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SPEAK UP New Delhi Province (INN)

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PARAPPULLY Jose, New Delhi says,
TIME FOR HALF MEASURES IS OVER! Holding Up to the Light - 19
By Jose Parappully
forum
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New Delhi, Apr. 9. This is an intervention I made in the General Assembly of the 27th General Chapter on the issue of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from abuse.

My intervention refers to Nos. 7, 40 and 48 of the Redacted Draft of Module 3 - Servants of the Young.

Fr. Pascual Chaves in his report on the State of the Congregation called our attention to the phenomenon of child sexual abuse which he very aptly labeled an ``abominable and painful crime.`` He went on to describe its impact on the Congregation. And I acknowledge my appreciation for all that he has done to address the issue.

Sexual abuse is not limited to abuse of minors.

Research shows that most offending clergy are not involved in the abuse of children, but of adult women.

So often in cases of abuse, women are used (I know this is a strong word, but that is the reality) yes, used for one`s pleasure and comfort and discarded when continuation of a sexual relationship is no longer convenient. The women are profoundly damaged and even attempt suicide.

And the powers-be, so often, seek only to protect the perpetrator, even after adoption of documents that trumpet  ``zero tolerance,`` concerned more about the reputation of the Institute, not only not acknowledging the abuse, but even attempting to denigrate the women, and worse,  caring little for the enormous damage done to them.

It is this kind of response that angers the survivors the most and leads to their losing faith in religious institutions and even God.

Our greatest regret should not be the moral failure of our confreres, or the impact on the congregation`s reputation, nor the financial damage, important as they are, but for the enormous damage done to psyche and soul of the victims, both minors and adults.

I earnestly propose that we explicitly acknowledge and express our regret as a congregation somewhere in the final document of this Chapter, for the damage done to the victims of sexual abuse, both minors and adults, by some of our confreres, however few they are.

This would not only be a profoundly radical gesture, but would also serve as healing balm to wounded souls.

I am making this appeal on behalf of the many women who have shared their pain with me and my fellow therapists and on behalf of countless others -- children, adolescents and adults -- who have been rendered powerless to speak and suffer in silence.

And in regard to the entire final document that will be drawn up: I conclude with the words of Paul Krugman  (``The Timidity Trap`` INYT, sat. sun, March 22-23, p. 7) I read in the International New York Times here only a few days ago: ``Policy makers have good ideas, yet they consistently go for half measures in practice and kill all hope.``

Dear Confreres, the time for half measures is over.  It is time to take radical, courageous and daring steps. I hope and pray that we as a body can rise to the challenge, and restore hope and not further undermine it.

Jose Parappully
Delegate, INN

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