SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: Telling One’s Story: Gail Howard

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

Upon the release of the clergy sexual abuse exposé in the Boston Globe in 2002, Gail Howard was totally shocked by what she read. Why? Years earlier Gail had been sexually assaulted by her own pastor, and throughout those years, she believed that she was the only person to have ever experienced such a trauma. “I thought I was alone,” Gail says, “but then I knew I was not the only one!” In 2004, she found others who had undergone such abuse when she became part of the Voice of the Faithful, a group seeking to support victims and reform the Church from within Norwalk, Connecticut. Meeting to tell her story was, as she put it, “super scary.” Eventually, with encouragement from Voice of the Faithful, she found the inner strength to share her story in public. Speaking away from Church property, as Voice of the Faithful was not welcomed by the Church, Gail, with her husband by her side, shared the horror of what she had experienced. She used a pseudonym that day to protect her mother, who never knew about her daughter’s sexual abuse.

Sample Graphics and Social Media Messages for #EndChildSexAbuseDay on November 18

Below are some sample messages and graphics that you can use on your social media channels to spread the word about #EndChildSexAbuseDay on November 18. 

Sample Letter for Federal Legislators in Support of KKS Blueprint

Below is a sample letter that you can use in outreach to federal elected officials to encourage them to show support for the Federal Blueprint and recognize #EndChildSexualAbuseDay. 

My name is Chris O'Leary and I'm a survivor of the Catholic sex abuse crisis.

(Published with permission from Chris O'Leary)
October 28, 2021
Yesterday, I happened to hear my Senator from Missouri, Josh Hawley, grill United States Attorney General Merrick Garland about the handling of a parent's protest, to a school board, regarding the alleged sexual assault of a female student in a school bathroom, the alleged cover-up of that attack, and the Attorney General and his department's publication of a memo regarding the handling of those protests and protestors.
As a parent, and survivor of sexual abuse and assault, myself, I couldn't help but sympathize with the concerns, and heartbreak, of both a parent and a child, put in such a situation.
But, as Senator Hawley went on, and on, a thought struck me, "Where was that passion and intensity when I went to, then Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley for help in September 2018? As a result of his launching an investigation of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. When I was completely ignored by the Senator and repeatedly put off and blown off by his staff. I can only assume in what was, ultimately, a cynical attempt by Senator Hawley to help the Archdiocese of St. Louis cover up the past sexual abuse of children, Timothy Cardinal Dolan's knowledge of that abuse, and the present abuse of the abused by the Archdiocese of St. Louis."
As a result, it was more than a bit ironic -- rich -- to hear Senator Hawley harangue the Attorney General of the United States for his alleged failure to monitor, supervise, and inform himself of the actions of his staff, given that I had an all too similar experience with the Senator, and his staff when he was Attorney General of the State of Missouri.

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
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


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.

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