The sexual exploitation/abuse of women religious by Catholic priests was first reported by Sr. Maureen O’Donoghue in her 1994 report to the Vatican — a report that remained largely overlooked until 2001. This practice of “erasing” the experience and reality of Catholic women remains today. Professor Tara M. Tuttle probes the manner in which media outlets submerged the experiences and realities of Catholic women, both lay and consecrated, as they sought to affirm their own biases regarding the connection between clergy sexual abuse and homosexuality. That motif, along with inordinate deference for prelate and priest abusers, corrupted the truth and propped up the abuser’s narrative where women’s credibility was questioned and their efforts to access justice were routinely discounted or despised. Thus, women, accused of treachery against the Church for going public, suffered, too often, in silence.
Professor Tara M. Tuttle is the Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and a Senior Lecturer in the Lewis Honors College. She has a Ph.D. in Humanities with an emphasis in 20th century American culture, a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville, and an MA in Humanities from Indiana State University.