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.
In 1992, however, accusations came out against this school counselor, who had spent time at “Servants of the Paraclete” in New Mexico, and a class-action lawsuit was brought to Court and was settled in favor of those who had been abused, resulting in the abuser being jailed for sexual abuse of minors. At that time, David began sharing the fact that he is a survivor of sexual abuse with family and friends, and learned that numerous former schoolmates had been abused by the same guidance counselor. That truth helped David realize that he was not alone as a survivor and gave him to courage to move forward.
For several years, David was active in the Boston group “Voice of the Faithful” that attempted to advocate for changes in the reporting of sexual abuse by clergy and school administrators. In addition, for about six years now, David has been a SNAP support group moderator in Maryland. Through his work with survivors, David has learned that, like himself, most folks who have been sexually abused struggle to admit that reality, but by listening to others, we learn that those of us who have been abused have many of the same feelings. “It takes great courage to trust your gut and declare the awful truth of what happened to you by the hands of others,” David says. “And to know that you are not alone, that abuse is an issue for which a survivor should not feel shame, and that, when I say that I believe you and your story, I actually do.”
In addition to his work with survivors, David has also been a long-time charitable donor to SNAP. When the 1992 class-action suit was resolved, David was one of many survivors who received a substantial survivor’s settlement. Because of the social and political work of Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy and other SNAP advocates, David made a personal commitment to donate the settlement funds so that the money would support SNAP programs and services so current and future survivors could find a pathway to self-love and healing. SNAP remains truly grateful to his dedicated commitment to serve sexual abuse survivors, both as a support group leader and as a donor.