Dee's Blog
Wed 07/23/2008
Words from Jason Berry
Topic: Making Changes

Jason Berry is an author and change agent who has often been quoted as an authority on clergy sexual abuse.  He tells us that 1993, when abuse in Catholic circles, was featured with a 60-Minutes documentary, was the year that he sees as the hub of the movement.  That was the year that I first heard Berry speak and gained respect for his voice of authority as a journalist.

In recent years, he advised in his speech at the 2008 SNAP conference, we have reached a plateau.  The Story is no longer really news, and it's much harder to bend the ear of journalists unless one really has something new to say.  After all, old news isn't of interest to people, even if old news was never digested.  It just doesn't sell.  So it's not what drives the market.

1993 was, of course, the year that my first book mentioned on this site (How Little We Knew) was released.  In a year that was considered to also be a pivotal year, followed by a plateau that followed soon afterwards, in regard to gender issues in the institutional church.

Berry reminds us that it is always a moral requirement, even when it's not a legal requirement, for us to act as a strong voice whenever possible.  He also cautioned people to avoid trying to be a voice unless they were fully prepared to speak as effectively as possible.  To speak as people who come across as successful, sane, and strong.  This is something especially difficult for survivors.  For identifying oneself as a survivor may lend credibility in some circles, yet not in circles of power and influence.  Sad, but true.  That's why it is very important for those who speak or bring court cases to act with boldness and clarity whenever it is possible to do so.

Yet, I would add, not to feel guilty if it isn't possible, for whatever reason, to be heard. 

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 2:02 PM CDT

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