Gonzaga Awarded Grant to Host Conference on Sex Abuse Scandal

Yet another Catholic university has been awarded a grant to host a conference related to the clergy sex abuse scandal. We hope that in the two years they have to plan this conference that the organizers will ensure that it centers on the voices of survivors and focuses on prevention.

Three researchers from Gonzaga University have been awarded $40,000 to host a conference on the sex abuse scandal. With this money, we hope that these scholars will undertake an extensive outreach campaign to survivors of Catholic sex abuse to ensure that they are representing the voices of victims at this conference that is about the crimes that happened to them. Over the years we have seen many Catholic institutions hold conferences and events that ostensibly involve victims and yet that eschew their experiences and voices in favor of creating a rosier picture of the abuse scandal that is still ongoing today. We hope this will not be the case at Gonzaga.

The conference organizers plan to use their funding to talk about the intersection of clergy sexual abuse and the oppression felt by minorities and marginalized communities. There is no doubt that this is a critical conversation and we are glad that attention is being paid to these underserved survivors of Catholic sex abuse. Hopefully, this conference does not stop its work after amplifying these voices, but will listen closely and implement solutions that will better prevent abuse. Too often have brave victims allowed themselves to be vulnerable and share their experiences with Catholic officials only to receive empty platitudes and a lack of action. Hopefully, Gonzaga learns from those experiences as well.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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