Jacques Nuoffer, victim and activist, Switzerland, 2018

Jacques Nuoffer was abused by a Priest as a young boy. In 1968 he managed, after months of anguish, to denounce the man. At that time, no one advised him to report the priest to the police or to treat the trauma. Ten years ago, he was finally able to realise that despite years of psychotherapy, there were still nagging questions within him. Nuoffer then turned to the Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, who invited him to present himself to the diocesan SOS prevention commission, which referred him to the Missionaries of Saint-François de Salle (the order to which the abuser belonged). He soon realised that the religious order would not give much importance to the testimonies and accusations, not considering the Church’s moral responsibility for the victims’ traumas. During an anonymous testimony on the radio of French-speaking Switzerland, Nuoffer launched an appeal to create an organisation: since then he has helped to set up and animate SAPEC, a support organisation for abused persons in a relationship of religious authority, to establish CECAR, an independent and neutral commission, and to conduct an investigation to help recognise, repair and prevent sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Now, after five years of relaunching, his perseverance enabled him to obtain scandalous information, but also an apology and above all a request for forgiveness from the Provincial himself and from the institution.