The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Position on
As the 5/4 deadline approaches for completing the bishops' survey of survivors approaches, (http://www.nccbuscc.org/comm/archives/2005/05-074.shtml), some members are asking whether we recommend that SNAP members respond to it.
With reservations, we recommend that SNAP members do complete the bishops' survey.
One school of thought: Why not? It probably can't hurt. If even one church official uses the results to prod another church official to treat one survivor somewhat better, then it's worth it. (Several survivors participated in "focus groups" organized by Kathleen McChesney that may have led to the design of or the decision to do the survey.)
Others fear that if we don't complete the survey, and the church officials release the results, it may be "skewed" toward that minority of victims who feel OK with how they've been treated by church officials.
Another school of thought: some question its design and the bishops' motives. Some also feel that participating in "information-gathering" perpetuates the myth that insufficient information keeps church officials from doing the right thing. (Many of us believe instead it's a lack of courage, integrity and will, not a lack of information, that is the basic problem.)
Several SNAP members who have experience in conducting research and surveys have expressed concerns regarding the form of the questions and the limited choices provided in the multiple choice answers. They also stressed that victims should know who is conducting the survey and how the information will be used. They all pointed out that this type of survey should be conducted by an outside, objective research institute or university.
Weighing the pros and cons, we have determined that it is best to recommend that survivors participate in the survey. But please note that it is being conducted by Mary A Lentz, an attorney who has represented Bishop Pilla and the Cleveland Diocese in cases against victims of sex abuse by priests. She is also described as "a child abuse prevention consultant."
We provide this information just to avoid anyone filling out the survey, then feeling upset or betrayed if they learned later about Lentz' past. We are not passing judgment on her, her history, her sincerity, her intentions, etc. We just want our members to have more information, not less.
Before filling out the survey please read this:
1. Print out a copy of the survey questions first. Read through the questions and write your answers on a hard copy that you will keep. Once you begin typing answers on the internet copy you won't be permitted to print.
2. Be prepared to be triggered. Many questions go to the roots of our abuse and may trigger flashbacks and strong emotions. Have a supporter available as you read through the questions.
3. While there are questions regarding whether there is more than one perpetrator there is not an opportunity to provide information on more than one perpetrator. We don't have a solution to this problem but want to alert you to it.
4. Please save a copy of your answers for future reference.
5. To locate the survey on the internet go to: www.victim-outreach.com
If you'd like to be put in touch with one or two members who FAVOR responding,
or one or two members who OPPOSE responding, please send an e mail to
and put QUESTIONS RE SURVEY in the subject line.