An Invitation for Survivors
When I began writing this blog in 2019, I didn’t personally know anyone who had experienced sexual abuse in the Catholic Church (or at least, no one I knew had ever shared their story with me). My understanding was purely theoretical, formed from reading and listening to many survivors’ stories. Now, through the grace of God, some of my closest friends - and the people I admire most in the world - are survivors. Their strength and courage and faith has changed my heart in ways I never could have imagined.
I have also come to understand that, for many people who have experienced sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, one of the hardest parts is feeling alone. There is so much I cannot help with, so many problems I cannot solve, but I believe that this is one place that I may be able to make difference, by connecting survivors to one another and creating a space for mutual support.
I have been speaking with a small group of survivors who are interested in having a monthly conversation on Zoom, and we’re going to be launching this soon. We’re planning to have two groups, one meeting in the evening and one during the daytime, beginning next week. These groups will be for both men and women, people abused as children or adults, by any Catholic leader. I don’t have a clear structure in mind, only the desire to create a safe, supportive environment for conversation and community. I’m hoping we can figure the details out together, based on the needs of those who attend.
Many of the survivors participating are readers of In Spirit and Truth who reached out to me at some point - in response to a blog post or just to say hello. I am grateful for each person I have connected with behind the scenes of this blog. I also recognize that there are probably other survivors reading along who have never reached out individually. If that’s you and you prefer to remain anonymous, I completely understand; I will continue to hope that something I write or share might be meaningful to you. I’m glad you’re here, even if I don’t know your name.
If you do want to connect, I would be happy to chat, via email or phone or Zoom. You can contact me through a message to the In Spirit and Truth Facebook page, or at my personal email, email@example.com. I’m not an expert of any kind, but I am a good listener, which seems to count for something. And if you think you might be interested in connecting with other survivors in a Zoom gathering, please let me know and I can tell you more. Either way, I would be grateful to hear from you.
Please know this: I believe you. You are not alone.