Breaking the Silence of Male Trauma Survivors | Debra Warner – TEDX talk

You have heard of the #MeToo movement. But have you heard of the #MenToo movement? Little is known about male trauma and Dr. Debra Warner explains that men are also suffering sexual assault. Dr. Debra Warner is a leading forensic psychologist, trauma expert, author, and speaker who specializes in male trauma. She is the spouse of a male survivor and authored “His History, Her Story, a Survival Guide for Spouses of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trauma.” She has devoted her professional efforts to helping men and their loved ones confront and conquer their long term effects of trauma on the male psyche. She frequently addresses issues related to the #MenToo movement, challenges masculinity stereotypes, and works to dismantle stigmas related to male trauma. She currently is a professor at the Los Angeles campus of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology, and a sought-out expert witness, psychological evaluator, and consultant. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Move to expand Government abuse inquiry to include religious institutions welcomed

The inclusion of religious institutions into a state abuse inquiry has been welcomed by those who work with male survivors of sexual abuse.

A Royal Commission into the historical abuse of children in state care, from 1950-1999, has been in a preliminary process since February. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Children’s Minister Tracey Martin announced on Monday that Cabinet had agreed to expand the commission’s remit to investigate abuse in church institutions after months of resistance.

Male Survivors Aotearoa chairman Phillip Chapman was one of those who made an submission that the inquiry be widened to include other organisations like churches, schools and sports clubs. While it could have gone further, he said the inclusion of churches and faith-based organisations was “good news”.

But he did hold concerns about how the inquiry would be managed, as there were few support services for male survivors.

Published in Stuff

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Abuse inquiry change will help Māori voices – Murray Heasley

A spokesperson for survivors of abuse in faith-based institutions says extending the inquiry scope will strengthen voices not diminish them. Some Māori abused in state care say they will be silenced in the government inquiry now it’s including abuse by the churches. Survivors say expanding the inquiry will water it down, and those abused by the state should be dealt with on their own. Doctor Murray Heasley of Ngāti Raukawa, is the spokesperson for a network of survivors of abuse in faith based institutions.


Published in Radio New Zealand
14 November 2018

Bishop considering public ‘full disclosure’

The Catholic bishop of Dunedin says he may not wait for a royal commission before lifting the lid on the sexual abuse of children by men of the cloth within the diocese.

Bishop Michael Dooley told ODT Insight he was considering a public “full disclosure” based on diocesan records of complaints alleging clergy abuse of children.

That would include naming alleged offenders and revealing the numbers of victims involved and payouts made within the Dunedin diocese, where complaints were deemed “credible” and church records existed.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Apology needed for people abused in state and church care: sex abuse survivors support group

An apology is needed for people who have been abused in state and church care, according to a group that supports survivors of sexual abuse.

Leo McIntyre, spokesman for The Road Forward Trust, which offers peer support to male survivors of sexual abuse, welcomed the Government’s decision to expand the terms of reference of an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care to include faith-based organisations.

That includes religious schools such as Catholic schools and communities such as the Gloriavale Christian community on the West Coast. Under the Inquiries Act they could be compelled to appear at hearings.

“I think this will be of benefit to people who thought they were going to be excluded previously,” McIntyre told the Herald.

Published in New Zealand Herald

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Ribbons tied to Wellington church by child sexual abuse survivors removed

Ribbons put on a Wellington church by child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters have been promptly taken down by the parish priest.

The ribbons were tied to the fence of the St Mary of the Angels Catholic church in Boulcott St on Thursday, but by Friday morning, they had been removed.

They were put up to acknowledge historic sexual abuse of children in the Wellington Diocese, particularly at St Patrick’s College in Silverstream and Wellington City, and St Bernard’s College in Lower Hutt.

Published in Stuff

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Removed ribbons to be reinstated after outcry

A Wellington priest has backed down and agreed to allow ribbons from the survivors of sexual abuse to adorn a church in the capital.

Fr Kevin Conroy, the Marist Fathers parish priest at St Mary of the Angels in Wellington, caused outrage this morning when he cut off ribbons left on the church gates by survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

About 50 ribbons, signed by victims and their supporters, had been tied to church gates on Thursday, but cut down early this morning by Fr Conroy.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Priests gather for training seminar

Priests from across Otago and Southland gathered in Dunedin yesterday as part of a push to upskill clergy in response to a sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church.

About 30 priests from across the Dunedin Diocese – which spans the lower third of the South Island – attended an all-day seminar at the Holy Cross Centre in Mosgiel.

Speakers included Virginia Noonan, director of the Catholic Church in New Zealand’s National Office of Professional Standards, which handles sexual abuse complaints involving clergy.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Over 30 years, young victims suffered the calculated sexual abuse of ‘Mister’ Alosio Taimo

Here sits a boy. He is slumped in a low, blue chair with his gangly limbs folded at an awkward angle.

He wears his school uniform, one of his socks slouched, and a permanent furrow in his brow.

Amid the sterile surrounds of the interview room at the Counties Manukau Police Station, he tells the specialist child interviewer questioning him he feels “weird and uncomfortable” talking about the things the man he refers to as “Mister” did to him.

Published in Stuff

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Priest’s sexual abuse at Upper Hutt school admitted: It’s ‘criminal’

The Marist Fathers has admitted a priest who led one of its top secondary schools sexually abused children.

But decades on they will not release the file on Francis Durning, rector of St Patrick’s College in Silverstream, Upper Hutt, in the 1950s.

He was publicly remembered in Catholic obituaries as a man of “profound integrity” but a victim said other clergy nicknamed him “Fred the Fiddler” for his habit of abusing boys.

Published in Radio New Zealand

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Call for Catholic Church to release file it has on priest who sexually abused boys

A Christchurch man wants the Catholic Church to release information he says it has about a priest who sexually abused him as a 12-year-old.

George Russell said he was an alter boy in Temuka when he was abused by Father Cornelius O’Brien in 1972.

He has avoided churches ever since.

Russell said he knows the Catholic Church has a dossier on O’Brien, who has since returned to the UK and died.

Published in Stuff

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‘The Church should open up their books’ – abuse survivor

Documents show the Catholic church publicly thanked a priest for his service, despite knowing he was a serial predator of young boys. A church investigator’s report from 2017 says Father Cornelius O’Brien committed a litany of offending in various parishes in Canterbury in the 1960s and 1970s. One of his victims is Christchurch chef George Russell, who is demanding the church open its books on the priest, so his other victims can seek help. O’Brien, who died in 2012, was convicted of indecency with a boy in Christchurch in 1976. In 2007, a church newsletter included O’Brien’s name in a list of priests it said had “gloriously blessed” the diocese by leaving their ‘native lands’ to serve in New Zealand. George Russell told RNZ reporter Phil Pennington in 1972 when he was 12 he was forced to perform a sexual act on O’Brien in the presbytery.

Listen to the news story

By the Morning Report
Published by Radio New Zealand
17 September 2018

Priest carried out ‘litany of offending against young boys’ – report

Two Canterbury men are accusing the Catholic church of enabling a priest to carry out a string of child sex attacks in multiple South Island parishes.

Documents show the church knew Father Cornelius O’Brien was a serial predator when, in 2007, it thanked him publicly for his service. See ‘Priests from Ireland’ on page eight of the Catholic Bishop of Christchurch’s June 2007 newsletter Inform.

Published by Radio New Zealand

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Cabinet yet to hear abuse inquiry proposal

Slow progress in establishing the ground rules for New Zealand’s biggest ever inquiry is causing further pain for state care abuse survivors. New information also shows a formal proposal on the inquiry is yet to reach Cabinet – which must approve the final inquiry scope before anyone can be heard. Teuila Fuatai reports.

Published in Newsroom

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Scale of abuse, suffering revealed

The only staff member not to be named as a perpetrator in this school in Dunedin at this time is the head master and the brother currently under investigation by the police. These survivors are not included in the proposed Royal Commission. They have nowhere to seek justice but the media. More have come forward to other news media and will be released next week. We are grateful to Chris Morris and other journalists for their efforts in the hope it will persuade the government that All survivors in “out of home” care must be included in the RoyCom and all institutions who cared for them investigated.

Published in the Otago Daily Times

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Catholic church knew of abuse claims against paedophile priest Michael Shirres for 28 years

The Catholic Church was aware of sex abuse accusations against paedophile priest Father Michael Shirres nearly three decades before he was finally withdrawn from public ministry.

Another victim of the disgraced Dominican theologian has come forward to say Shirres abused her and her sister in Auckland in 1966 and her parents reported it to a parish priest.

The Herald has confirmed that the priest then told the Dominican order’s provincial – the most senior cleric in Australasia at the time – and that Shirres was later sent away from Auckland to live at Aquinas College in Dunedin, but continued to work with families and children for decades.

Shirres was exposed in the Herald last month (July 25) as a self-confessed paedophile who had abused Whangarei woman Annie Hill, 56, from the age of five.

Published in NZ Herald

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Critics say Pope Francis needs to walk the walk after too many words on global Catholic child abuse scandal

POPE Francis’ vow to break the Catholic Church’s cover-up culture in a letter to “the people of God” after a damning American child sexual abuse report has been criticised after eight months of silence following release of the Australian child abuse royal commission final report.

Pope Francis condemned “atrocities” committed by priests against 1000 children in Pennsylvania and admitted the church abandoned “the little ones”, in a letter released on Monday after a US grand jury report revealed shocking child sexual abuse over 70 years.

Published in The Newcastle Herald

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Not ready to condemn Kavanagh

The Bishop of Dunedin is not yet ready to condemn a predecessor, but says the actions of a priest who aided a paedophile Christian Brother would ”definitely not” be appropriate today.

Bishop Michael Dooley yesterday defended former Dunedin bishop John Kavanagh, who had jurisdiction over Fr Magnus Murray and Br Desmond Fay at the time of their offending in Dunedin.

Fr Murray, who in 2003 admitted offences against four Dunedin boys dating back to 1958-72, was sent to Australia by Bishop Kavanagh for treatment after details of his offending were raised in 1972.

Published in the Otago Daily Times

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Bishop apologises to Dunedin: ‘It’s indefensible’

The Bishop of Dunedin has apologised to the city and asked for forgiveness, after admitting the Catholic Church failed to protect children from paedophiles disguised as men of the cloth.

And, as more victims continue to come forward, he has also added his voice to growing calls for churches to be included in the Government’s upcoming Royal Commission into historic abuse.

The comments by Bishop Michael Dooley came during a wide-ranging interview, days after ODT Insight revealed more historic offending by Fr Magnus Murray and two Christian Brothers in Dunedin.

Published in the Otago Daily Times

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For Catholics, Gradual Reform Is No Longer an Option

Yes, there is still holiness in the church. But the sin is so pervasive and corrosive that it is irresponsible to talk about anything else.

I often use a handy metaphor to explain to my students how feminists have historically differed among themselves in their approaches to bringing about change in patriarchal institutions. Some feminists seek a place at the table; others want to reset the table. The former hope to promote gradual progress from within an existing framework of norms and organizational structures; the latter demand nothing less than radical, wholesale reform.

Published in The New York Times

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More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse

More than 300 Catholic priests across Pennsylvania sexually abused children over seven decades, protected by a hierarchy of church leaders who covered it up, according to a sweeping grand jury report released Tuesday.

The investigation, one of the broadest inquiries into church sex abuse in U.S. history, identified 1,000 children who were victims, but reported that there probably are thousands more.

Published in The Washington Post

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Catholic Church Uses 7 Step Playbook For Concealing Truth About Predatory Priests

New grand jury report reveals the Catholic Church has a seven step playbook they use to conceal the truth about priests raping children.

It is now common knowledge that the Catholic Church has been protecting and enabling predatory priests for decades if not centuries. In so doing the Catholic Church is responsible for the rape and sexually abuse of countless children.

But now a new grand jury report released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court explains the policy and procedures the Catholic Church uses to cover-up, deny, and obfuscate the epidemic of sexual abuse and rape of children by Catholic clergy.

Published in

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Children’s Minister ‘alarmed’ at numbers of proven child abuse

More than 10,000 Kiwi children were recorded as being abused last year – something the Children’s Commissioner has labelled New Zealand’s “enduring shame”.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show that between its creation in April 2017 and March 2018, Oranga Tamariki recorded 13,966 substantive findings of abuse.

Those numbers were made up of 11,519 individual children – with some young people having more than one incident of proven abuse against them.

Published in Stuff

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Catholic Church in NZ ‘failed in a very serious way’ over paedophile priest: call for royal commission

The Catholic Church’s handling of a paedophile priest from Dunedin amounts to “negligence”, and a royal commission could reveal a cover-up, the head of the University of Otago’s theology and public issues centre says.

And an international expert on clerical sex abuse now believes Father Magnus Murray may have been offending for 50 years, and “almost certainly has dozens of victims”.

The comments came after ODT Insight yesterday revealed how Murray was allowed to continue as a priest after his offending in Dunedin was revealed to Bishop John Kavanagh in 1972.

Murray – who was convicted in 2003 of offences against four Dunedin boys between 1958 and 1972 – was sent to Sydney for counselling when two Dunedin parents complained in 1972.

Published in the NZ Herald

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Call to defrock accused priest

The Catholic priest now accused of leaving more victims in his wake should be defrocked, even now, a theological lecturer says.

Dr Rocio Figueroa, from Good Shepherd Theological College, said the response to clerical child abuse now needed to be “centred on the victims, not covering up the perpetrators or trying to protect the institution”.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Press Release – Male Survivors Aotearoa publish new Quality Standards

PRESS RELEASE 23.07.2018

Male Survivors Aotearoa publish new Quality Standards for organisations providing support services for male survivors of sexual violence

“These quality standards are designed to help organisations assure the quality of all support services (clinical and non-clinical) they offer to male survivors of sexual abuse and to recognise that the provision of those services will be most effective when they take account of the male-specific responses to trauma resulting from sexual violence’ says Philip Chapman, the Chair of Male Survivors Aotearoa.

“The standards are intended to encourage all service providers to pay special attention to the needs of their male clients. We know that male survivors often respond differently to female victims of sexual violence in the way they engage with support services. If we are to encourage men to come forward and seek help we must ensure that we offer services that give them confidence that their particular needs will be properly considered.”

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