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Clergy abuse survivors see parallels with Hollywood scandals

Child sexual abuse survivors must deal with years of personal healing. Victims may have flashbacks to their own past experiences when stories of sexual misconduct by powerful industry figures surface in the news. As so many allegations occur in Hollywood, adult victims of clergy member sexual abuse see strong parallels.

A number of Catholic Church priests have been charged with child sexual abuse around the state and nation. A landmark lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego a decade ago reached a $660 million settlement, and was one of many to come. According to U.S. News & World Report, survivors of clergy abuse are seeing how their own experiences connect to recent accounts in Hollywood.

Power dynamics

Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood movie mogul, is currently under investigation for numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. Soon after allegations against Weinstein were publicized, dozens of high-profile figures in the entertainment industry have been accused of sexual misconduct. Many have resigned, been suspended or fired. Victims of abuse in Hollywood knew they faced powerful figures with the ability to ruin their careers. The victims of high profile figures felt pressured by a similar power dynamic that victims of parish priests felt.

However a major difference lies in the fact that many of the Hollywood figure accusers were adults when the abuse occurred. Victims of clergy members were exclusively children. Not only did the children face powerful community figures, but they were highly revered adults, who were meant to be religious guides for the children. Accusers of highly clergy members face possible fallout with the church, fellow parishioners and their own families. It is easy to see why it can take years to step forward against such abusers.

Healing for victims

Public awareness and legal recourse against powerful Hollywood figures has helped clergy abuse victims feel less alone. While reoccurring headlines can be painful, they take solace in the fact that victims are stepping forward against abuse.

Many of the Hollywood sexual abuse scandals are resulting in lawsuits. Six of Weinstein’s accusers have filed a federal lawsuit against him. To encourage real change, abusers must be held accountable for their actions. Even as adults, victims of child sexual abuse can file lawsuits against their abusers.

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