A professionally produced DVD about the impact of child sexual abuse titled Breaking the Silence will be screened in Morpeth this Saturday from 9.30am and shown to audiences in the Newcastle and Coalfields regions soon.
Breaking the Silence was commissioned by the Insights Team in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Insights is a program that has evolved from an identified need to explore the deep and lasting effects of child sexual abuse on the faith communities within the diocese.
The production of the DVD came about as a direct response to members of the community who attended Insights gatherings in recent years, and who wished to hear first hand accounts from those who had been most affected.
Taking some eighteen months to produce, Breaking the Silence is stark in its simplicity. Patricia Feenan, mother of Daniel, a victim of deceased priest James Fletcher, and Morpeth man Bob O'Toole, who was sexually abused by a Marist Brother at school, speak about their experiences, their treatment by the Church community and the impact of the abuse on their lives to this day.
Bob and Pat represent many more who are not yet able to tell their stories.
Co-ordinator of Healing and Support for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Ms Maureen O’Hearn, said, “The DVD was produced to be used with facilitated groups. While there is nothing gratuitous or unnecessarily explicit in the film, it does have the potential to disturb, and Insights takes seriously its responsibility to exercise due diligence in caring for the members of the community it encounters.”
Breaking the Silence, which lasts 30 minutes, will be shown during facilitated Insights gatherings at a range of locations in coming months. All are welcome to these gatherings.
Insights gatherings are scheduled in the following locations:
- Saturday 21 September 9.30am-11.30am at The Corcoran Centre, cnr James and George Sts, Morpeth.
- Saturday 12 October 9.30am-11.30am in the Murray Room, Cathedral House, 841 Hunter St Newcastle West.
- Saturday 26 October 10.00am-12.00pm at St Patrick’s School Hall, 155 Wollombi Rd Cessnock.
It is hoped to hold a screening in Forster shortly; see diocesan website www.mn.catholic.org.au for details.
Insights works on a collaborative model and its stated intention is, "The courage to listen to ourselves, each other and the Spirit in response to the issue of sexual abuse in our community in the hope of addressing together our emerging needs."