Moving Beyond Abuse
Boundaries posed by its institutional positioning centrally influenced VOTF’s local mobilization and efforts to support survivors. Affiliates made decisions that strategically kept in mind their desire to retain a Catholic identity and garner acceptance within the church. In this chapter we see how institutional boundaries shaped the ways in which the movement addressed its two other primary goals of supporting priests and advocating for structural change in the church.
Evidence from local affiliates mobilizing within the Diocese of Arlington, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., reveals three distinctive paths for IISMs in response to their movement environment: institutional integration, parallelism, or independence. Different VOTF affiliates elected to pursue different paths in response to their reception by local Catholic leaders. The three IISM paths provide a useful theoretical framework for understanding how institutional boundaries impact social movements as they respond to institutional authorities.
Especially in the early stages of mobilization, VOTF affiliates nationwide emphasized the need to develop a network of support for survivors of clergy abuse. The movement gained traction through