Collateral damage: the family upheaval that results from abuse

By John Meagher, October 29 2017, Irish Independent

Betrayal. It's the first word that Dr Marie Keenan thinks of when she considers the overriding emotion experienced when a family member is revealed to be a sex offender.

"That sense of betrayal is enormous," she says. "This is someone they loved, whom they thought they knew intimately, and now they are having to confront the most horrific news."

Dr Keenan, a lecturer at the School of Social Policy, University College Dublin, is one of the country's foremost experts of the impact of sex abuse - not just on the actual victims, but those other people caught in the slipstream.

"It's not just a private tragedy," she says, "but when these cases go to court and the names are published, it becomes a public matter as well and  . . .

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  • John Nesbella
    commented 2017-10-30 13:00:28 -0500
    I can understand that the relatives of the sexual abusers suffer but with the way that the survivors have been treated by the church and it’s people I am not feeling too sympathetic towards the abusers or their relatives. They are priests who have been treated like god on earth and like they can do no wrong. What is needed is more compassion for the sexually abused-by both the clergy and the people. In my diocese the survivors are NOT even acknowledged-it’s as if they don’t even exist. It’s all about-the church, the church, the church, the priests, bishop, the pope. Survivors or their families-who cares?

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