Mission Statement

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.

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14 responses to “Mission Statement

  • Pseusiamica

    How do I put conditioner in my hair before I swim and still keep my swim cap on?I had an asthma attack at swim practice and I’m afraid to go back. Should I go or wait until I start meds?

  • Shannon McCarthy

    Very, very powerful. Thanks for sharing this with everyone. I think ever priest, sister, and Catholic should read this story. I’m so sorry for all the problems you have had and I am glad you are surviving. I hope your future gets brighter as well.

    Maybe alot of people can’t see it yet, but what you’re doing here with this site should make it’s way throughout the world. You seem to put yourself out there for other people and I think you should be commended for trying to help other people who were abused and trying to protect children today from being abused. For whatever it’s worth, I think you’re doing a great thing and if there’s anything I can ever do to help all you have to do is ask. I sent you an email earlier. I’ve been reading everything on this website in the last 2 days and my husband has also read a few things. We aren’t victims of abuse but we completely support you Rich and we hope you are successful in protecting our kids. Thank you so much! God will never forget about you.

  • Chanda

    Greetings I discovered your website by mistake when i was searching Msn for this subject, I have to point out your site is quite useful I also really like the design, it is wonderful!

  • April

    Thank you for providing this site. This is a cause very near and dear to my heart. My nephew committed suicide because of the shame and hell of being sexually abused by a Catholic school teacher. I support all of you that were abused and I hope one day that you can heal and live good lives.

    • victims4justice

      Hi April,
      Thank you for visiting our site. Your comments are greatly appreciated. I am sorry to hear about your nephew. I have heard similar instances of losing loved ones this way. We have been talking about some sort of tribute to folks like your nephew. Please stay in touch, as we would hope to include him in it someway.
      We know that there are other victims out there today suffering in relative silence, as well as children who may be in harm’s way as we speak.
      Jack

  • Jack

    I don’t understand why you just don’t call the cops and go after the bastards? If you were abused as a child that’s a crime and if you go to the police I’m sure they would arrest the man.

    • victims4justice

      Jack,

      All but a few states in the US have Statute of Limitation laws. Unfortunately, because it takes victims so lont to come forward about the abuse, because of shame, guilt, humiliation and so on, many of us victims come forward after the SOL has expired. We need to change how the Church deals with its own abusing children, but we also need to change the laws in our states to give victims the freedom of charging their abusers criminally and civilly. In the Pennsylvania, where I was abused, the SOL for criminal and civil suits is 12 years after the victims turns 18. Essentially, the victim must come forward by the age of 30, and this is completely unreasonable, since statistics show that it will take victims 20, 30, 40 years or even longer to come forward about the abuse.
      Please hang around and help us defeat those who abuse children and then cover it up, and help us change the laws and abolish the Statute of Limitations on child abuse. Let’s protect the next generation!

  • Eric

    I commend you for outting your that priest who abused you Rich. I wish i had that kind of strength but i come from a really catholic family and theres no way anybody in my family is gonna believe that 2 priests abused me when i was in 7th and 8th grade. It bothers me alot but i’ve always just tried to forget about it and get on with my life. Its hard though cause people just dont understand why this hurts me so much and like you i have nightmares and i dunno if you could call them panick attacks but sometimes i get like flashback and then i start to breath heavy and i sweat alot. is that like a panick attack i dunno?

    Anyways I’m glad i found this site and i’m glad there are people out there like you who wanna protect kids and try and make it easier for people like me. i will post more when i get the strength.

    • victims4justice

      Eric,

      Please feel free to contact me via email Victims4JusticeNow@yahoo.com
      I also provided many supportive links in the “Links and Contact Info” category at the top of this page. If you are unwilling to talk with anyone in those outlets, I’d be more than happy to discuss this with you.

      YOU DESERVED better as a child. You did NOTHING wrong. The fault lies on your perpetrators! Adults have choices, kids don’t! Remember that and please take care of yourself. Write anything you want here. I created this site for you and others struggling to deal with being abused.

      Peace out!
      Rich

    • victims4justice

      Hi Eric,
      You deserve tremendous credit for posting your comments. I am also from a very catholic family. I know that I will feel some heat at some point in the future. I had to overcome the reluctance to get involved, and I do not regret it. Rich is a great guy, and one of the reasons that he created this site was to assist people who are considering coming forward. We will look forward with great interest to your next post. We are here for you.
      Jack

    • Rick Gee

      Eric,
      the hardest thing in the world for us victims is to make the decision to come forward or to just speak the truth. The truth is sometimes we have to find an in between; not quite coming forward and not quite telling “all”, in order to begin the internal process of working on; and working out, the craziness that being a victim of sexual abuse embodies. Rich said that he trusted Robert Hoatson. I trust Robert (Bob) Hoatson as well. The funny thing is Rich and I don’t know each other… don’t know each others histories… didn’t know that Bob was the “friend” of each of us. My suggestion is to just give him a call. Talk about the weather, politics… whatever you want. It is amazing once the thought settles that someone is available for your words, emotions, memories etc. for absolutely no other purpose than being there. Bob, is such a person… call him an vent, call him and be silent on the phone… but please just reach out. I promise the community of victims… SURVIVORS… is a band of people that are genuine, committed and sincere. Please, give Bob Hoatson a call. His cell no. is 862-368-2800. No pressure. Just me reaching out to you but please reach back. Blessings. Rick Gee

  • victims4justice

    Jamie,

    Thank you for your kind words. I will look for your book online.
    You’re right, as victims, I also believe it our responisbility and duty to speak out, speak up and do our part to protect future children from sexual abuse. More so, we need organizations such as the Catholic Church to stop covering up these crimes, silencing victims, and hurting children. We need parishioners to demand accountability and truth from their own Catholic leaders. I don’t want someone to eventually become involved in speaking out when it happens to their own children, because I don’t want anymore victims. No child deserves to live my life.
    Thankfully, it seems we have both gotten some much needed help by supportive people, who were always genuine and wanted us to get better. For myself, I have been lucky to be surrounded by a large network of friends, a therapist, and supporters who all helped point me in the right direction toward healing.
    I hope this website invites victims to comment and feel safe to speak about anything they’ve experienced because of abuse. I hope they can start on that journey toward healing and living a fulfilling life. My goal is a dedication of support for my fellow victims abused in the past, and an ongoing dedication to prevent future innocents from becoming victims.
    Thank you for your post and I also look forward to discussing ways we can help support each other and change how institutions and legislators deal with these horrible crimes.
    Peace out!
    Rich

  • Jaime Romo

    Congratulations on your own healing work and intention to support others. I can appreciate the difficult journey through recover, PTSD, and re-defining family and purpose. I am in a much freer place now than 4 years ago, when I felt hopeless and most lost in the impact of clergy abuse. I think survivors have a critical role in transforming society and ending abuse, although I believe it’s an inside out process.

    I have written “Healing the Sexually Abused Heart: A Workbook for Survivors, Thrivers, and Supporters,” which deals specifically with religious authority sexual abuse. It is now being published in Spanish. I look forward to working with you and al who wish to promote healing and end abuse. Peace, Jaime

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