grand jury report, there has been significant push for change in Pennsylvania. In the past few months, Senate Bill 261 focused on changing the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims. The change would have given victims 32 years after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit, instead of the current allocated time of 12 years. Unfortunately, on October 17th, 2018, the Pennsylvania State Senate’s legislative session ended without a vote on Senate Bill 261 and its amendments.

Having 12 years to report a lawsuit after turning 18 years old does not provide enough time for many victims.Many child sexual abuse victims in the Catholic Church have experienced continued trauma and PTSD and therefore have either blocked the memory altogether as a coping mechanism or they feared reporting the abuse. As time goes by, memories can resurface and it is therefore important that victims have more time to report their experience.

Our organization, TwelvesNotEnough, will work to ensure that victims of childhood sexual abuse have the ability to fight for themselves when they feel it is the right time. Since the removal of Senate Bill 261 as of October 17, 2018, our organization will attempt to secure stakeholders to ensure a similar bill will get passed in the future. In the meantime, we need supporters to convince our state representatives to bring back a bill that supports childhood sexual violence victims. Please sign this petition to tell our congressman that sexual violence in the church is an issue that we need to further address.

 

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