Ex-nun: “I was the ideal victim”


For the first time Pope Francis has addressed the sexual abuse of nuns by priests. Now the Vatican has to act and, finally, calls Doris Reisinger in the DW-Interview. The former nun was raped.

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Abuse of nuns: Move calls for enlightenment

Pope Francis has acknowledged this week for the first time, incidents of sexual abuse and rape of nuns in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church must do more, however, the Pope said. The last allegations of the monastery of sisters against high Church had been would heaped carrier in the world. So, the Austrian father Hermann Geissler, submitted last week his resignation as office Manager of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. He is said to have harassed the German sister Doris Wagner in the confessional massive.

You mean, in the meantime, Doris Reisinger and left the monastery. Just religious communities are often designed on subordination of the Individual and provide the ideal conditions for Attacks, says the former nun, in the DW-Interview and reported the rape by a priest.

Deutsche Welle: Ms. Reisinger, what were you thinking, as you have heard the Statement of the Pope?

Doris Reisinger: at first I thought “Wow, he admits that ever, that ever the Church is to be admitted that there are such cases!” And on the other hand, I thought: “How the Pope can make the public to present without a Plan, without saying how he’s so far handled it and what the Vatican intends to do now?”

What do you expect from the Pope?

I expect that he admits also, as far as these cases are widespread. He has made a kind of relativism, he said, the sexual abuse of nuns by priests feel in certain communities, in certain countries very often.

Doris Reisinger, formerly Doris Wagner, reported a rape by a priest

I wonder where the Pope takes the evidence for this claim. To my knowledge, the only study so far to have been carried out in the 1990s in the United States. And the suggests that 30 percent of all women religious, have been abused in their monasteries miss. And I don’t know where he wants to have the knowledge that it would be in other countries is different. There is a study of Maura O’Donohue, has found cases in 23 countries. And the countries around the world – from Brazil to Ireland, Italy, African countries, the USA to the Philippines.

“Sisters died after a forced abortion”

I expect that there is more research to independent research. Especially in the cases that the Vatican already known, must now be properly investigated. It has to be transparently determined, the offender must be convicted and punished, and it must also be made transparent who the perpetrators are, and what penalties there are.

The Pope acknowledged the abuse of nuns by priests

And I expect that the victims will be compensated. There are sisters who have been abused in monasteries sexual abuse, have been infected with Aids. There are sisters that have been kicked out because of the infection from the monasteries out. There are sisters who have become pregnant and now with kids sitting on the street, there are sisters who have been forced to have abortions, there are even cases where sisters are forced, not professionally performed abortions have died. Since I expect that there is a compensation and a neat, independent education.

As a graduate, you are entered in the community “The work”. A father has raped her there repeatedly, a other was grip, report. “I fit into the prey scheme,” they said. What do you mean?

I was a very idealistic, very religious young woman. I’m there occurred at the age of 19, I believed in my vocation, and I believed in the Ideal that comes through selflessness and self-surrender in the spiritual life – the fact that it does things you don’t understand immediately.

Nuns from a Cistercian cloister: religious communities particularly vulnerable to abuse?

At some point, I didn’t realize how fast it went, not “I could say I” and not “I want” and “I don’t want to”. So I was a perfect victim for a father, grew up in this System, grip. And this is true of many women religious.

That the Assault was wrong, they had to know from the beginning, or not?

The Moment he did that, I knew: “This is not right.” I told him: “you are not allowed to do that.” But I was in the Moment, unable to defend myself. I was also able to unable to what really happened there. I was so destroyed in this Situation is that I was completely unable to act. I had to come back so far, to know inwardly: “I am somebody, I still have a life with me, you must not do such a thing.” Only then was I able to confront my superiors with these actions and then at some point from the community to escape and make it public.

How have you freed yourself from it?

It was a long way to go. What has me really saved the life of, was that there was in the community, someone with whom I could talk. And the has also mirrored immediately to me: “This is bad, what is going to happen to You. That shouldn’t have happened. And then you could do something about it, you could be in the show.”

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Pope admits abuse of nuns by clergy

To hear that, was incredibly important. Then I had the great luck that I have studied, this has made me intellectually again, regardless. And I had a scholarship, that has made me financially independent so I could escape at all.

Vows and obedience in Catholic order – is not encouraged, inevitably, leads to a kind of abuse?

I don’t think. I believe that the vows and the religious life could be designed, interpreted, and understood, that people could also self-directed and internally-free life. I see this but only, unfortunately, very little of religious communities. And there are very strong traditions, the subordination and restrict people and restrict. But I don’t think this should necessarily be so.

Doris Reisinger was born in 1983 in Germany. At the age of 19, she joined the Catholic religious order “The works”, the close Connections to the Roman Curia. As a young sister, she suffered, according to information in this community the different types of abuse, spiritual Manipulation, rape by a priest. In 2011, she left the community and their religious life. In 2014, Reisinger finished her studies in theology in Germany. Their experiences of sexual violence described and processed the theologian in a book. Various German dioceses have invited you to speak as a speaker on the topic of spiritual abuse in the Catholic Church. Currently, Doris Reisinger writes her doctoral work in analytical philosophy. She is married and has a child.