Showtime drama sheds light on unresolved issues in the church

Hannah Widener

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No, I’m not talking about Edward Cullen, Christian Grey or some other fictional heartthrob of the moment. I’m talking about “Ray Donovan,” the show breaking barriers as well as a few jaws. Ray (Liev Schrieber) is a Hollywood “fixer” from Boston who doesn’t take crap from anyone, especially his father Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight), who has just returned ?from prison.

In season one, Mickey kills a priest whom he had thought had molested his son Bunchyn Donovan (Dash Mihok), but he mistakenly shoots the wrong priest. Although Ray doesn’t want his father anywhere near his family, Mickey manages to weasel his way into their new Beverly Hills life. Throughout the season, the viewer sees the psychological damage Bunchy suffers from and the toll it takes on the rest of the family.

While the show has its dark turns and heartbreaking scenes, there are points when hope shines through. One ?character, Terry Donovan (Eddie Marsan), has Parkinson’s disease and owns the family boxing gym. Terry is the rock of the family and is so hardened that ?sometimes it’s hard to tell what he is feeling. When he meets a nurse, Frances (Brooke Smith), he tries his hardest to show her his sweet side, cooking dinners and taking her out, only to find out she’s married to an ?abusive husband. There is something so sad about Terry that it almost shatters your heart, but when he smiles, somehow it’s all better.

The show has not only given a platform for the dysfunctional family, but also ?showcases a subject which is rarely unearthed on TV: sexual abuse by the church. According to a 2008 study done in O, the Oprah Magazine, one in six American men have been sexually abused as children. So if the number is so large, why aren’t more men speaking out ?about it?

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate recorded a total of 10 accusations involving a minor in 2013 that were deemed credible. However, just like Bunchy’s case, there is no telling how many other accusations of molestation by the Catholic Church go unreported. In return, the victim suffers in silence and can experience symptoms such as PTSD, public outbursts and an inability to be sexually active due to trauma.

In 2010, Tyler Perry became a voice for the men who had lost their own when he related his experiences with sexual abuse. Perry was just five years old when ?he was sexually abused by multiple ?perpetrators. The shame men feel causes ?the inability to speak up about what ?happened to them. In some cases reported by men who are in their mid-40s and are just now coming forward, they did tell an adult, but the adult either did not believe them or chose to look past it.

Cases of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church first started being reported in the 1950s, and 64 years later people are just now looking at the damage done. “Ray Donovan” isn’t just a show about how Ray gets Hollywood actors out of major ?screw-ups – it’s a show that has given a face to thousands of sexually?abused children.

The pain, physiological damage and shame are now being exposed and will hopefully help men who have been ?abused to come forward and start seeking help. “Ray Donovan” returns to Showtime on July 13, and if you haven’t seen ?the show, I highly recommend it to anyone who is willing to take a peek into ?the secret lives of the Donovan family.