Seven to Attend Sex Abuse Survivor Events

By Patsy McGarry
Irish Times
October 27, 2010

SEVEN IRISH people will take part in "Reformation Day" events at St Peter's Square in Rome next Sunday to mark the beginnings of the "Year of the Survivor".

To date, victims of sexual abuse and their supporters from at least 11 countries have pledged to take part, including Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia, England, the Netherlands and France. Sixty abuse victims from Verona in Italy said yesterday they too would be attending.

The gathering from around the world has been organised by the US-based Survivors' Voice group ( and is intended to show solidarity with those who suffered clerical child sex abuse and, "in one solitary voice, to say 'enough'."

They will gather at St Peter's Square at 5pm on Sunday for a candlelit vigil. A minute's silence will be observed for all victims, before the Year of the Survivor is formally launched.

According to Boston-based Bernie McDaid, co-founder with Greg Bergeron of Survivors' Voice and both victims of clerical child sexual abuse, they will also launch a global petition calling on the UN to define sexual abuse of children as "crimes against humanity".

Mr McDaid told The Irish Times last night that while there had been huge international media interest in the event, it was not possible to predict how many were likely to take part.

On October 6th, Brendan Butler, John McEvoy and Emmet Devlin pinned a poster for the Reformation Day event to the door of the Augustinian Church in Drogheda in imitation of Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, who posted his 95 theses on the door of Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517, prompting the Protestant Reformation.

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