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and even though he PLEAD GUILTY to 6 additional cases, Christian Brothers don't think he did it.
 

A Culture of Denial

Many Christian brothers refuse to accept that one of their ranks is guilty of the child sex crimes for which he was convicted... Christian brother and researcher Dr Barry Coldrey told the parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse within religious organisations.

"Even at this moment there are many brothers who refuse to believe that Robert Best is guilty," he told the inquiry in Melbourne on Friday.

He said some would still visit Best in prison.

This is not an isolated occurrence.  As I wrote previously, members of my own family still side with my abuser, my Grandfather.  Dr. Judith Herman has a book entitled Trauma & Recovery.  My partner, Rebecca (aka SwedishJewfish) wrote a review for Readers and Book Lovers last year, but this one passage, I think, may help explain this phenomenon of disbelief when it comes to child sexual abuse:

"It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering."

What do the courts know?

Pedophile rapist Christian Brother Robert Best has been jailed for 14 years and nine months after pleading guilty to abusing 11 Victorian boys. Best, 70, pleaded guilty in May to 27 sexual assaults of boys at schools he taught at between 1969 and 1988. Best initially contested the charges, with his defence funded by the Catholic Church.

He has been registered as a serious sexual offender. Since 1996, six juries have convicted Best of sexual assaults against young boys. He is already in jail serving four separate terms for indecent assaults against boys at his schools.

Absolutely no sympathy for victim

Not only do these "Chrstian Brothers" deny that one of their own is a pedophile (even though he was convicted, even though he plead GUILTY), they show a glaring lack of any sympathy or empathy for the children who were abused by this predatory pedophile priest.

Brother Barry Coldrey told the parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse that he was not a spokesman for any religion. But he said he believed that a culture of denial still pervaded the Christian Brothers order in Australia.

Dr. Coldrey told the inquiry that the order had little sympathy for victims of sexual abuse.

"At the moment, the mood is sullen, angry and certainly little sympathy is expressed for victims," he said.

"No one ever won an election in the Christian Brothers by expressing sympathy for victims."

Minimizing the effects of child sexual abuse on victims

Although research has shown the long-lasting effects child sexual abuse has on victims, apparently the Catholic Church knows better.  On our website, Tree-Climbers.org we share well-researched impacts this heinous crime has on both children and adult survivors of CSA.  

While each individual’s experiences and reactions are unique, there are some responses to child sexual abuse that are common to many survivors:i

•Low self-esteem or self-hatred
•Survivors may suffer from depression
•Guilt, shame and blame
•Survivors may feel guilt or shame because they made no direct attempt to stop the abuse or because they experienced physical pleasure
•Sleep disturbances / disorders
•Survivors may have trouble sleeping because of the trauma, or anxiety may directly be related to the experience they had as a child; children may have been sexually abused in their own beds.
•Lack of trust for anyone
•Many survivors were betrayed by the very people they are dependent upon (family, teachers etc.) who cared for them, who insisted they loved them even while abusing them; learning to trust can be extremely difficult under these circumstances.
•93% of victims under the age of 18 know their attacker.ii
•Revictimization
•Many survivors as adults find themselves in abusive, dangerous situations or relationships.
•Woman who were sexually assaulted before the age of 18 [are] twice as likely to report being raped as adults.iii
•Flashbacks
•Many survivors re-experience the sexual abuse as if it were occurring at that moment, usually accompanied by visual images of the abuse. These flashes of images are often triggered by an event, action, or even a smell that is reminiscent of the sexual abuse of the abuser.
•Dissociation
•Many survivors go through a process where the mind distances itself from the experience because it is too much for the psyche to process at the time. This loss of connection with thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of identity, is a coping mechanism and may affect aspects of a survivor’s functioning.
•Sexuality / Intimacy
•Many survivors have to deal with the fact that their first sexual encounter was a result of abuse. Such memories may interfere with the survivor’s ability to engage in sexual relationships, which may bring about feelings of fright, frustration, or being ashamed.

Dr Joseph Poznanski, a counselling psychologist who specialises in trauma, told the committee that many of his adult clients had gone through the Catholic Church's national complaints system for child abuse, Towards Healing. He said they believed the process focused on minimising and denying their suffering. Dr Poznanski said that church-appointed psychologists who evaluated victims to calculate their compensation often reported that child abuse accounted for only 5 per cent of their dysfunction.

''It is not unusual for a psychiatrist appointed by Towards Healing to see an adult victim of childhood clergy abuse for less than an hour ... and to conclude that there is no evidence of a severe psychiatric condition such as schizophrenia,'' he said. ''It appears the reported absence of severe psychiatric condition has swayed the church authorities to conclude that the abuse has not had a considerable impact on the complainant's life.''

The most common psychiatric problem among adult victims he worked with was complex post-traumatic stress disorder - a condition that was more likely to be unrecognised by both Towards Healing and its Melbourne equivalent, Melbourne Response.

Complext Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Dr. Judith Herman of Harvard University (and author of Trauma and Recovery as discussed above) is working to get this new diagnosis into the lexicon.

Because results from the DSM-IV Field Trials indicated that 92% of individuals with Complex PTSD/DESNOS also met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, Complex PTSD was not added as a separate diagnosis classification (4). However, cases that involve prolonged, repeated trauma may indicate a need for special treatment considerations.

What additional symptoms are seen in Complex PTSD?


An individual who experienced a prolonged period (months to years) of chronic victimization and total control by another may also experience the following difficulties:

■Emotional Regulation. May include persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts, explosive anger, or inhibited anger.
■Consciousness. Includes forgetting traumatic events, reliving traumatic events, or having episodes in which one feels detached from one's mental processes or body (dissociation).
■Self-Perception. May include helplessness, shame, guilt, stigma, and a sense of being completely different from other human beings.
■Distorted Perceptions of the Perpetrator. Examples include attributing total power to the perpetrator, becoming preoccupied with the relationship to the perpetrator, or preoccupied with revenge.
■Relations with Others. Examples include isolation, distrust, or a repeated search for a rescuer.
■One's System of Meanings. May include a loss of sustaining faith or a sense of hopelessness and despair.

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