Women Speak Out about Sexual Abuse by Catholic Nuns
Kayla KosloskyReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2019 Jan 03
EDITOR'S NOTE: The image for this article has been changed from one of a nun of a different order than discussed in the article. We apologize for the error.
Following the reveal of sex abuse by hundreds of Catholic priests and clergymen in 2018, women are now speaking out about being sexually abused by nuns.
According to CBS News, Trish Cahill was drugged and sexually abused by nun Sister Eileen Shaw, starting when she was 15 years old. Cahill reportedly went to visit Shaw to confide in her about past molesting by her uncle who was a priest, but what she got instead of protection, was more abuse. Cahill told CBS News, “I would have done anything for her. I would have died for her." Cahill continued, "She gave me everything that was lacking that I didn't even know I was lacking. I was so broken. She filled in all those pieces."
Now, Cahill realizes that what was happening was sexual abuse. According to CBS News, Shaw was giving Cahill drugs and alcohol while also showing her how to have sex with women.
Cahill told the outlet that she would spend her days with friends and nights, weekends and summers with Shaw where she would be sexually abused.
Another woman speaking out about abusive nuns is Mary Dispenza.
Dispenza, who is a former nun, told CBS News that she too was sexually assaulted by a nun.
She recalled the experience in an interview with the outlet. Reportedly, Dispenza was called to her superior’s office. She said, “I knelt down right next to her and she kissed me all over softly, my face… and I want to say, 'Oh but it wasn't bad,' but it was. And I've carried it with me until today."
The former nun is working with The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to offer resources and support for victims of sexual abuse by clergy members. Dispenza said that since the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released last year outlining hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by priests, she has had 18 people reach out to her to share their stories of sexual abuse by nuns.
While her experience was traumatic and heartbreaking, Cahill told CBS News that she is determined to speak up about her experience. She said, “This is the beginning of many, many times more that I get to speak and I get to educate, and I get to, possibly, prevent this from happening to anyone ever again."
Photo courtesy: Josh Applegate/Unsplash
Video courtesy: CBS News