Ellen Jewett

Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.

Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Julie Rubio


Sexual violence is often viewed as an individual sin, which problematically ignores the sinful structures that enable and incentivize perpetrators and restrict victim-survivors. These social structures hamper the possibility of forgiveness, as the operative cultural norms do not change even if a perpetrator repents, meaning cycles of harm continue. Reforming sinful structures means naming the embodied vices of those in power and subsequently building a framework to create lasting change. This framework places priority on victim-survivors, employs principles of just peace, and strives towards right relationship and reconciliation but not necessarily forgiveness. The Catholic Church has rich pastoral and sacramental resources that can be used to put this framework into action, offering support for victim-survivors while creating space for perpetrators and communities at large to repent and work for just peace that mirrors the reign of God.