As children's rights advocates and as human beings, we are outraged over the priest sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania. While this is not a story about trafficking, the reports of how the Church handled child sex abuse is consistent with other troubling sex abuse cases we've seen in the news. From Hollywood to the humanitarian aid sector, from elite sports to education, we continue to see abuse:
where the reputation of institutions and powerful individuals is protected over vulnerable people;
where the statute of limitations and non-disclosure agreements are used to silence survivors;
where victims are blamed for their own exploitation;
where institutions fail to report abuse;
and where organizations do not perform due diligence in background and reference checks when hiring or recruiting.
We are overdue for a cultural shift that holds perpetrators and the institutions that shield them accountable for their actions, and that protects our most vulnerable population from abuse and exploitation.
However small it may be, we owe it to the child survivors of this crime to end the silence and talk about it amongst ourselves, and in our communities. We owe it to them to read and understand this report so that we will all be armed for the work that lies ahead. The social shift begins with us.
Read the full grand jury report here.