I think it’s important for all to read this C4C comment exchange regarding monetary compensation for victims of clergy sex abuse.
I am one of the victims part of this lawsuit (Delaware – see related post). It’s funny, but I was just telling a friend today, “I don’t feel any different now than I did 24 hours ago, before the settlement was approved.” I don’t know if I had any predetermined ideas that anything would likely change, at least within myself, prior to Judge Sontchi signing off on the settlement with the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. In fact, I feel even more resolute in my mind that this has never been about money. At the end of the day, we might have a couple extra bucks in our bank accounts, which will undoubtedly make things easier from a “debt aspect,” but I’m still a victim. The memories haven’t been erased by the thought of a little more green paper in my pocket. And no matter what I do from here on out, and wherever I go, I still have to take me with me.
I have much appreciation for Judge Christopher Sontchi and his handling of the Diocese wanting to pay victims settlement money, but still continue to pay abusive priests. Judge Sontchi proved to me, that at least one man within the legal system, still exemplifies my standards of integrity and justice.
Just keep in mind, this isn’t “closure.” I don’t even know what would be closure. Maybe I can take some time to figure that all out, but what I do know is that I am alive, and too many childhood sexual abuse victims are not. They died without “closure.” I will remember them. And, I will use every dollar of this money to help every victim I can and to make sure that no other child goes through what we have. This isn’t over by a long shot. We still have a responsibility to protect children and vulnerable adults, inside and outside of the walls of the Catholic Church.
by Survivor’s Wife
It was never about the money for my husband. He was promised his counseling bills would be paid. They paid for a while and just when he was wrapping up with his final counseling costs, the diocese quit paying. The whole situation became bigger than all of us at that point.
Closure will be different for every victim. For my husband it was making the diocese do the very thing they didn’t want to do…pay for his counseling. No lawyers, no judges…just my husband documenting everything, getting all levels of hierarchy involved and then just at the right time, exposing them all. The diocese bullied us relentlessly…my husband didn’t blink. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you made these jerks dance. Does that lack compassion? Perhaps…but I saw my husband get justice and closure in one fell swoop when the diocese mailed a check on the last day before my husband was going to file a breach of contract suit against our own church. He slept like a baby that night and hasn’t looked back since.
I think part of it is about the money. The church has taught the victims that there are only 2 ways to get their attention…$ and exposing them through the media.
Give the victims some measure of comfort and if the only way the church will offer it is in the form of lawsuits, then so be it.
I like that reply, Survivor’s Wife. I hope maybe someday I can sleep at night too.
Kathy? You’re right about the financial situation many of us have been in. Try working an 8-hour job, 5 days per week, when you can’t even imagine getting out of bed in the morning. Try explaining to your co-workers why you just freaked out in the middle of work with a panic attack. Try feeling so alone and alienated from the world you don’t even feel like you’re alive.
My abuser is dead. He will never hurt another child. The part of the lawsuit that I didn’t mention before was the non-monetary issue, which is really great and is definitely something that will protect kids today and tomorrow. Over the last 24 hours, I’ve been reading comments to articles online of idiots who claimed “we victims have done this for the money.” I wanted to stress to everyone here that that couldn’t be further from the truth, or from my truth anyway.