As a result of 10 years of interactions with, and the
"assistance" of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I came away believing I was lucky.
I had dodged a bullet.
Yes, I had spent significant amounts of time -- often alone
-- with a priest who abused several other altar boys.
But he hadn't done anything to me.
Or so I thought.
Then, over the past few years, I have come to understand that I
wasn't actually lucky.
I just couldn't remember what happened to
In truth, I was sexually exploited, abused, and ultimately
raped by a priest over the course of four years.
So was I -- and am I -- truly lucky?
Hell yes, I'm lucky.
I'm still alive.
I've battled Cancer, Diabetes, and the Catholic Church and
I'm still here.
I learned about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and came
to understand at an early age that that voice in your head --
the one who says stupid and sometimes terrible things -- is
And you can learn to ignore it.
Which makes it speak up less often.
I have four amazing kids and they have an amazing mom and
family who have stepped up and in to help.
I have an amazing and supportive family. While they
didn't always understand what was going on or what to do,
I have great friends. Even though I have a hard time reaching
out to them, I still feel connected to them and know they're
there for me.
While for years I felt intense shame, I'm lucky enough to be
able to just decide to stop feeling shame about something that I
didn't understand, much less remember. Many survivors are not so
While for much of the year I feel like I'm dead -- I can
see my family but not interact with them -- I'm not actually
dead. I can call my kids up and talk to them and
take them out to dinner and be there for them. Which is more
than many people can say.
Finally, while you'd think this experience would destroy my
faith -- and it did when I was younger -- I've actually come to
better understand the example, message, and purpose of Jesus
And to see it in the example -- and courage -- of great men
like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson.
To understand what courage really means and to be able to
follow the examples of Jesus Christ, Dr. King, Jackie Robinson,
and others and do what needs doing in order to ensure that
children are safe.