Most students came to Indian Residential Schools with little knowledge of sexual activity and were very confused by what was happening to them. As the TRC described it,
“Abuse left them injured, bewildered, and often friendless or subject to ridicule by other students. Many students thought they were the only children being abused. This confusion made it difficult for them to describe or report their abuse. Some were told they would face eternal damnation for speaking of what had been done to them.”
Some students did not report the abuse because they feared (often with justification) that no one would believe them. Some students who reported abuse were told it was their fault. After all good Christian leaders would never do such heinous things that were being alleged. Former students told of how betrayed they felt when nothing was done about their complaints. Many felt ashamed of what happened to them. Many felt it was their fault. After all they had been taught how unworthy they were. As the TRC reported,
“Family members often refused to believe their children’s reports of abuse, intensifying their sense of isolation and pain. This was especially so within families that had adopted Christianity, and could not believe that the people of God looking after their children would ever do such things.”
There was no safe haven for the vulnerable children in residential schools. Some students were “assaulted in the church confessional.”
If there is no special place for religious predators in hell there is no justice. I don’t really believe in eternal damnation, but iIf anyone deserves eternal damnation these religious predators did.