Bolzano (Italy), October 23, 2018. Annual diocesan conference on Prevention: “Seeing – Understanding – Preventative Action: In the Context of Children’s Sexuality”.
Bishop Ivo Muser set the tone for the conference with his opening words, “Sexual abuse is one of the worst crimes! It destroys the soul of an innocent human being. As Diocese we are willing to take over responsibility for the victims, their families, wherever and every time an abuse happened or happens through a cleric or religious. The cry of the affected persons must stir all of us to engage us together in a common responsibility to elaborate the injustices done to them.” In his speech Bishop Muser stressed, “Three themes are at the root of the human life: the question of the capacity for relationships, the question of accepting and integrating one’s own sexuality, and the question of one’s relationship with power and authority”.
The conference took place in the Pastoral Center of the diocese organized by the Office for Prevention and Protection of Minors from Sexual Abuse and Other Forms of Violence.
The objective of the conference was a step towards breaking the taboo of sexuality in the Church and society as one of the major topics in the prevention of sexual abuse. With this goal, experts gave information about sexual development of children as part of human development (Miriam Damrow), the description of the reality of sexual abuse and other forms of violence and their consequences (Giuliana Franchini), the illustration of the influence of the violence present on and acted out through the internet and social media (Giuseppe Maiolo) and, finally, the consequences for sexual education as privileged part of prevention empowering minors and adults through a positive and responsible view of sexuality (Wolfgang Kostenwein).
Gottfried Ugolini, responsible for the diocesan Office of Prevention, summarized: “It was a very informative, provocative and encouraging conference speaking openly about sexuality and the importance of a grounded knowledge, of a great attention for the risk factors and of the human and Christian responsibility for a safe sexual education. Minors and adults have to be empowered to deal with sexuality in a way which prevents sexual abuse. More than 100 persons involved in pastoral work from all parts of the diocese and other interested persons participated with interest and were grateful for the engagement of the diocese for the well-being of minors.”