Like so many others, Moeapulu Frances Tagaloa is still dealing with trauma she suffered as a child.
“The impact of trauma from abuse is lifelong, it doesn’t stop,” she said.
The 52-year-old was sexually and emotionally abused by Catholic Church clergy in the 1970s. But she says the abuse investigation has given her some hope.
“I don’t want to hope too much for real justice because I’m not sure that will happen… but I do hope there are measures to monitor abuse and help prevent this from happening to anyone else,” she said.
In March, Cardinal John Dew issued an apology on behalf of bishops and congregational leaders nationwide.
“I fully renew this apology and repeat that I meant every word of it. Abuse is wrong, it should never be part of the church, me and all of us are ashamed of it,” he said.
On Monday, he went further, acknowledging that it wasn’t just about forgiving.
“That forgiveness was seen as more important than protection was probably a thing of the past, when all of sexual abuse was misunderstood, when there wasn’t a better understanding of what it meant, and the very idea of saying sorry to someone was is seen as more important.Today we have a much better appreciation of what needs to be done for the victim.
This reassures Tagaloa, who said a survivor-led approach is the only way forward.
“Going forward, what they need to do is put survivors first. I don’t think any institution can do that on their own, they need an independent body with a healthy accountability for survivors. help do that,” she said.
The week-long hearing continues Tuesday.