Thursday, October 3, 2013

Open Letter to Sexual Abuse Victims

I have been doing a lot of writing lately.  I believe that the greater good that our Lord wants to draw out of the evil I suffered is to reach out to other priestly abuse survivors to help them along their painful journey.  At the same time, healing comes to me but only through pain.  It is a mixed blessing.

Part of that endeavor is monitoring blogs, learning from them and sharing with you anything that I think is worthwhile and not triggering.  There are a lot of blogs out there about abuse, and even books, that focus on one's own experience.  It is necessary to pepper that into the picture when making a larger point, but I don't like to dwell on my abuse, rather how to allow Jesus to heal me and in turn, others.

One blog entry I found was very powerful.  It was by Mary DeMuth over at www.marydemuth.com.  She wrote "Open Letter to Sexual Abuse Victims".  I found it to be very powerful because it affirmed much of what I feel.  I think it will do the same for you.  I urge you to read it.

She has also written a book, "Not Marked".  She says about the book:  "Not Marked is the book I was created to write. It's tearing back the curtain from my healing journey--the good, the bad, the frustrating, the victorious. It explores the multifaceted way we get well--spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally. It gives practical guidance, mixed with story and hope."  I have ordered it and look forward to reading it.

The road to healing is different for each survivor.  For me, educating myself was key.  Understanding the dynamics of abuse helped lessen the shame because I understood that the things for which I blamed myself not only were not my fault, but those feelings are typical for survivors.  Suddenly I didn't feel so alone.

Abuse by a priest is different that abuse by anyone else because of the spiritual nature of it, so when you are choosing reading material, be selective.  Also guard yourself against anything that may trigger a painful response within you.

I have listed resources on the homepage of this blog that you can reference to educate yourself.  I would encourage you to contact your diocesan child protection/abuse office to see what support you can find there.

Therapy is almost a must have.  Above all, stay close to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist where peace can be found.
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