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Survivors Have The Power To Hold Abusers Accountable. Our Attorneys Can Help Make Your Voice Heard.

An overlooked group of clergy abuse survivors

Abusive priests did not all target one type of person. Each preyed upon individuals from different communities in all parts of the country, taking advantage when they believed they could. Survivors come from all walks of life.

A recent Associated Press story suggests the church is making little effort to connect with one possible group: survivors of color.

Little outreach to some groups

According to the Associated Press, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Hawaiians account for 46% of the faith community in the U.S. Despite that, the Catholic church has done little to reach out to possible survivors within those groups.

This lack of outreach is particularly worrisome considering previously documented behavior. It wasn’t uncommon for church leadership to take priests that were accused of abuse, and move them to economically disadvantaged communities, the story explains. There, they were out of the spotlight and working in an area where people often did not have the resources to speak up and fight back.

The Associated Press discovered dioceses and churches rarely track the race or ethnicity of reported survivors. One Louisiana diocese, however, has done so in recent years, with encouraging results. A victim assistance coordinator was able to learn an accused priest seemed to target only boys in low-income African-American communities. This led to the discovery of additional survivors that otherwise may never have come forward.

Ensuring these voiceare heard

Survivors face many obstacles ahead of sharing their story. There is the internal struggle many must cope with, but certain external forces – including community stigma, fear of retribution and more – can also keep survivors quiet. Some may argue it is the role of the church to actively reach out to those people and offer them an opportunity to have their voice heard.

Survivors often find themselves in an incredibly difficult position. Due to an incident that was out of their control and not their fault, their health and relationships may suffer. For some, talking about what happened helps them begin to heal.

Not every survivor may be ready to share their story. But all of them should be afforded the opportunity to do so, if they wish.

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