On the same day a former Harrisburg priest was arrested and charged with molesting two boys, the very topic of clergy sex abuse took center stage at Theatre Harrisburg, but with a unique twist.
“This show might have some triggering effects for people,” said Kelli Kauterman, director of “Doubt”, a play about a 1960’s nun and her suspicions that a priest molested a young boy.
“Memories come flooding back and emotions you haven’t dealt with,” abuse advocate Tanya Daniels said.
Theatre Harrisburg is putting on “Doubt” at the same time scrutiny of the Catholic church, both at home and abroad, is at an all-time high.
“We’re just getting to where victims feel comfortable speaking out and say yes, this happened to me,” said Kauterman. “The topic of this play is not easy for some people and I think there was concern that someone might need to talk about it.”
So, they called in the professionals, arranging for an abuse advocate to be on hand during each curtain call; they’re available before, during and after the show to talk, listen and help.
“A live performance can evoke certain emotions,” said Daniels, who works with the Victim Witness Assistance Program. “Many victims don’t come forward for different reasons and people don’t tell for different reasons. You remember something and it’s something that you may not have remembered before, something that you had buried from a long time ago.”
It’s a special approach to local theater, with impact far beyond words on a page.
“This is going on all around us in the communities, in people’s homes, it’s not just churches, it’s not just schools,” Daniels added.
If talking with someone in public is uncomfortable, you can get ahold of Victim Witness Assitance at 717-233-3312.