SNAP: Stories for Living

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Story #19 – My Cousin

My hero is my cousin. She contacted me 5 years ago telling me her story of the priest that abused her. As children we lived across the field from each other. Our families were close. There were several of her sisters that were abused by the same priest, myself and my sisters, and many more. It took 51 years of carrying the guilt and shame before I found out I was not a bad person. I was not at fault. I WAS A VICTIM! The threats made to us if we told kept the guilt and shame buried deep within each of us.

My cousin told me of the SNAP web site. I researched it and found I truly was not alone. It seemed so many of the victims went through similar things in their lives as I did. It explained so much to me. I could reflect on my life, my motherhood, my 3 marriages to abusers and now I understand why I tolerated the abuse. I truly did not think I deserved any better. If a priest, the representative of God here on earth did this to me, I had to be bad. God would not allow this to happen to a good girl.

My cousin and I spent hours daily talking to each other working through all of the memories flooding out. It seemed so unreal our families were so close but neither of us knew about the other one until 51 years later.

So my cousin, the founder of SNAP, and the SNAP STAFF helped me go from VICTIM to SURVIVOR.

I pray for every victim to have such a support group as I did. I could start a sentence on how I felt and my cousin could finish it. We are good, they were evil. Let's turn evil around and start to live!!! We deserve it. We are survivors.

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