Lawyers release the names of 212 alleged priest sex offenders in Bay Area, Kenyan widows are fighting against sexual ‘cleansing’, Memoir ‘The Burn Zone’ former cult member tells all

October 24, 2018 § Leave a comment

–  Lawyers release the names of 212 alleged priest sex offenders in Bay Area

–  These Kenyan widows are fighting against sexual ‘cleansing’

–  In memoir ‘The Burn Zone,’ former cult member tells all

Lawyers release the names of 212 alleged priest sex offenders in Bay Area

By: Lisa Fernandez , Cristina Rendon Oct 23 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – As dioceses around the country are disclosing names of priests accused of misconduct, a law firm on Tuesday released a report containing the names of 212 Catholic Clergy members accused of sexual misconduct in the Bay Area.

The report, compiled by lawyers from Jeff Anderson and Associates based in St. Paul, Minn., accuses 135 offenders from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, 95 from the Diocese of Oakland and 33 from the Diocese of San Jose. A total of 130 of these priests are dead….

Anderson and his team are seeking to compel Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, Bishop Patrick McGrath in San Jose and Bishop Michael Barber in Oakland to release the names of all clergy accused of sexual misconduct in all three dioceses and request the federal court to release files that show the participation and complicity of top church officials in the handling of clergy sexual abuse cases. There are at least 133 priests who are alive, but whose whereabouts are not immediately known to the public, the lawyers said.

KTVU reached out to all the dioceses on Tuesday. Oakland Diocese spokeswoman Helen Osman said in an email that Barber announced earlier this month that he would release a full list of credibly accused clergy within 45 days. “We have nothing to hide,” Barber said at the time….

Dioceses across California and the U.S. have been disclosing names as part of an effort by church leaders to reassure parishioners following a stunning August report by Pennsylvania authorities.

The report detailed extensive efforts to cover up decades of abuse involving clergy and children.

https://www.fox26houston.com/news/lawyers-release-the-names-of-263-alleged-priest-offenders-in-bay-area

These Kenyan widows are fighting against sexual ‘cleansing’
Across Women’s Lives GlobalPost October 23, 2018 By Louise Donovan
and Hannah O’Neill

When Esther Atema’s husband died, she was treated like dirt. People suddenly looked at her funny — villagers shouted, “Witch!” as she walked past. The local boys in Siaya County, southwest Kenya, would get drunk and chase her down the road. If they caught her, they’d beat her to a pulp.

At 35 years old, she had become a widow. And, in some rural parts of Kenya, widowhood means you’re of little value. Culturally, widows are considered impure, and tradition dictates that they must be cleaned — or “cleansed” — of their partners’ death. The aim is to chase away the demons; the ritual requires women to have sex — either with a relative or stranger.

Sure enough, one year after his death, Atema’s late husband’s family forced her to go through the cleansing process….

The order can vary slightly but the ceremony typically goes like this: You begin by having sex on the floor. In the morning, you burn your clothes and the sack you slept on, and the man shaves the widow’s hair. Sometimes, it happens outside, in front of the house — where the whole neighborhood can see. Together, you slaughter a chicken (a staple in the diet here), which you cook and eat. The ceremony lasts three days but can be drawn out for up to seven.

“I felt humiliated,” said Atema. “But I was told my children would die if I didn’t go through with it.”

If you refuse to be cleansed, you’re shunned from society. Women, like Atema, believe their children will be harmed, and that going uncleansed will block any chance of future marriage. But in a society rife with HIV and AIDS, despite improvements, accepting means you run the risk of disease — using a condom doesn’t complete the ritual properly so people go without.

After the cleansing, the widow is traditionally inherited, whereby she marries another man (usually a brother-in-law). Yet, she still has no rights — and millions of widows across Africa are kicked out of their homes by their in-laws, robbed of their property and made vulnerable to rape.

“Why don’t women have a choice?” said Atema, now 40. “You don’t know who this person is; they could hurt or kill you. No one checks if they’re HIV-free.”….

Ritual cleansing has been reported in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The stigma stems, says Karen Brewer of Widows Rights International, from the notion that men are stronger than women.

“If a man dies, it can’t just be because he’s old,” she said. “The woman must have done witchcraft against him. It’s superstition but people who are educated in these communities realize things can be done differently.”

One of those people is Roseline Orwa. She’s among a growing number of widows’ rights activists in Kenya pushing for change. In the fishing village where she grew up, on the windy shores of Lake Victoria, she heads up a women’s group that is fighting the practice.

By 32, Orwa had been divorced and widowed. Educated in Nairobi and economically independent with her own textiles business, she refused to be cleansed or inherited and escaped the usual stigma that stalks widows’ lives….

In 2015, she helped outlaw widow cleansing in the country under a domestic offenses bill, though few in rural areas know it exists (or they do and adhere to the tradition anyway, out of fear of being ostracized). So, today, the practice still persists in rural Kenya. Having firsthand experience of widowhood puts Orwa in a unique position — she’s able to understand the challenges that many women around her face. At the same time, she’s powerful enough to do something about it.

“I will not allow you to come into my house at night and rape me in the name of cleansing,” she said. “Why do we tell women: Don’t do anything, sit pretty and wait until we molest you, until we make you lose your dignity and value?”…..

https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-10-23/these-kenyan-widows-are-fighting-against-sexual-cleansing

In memoir ‘The Burn Zone,’ former cult member tells all
Andrew Travers October 8, 2018

Snowmass Village resident Renee Linnell’s new memoir “The Burn Zone” recounts her experience being brainwashed and joining a cult.

Late in her new memoir, “The Burn Zone,” Renee Linnell recounts a night out where she dances on a bar, meets a guy and tells him immediately that she had been in a cult for the past seven years.

He responds, “You are the most interesting person I’ve ever met!”….

But after attending what she thought was a meditation seminar in 2006 in California, led by a charismatic guru in a business suit, Linnell was slowly brainwashed and sucked into a Tantric Buddhist cult. Seven years later — suffering under the emotional, financial and sexual abuse of the University of Mysticism cult’s two leaders — she’d lost her money, burned everything she owned, cut herself off from her family and friends and found herself in a form of domestic slavery in New York.

As she woke up to the fact that she was a cult member, Linnell broke free and began a long process of healing. That process brought her to Colorado, where she settled in Snowmass Village and began writing what would become “The Burn Zone.”….

The book’s roots were in Linnell’s journals, where she sought catharsis by writing out her story and purging her emotions.

“I felt I had to get it out of me,” she recalled. “There was a lot of shame around the fact that I had let myself get brainwashed and let myself get in such a bad business relationship and lose so much money. And when I was healing, I got fat for the first time in my life. So I was just this fat, broken, lost, confused and broken person who had totally ruined her life.”

But as she started opening up to new friends about what had happened to her, they encouraged her to write a book. She realized then that she’d already begun writing it.

As a culture, we don’t afford people who have been brainwashed and joined cults the same compassion that we offer victims of other forms of abuse. Linnell, too, had such prejudices until it happened to her. She hopes that her book can help de-stigmatize victims and also help readers see warning signs themselves.

“I had this belief that people who join cults are crazy,” she said. “And when you’ve never been in one, you think, ‘The signs are obvious and why would you do that?’ You read these things about people committing mass suicide or whatever. I know from experience that it happens so slowly, so insidiously.”

She compares the brainwashing process in a cult to being in any toxic relationship, where a partner builds another up and makes them feel loved and cherished, then dismantles their support system and introduces increasingly abusive behavior.

Linnell hopes other victims will follow her and open up about their pasts….

https://www.aspentimes.com/entertainment/in-memoir-the-burn-zone-former-cult-member-tells-all/

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