It saddens me when a few misguided parishioners "shoot the messenger" and attack the news media for simply doing its job. The flood of stories emerging in recent weeks is attributable, we believe, to three factors:
First, some survivors feel hopeful. When survivors are heard and validated in the courts and the media as we have been in Boston, we gain the strength and courage to come forward to heal ourselves and protect others.
Second, some survivors feel desperate. For a decade, bishops have reassured us that they take abuse allegations seriously, investigate them thoroughly, remove suspected priests, and no longer reassign molesters. The revelations of the past few weeks prove that these reassurances were largely untrue. So, despite the risks of further pain, some survivors are now "going public" because they feel compelled to do whatever they can to make sure no other child suffers as they did.
Third, as Martin Luther King said, "No lie lives forever." A tidal wave of stories is splashing across the news media now largely because a huge "back log" of frustrated, fearful survivors can no longer keep suffering in secrecy, silence and shame.
Sexual abuse is probably the most underreported crime in the nation, due to the severity and duration of the trauma. Most victims will never seek help or make there experience public. For those who do, the time between the abuse and disclosure can be anywhere between ten to twenty years-sometimes longer.