It is fairly standard procedure when a clergy-member is accused to sex abuse for people to blame or accuse the alleged victim. The alleged victim is either accused of lying and making up the whole thing to destroy God’s servant, or s/he is accused to seducing the clergy member and then lying about it.
Unfortunately this practice isn’t reserved for clergy sex abuse. In fact, it is a standard byproduct of denial. And, for all that, denial is a normal response to information that seems impossible. Where this becomes dangerous is when denial persists into unreasonable refusal to accept truth or to deflect responsibility from the one(s) responsible.
Sociological Images: Seeing Is Believing has a great article about how common and widespread this response is. Did you know it is the victim’s fault if her husband beats her (oh, yes – even the church will tell you that), a wife’s fault if her husband kills her children, the economy’s fault if domestic violence rates rise, girls are to blame for internet predators, and women cause sexual harrassment and male lust. This linked article has proof of this widespread problem – check it out.
The heart of this issue is that in each of these types of situation people fail to connect the action with the correct cause. Any perpetrator is fully responsible for his/her own behavior. If this were not true, all of these actions would be universal – all men would have unbridled lust, everyone would sexually harrass those around them, husbands would always kill their children when their wife upsets them, there would be no domestic violence in financially secure families, etc. No victim ever forces the perpetrator to take advantage of them. This is patently ridiculous. Still, the myth persists, adding to the pain of victims everywhere.
Filed under: abuse and the church, child abuse, child sexual abuse, domestic abuse, Family Abuse & Relationships, sex abuse Tagged: | abuse and the church, abuse of power, child abuse, child sex abuse, Clergy Abuse, clergy sex abuse, domestic abuse, domestic abuse in the church, domestic violence, marital abuse, sexual abuse