SNAP Supporter & Donor Profile: No More Shame: Brian Toale
This profile was written by Patrick Price, Fundraising and Development Manager of SNAP, to honor our courageous and dedicated supporters and donors.
In the early 1970s during most of his senior year in high school, Brian Toale was sexually abused by a faculty member who ran the Ham Radio Club of which Brian was a member. For more than 20 years, Brian’s struggle with the effects of those events led him ultimately to 12 Step recovery and therapy, which allowed him to slowly, over the next 25 years, put his life back together. He came to realize that the sexual abuse was not his fault and the shame he had felt all those years should never have been his to bear.
In order to “move on” and symbolically give back the shame, Brian wrote a letter to the principal of his old high school describing the facts and details of what he had undergone during the sexual abuse encounter and the effects the abuse had on his life. The goal of his letter was closure and as Brian puts it, to bring “relief to his mind and spirit.”
When Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York announced the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), Brian became aware of SNAP and joined our mailing list. He connected with Barbara Dorris of SNAP and felt called to give back. Brian began attending a survivor support group meeting where he met Shaun Dougherty, SNAP’s current Board President, and other advocates against sexual abuse. This group successfully lobbied politicians for the passage of New York’s Child Victims Act and a year later its one-year extension.
Brian became a local SNAP leader, assisted in starting a NY State Zoom group and eventually a new NYC group. Recently, Brian has stepped back from his SNAP leadership and survivor advocate roles, allowing him to better focus on his own healing and recovery.
For several years now, Brian has been a SNAP sustaining donor. He firmly believes in the important programs and services that SNAP offers to individual survivors of sexual abuse as well as in the broader scope of SNAP’s advocacy. Since his involvement with SNAP, he has seen the dynamic impact that SNAP’s support groups have had, training volunteer leaders and advocates, and helping to shift the public’s attitude toward the religious and secular institutions that have not yet been meaningfully held to account for their crimes against children. Brian feels his ongoing financial contribution will help SNAP support survivors find their voices and take back their lives.