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Nuns and abuse within the Catholic Church

Over the past decade and a half, there have been several high-profile stories of widespread clergy abuse occurring within the Catholic Church.

In 2002, The Boston Globe broke a story about their investigation of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Boston, involving priest John Geoghan, who allegedly abused 130 people between 1962 and 1995.

In 2004, child victims of clergy abuse accused more than 4,000 priests of abuse between the years of 1950 and 2002.

And in August of 2018, a grand jury report revealed that more than 1,000 children had been abused by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania.

These are just a few of the many reports of clergy abuse occurring in the United States. And now, we are learning about another form of abuse occurring: The sexual abuse of nuns and religious women.

Recently, Pope Francis publicly announced the prevalence of abuse of nuns by priests and bishops. He specifically named India, Italy, Africa, and Latin America as places this has commonly occurred.

Sadly, some nuns have become pregnant by priests; some gave birth, and some had abortions. Many of these priests were allegedly using the nuns as sex slaves.

And many of the nuns who chose to speak out were dismissed by officials in the Catholic Church and removed from their positions.

This abuse of nuns was very rampant in Africa, especially when the spread of AIDS was becoming a clear issue. In one case in Malawi, nearly 30 nuns were impregnated by priests. When they expressed their concerns to the archbishop, they were removed.

Many nuns are choosing to speak out, inspired by the #MeToo movement and camaraderie among those serving within the Catholic Church.

The many forms of clergy abuse affect individuals, families, and communities. As more survivors speak out - children, adults who experienced abuse as a child, nuns, and others - true change within the Catholic Church can occur.

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