Reveal abuse, international group of women’s superiors urge sisters

Reveal abuse, international group of women’s superiors urge sisters The Pope meeting with members of the IUSG last year.

The International Union of Superiors General has called on women religious who have suffered abuse to come forward and report it to their congregations and Church and state authorities.

“If the UISG receives a report of abuse, we will be a listening presence and help the person to have the courage to bring the complaint to the appropriate organisations,” it added in a statement published on its website November 23.

The group – whose members are 2,000 superiors general of congregations of women religious across the world, representing more than 500,000 sisters – said it wished to express “deep sorrow and indignation over the pattern of abuse that is prevalent within the Church and society today”.

“Abuse in all forms: sexual, verbal, emotional or any inappropriate use of power within a relationship, diminishes the dignity and healthy development of the person who is victimised,” it added.

“We stand by those courageous women and men who have reported abuse to the authorities.

“We condemn those who support the culture of silence and secrecy, often under the guise of ‘protection’ of an institution’s reputation or naming it ‘part of one’s culture’.”

“We advocate for transparent civil and criminal reporting of abuse whether within religious congregations, at the parish or diocesan levels, or in any public arena,” it said.

“We commit ourselves to work with the Church and civil authorities to help those abused to heal the past through a process of accompaniment, of seeking justice, and investing in prevention of abuse through collaborative formation and education programmes for children, and for women and men,” it said.