I am a childhood sexual abuse victim. I was abused by a Catholic priest in Northeast Philadelphia, in the early 1990s. I created this website because I found something lacking from other forums. Some websites geared toward victim support and advocacy, I have found to be just the opposite. Other websites, dedicated to preventing sexual abuse and changing laws within their State’s Legislation and within the Catholic Church, I’ve found to be somewhat deceptive in their foundation. Some website organizations constantly ask for financial contributions, and many times alienating the voice of victims. This all needs to change. Sometimes I think many website founders are particularly more interested in getting their names and faces out in the media rather than seriously supporting victims, and promoting critical and fundamental changes within the Catholic Church to protect future children from abuse. While media attention would further the popularity of this website, I am committed more to sharing advice of my own experiences in the aftermath of sexual abuse and coming forward legally and publicly about the abuse I suffered by a Catholic priest as a child.
Are You A Victim of Clergy Sexual Abuse?
If you are a victim of clergy sexual abuse, help is available. If you need help while reading this, please contact me by email (Attention: Rich) or any of the links provided on this website. DO NOT contact the Catholic Church for help. Crimes should be reported to legal authorities and not to the persons and/or organizations that committed the criminal offenses to begin with. If you are depressed and considering suicide, PLEASE contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (800)273-TALK You deserve to be happy and lead a fulfilling life. Abuse doesn’t have to be the defining characteristic of your life! I’ve provided some resources on this website that have helped me throughout my journey. Bob Hoatson, former Catholic priest, is a good outlet and can be contacted through his email and cell number provided in “Links & Contact Information.” Bob Hoatson is a victim, a supporter, and an advocate, and is willing to take your calls and emails. If it helps knowing – I TRUST BOB HOATSON!
You need not be afraid anymore. Some of the toughest guys I’ve ever met were sexually abused as children. We were all defenseless and innocent children, unknowledgeable about how the world works, trusting and respectful of Catholic priests, but we were manipulated into believing that the abuse was our fault, and sometimes we were even convinced by our perpetrators that God wanted this to happen. A child abuser will identify and engage his victim. He’ll gain the child’s trust, break down his defenses, and manipulate him into performing or permitting the desired sexual act. If necessary, the child abuser will gain access to the child by employing the same techniques with the child’s parents or caretakers. This process is called grooming. Every victim I’ve ever met, myself included, who was abused as a child was groomed before the actual sex acts took place. Successful child abusers find and fill voids in a child’s life. Maybe you had an alcoholic parent or a single parent, or maybe you were isolated by your peers, or bullied at school? Whatever the case, child abusers are experts in psychological manipulation and will use this knowledge to gain the trust and access to the child.
Maybe you were threatened leading up to the abuse or keeping the abuse secret. In my own case, while being bullied in school, the priest who abused me gained my trust by providing protection from bullies. Because of the psychological disposition of a mentally inadequate child, I thought the abuse was OK because he cared about me. When I wanted the abuse to end, and after begging him to stop, or threatening to tell my Mom or someone else, he physically hurt me. He told me that no one would believe me and everyone in my family would be disappointed in me. He threatened to hurt me worse if I ever told anyone about the abuse. Secrecy has company in Threats!
Just over two years ago, I started seeing a therapist to deal with the traumatic effects of sexual abuse. I’ve dealt with depression, shame, humiliation, confusion, guilt, and the list goes on-and-on. My family was angry with me for coming forward and some have even turned their backs to me. I’ve also been diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Panic Disorder. I’ve suffered from uncontrollable and horrible nightmares, flashbacks, and night terrors.
The good news is that somewhere in all of this mess, I am surviving. I am giving myself the chance to be happy and to believe that my life is worth so much more than allowing evil people to destroy me. I’m starting to believe in myself more everyday, and I’m getting a glimpse at that little light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are a victim, I want you to hang on and start believing in yourself. The abuse was not your fault and you did nothing wrong. You were just a kid and you deserved better. Please get help today and start your journey toward healing. People will support you and people do care about you. I care about you!
If You Are A Supporter?
Thank you for supporting us and believing in us. Without the dedication of good people, not directly or indirectly effected by sexual abuse, I may not be writing this blog today. The combination of caring people and my fellow victims has taken me from hell… and back. I hope you keep a commitment that protecting children from the experiences of my life, and those of other victims, is the most important priority of this website. I appreciate your allegiance, your honor, and your support! I think we can all do a little part to change the world by standing up to evil and promoting truth, transparency, and justice.
Children are all too often the silent victims of sexual abuse.