The Boston Globe continues in its efforts to keep people from thinking that clergy sex abuse has anything at all to do with homosexuality. Today, the story says that, for some reason, women victims are more reluctant to come forward than men.
- In a yearlong cascade of disclosures about sexually abusive priests, the public face of victims has been largely male. This raises a puzzling question: When females are believed to account for a sizable percentage of those victimized by priests, why have comparatively few women come forward? More than 90 percent of the clergy sex abuse cases referred to prosecutors in five counties in Eastern Massachusetts involve male victims.
Perhaps, only a few women have been victimized. In other types of child sexual abuse, it’s the men who are more reluctant to come forward and name their abusers and women do so in greater numbers. Maybe in this case, so few women and so many men have been abused that the balance tips.
Then the Globe makes an assertion based on evidence that can be interpreted in other ways.
- In the Boston Archdiocese, at least 16 of the 82 priests accused of molesting minors whose files have been released in recent months allegedly preyed on females. And while reliable statistics are hard to come by, many specialists on clergy sex abuse say they believe that girls represent a substantial portion - some say a third or more - of minors who are molested by priests.
If 16 of 82 priests are accused, yet so few women come forward, maybe it’s because the molesters of girls each abuse fewer victims than the molesters of boys. And notice that 80 percent of the abusers are still same-sex motivated. Compare that to the approximately 5 percent of the population that is gay (some say even less). Even if you believe some people’s estimates that 50 percent of priests are gay (I don’t believe it), same-sex abuse still occurs at a much higher rate.
- There is other, anecdotal evidence that woman victims have been undercounted: For example, nearly half the victims who become members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, an organization that is the best-known advocacy group for victims, are women.
And that’s just what it is—anecdotal. Again, there are plenty of good explanations for why that may be. Perhaps, men are averse to joining such organizations. Perhaps, there’s a reason why they don’t want to join SNAP.
Of course, the article rehashes the old idea that perverts molest boys because they’re easier to get at.
- ’‘Priests could easily take a group of altar boys to a cabin for the weekend, which they couldn’t have done with girls,’’ said Barbara Blaine, who founded SNAP in 1989 after growing frustrated with the church’s treatment of her when she reported that she had been abused by a Toledo priest starting when she was 12 or 13.
Sorry, I don’t buy it. Even as deranged as a molester is, I don’t see someone saying, “Oh well, if I can’t have a girl, I’ll just have a boy.” In non-clergy cases of serial molesters, how many of them molested anybody they could get their hands on. If someone can provide me with some data, I’ll change my mind, but until then I’m not buying it. And here’s where they sell the goods:
- Sipe and Schoener, among others, said the quiet existence of so many woman victims of priests disproves the contention of many influential Catholics, including some senior Vatican officials, that the clergy sexual abuse scandal can be attributed primarily to the sizable percentage of homosexual priests.
Here’s the real reason for the article, not to talk about women victims themselves, but for the Globe to shift the spotlight away from homosexuality as one possible cause.