By: Eugene Hollander
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Pope Francis Visit May Stir Suppressed Memories of Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States was historic and memorable. He touched many hearts and connected with many spiritually. His visit, however, may also have roused long suppressed memories and feelings. Victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member, like a Catholic priest, may discover memories which they buried long ago regarding molestation. Indeed it is a common psychological mechanism for those who have been sexually molested to either repress the memory or to suppress it. In the former case, the victim completely blocks the memory out of his mind and is no longer conscious of it. In the latter situation, the sexual abuse victim is still cognizant of what happened, but purposefully “places it away” so that he will not have to deal with it. The recent visit of Pope Francis is similar to what happened when the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke, causing many sexual abuse victims to come forward. Those victims who do recall such unfortunate events should contact a lawyer immediately as certain statutes of limitations may limit their ability to recover compensation for their psychological injuries.