Thursday, July 16, 2009

Abuse is Everywhere

"Ireland unveils long-awaited report on Catholic child abuse"

Last weekend, Kim Michele Richardson was in town for the American Library Association (ALA) Conference where she got down to business talking to others about her book. I met Kimmi and her husband for dinner and we both brought up the recent article regarding 50-years of sexual abuse by the Irish Catholic schools and orphanages in Ireland. It’s astounding how far these horrific acts have traveled and gone ignored.

Kimmi’s book, The Unbreakable Child, describes her abuses in a Catholic orphanage in Kentucky, far from Ireland, but the terrifying and damaging memories are similar. Kimmi was one of many involved in the first successful lawsuit in U.S. history to receive monetary restitution for abuse. Their attorney, William F. McMurry led them in the fight and win.

The Unbreakable Child is a reminder, as is now declared in Ireland, that the Catholic Church needs to take a stand against these horrendous activities. I was raised Catholic, although I’m not a practicing one. These declarations in Ireland and in The Unbreakable Child are an embarrassment to Catholics, or any organized religion that feels they’re outside the law. There is no separation of Church and State when it comes to abuse, and anyone connected to a religious order isn’t exempt from prosecution.

What angers me the most though is that the Roman Catholic Church hasn’t taken ownership for these abuses. This isn’t to say all Catholic nuns and priests are sexual abusers, BUT the abuse came from this religion, therefore holding all past, present and future orders responsible in dealing with the situation. They should apologize for past and present abuses, take action against those performing such acts, take measures in avoiding future abuse, and open a line of communication with the abused. An acknowledgment and willingness to let the abused speak of their horrors could go a long way. I feel it is the responsibility of the Roman Catholic Church to take the lead and setup help lines for those seeking help to lend a hand to some who are broken.

Let me end this blog post by saying, and repeating after Kimmi, abuse isn’t a religious issue, it’s a human issue. ANYONE involved in abuse activity should be punished. I say with much sadness, as humans we need to reprogram ourselves to appreciate the true value of a human life. It seems violence and abuse is becoming more common than caring and love. It’s a learning process, but I already started with myself in showing and treating people with understanding and care, and I hope this train of thought spreads like wild fire.


  1. You mention opening a line of communication. How true, this would seem to be of great help. People need to talk, to discuss, to read posts like yours, and books like Kim's. It's all part of the forward motion, to grow and to learn and understand.

  2. Thanks much, Joanne. Sometimes a simple apology and acknowledgment can help mend the pain.

  3. Bea, this is very informative, needed and well written post. Thank you kindly, my friend for bringing attention to this most important issue, child abuse, a human issue.

  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences and heart with others. :) We use our voices through different mediums to raise awareness regarding abuse of all ages.

  5. This is a very honest and crystallizing way of addressing an issue such as this, in today's world. It is good that Kimmi's book is raising awareness, through her experiences in her youth. Understandings such as of your own and Kimmi's experience, helps raise the consciousness of these shifts in human perspective.