I realize that people are becoming desensitized to the Catholic Church’s Sex Scandal. The media coverage over the past 10 years has been overwhelming at times. Some people would like to see this story die and go away. I know that the Catholic Church would like to see people like me go away and remain quiet. They long for the good old days when fear and shame kept most victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy quiet and isolated. The Church is spending huge amounts of money to try to garner sympathy for their cause and to pay lobbyists to prevent state legislatures from enacting legislation that will enable victims to find justice. The Catholic Church, the bishops and the people that have provided aid and comfort to pedophiles while sacrificing the safety and welfare of children, need to be forced to tell the truth and make right what has been so horribly wrong.
Many of the reports that have surfaced over the last few years have been made by people, like me, who were raped/molested/sexually abused by priests and other members of religious communities who were trusted by our families. They used that trust as a weapon against us. I was 46 when I reported the crimes that were committed against me at age 13 by Father Robert Gibson. In 1974 he was pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania and a religion teacher at Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School in 1974. I was 13!
I have been told, by some supporters of the church, that I was partially to blame for what happened. After all these years of believing just that, I am finally rejecting that notion and anyone who may still subscribe to the idea that children consented to the abuse of men who should have been protecting them. What happened to me as a child was a crime, a crime that was repeated until I found a way to keep Father Gibson away from me.
Look at the face in the photo and tell me that I was responsible for the actions of a pedophile. If you truly believe that, you have drank more than your share of the Kool-Aid prepared by the Catholic Hierarchy. Sit down and engage your brain, maybe you will find a moment of clarity.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is trying to remind people that SNAP is working to protect kids and help victims get their lives in order. They are collecting photos of the children and adults that have been the victims of priests who saw vulnerability and turned it for their own perverse pleasure. They are trying to put a human face on a very inhuman scandal.
I have submitted the photograph of myself at age 13 to SNAP in hopes that it can be added to a collection of images of far too many children and adults who continue to search for answers and justice. We have been denied just those things by the Catholic Church and their lobbyists.
Do you have a picture of a predator? When doing media events SNAP is often asked for a photo. Not only does this help the media it often helps people remember events and facts about the predator. It may also help other victims abused by your perpetrator. Frequently survivors find these photos in their family albums with graduation, First Communion, Confirmation and wedding photos.
If you have such a photo, mail a copy to SNAP, 700 North Green Street, #504, Chicago, IL 60642 or scan and send electronically to SNAPadmin1@gmail.com.