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Words of help and healing for adult female survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Excerpts from
"Sex in the Forbidden Zone"
Peter Rutter, MD

  • The forbidden zone is a condition of relationship in which sexual behavior is prohibited because a man holds in trust the intimate, wounded, vulnerable, or underdeveloped parts of a woman.

  • The trust derives from the professional role of the man as doctor, therapist, lawyer, clergy, teacher or mentor.

  • This creates an expectation that whatever parts of herself the woman entrusts to him (her property, body, mind, or spirit) must be used solely to advance her interests and will not be used to his advantage, sexual or otherwise.

  • My position is that any sexual behavior by a man in power within what I define as the forbidden zone is inherently exploitive of a woman's trust.

  • Because he is the keeper of that trust, it is the man's responsibility, no matter what the level of provocation or apparent consent by the woman, to assure that sexual behavior does not take place.

  • Rape is the commission of sexual intercourse forcibly and without consent. The law has come to recognize that unless a person is psychologically free to say either yes or no, consent cannot be given, even if at the time of the sex act the person says yes.

  • A man in this position of trust and authority becomes unavoidably a parent figure and is charged with the ethical responsibilities of the parenting role.

  • Violations of these boundaries are, psychologically speaking, not only rapes but also acts of incest.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests