SURVIVORS FORUM – CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Sending these ‘Survivors Forum – concluding thoughts’ on to the RLSS.

Currently, Survivors have no voice. We are treated like lepers or liars or unfortunate collateral damage who should ‘move on’ and forget what happened to them.

Thus it would be impossible for me or another Survivor to currently interview the Catholic Herald editor and ask why our views are never heard in that publication. They would not respond.

The Tablet is exactly the same. I tried.

But an official Forum, backed by the RLSS, could, in time, be listened to by such powerful Catholic entities. I realise that won’t happen overnight, that many of these entities are scared and suspicious of Survivors and will be reluctant to be interviewed (which does not reflect well on them) but with positive examples of successful interviews, they could be persuaded.

This is just one example where the RLSS could be pro-active in the spirit of the Elliott report.  

SUGGESTION:

STAGE ONE

I do a video interview with a member of the RLSS. Preferably the CEO so it shows we’re being taken seriously. 45 minutes, preferably one hour.  I have interviewed many people professionally and been interviewed countless times.

If the interview gets a positive response from Survivors, we do more interviews.

As we all know, a clipped text reply to painful questions can be misinterpreted. If we’re feeling fragile, a curt text response can be destructive. So that applies to questions and answers on the Forum, too. It’s a danger we have to overcome as far as possible.

But video is different. We can judge the warmth and sincerity of the interviewee and cut them some slack that’s just not possible with text replies.

AFAIK, this has never been done before, so that’s why I feel it has full transparency potential which traditional private phone calls or meetings behind closed doors don’t have.

I can gather questions from Survivors and submit them in advance. This first interview is likely to be ‘general’ and answer the most pressing issues Survivors have – like what happens to historic abuse claims when the abuser is dead? Why there needs to be an alternative to litigation for survivors: e.g. religious orders launch their own investigations and acknowledge the past. They must be pro-active. Why better role models and solutions outside the UK – as in Ireland – could be implemented. How the RLSS could help by supporting and highlighting Survivor concerns in the media.

The RLSS does the interview recording, the tech uploading, and has the opportunity to edit in the most unlikely event that either of us says something untoward or that could be taken out of context.

The resulting podcast video interview is posted prominently on the RLSS site and is also available on a youtube link – so it can be viewed via social media.

As the RLSS CEO has said to me, this would be a good small first step towards a forum.

The subsequent Survivor feedback to the Interview – positive and negative – should also go on the RLSS website. 

It thus forms a proto-Forum.

STAGE TWO

Subsequent ‘specialised’ interviews, I feel should have the following objectives as far as feasible: Getting the Catholic entity to acknowledge there is an issue that needs wider discussion. Providing Survivors with information. While Survivors recognize that the entity cannot talk about individual cases – because I fear Catholic Insurance would veto the interview. But we can still get around that by talking generally.

I can think of four experienced interviewers (2 female, 2 male) – with specialist Catholic  knowledge -who could be interested. And the RLSS may know some Survivors who would be good interviewers. And I’m keen to do many of the interviews myself initially to get the process underway as quickly as possible.

POSSIBLE EARLY INTERVIEWS

CEO of CSSA The CEO of the CSSA has admitted to me that the Laity has been overlooked thus far. I know that Laity organizations – with no DBS checks – are still in control of children!! See also Sodalities below.

CHAIR OF CSSA Nazir Afzal. He has turned down at least one interview with a Survivor on an excellent social media Survivors platform and he remains incommunicado. This is unacceptable. He must talk to Survivors on our terms, not his. We are the injured party. Otherwise he is just another example of Clericalism that is rampant in the Catholic Church

FATHER SMALL – Head of Vatican Safeguarding who has expressed a wish to get in touch with myself and De La Salle survivors as part of a conciliation process. So I assume he would agree. I guess I’d do that one.  

A CHURCH REPRESENTATIVE ON CANON LAW – I’d like to do this one, because I’ve collected a series of disturbing aspects of Canon Law that need answering. I would consult a Catholic theologian, so I am fully primed. Canon Law IMHO is  at the heart of Catholic child sex abuse and clericalism. For example: Canon Law is used as mitigation in defiance of the law of the land, there’s the principle of  double effect (‘end justifies the means’) enshrined in Catholic theology via Aquinas, the legitimacy of lying to protect the Church (‘the greater good’) and the various Oaths of Allegiance which prevent Catholics speaking out. These negative elements need public questioning and acknowledgement.

EDITOR CATHOLIC HERALD –  Survivors have to talk to this person who seems to exclude the concerns of  Survivors and the negative aspects of Canon Law from their publication.  We are the elephant in the room. Given that this is the biggest issue for the Catholic Church that has to change.

I can think of six other key interviews with Catholic entities which would be important to me and other Survivors, but I figure let’s see what happens with the above suggestions first.

.

Other issues:

One concern that came up is Survivors fearing being retraumatised by engaging in a Forum. That’s understandable and the answer is simple – for their own sake, they should stay away from the Forum. Thus I won’t enter a Catholic Church because it always makes me feel angry. So I stay away. But I don’t object to other Survivors entering a Church.

The Beulah Hill Crystal Palace Forum thread is worthy of study to show how it works and if a Survivors’ Forum should be similar.  Crystal Palace is the Forum that the De La Salles claim not to know about – some of the numerous DLS abuse allegations ‘unheard of’ were on this Crystal Palace Forum. 

The Irish solution to Catholic abuse is well worth study. I have three examples I want to look at. They still have problems in Ireland, but they are far ahead of the UK in responding to Survivors.

One area that would benefit from a video airing with someone suitable is Recovered Memory. It’s something I’ve become a reluctant authority on having attended two False Memory UK meetings. ‘False Memory’ has been provably debunked everywhere in the world – with one exception: the UK where powerful lobbies promote it as truth with the active support and questionable connivance of the Guardian and other UK media provably withholding evidence (Father James Porter case). For Survivors to know – apart from a few mentally ill fantasists or charlatans –  FM is a lie would be very reassuring and help their healing process.

SODALITIES. An insider has recently advised me:

‘Those confraternities, sodalities, orders to venerate saints and so on obviously are significant financially plus many of them are international and so offer support systems to people who relocate from one jurisdiction to another, but they haven’t featured in audits of how the Church has handled concerns and allegations about abuse.’

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