Doris Reisinger: For clergy, ‘I was the perfect victim’

Pope Francis has belatedly acknowledged that nuns have been sexually assaulted by Catholic priests. Doris Reisinger, who wrote of enduring sexual assault by clergy as a nun, tells DW that the Vatican must finally act.
As the Catholic Church reels from continued reports of sexual abuse by clergyworldwide, Pope Francishas, for the first time, acknowledged the rape of nuns by clergy, saying the Vatican must do more to prevent assault.
In January, the Austrian theologian Hermann Geissler resigned as chief of staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body that investigates reports of assault within the Catholic Church. The priest’s departure comes after a nun’s accounts of repeated rape by him were made public.
he former nun Doris Reisinger, a well-known philosopher, theologian, author and activist, told DW that the hierarchies of many religions and faith communities, such as the Catholic Church, subordinate individuals and often provide the ideal conditions for assault by men higher up in the ranks. She also spoke of her own experiences of assault within the Catholic Church.
Reisinger was born in Germany in 1983. At the age of 19, she joined the Catholic religious community Das Werk, which maintains close ties to the Roman Curia. She says she was subjected to various forms of abuse by Catholic clergy, from spiritual manipulation to rape and assault by priests.
In 2011, Reisinger left Das Werk. In 2014, she completed her theology studies in Germany. As Doris Wagner, her birth name, she has written two books about sexual assault by Catholic clergy and her experiences. Reisinger is currently writing her PhD thesis in analytical philosophy. She is married and has a child.

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