Story #17 – The Opening of a Door
For many years, until age 70 as a matter of fact, I convinced myself that I absolutely must have done something to encourage that priest/perpetrator to molest me. During all those years the guilt grew stronger until the day came when I had the privilege of attending a Breakout Session at the National SNAP Conference in Chicago. The subject of the session was sex abuse of vulnerable adults. Out of curiosity, I attended. At a later time during that conference, I had the privilege of talking with the lead speaker about my situation. Within a very short period of time, experienced counselor that this speaker is, he helped me realize that I was not the responsible person, I was not guilty. Upon his advice, I eagerly sought out a therapist in my hometown who has been a great source of healing for me. This conference truly became my Christmas in July!
Finally, I was able to tell my story at the SNAP Group Meeting. For a few years after becoming the SNAP Leader, I had told the group at every meeting that I wasn't ready to speak about it and they seemed to accept it. They were all very pleased when I finally shared my story, that the door had opened and I had begun walking on the road to healing.
Through the help of my hero, coming forth with my story has helped me deal with the past. My sincere hope is that other vulnerable adults who were abused by priests or other religious authorities will experience an end to the guilt through counseling and hard work. May all victims old and young have the experience of the opening of the door to freedom by finding someone like my SNAP Leader Hero.