I’m grateful for those that read my blog.
Summary: I don’t harbor ill will towards anyone. I believe everyone is doing the best they can in their life; whatever that may be. I’m just saying that more needs to be done by the Church, sooner than later to meet the on-going needs of survivors. Change needs to happen. The Church’s response has been woefully inadequate. It’s not about blame, it’s about healing. It’s about the Church taking responsibility; stepping up to the plate. The Church needs to ‘get over’ not meeting the needs of the survivors; its flock.
I have something to say and need to be heard. If I’m off base, I suppose I need to hear that, too.
Body: It can be challenging to find the right words to get my message across. But, I heard it said that all things work to the good of those who believe. I’m trying to find the good in the trauma, that me and many others have endured, and the constant struggle to overcome its effects.
In case it’s not clear, it’s not that the abuse happened, it’s that the abuse didn’t have to happen; save for mismanagement by the leadership of the Church. This is/was a systemic problem. My abuser had been identified as a predator before he molested me. He molested others after me.
I’ve been told ‘it’s in the past’ with the implication that I should get over it. But every time a story hits the news about clergy abuse within the Church, and the trickle down messages that come after that, it’s a trigger. Every time a story hits the news suggesting any systemic issues that cause harm to the vulnerable, especially those that lead to death, those are triggers.
I don’t harbor ill will towards anyone. I believe everyone is doing their best. I’m just saying that more needs to be done, sooner than later; change needs to happen. The Church’s response has been woefully inadequate. It’s not about blame. It’s about healing. It’s about the Church taking responsibility; stepping up to the plate. The Church needs to ‘get over’ not meeting the needs of the survivors; it’s flock.
Here’s one change that needs to be addressed immediately: after such news stories and ensuing pulpit announcements, that message needs to be followed up with something like; ‘If you’re a survivor of clergy abuse and you need help, contact your pastor.’ For the many survivors who have been driven away from the Church just to survive, a message needs to go out similar to: ‘If you’re a survivor of clergy abuse, contact this resource.’ The Church has an obligation to provide those resources. Reaching out for help is extremely difficult. It needs to be made easier.
When these triggers are fired, I’m traumatized all over again. Those triggers rekindle the hurt and many other emotions. It’s not in the past. I do my best to put it in the past and am mostly successful. But I am not alone; there are many of us. Why is this so hard for people to get? This is a community problem.
Like everyone else in life, I’m figuring this out as I go; dealing with the effects of the trauma as best I can. I’m trying to be strong. I am strong. I’m not convinced that stuffing the emotions is healthy, but instead believe that I need to face them so I can work them out. I’m doing my best to bring positive out of the negative.
By sharing my story, yes it helps me, but at the same time, I really do hope it helps others. Perhaps, by letting them know that they’re not alone, it will bring them some solace; that there is hope. By sharing my story it’s my hope that other survivors of horrific abuses, including (or not) sexual molestation by authority figures, will be able to see that they are not alone in their experiences both in the past and in the present. If I communicate the wrong message, I’m truly sorry. But what is it that motivates people to change? What is it that motivates people to seek change? Is it supposed to be easy and pretty? For me it’s neither easy nor pretty. I’m working through this real time. But at the same time, I’m scared. I feel very vulnerable speaking my voice. It’s difficult.
I keep hearing that survivors are asked what can be done. For me that’s been a difficult question to answer. I want to take responsibility for my ‘suffering.’ But at the same time, my ‘suffering’ is a direct result of the Church shucking it’s responsibility and to heal the damage it caused. I’m not sure what I need. I can tell you what I’m getting, but it’s me that’s having to carry that burden alone. But I’m not alone.
There’re many other survivors who don’t have the resources to get what they need in part because they don’t know where to turn, and are afraid to ask for help because the attitude of the Church is to ‘get over it, it’s in the past.’ Their fears are justified. The Church has historically fought tooth and nail to provide equitable reparations for the damage caused. The Church historically demonstrates the attitude that it’s in the past, and it’s the survivor’s responsibility to carry the cross of healing alone. Even Jesus had help carrying His.
I hear the cries of the survivors. Literally. I currently and have belonged to several support groups where survivors are dealing with their own recovery. I’m not alone. I also know the Lord hears the cry of the poor. Psalm 34.
Am I delusional? Or is that one of the effects of the abuse screaming self doubt in my head? Is it my fault?Is it fear? Driven in part by the Church repeatedly fighting tooth and nail to take full responsibility for reparations? I don’t know. Just like then, I’m just trying to make sense of it all.
Pope Francis, I appeal you to meet the needs of survivors of clergy sexual abuse by making reparations commensurate with the damage, emotional or otherwise, caused to survivors. I have ideas on how to do this. If you can’t do this, then I respectfully ask, on behalf of the Church, you to stop receiving communion until such time that the Church does. Because until the Church does, it will not be in communion with the saints. Sincere contrition is meaningless without reparations in kind. Demonstrate to the world that the Catholic Church is catholic; that is, the Church Jesus established with Peter as the rock, the first pope; that the Church practices what it preaches.
Thanks for reading.
Wishing you much love and peace,
“Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ― Mother Teresa
Consider sharing this blog with others. Victim/survivors of abuses, more often than not, carry this burden silently alone, not knowing how to deal with it or where to turn, but need hope. Loved ones and caregivers also need support. We never know who is or wants to reach out for help. This blog might be of help to caregivers and loved ones of abuse. Silence is deadly and if together we are able to help or save just one life, isn’t that worth it?
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It has been great to meet and talk with you Matt… I look forward to reading long or short versions of any topic, story, thoughts or emotions you touch on.. I hope they help other survivors in their healing journey.. I know talking about it helps me.. be well !
The other day I shared a story on FB about losing two teeth in an accident, and someone said everything isn’t everyone’s business. I said, it was a burden and shame I was holding onto and I no longer wanted to carry it. God told me to turn over my burdens and turn them into … Continue reading Tamirra H.
In reaching out to others, you are Christ’s hands. It takes courage and broad shoulders. I will continue to pray that the Holy Spirit guide those open hands into a thriving ministry…Don’t let yourself fail prey to discouragement. It may be your calling. God bless you!