The other night, I participated in a group video conference with a group of other survivors of clergy abuse. During this conference, one of the members told of how she had been abused by a priest at a young age. Whenever I hear stories like this, it makes me want to cry. And it makes me feel like a phony.
What these children went through is unimaginable. I won’t even go there as to how someone could hurt innocents. They do. And it doesn’t end with the physical abuse. Their sense of trust and getting close to others and relationships and God and life has been forever violated.
And so I felt…..I don’t belong here. I can’t even begin to compare my experiences to theirs.
Somehow the fact that I am a survivor of abuse as an adult was brought up and one of the women asked what that was about and how old a person would have to be to be considered abused as an adult. “That’s not a part of SNAP, is it?” she asked. I said that yes, it was. Although at that moment, I felt very much an outsider.
I thought about the exchange later on that evening and those old feelings of doubt and anger at myself and a bit of “who do I think I am” and even a bit of pity bringing a bottle to the party began to emerge. And I thought….I shouldn’t be doing this. I am not worthy.
But then another little voice….most likely the angel on my other shoulder….began to get a little huffy. “Are you done?” the angel asked. “Because when you are done making this all about yourself perhaps you might want to consider that tonight the fact the adults get abused as well was mentioned at the meeting. And also that group is a part of SNAP.”
The angel adjusted its halo. “Last time I checked, that’s what really was important here. Whether or not you are worthy of spreading the word has nothing to do with anything. It’s inconsequential. And kinda narcissistic. So get over yourself. Get out of your own way!”
Yes, adults are abused by priests….and by others as well but for now….priests. And yes, ASAP (Adults Sexually Abused by Priests) is a part of SNAP. Some priests are not good people. They are predators. And if I can cheat one priest out of blackmailing someone into sexual slavery because the rules to the playbook become published, than damn hell yes, the priest is the one who will be going down…..not his victim.