Reproductive abuse in the context of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

  • In a significant number of cases, clerical sex offenders impregnate their victims and force them into hiding, abortion, or adoption. This phenomenon is referred to in this paper as reproductive abuse. Clearly, most victims of reproductive abuse are adults, but even among minor victims of clerical child abuse, between 1 and 10 percent may have experienced reproductive abuse. On the basis of pertinent studies, this paper explores archival material on several dozen allegations of reproductive abuse in the context of clergy sexual abuse of minors in the US Catholic Church. Besides some tentative estimates of the general frequency of the phenomenon, this paper offers a distinction of three different types of reproductive abuse and an analysis of the interplay of clericalist and secular misogyny, which appears to be largely responsible for the silencing of victims as well as for the impunity of perpetrators and leads to the invisibility of this phenomenon, despite the high importance attributed to reproductive issues in the Catholic context.

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Author:Doris ReisingerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Religions
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2022/02/24
Date of first Publication:2022/02/24
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/11/16
Tag:abortion; clergy sex abuse; clericalism; coerced adoption; misogyny; reproductive abuse; reproductive justice; sexual abuse of adults; sexual abuse of minors
Issue:3, art. 198
Article Number:198
Page Number:21
First Page:1
Last Page:21
This research received no external funding apart from a small stipend offered by the Cushwa Center to the Fellows of its Gender Sex and Power Project.
Institutes:Katholische Theologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 23 Christentum, Christliche Theologie / 230 Christentum, Christliche Theologie
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 36 Soziale Probleme, Sozialdienste / 360 Soziale Probleme und Sozialdienste; Verbände
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International