Clergy sex abuse in film and literature


September 26, 2018

By Heike Mund

The German Catholic Church’s study on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy members recognizes thousands of victims. Movies have often portrayed their plight. German author Bodo Kirchhoff revealed his own personal story.

“It is always the dark sides of our lives that accompany us to the place where someone else is waiting for us naked,” wrote Bodo Kirchhoff in his 2004 novel, Wo das Meer beginnt (Where the sea begins).

The sentence could also serve as an overarching theme for the writer’s entire work. In his novels and writings, semi-autobiographical images repeatedly appear: the half-naked choirmaster in boarding school, sometimes a mother or classmate waiting half-naked in bed. These haunted him.

Kirchhoff traces back his experiences of sexual abuse to when he was a four-year-old child and his mother took him to bed with him. He is not satisfied with the term “abuse,” which he describes as “leaving a tremendous hole in the language.”

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