Questions for Jessica?
Thank you to everyone who has been reading and sharing Jessica’s Story, which has quickly become the most-read part of this blog. I know that her experiences are difficult to take in, but both Jessica and I trust that God will work through her story—perhaps in ways we will never know.
As I mentioned at the end of Part 3, we would like to wrap up this series with a question and answer post. This an opportunity for you to ask Jessica about anything you have read in the series or pose other questions about her thoughts, feelings, and perspective. Jessica is ready to give answers to any sincere questions, and our hope is to allow this final piece to feel like a real dialogue.
In my opinion, one of the reasons it has been so difficult for our Church to adequately confront the issue of sexual abuse is that it is far too easy to see survivors as “other,” rather than as real people, just like me and you. By telling Jessica’s story in such detail and giving her the space to truly share her heart with all of you, I hope to help break down some of those barriers and give a window into the experience of one person who is walking this path today.
Your questions are also an opportunity for Jessica to hear from you—for her to know that people really are listening and really do care about her. While there are obvious limitations to meeting online rather than in person, I do hope that we can all become less like anonymous figures behind our screens and more like a real community.
So, please send questions by Tuesday, September 3, and we’ll do our best to get this final post up soon!
One final note:
Please remember that Jessica’s story is not the only story. There are many, many more survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church: men and women, young and old, those who remain in the Church and those who have been driven away by their abuse. We must also keep in mind the many victims who did not survive this devastating trauma, those who were eventually taken by addiction, suicide, and other tragedies.
I hope you will listen to all victims’ stories with the same openness that you have offered in listening to Jessica’s.
I know it hurts. Believe me, I know.
But in each of these precious brothers and sisters, we have the opportunity to see the face of God. And that is truly a gift.
Lord, give us the courage to seek your face, especially in the places we least expect it.