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Who blames the victims of pedophilia?

Article in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

The reaction of the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse of teenagers by members of the clergy has caused many controversies till now. Although most Church representatives speak against pedophilia, some attempt to blame the victims of pedophilic acts for the abuse certain priests subjected them to. What is the source of such conviction and what does group identity have to do with it?
More on this topic can be found in an article co-authored by dr Marta Marchlewska, dr Paulina Górska, Zuzanna Molenda, Katarzyna Lipowska, and Katarzyna Malinowska, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.
Results of two studies showed that narcissistic identification with the Catholic Church was associated with attributing blame for pedophilic acts to the victims themselves. This relationship was mediated by siege mentality. Individuals with a secure identification with the Catholic Church rejected this type of thinking.
This research points toward the necessity to construct a secure type of group identity, which admits the mistakes of in-group members and in turn allows the group to improve and develop by making it better.
Over the past 30 years, the Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of child sexual abuse scandals worldwide. Some of the religious officials suggested that the children are partly to blame for being sexually abused by priests. We assumed that such convictions (i.e., pedophilia myth acceptance) should be associated with a defensive commitment to one's religious group, captured by religious collective narcissism. In two studies conducted among Polish participants (Study 1, longitudinal, n = 719; Study 2, cross-sectional, n = 357), we found that pedophilia myth acceptance was positively predicted by Catholic narcissism but negatively by secure identification with Catholics. We additionally demonstrated that the effect of Catholic narcissism on pedophilia myth acceptance was mediated by a siege mentality with respect to the religious in-group. We discuss the role of different types of group commitment in predicting in-group criticism and prejudice against underaged victims of sexual abuse.

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