Some experts say that the percentage of priests who are pedophiles may be as high as 8 percent, and as many as 40 percent may be homosexual. Experts take great pains to explain that homosexuals are no more likely to be pedophiles than are heterosexuals. Nevertheless, many parishioners are asking why so many of the abuse cases seem to be men with boys - not girls. Has SNAP studied this situation or does it have any answers from the organization's experience with victims of abuse?
Roughly half of our 20,000 members are women. We hear more about boys being molested for at least three reasons.
Men tend to direct their anger outward (and file lawsuits, for example), while women tend to direct anger inward (and litigation, of course, generates media coverage.)
Women deal with their pain in more private ways--such as therapy/support groups.
Male/male sex is more salacious and therefore attracts more attention.
The availability of boys is also a variable. In years past, parents of a 13 year old boy gladly allowed their child to travel or "sleep over" with a priest, but would not have permitted a girl to do so.
We believe that two factors - an insistence on celibacy, which many priests do not adhere to, and a disproportionate percentage of gay priests - contribute to culture of silence and secrecy. When priest are forbidden to engage in any sexual activity whatsoever, then many priests inevitably have something to hide. And in that atmosphere, it becomes less likely that an individual priest will report sexual misconduct by one of his peers.
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