False Memories and Resilience

The NY Times reports there is a bill to extend the statute of limitations for cases of sex abuse.

Although I believe that the church should take a zero-tolerance rule regarding sexual abuse, I have two nagging anxieties.  One is that human beings are often prone to suggestion and false memories.    It is possible that people, in the hunt to figure out the root cause of their personal challenges, invent stories.

Secondly, I also wonder what it means to say that being sexually abused ruins someone for life.   This intimates that one’s life is worth less because of the abuse.   Is there merit if someone says, “this horrible event happened to me, but I’m not ruined”?   Must we assume that healing is always beyond our reach?  Resilience is a worthy, admirable virtue, even if it may not be mandated or expected.   Throw the offending priests in jail.  Let’s also, however, expect the truth and hope that the victims lives are still considered worthy rather than damaged.  Let us resist saying a victim is “damaged goods.”