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RoseCLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE IN AUSTRALIA

--- This site used to be hosted on http://www.clergyabuseaustralia.org (and may one day return there, if I can ever grab the URL back again! Lol) ---

This page is designed by and for survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Australia. It contains no religious icons, out of respect for those of us who cannot yet separate the symbols from the pain associated with them. The only symbols used are that of a flower and a butterfly. A flower symbolises many things - gentleness and fragility, new life after wintertime, growth that comes through loving care, and the tendency to be easily bruised or shattered. The butterfly is symbolic of a survivor's answer to the promise "They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint". For many survivors, their experiences have so damaged their ability to cope with life that the promise of these words only seems a mockery. Instead, these words of a rape victim express it all: "Do not expect me to soar like an eagle when I only have the wings of a butterfly".

Butterfly

This page provides a forum for information about clergy sexual abuse, and society's, the Church's and the victims' responses to it. Some abuse in a church context is not perpetrated by clergy, however, but by religious or by lay people. When I refer to "clergy", all members of orders, male and female, and all religious leaders of any kind, including cult leaders and gurus, are included because of the authority that their "calling" confers on them in the minds of those whom they supposedly serve. Lay church officers also often carry this authority, hence victims of any kind of church-related abuse may benefit from the information here. Although the tendency will be to refer to victims as "she", and perpetrators as "he" and as "clergy", this is not intended to deny the experience of those for whom this is not so.

From the time I first published the website in September 1998 until mid-2005, I supported victims both emotionally and with information, and was invited to speak on TV and radio on many occasions. I am fortunate in being able to speak from the heart about the psychological and faith devastation clergy abuse victims suffer, yet still remain articulate and objective about what systemic changes need to be made. In 2005, my life circumstances changed significantly, and my ability to maintain the website regularly and give individual and personal time to victims virtually ceased completely. The website still provides valuable information, though, so I have continued to keep it active. That decision was validated in 2012, when the National Library requested permission to archive the site in perpetuity as a valuable Australian resource. I am grateful to them for such a magnificent endorsement!

In the 23 years since I began the site, the internet and people's capacity to access websites has changed almost beyond recognition. When I first put the site together, page file names could only be a maximum of 8 characters. I could have changed those, but it's a lot of work :-)  so sometimes the link addresses can be a bit misleading or cryptic. (For example, the page on what needs to happen before abuse victims should be asked to consider forgiving their abuser is named "forgive", which might lead people to think I'm suggesting they should.)   I could also have added all sorts of 'bells and whistles' to the layout and graphics, as technology became more complex and download speeds increased from dial-up modems to ADSL to fibre-optic, but I've chosen to keep it as simple as possible, so that it's still readily accessible to those working with old technology, slow data connections, or limited bandwidth.

My story is told in my words and my sister's words, and also in varying amounts of detail in the Sydney Morning Herald (8th and 9th May 1996) reports of the hearings of the Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service (Paedophile Enquiry), in the Royal Commission report (Vol V. page 1004 Case Study no. 1) and in the transcripts of the Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service, pages 24762-24925. Since my name was the subject of a suppression order at the time of the Royal Commission hearings, I am identified in those references only as AC2, and the offending minister is identified by the codename AC1. You can also find information about my past involvement in public speaking and activism on this topic, and details on how to contact me, here.

I believe that one of the most important factors in the healing of survivors is to connect with others who have similar experiences. It is also the biggest way in which we can counteract the isolation that victims have been, and are still being, subjected to. I hope this page will be one means by which this may happen. If you find something here particularly helpful, I welcome you letting me know. If you are a survivor of church-related sexual abuse, or know someone who is, I hope you will find this site to be a place of healing, support, encouragement and information.

Clare Pascoe

 

 

Noticeboard  NEWS      In the early days of the website, in the late 1990s, I began keeping records of all news articles (Australian, mostly, but some overseas reports as well) relating to clergy sexual abuse. With the explosion of news coverage about the topic in the early 2000s, my original intention became impossible to maintain. And as the internet expanded, search engines became more efficient, and more people had ready access to online sources to search for themselves, the original idea became less necessary. For reference, the articles which did get posted are here, and archived stop press items are here, but googling will give you far more results.

 

IMPORTANT SECTION UPDATES:

Most often accessed pages: site map, perpetrator list, my story, healing rite
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Main page * Site map and search * Info about me * Info for survivors * Info about abuse * Info about churches * General info * My story * Survivors' bill of rights * Forgiveness and apologies * Perpetrator list * Email me

This entire site is Clare Pascoe 1998-2021 except where otherwise specified. First published 16th Sep 1998.

Last updated October 2021