( This is primarily directed to Australians but most of you will probably see parallels in your own lands)
First and foremost, I believe firmly that ANYONE who physically or sexually abuses a child should suffer an eternity in hell (and if I’m not mistaken Christ Himself said as much).
Having said that i need to say the following:
If you see or hear much of the media (social and or mainstream/alternative) lately you’d be forgiven for thinking Religion and in particular the Catholic Church is responsible for all (ok – the vast reported majority of) sexual abuse in Australia. News reports have been flowing from the The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse constantly for months, frequently leading news programs or headlines. The stories are always horrific and tragic for the victims and i in no way wish to underplay the importance of both to those concerned.
However we are NOT getting the whole picture and i believe we all need a reminder of what is really happening here.
The commission is looking into some 4400 cases of abuse, most of which are alleged to have been committed by members of religious organisations (split fairly evenly, by the way, between priests, non-ordained members and simple lay people (the public) assisting the church!) This is from some 60 years of occurrences! While i am positive this is by no means the total number it is the number of people who have been willing to speak of it to authorities and who have been taken seriously by them. It averages to 75 cases a year!
This figure is a little misleading as the average time between abuse occurring and it being reported and believed by authorities enough to investigate and be included in these statistics is some 33 years – meaning it is likely many abuses have occurred in the last 30 years that have not been included but should be.
Even so the numbers of people who have been abused by religion are but a drop in the ocean compared to the figures for Australia taken in total.
According to the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare in 2014/15 there were 320 000 notifications of child abuse in that year alone of which 150,000 were investigated and 56,000 found to be substantiated (involving some 42,000 separate children).”Only” some 5600 of these were of a sexual nature while another 7400 concerned physical abuse. ( mental abuse and neglect accounting for the majority).
So in just one year (and the figures are increasing each year now) there were 25% more substantiated acts of child sexual abuse in this country than were reported to the Royal Commission, which covered more than 60 years of institutional abuse!
Let that sink in a little… you are some 80 times more likely to be abused outside an institution than in one! (75 a year inside to 5600 a year outside!).
So i hope all those self-righteous hypocrites who try to make out the Churches are such deviates and hypocrites will now be shouting loud and long about all ‘normal’ Australians who abuse their own kids at far higher rates than any church ever has.
Basically you are in far greater risk of being abused by your own ‘Father’ (mother, brother/uncle/neighbour) than a father in a church, Catholic or otherwise.
And that is just the ones that get reported – how many kids report on their own family members who abuse them? Reporting such a personal violation is never an easy thing to do for various reasons, it’s much easier to report on a comparative stranger though, to dobbing in your own flesh and blood.
Now how many News Agencies have bothered to give this angle a fair and unbiased reporting? Can you any longer trust any media to give you all the facts rather than the ones that sell the most papers or bring the biggest crowds/ratings?
And can i say how disappointed i am in religion and churches for not defending themselves by making it clear that while they are far from blameless when it comes to hypocritical and self-serving actions and abuse of innocents they are in all likelihood less likely to be child abusers than the rest of our society as a whole – at least based upon Australian research and statistical evidence.