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For All Those Times

by: ©️ Elizabeth Shane 01.10.21 (CSA Survivor – author of Silhouette of a Songbird)

 

For all those times
You stripped away my layers
Made me taste forbidden fruit
Forced my hands to do your work
Penetrated beyond boundaries
Hands snaked around my neck ready to silence the sound

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I endured unwanted shadows creeping inside
Felt cold metal of a barrelled gun pushed against my head
Suffered perversion of injustice
Paralysed my breath through restrained fear
Offered my services on a plate

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I quickened my footsteps down a dim lit path
Criss-crossed patterns in the road to shake away the followers
Barricaded my sanctuary through blockades of furniture
Feigned sleep to hasten your desire
Gave you permission without speaking a word

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I didn’t dare scream
Kept quiet
Stayed silent
Never fought back
Ever told

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I felt special
Chosen by you
Thought you loved me
Wanted your attention
Asked for more

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I trusted you
Loved you
Despised you
Feared you
Missed you

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I trembled to speak
Felt ashamed
Pushed the knife deeper in
Faded into darkness
Shattered into broken pieces

For all those times
I never said no

For all those times
I am haunted daily
I speak out
Fear will no longer silence me
My voice shall be heard
Truth will resonate

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I wasn’t asked
I give myself permission
My choice
My body
My right

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I longed to say stop
Stop.
I am the adult
With ownership
Of my freedom

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
You think you won
Of lives destroyed
We will stand strong
United in power
Together as one

For all these times
We will say no.


Letters from Europe (No 3, October 2021) The sexual abuse of children in the French Catholic Church since the 1950s

by: Marc Artzrouni - SNAP Europe 

Part 2: Reflections on the Independent Commission Findings

 

 

In our first article on sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church we reported on the ongoing work done by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE in French).  The CIASE was commissioned by the French Conference of Bishops and is headed by Jean-Marc Sauvé, a retired senior civil servant.   

The Commission is composed of respected professionals: jurists, psychologists, health professionals, theologians, etc.  Their 500-page final report was released on October 5 and the main findings have reverberated around the world.  The Commission has documented the cases of 2,900 to 3,200 priests who have abused  216,000 minors and vulnerable people since the 1950s. (The figure is 320,000 if you add "lay" perpetrators who teach, coach, or advise within Catholic institutions).

These numbers have sent shockwaves through French society - with a headline in Le Monde (the French equivalent of The New York Times) that reads: "Pedocriminality: a damning report for the Church."   Note how to its credit Le Monde (and other French media)  has replaced "pedophilia" with a word that leaves no doubt: a "liking" of children that is acted upon is a crime.   


SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: A Long Journey Toward Healing: Helen Kock

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

At the age of 90, Helen Kock reminisces about her long healing journey after having been sexually abused by priest as an 8th-grade student at a Catholic school in Minnesota. Born into a German farm family in Minnesota, and as the eldest daughter, her family assumed Helen would one day enter a convent, as was the practice during that era. After all, her uncle, the eldest son of his family, had become a Franciscan priest. Helen found this potential life path to be very appealing.

Unfortunately, when Helen was just 13 years of age, a young parish priest, whom she felt was a kind and caring man in her life, manipulated her into having sexual intercourse with him. Haunted by shame and guilt, Helen never spoke of the incident to her family, friends or teachers, leaving her feeling isolated. Eventually, when some of the other Franciscan parish priests learned of the incident, the young priest was re-assigned a year later to another parish. This was done secretively primarily to avoid confrontation with Helen’s uncle, who had by then become an influential Franciscan priest. Sadly, though, no clergy member ever approached Helen to acknowledge what had happened or offered to provide her help. So, Helen’s “secret” remained a painful memory for many years.


Survivors endorse Kerry Robinson for new Vatican Ambassador

Survivors endorse Kerry Robinson for new Vatican Ambassador

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VjY4SrfhAY

 

Robinson has insisted that survivors must be a part of "all deliberations, solutions, and plans" to address the ongoing abuse crisis in the United States.


Letters from Europe - A report on "child protection" (or lack thereof?) in religious organization in England and Wales

A new report found a disturbing pattern of child sexual abuse in 38 religious organizations in England and Wales - a scope that goes beyond previous similar findings concerning the Anglican and Catholic churches.


SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: The Truth Will Prevail: Susan Vance

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

Former Catholic nun and school teacher, now wife and mother of two, Susan Vance has served as a dedicated and outspoken advocate and supporter of those who have been sexually abused by priests and bishops for almost 20 years. Her work began in 2002 when the Boston clergy sexual abuse scandal was reported and got critical attention from media and the public. While working as a school teacher, Susan realized that the situation in Knoxville, Tennessee, was as dire as that in Boston. Anthony J. O’Connell, previously a bishop in Tennessee, but reassigned as a bishop in Palm Beach, Florida, was accused of sexual abuse against two teenaged seminarians while he was head of the Hannibal, Missouri, Seminary. To make matters worse, the local Family Life Center in Oak Ridge had been named after Bishop O’Connell in 1998 when he left for Palm Beach.


Another Voice: Buffalo bishop must show true remorse to victims of abuse

n Aug. 17, 2021, in a prepared statement regarding the healing process for the victims of clergy sexual abuse scandal, Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher acknowledged that the church “must go to whatever length is required to demonstrate genuine remorse.”

The question unanswered by Fisher is what specific steps the Catholic church needs to take to demonstrate “genuine remorse.” Our bishop offered no options, ideas or solutions in his statement as to how he wants to demonstrate genuine remorse for the church’s role in this abuse.


Opinion- Washington Post-Maryland can help victims of child sex abuse -

Letter to Editor published in Washington Post today: Opinion: Maryland can help victims of child sex abuse

Yesterday at 7:54 p.m. EDT

The Sept. 5 Politics & the Nation article “McCarrick pleads not guilty to child sex abuse charges” reported that ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick got his day in court related to three counts of child sex abuse.
In contrast, child sex abuse survivors in Maryland often don’t get their day in civil court because of stringent statute-of-limitation laws. In fact, the laws even restrict a child survivor from getting access (due process) to records that could help build a criminal case. Maryland’s Hidden Predator Act is intended to provide more justice for survivors of child sex abuse by removing the statute of limitation, providing a two-year lookback period and repealing the statute-of-repose designation that was inserted to thwart cases.
Since 2018, one-third of states have passed laws extending the civil statute of limitations and establishing a lookback window for child sexual abuse claims. We at Maryland Catholics for Action hope our General Assembly will commit to passage of the bill and give survivors of child sex abuse the justice and healing they deserve.

Susan Kerin, Rockville

The writer is director of Maryland Catholics for Action.


SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Learning to Trust Your Gut: David Lorenz

This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.

David’s journey through self-healing and self-acceptance was, as he says, “evolutionary, not revolutionary.” So, for him, the feelings of guilt and self-recrimination associated with his sexual abuse by Catholic church authorities took a long time to process and heal. At the age of sixteen, David was sexually abused by his guidance counselor at his all-boys Catholic high school in Kentucky during prayer meetings and other events the counselor held at his home. Though his abuser was transferred by the church to a variety of schools, David struggled for many years to admit that he had been abused and struggled with his feelings of shame and loneliness.


The BSA Must Release A Full Accounting of the Perversion Files

For at least 57 years, from 1947 to 2004, the Boy Scouts of America kept “Ineligible Volunteer Files” – better known as “Perversion Files” – on sexual predators in their midst.  The BSA LLC released some of these files in 2012, pursuant to an order from the Oregon Supreme Court.  In January 2013 the Los Angeles Times published a database of 5,431 “Perversion Files” – a few of which are duplications.


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