Geographies of Abuse

In the wake of the Murphy report, there has been a considerable amount of attention given, not just to the individual priests who were responsible for sexual abuse, but also the Church hierarchies who protected them. What has been equally interesting are two geographies, one local, the other global, which have been incorporated into the reporting. The first refers to a Fr. Green, whose thirty-year reign of terror saw him regularly moved to new locations throughout his career. Staggeringly, these nodes on a spatial network were all found within a single Irish County, Donegal, as was graphically portrayed in RTE’s Prime Time on November 26th and which is redrawn below.


In another report, in the Sunday Times of November 29th, there was also a map representing the global dimension to the geographies of myopia, or more correctly, criminal deception, that characterised the Church’s response. The article documents that abusing priests were moved to London, Scotland, San Diego & Eureka in California, as well as East Africa, the West Indies and Japan. These local-global patterns can also be seen as representative of a wider geography of mental health, where the lingering effects of abuse in one setting, follows individuals through their lives and is reproduced across different times and spaces. Here a combination of life events and unhealthy experiential engagements in place are reflective of what Philo and Parr refer to as ‘psychotherapeutic geographies’ and also reflect Danny Dorling’s notion that ill-health is often a function of individual personal experience as well as unequal systems and genetic susceptibility. For the unfortunate boys and girls in Catholic parishes from Kilmacrenan to Kenya, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person, shaking off horrendous experiences continues to be a difficult and trying process.


One comment

  1. The Archbishop of Dublin is also asking for the Bishop of Limerick to consider those affected by the abuse in Dublin as well as those in Limerick.


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