There are voices that have been silenced—or simply ignored—in the clergy sex abuse crisis.
We have known for years that “priest dumping” has been a common practice in the Catholic Church: bishops and other officials send white, English-speaking predator priests to indigenous, refugee, or immigrant communities, or communities of color. These communities are devoutly Catholic. These can be communities where language, fear, and cultural barriers keep children from having the words to tell their parents what is happening to them.
These are communities where poverty, food insecurity, language barriers, immigration fears, and/or flat-out racism ensure the silence of victims.
Because the church knows: when the Catholic Church is feeding you, helping you, baptizing and burying your family members, and keeping your family members’ spirits up, victims will learn quickly that no one wants to hear about them. And if they do speak, those who listen will punish the victim—if they bother to listen at all.
And then there is the shame.
When I first came forward in 2003, there were very few Latinx victims who were willing to talk about what happened. Much has changed in 17 years.
For the very Catholic Vietnamese community in the United States, that silence has continued.
Carolee Tran is the first Vietnamese immigrant to earn a PhD in clinical psychology in the United States. She received her doctorate from Boston University and completed her internship at Harvard.
She is a refugee who came to the United States as a grade schooler who knew no English.
She is also the survivor of sexual abuse (in the United States) at the hands of a “trusted” priest.
Her book is a must-read. And a must-share.
You can read more about Carolee here. Her book is available for purchase here: