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Georgia NeSmith, PhD @PracticalLefty
, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/ While doing some research on pedophilia in response to discussions on the PA Catholic Church abuse scandal [yes, I do research sometimes rather than just mouthing off whatever pops into my head], I came across two excellent resources about causes and treatments for pedophilia.
2/ The first is a BBC program that came out 2 years ago after Britain released a massive, detailed report on the sexual abuse of children, The Truth About Child Sex Abuse

which, among other things, discusses new neurological research about pedophilia...
3/ ...while also revealing astounding statistics about how widespread child sex abuse is, with the vast majority of it occurring in the home or by persons known to the child thru family.

I think it's important people recognize in the midst of the Catholic Church scandal...
4/...that as horrifying, awful, and massive that abuse of children by priests in the Catholic Church is, it is the centralization of that abuse [and protection thereof] within a large institution that makes it VISIBLE; but the vast majority of sex abuse is hidden in the home.
5/ My point is made in argument against the idea religion per se is to blame for that abuse. Institutions like the church attract pedophiles bc they offer easy access to children as well as a hierarchical structure and "boys club" of the priesthood that enables it to flourish.
6/ Religious beliefs do not cause pedophilia. The majority of the faithful don't commit child sexual more so than the general population. So while I reject religiosity for myself, I think it is dangerously misleading to lay the blame for child sexual abuse on religion.
7/...Dangerously misleading because with the current scandal it is easy to scapegoat religious beliefs, particularly Catholic, and by that miss the fact that most child sexual abuse is committed by family members or persons known thru the family.
8/ One must distinguish between belief and institution. Child sex abusers outside the family are present in all institutions where children are present--public as well as private schools, athletic programs, and other organized childhood activities where religion plays no role.
9/ The key characteristic in those institutions is primarily hierarchical structures, particularly where authority is supposed to be unquestioned--especially ADULT authority; where children are virtually always disbelieved when their words contradict an adult's.
10/ While those characteristics are especially prevalent in churches, they are also widespread in many other organizations involving children.

I speak from the authority of having survived childhood sexual abuse by my father [and my mother's quiet acquiescence]...
11/ ...combined w/authority derived from having studied these issues informally since 1982--in part to understand and heal from my own abuse; in part to understand the issues in general so I may help others along the way. I have no degree in the topic, but I might as well have.
12/ The second resource I came across is this website,

...which has an amazing collection of resources for survivors and for those seeking to protect and help victims.
13/ I recommend it for all, not just for those whose lives have been affected. So that you may understand, and thru understanding help ensure that children receive the protection and assistance they need regardless of who their abuser[s] is, wherever those children may be.
14/ One never completely heals from childhood sexual abuse. Or at least, not so far. I believe that is mainly because all too often children don't eve get the help they need after they become adults. If help were received IMMEDIATELY after such an event takes place...
15/ ...I firmly believe the life long impact & its intensity can be significantly lessened. The greatest harm comes less fm an incident itself than from the overwhelming sense of powerlessness, the belief no one cares, that it is one's own fault, & the feeling of being invisible.
16/ For that immediacy of help to occur, it takes more than providing external resources. Most of all, children must feel safe in reporting what has happened to them.

I was 45 before I received any help. Before I even KNEW I needed that help.
17/ The devastation was wrought not only on my own life but on the lives of people I have loved, especially my daughter--who had a mother who couldn't be fully present to her, a mother emotionally damaged in incomprehensible ways.

I came close to a psychotic break when she was 2
19/...because I believed the "voices in my head," and the horrible nightmares I had, meant I was going crazy, that I could not believe even what my objective senses told me, because so often I was told "that never happened."

As I have written in the memoir I am working on...
20/ Faith matters. We all live on faith, in whatever terms, imagery, stories we may find it.

Faith in the wrong people is destructive. But we must have faith nonetheless.
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