Monday, June 1, 2009

A Catholic Abuse Survivor Vents

I did not know whether to write this on my Catholic blog or my Survivor blog. I finally decided it fit in both places because I fit in both places.
Thanks goes to Catholic Fire, who posted a quote that I could not quite believe I was reading. I went to read the full article in Irishtimes.com about a quote made by a Cardinal about the child sexual abuse crisis in Ireland. The headline read "Abortion worse than child abuse, says Vatican figure".

The Quote?
"What happened in some schools cannot be compared with the millions of lives that have been destroyed by abortion. It (abortion) has legally destroyed 40 million lives."

I needed a couple of days to calm down and to pray about what I needed to say.
Here is my venting:
1. One cannot compare abortion and child sexual abuse at all - period. As a pro-life Catholic, I do not argue that abortion is a crime against humanity. But so is sexual abuse. How can we compare one evil to another? How can we say one is worse than another? Does he really think that God is thinking like that?

2. And how do we compare pain and loss?
To minimize someone's pain is to add to that pain.

3. Both abortion and child abuse have endless ripple effects, increasing circles of pain and grief in victims' friends, relatives, future spouses, children, etc.

4. The number of children sexually abused since the beginning of time is beyond trying to figure out or even guess. For sure, it is an under reported crime. I did not report mine. Neither did my sister. Neither did most survivors I have spoken to in support groups, etc.
Statistics these days say 1 in 4 girls are abused and 1 in 5 boys are abused. It is estimated that there are over 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse living in the United States alone. God only knows how many there are in the world.

5. There are different kinds of death. Soul death. Survivors of child sexual abuse have had their lives destroyed in many ways. Every aspect of a survivor's life is affected by the abuse - physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual. Survivors suffer for many years, many for their entire lives. Unless they experience major healing. But even so, it is never really gone. Especially when our suffering is minimized by someone we may look up to or respect. Someone like a Cardinal in the Catholic Church.

I am praying.
I am praying that both abortions and child sexual abuse stop.
I am praying for this Cardinal. Why on earth, especially in light of what we went through in the United States with our own sexual abuse scandal, would he make such a statement?
I am praying for the Irish survivors of sexual and physical and emotional abuse. I am praying that God will help them to heal. That they will know that they are not alone. That they will know the love of their Mother, Mary.
I am praying for all survivors of child abuse, that we will all find healing and hope. And that, in this time of darkness, we will find the courage to speak out and be the Light of Christ.
And I will keep
praying. Please pray, too.

6 comments:

little sparrow , florasita , sticklady , strong tree woman said...

Colleen this post is so good thank you !
People are capable of being very ignorant when it comes to abuse , even the supposed educated ;-)
It is so good you right away let people know about comparing and pain . people just will not "get it " until they are educated properly regarding any area of abuse . Remember how rape used to be viewed for women just 20 yrs ago ?
I have to have hope via ministry etc. people will just not be so ignorant .
maybe that cardinal should take a trip to Cambodia and tell the 33, 000 child prostitutes sorry but we here to help the unborn you'll have to wait .
some people too like cardinals , priests etc. have been in isolation just with each other and not truely understanding or getting the facts .
Even the pope has been guilty of ignorance .
I've a dear friend who's child was molested 3 yrs ago in church .
The bishop , priest , person working to deal with the issue of abuse etc. well in the end people are people , fear won out over protecting children .That parish lost a family of 8 and yes it turned out the man had already molested others within the parish and he will and it is a given has molest more he in fact will probably have as we know well over a hundred victims by now . People just do not want to know at times the fear is just to great for them to deal with .
We just have to keep going . I think well if one person learns then it makes a difference because it means one more child may end up being protected . The same as for abortion .
The point about abortion and abuse of a child is a life is a risk you cannot compare the two .
I've no doubt my abuser may have killed a child is that life of less value in our Creator's eyes then a unborn baby ? we all know the answer . We are all of equal value to our Lord . It is people who put value etc. worthiness etc. on each other unfortunatly many who work in our church are responsible for this . Instilling guilt is a great way to keep the cycle going .
Great post to get people thinking !

Colleen said...

Thank you so much for your comment. I too pray for an end to ignorance. And I like what you said, if one person learns then maybe one more child will be protected. Blessings.

Jamey said...

I am praying with you on this Colleen. It is sad when any abuse is minimized. No abuse is worse than another...it all hurts. Your blog is a great ministry to others who have been through similar abuse as you. I know many will find hope here!

Colleen said...

Jamey, Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I do pray that my story helps others find hope. God bless.

Eva Marie said...

You're right, it never does go away..the pain of child abuse, and child sexual abuse -

I've found that while at times I felt numb..a shell...that buried in me, behind walls of armor ...was indeed that soul waiting to live, and fly free again.

The most painful part for me wasn't the actual abuse, but rather breaking those barriers down that the abuse built..in the end it has made me a better person, as I am sure it has done for you.

Colleen said...

Eva Marie, thanks for your comments. Yes, I felt numb. Have always had a problem expressing my feelings because I hid them for so long.
I agree the most painful part of the abuse is not the act itself - it is the long term effects that we have had to live with and try to heal. There are a lot of barriers, aren't there? God bless.