Sexual Violence Feeds On Silence
Stories of sexual exploitation and violence are not just headlines – they are the lived experience of thousands of victims. As these atrocities become part of the public discourse, we can begin to hold the institutions that protect the perpetrators, such as the Catholic Church, accountable and take steps toward prevention and reparation.
Sexual Abuse Is Not About Sex; It Is About Power
While not all survivors can recount their stories of trauma, those that feel compelled and supported to speak out work toward reclaiming individual and collective power. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual violence, we encourage you to seek the help of a trusted friend, family member, and/or therapist.
Giving Voice To Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse
The attorneys at Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz are currently investigating ways to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic Clergy seek justice for the abuse they endured. Sexual abuse or assault within the Catholic Church is nothing new. For hundreds of years, Catholic clergy have used their power and authority to sexually assault the most vulnerable members of their congregations: children. To this day, survivors of sexual assault who dare to speak up about their abuse are often met with disbelief, efforts to silence or minimize their injuries, or further punishment. Church officials who receive reports of abuse or harassment perpetrated by clergy tend to ignore or cover up the reports, or simply reassign the accused to new parishes. While many sexual predators within the church remain free to continue their abuse, their victims are essentially abandoned. Left without resources for healing from their assaults or pursuing justice against their assailants, many of these sex abuse survivors spiral into depression, isolation, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
Survivors of Catholic clergy abuse will not be silenced. There are many accounts of sexual abuse coming into the light. In recent years, survivors’ voices have grown louder and stronger as they’ve shared their harrowing stories of unwanted sexual contact, with their communities, the media, and the legal system. The reasons are as varied and intricate as the survivors themselves.
Are you or a family member a survivor of sexual harassment or assault by a priest, deacon, nun or other clergy member? Our attorneys are listening. If you would like to learn how we use the civil justice system to hold clergy and the Catholic church accountable for their abuses, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced attorneys who are dedicated to helping you navigate the civil legal system.