I have felt compelled to write to you as a survivor myself. I have been feeling a great deal of sorrow. I have a guttural cry inside of me for all survivors at this very difficult time. My heart is hurting for all of you, myself included. Sometimes I just want to get on the floor and with my fists bang and bang crying out from the depths of my soul. The pain is so intense as is the sorrow, its as though my skin is being ripped from my bones.
Every survivor out there knows exactly what I am saying. I have had 21 years of very good therapy. Intense, yes, but I did the work and have come a long way. When I think of the hundreds of victims and what they must be feeling because of the last several months of news, my soul, aches. I know about loneliness, the terror, the helplessness and most of all, the BETRAYAL. Not many survivors have had the years of therapy I have had, I reach out to each one of you who is suffering right now. DON’T LOSE HOPE. Our time for justice is approaching.
I have a few suggestions that might help. Find a safe person who is not afraid of your rage and anger. We deserve our rage but we cannot allow it to consume us. Bang on that pillow, let your soul cry, scream anything you need to say into your pillow. Some of these suggestions are safe ways to “let go.” Write, journal or say it out loud.
Under all our rage are the tears of that wounded child, remember we made it through the horrific abuse as a child, we can make it as an adult. That wounded child needs our strength to fight for him/her. FIRST STEP TO HEALING: GIVE BACK TO THE PRIEST PERPETRATOR THE TOXIC SHAME! WE DID NOTHING WRONG. SAY IT A HUNDRED TIMES A DAY UNTIL YOU BELIEVE IT. I DID NOTHING WRONG. Post it on your mirrors, walls, phone – anywhere you will see it often! Empower yourself, stand tall in the truth! Stand with me, fellow survivors. Walk the picket lines in front of catholic churches. Stand with Catholics4Change and other concerned groups every 1st Friday of the month in front of the archdiocese offices. Write to the Pennsylvania legislatures on the two bills they continue to sit on. With action comes empowerment!
My fellow survivors, the coming months are going to be very hard on us. We need each other and we need to reach out to safe people who want to stand beside us and believe in us! We are stronger than we think. Please, we must take very care of ourselves. If you’re not in therapy, please find a good, compassionate therapist. Many will work with you financially. Please know you are not alone anymore. Reach out. You are the only one who can decide if you want to remain a victim or be a survivor. I have chosen to be a survivor! If in any way I can assist, use the contact page and C4C will contact me. Lets stand together in the truth. It really will set us free.
41 thoughts on “Letter to Victims From a Victim”
Having communicated with Vicky many times I just want everyone to realize that Vicky is not assuming everyone is in the same place at this time. Vicky would be the first to say that even just a few short years ago she could not imagine herself where she is today .
Dear Vicky: My heart goes out to you. I am hoping you have signed this petition which is going to Corbett in 3 days time.. I urge everyone on this site to sign and pass along this petition. We need thousands of signatures to make an impact:
Since becomming familiar with this site, it brings home the need to console those adults who were victims of sex-abuse and I’m so glad I do.
When working within a hospice, one of my spiritual concepts were was to seek the inner child and bringing back memories of the sweet innocence of childhood, placing a photograph somewhere obvious, and a small candle to remind your self where you began your journey in life.
That is why I loathe the attitude of those who say “it happened, 20,40,60 years ago it’s time to let go, many can’t.
It’s not a healing that can mend those wounds, or forgiveness or turning the other cheek where evil pervades.
It’s a Resurrection, and the avoidance of justice prevents this.
I am very sorry for what you endured. No on the “garbage” should ever occurred. Thanks for sharing and being a role model
You are an amazing woman!!!
Thank you for your letter.
Thank you for opening up and sharing all of this with us. I am so happy that you are a survivor. I’ll keep you in my prayers for continued strength.You are an incredible example and inspiration. Bless you!
Vicky I read somewhere recently hope is despair…….. overcomed……..that’s the kind of hope you give me.
Dear Vicky, your words > “with action comes empowerment” rang true. Your pain, your sharing in the pain of others bespeaks compassion. Thank you, my sister. Rock on!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYibVz16Qtc Vicky this is for you. I believe just as Satan can work thru people God can work thru people and God is definitely working thru you………..Peace.
Thank you, Vicky, for your wisdom, compassion, generosity and wonderful example of the human spirit’s capacity to overcome evil. Forgive us for not doing more, earlier, to eradicate this evil from our Church. Inspired by you, let us do whatever we can now to spare others from this unnecessary evil, while trying to ease the suffering of those already harmed.
Bless you, Vicky. I think it’s so important at this time that other victims have someone like you to speak for them and be there for them to lean on if needed. All of you are in my prayers.
Wow, Jerry…from my husband to you…”If every Catholic could humble themselves to utter these words, the healing it would bring!!!!”
Jerry, Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yours words, have touched my soul! I have been crying because I realized for the first time how I ached to hear from the people in the pews “forgive us for not doing more”. You will never know how very much your words mean to me. They had to be said and I have heard them. Thus begins my healing because of your humility. I have had a lot of anger at the silence for so long, but with your words and the sincerity behind them I’m moving forward. With all that I am and at this very moment, in the eyes of our God, I forgive!
Vicky I witnessed something more powerful than a church sermon tonite…………it brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart!
Jerry I read your post and had the same reaction,it almost sounded like a prayer we would say:
“Forgive us for not doing more, earlier, to eradicate this evil from our Church. Inspired by you, let us do whatever we can now to spare others from this unnecessary evil, while trying to ease the suffering of those already harmed.” Amen
Vicky… Thank you (and other survivors) for your courage and willingness to share your stories and experiences. I have learned so much from you, and it furthers my resolve to keep fighting for your voices to be heard, for the abusers to be identified and brought to justice, and for the protection of all children. Thank you.
Do you have any idea what you, a survivor, means to someone like me who had a family member who did not survive? When you display your courage, will and spirit, you represent and speak for those who, for whatever reason, could not bear their burden. I don’t even know you. But you have been where my brother was, you speak the same language, and you tell the same pain. When you say your story, you say his. That means so much to me. Thank you.
To Had it catholic, How I wish I could wrap my arms around you and cry with you. I am so sorry for your loss. Had it, your brother rests in the arms of God, I know this. God receives all survivors with His arms outstretched, and with a kind of love no human being can comprehend, it is that strong and it is that powerful. I understand why some survivors can no longer carry such a burden. I was there at that place many, many times, barely able to get up off the floor as I cramed into a corner, sobbing, helpless, and alone. The pain was so intense. The darkness was overwhelming!Somehow I had to chose every moment of every day wether I was going to give in to the darkness/evil or struggle to stand and force one step in front of the other. I kept reaching out, screaming, help me, help me dear God through one more hour. Your brother, knows peace. He is in a good place surrounded by love. We have a God of justice and when one of His own is harmed, justice will prevail.
Had it, I hope that you will find some comfort in my words. I would hope that you also will find some semblance of peace. We all have our own particular journey, and that above all must be respected, with respect comes acceptance, not judgement. Thank you for what you responded to me. I am honored and humbled to have brought some peace to your soul.
A survivor and a healer. Remarkable.
Thank you, Vicky.
Vicky and “Had it”, HUMILITY IS TRUTH…
Vicky, anything any of us can do, we surely want too! Thank you and other survivors for sharing….
It’s so important that folks really understand these matters…
Thank you Vicky for your letter. I am blessed not to have been a victim so the least I can do is to stand in solidarity with victims like yourself.
“Saying what you need to say” helps those of us who can never fully understand your experience to keep the focus on the suffering and triumph of survivors.
Kathy (I think) referenced this song for another survivor
I have come to love this song. It sounds like you live these lyrics. You inspire me. Thanks. My prayers for you to conitnue to thrive despite the horrors you should not have had to endure.
Thank you for sharing with us your courage and faith in God who has sustained you and helped you be the incredible person of inspiration you are to all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. I hope your letter is a catalyst for countless people to work for justice and healing of all sexually abused children. Together we can make a difference.
Vicky, I know you only through these pages and your testimony. You do not adorn yourself with a miter, crimson robes and silver and gold. Does anyone believe that the Child born in a manger believes that His Church should be thus presented to the world? You are a woman “only” and therefore the real backbone of The Church. Women have been excluded from governance in The Church and therefore The Church has fallen short of the glory of God. I know, as a former psychiatric social worker, that you have done The WORK to free yourself from the groomiong, grip, intimidation and power of the one who sexually assaulted you. You are a true Shero and more than the equal of those who saw and did nothing. Until The Church has real leadership from the “weaker” sex it will continue to be compromised and riddled with scandle.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM Vicky when I hear this song I think of you (we just need to add the women to the lyrics)especially the last words “seek justice, love mercy………and the battle of the mind and soul.”
I know everyone is at a different stage in their life but I have been thinking alot about healing and justified anger and their is a book that is really a 6wk bible study but it is short and simple and can be used for personal reflection it is called “Jesus the Healer”. It is about the 4 gospels and Isaiah and has alot of good questions you can reflect on. It is just a generic healing book with scripture verses etc. You can get it on loyola press website or give Susan or Kathy your information and I can send you a copy or whatever you want to do.
Those who are sitting in the pews enjoying the benefits of their spiritual life and ignoring the pain and suffering of their neighbor should take heed. One does not know the mind of God, but one knows that having been spared the pain of those abused by clerics–or by anyone for that matter–is strictly a matter of chance…
Those of us who have been spared this pain and suffering owe it to our innocent sisters and brothers to stand up with them to demand justice. Just as we would pray in solidarity, let us demand in solidarity that those who have sinned against other human beings be brought to justice in the civil courts.
That is so true Elizabeth
It is only through the courage of survivors like you, Vicky, that we are given the strength to face ourselves as a passive people pretending to love our neighbor. You have made the virture of loving our neighbor real for us.
Forgive us for ignoring you and your suffering. Pray for us that we we may gain the same courage as you have. That courage will open our eyes to the shame that we have ignored and will enable us to move forward to change our church and, indeed, the world.
God bless you and thank you for coming forward to help us…
Just out of curiosity…
Do you believe we are changing the church or just imposing consequences and hoping they will “see the light?”
I struggle with this…because if the consequences come, they will change some of their behaviors, but I’m not convinced they will ever have a change of heart.
Honestly, whatever is in those secret archives is going to show us “the heart” of the rcc.
What’s the saying? Integrity is who you are when no one is watching.” I think we know and we’re going to find out a whole lot more.
SW, I think we are changing the church. The criminal disclosures are a way to get more Catholics motivated to replace the Church’s current imperial structure with a democratic one, where bishops are once again selected by the faithful.
I think we are getting there . Barely a year ago, none of us even knew of the 2011 grand jury report, for example. Now a top aide to two Cardinals is facing an imminent trial.
Given the 1,500 years of coecion and propaganda Catholics have sufferred and absorbed, the change is not always perceptible. But change is happening and the pace of change is accelerating, in my view anyway.
I lose perspective from this side. It seems slow. I need to hear from others who have a little more hope for the rcc than I do.
If the Church were a business organization, the current condition of the Irish franchise alone would have its stock value be at an alarmingly low level. Denial is powerful, yes; but how long can it be sustained in the face of the reality of the losses? Ex-Catholics as the 2nd largest Christian denomination in the US?
I could never have imagined a county coroner in the Philadelphia area claiming the body of a dead archbishop for an autopsy because of the suspicious timing.
Yes, we are changing the institution.
My new ad campaign: Catholics, come home; the bishops have gone away!
SW I have thought the same thing. You would like to see a real change of heart……..but seems like for many that will not be the case. It is just they have to accept the consequences…………I do think that with awareness and self examination will come change maybe not in the current people in leadership and laity but maybe in those to follow maybe the younger generation after they are removed , retire etc………
The first 4 articles on Abuse Tracker today, start off with an Irish newsman suggesting, strongly that the Pope not visit Ireland and then move on to John Allen with a lengthly description of what’s going wrong in Rome right now, followed by two national news services further noting what’s wrong in Rome right now. Lots, to put it mildly.
I wouldn’t purchase stock in this organization.
Joan, agreed; this is a stunning concatenation of events. The archbishop of Dublin saying that it is not a good time for the pope to visit Ireleand? Oy vey! Martin
Yes Joan been watching Rome………your right.
Not only is the Church changing, the speed of the change defies history and imagination!
The reason the change seems a little unclear or sketchy is because the change is the result of an implosion, as opposed to resulting from insightful progress and good leadership. The Church had to die before it could be resurrected.
I love Martin’s new ad slogan!
Haddit, Jeff Anderson plans to depose soon to be Cardinal Dolan relative to the the Soon to be Cardinals handling of a major abuse case.
I do too 🙂