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#440560 - 07/10/13 11:45 AM Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese
KMCINVA Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Today I took another step in healing. I have been carrying a note card in my wallet since November 5, 2012. I received it from the priest who said my Momís funeral at the cemetery. This priest was instrumental in my making it through the funeral, he was compassionate and understanding of my emotional state from my Momís passing and having to re-enter the church where the abuse took place.

I had looked at this note card many times and thought what should I do? Or could I do it. It contained the name of the person responsible for the Office of Safe Environment for the Diocese of Bridgeport. Several weeks ago I called and had a very generic discussion and provided sufficient detail but not my name. I had the impression they knew one day I would call because of the comments they made related to the priest who has been so supportive. Also at that time I contacted a law firm who has represented victims against the diocese. That discussion was extremely helpful and gave insight into my potential options. But with his advanced age I do not expect much. Today I called back the Office of Safe Environment at the Diocese and we had an hour discussion. They were understanding, did not push for information and were compassionate in understanding the lost time, fugues, and dissociation which we discussed for some time. They talked of the realities of what victims face and my lost time is not all that rare for children who suffer from CSA at the hand of an adult. She spoke of the impacts of trauma on the mind and the need to reprogram how we react to stressful situations because as a child we develop a pattern for surviving traumaósome use alcohol, drugs, suicide, re-enact the abuse, dissociative methods and other ways to numb the pain. She said something interesting the mind has been hijacked by the abuse and the trauma of the abuse and needs to be reprogrammed.

She also saw my dissociation and fugues as both crisis and opportunity. It seems I have moved from needing love of the abuse to seeking safety. So for me, I see the crisis is a way for me to heal.

She extended herself and offered any assistance I would need for counseling. She gave me the coordinator for the diocese in the area I live for additional support. We left exchanging cell numbers and some of my personal information including my name. She acknowledged that the abuse was real. This was monumental for me--because I thought the church was in total denial.

It was an emotional call with tears but one with an outcome I did not expect. I felt a level of trust despite my overall disdain toward the church. I believe we left with an open dialogue. I also feel better having talked directly of what happened to the organization that I so long despised. It was a respite from an evening the night before of being told I gay because I appear to have re-enacted the abuse over and over when in dissociative states, but today I have been told in my dissociative states I was looking for the love that I was told came from abuse only because I lacked love in my life. I have heard this from my therapist and doctors. I was subject to some pretty inhumane acts in the home and the professionals all say these are stressors and can trigger the episodes. Today I was asked for examples, she said those are not normal and sane acts and could trigger the episodes. This call confirmed what I was learning about myself in therapy and support and all I want in life is the love of a supportive woman and not the love priest told me I could only find from the acts he performed and made me performed. So it gives me a goal in life to find that happiness. I was amazed with how open I was with this stranger, but she is trained in trauma and knew what to ask and how or how not to respond.

I will be cautious as I move forward. I actually have a woman who has been in contact with me since we reconnected at my college reunion a few weeks ago. I will move slowly in any relationship. But this hope and opportunity to have a life I deserve makes me excited. I will also be open and honest about the abuse, the dissociation, therapy, support groups and roller coaster of my healing journey.

Now I have more decisions, how far do I pursue filing a complaint? I will be contacting the priest who stood by me at my Momís funeral and offered to be there with me if I pursued it through the church. I have some direction from the lawyers. I know I need to be strong enough to face scrutiny and being made to feel like the victim. I can only make the decision when it is right. But I feel at peace having talked openly with the Diocese, and not anonymously, about the abuse, it took a burden off my heart. It also reaffirms who I am and what I want in life.

For now, I will take some time to digest and decide how I move forward. I guess there is truly hope for all victims but I now understand the importance of finding the right people to be at your side. Unfortunately, having the wrong people can prevent or hamper the healing. Stay strong, seek support, learn who you truly are (you are not who the abuser made you to be)


Edited by KMCINVA (07/10/13 01:40 PM)

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#440563 - 07/10/13 12:31 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3321
Loc: somewhere in Africa
WOW, KMC!

i am in awe of your self-command and composure in taking these steps and writing about it. you seem to be doing really well in this stage of re-claiming control of your life and restoration. please keep us informed as (or if) you pursue these avenues that have opened up for you.

happy for you,
lee
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#440597 - 07/10/13 07:08 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Thank you. I think I am finally beginning to accept I am a survivor and not a victim. I am also learning the power of self. From the day the priest gave me the contact information I knew someday I would need to call. Fear of how I would be treated or made to feel like it was my fault. I was wrong and realize only a few belittle the abuse and impact it had on me. I believe from the first abuse I was taught to fear telling because I would be taken away. This fear controlled me. Somehow I knew I had to free myself. Telling the diocese that one of their own ruined a life gave me a sense of freedom. They have enough information to know who is and confront him.

We all need to be free. The abuser takes our freedom and "hijacks" who we are meant to be. I thank everyone here for their support because it gave me the strength to dial the phone and confront the past once again.

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#440731 - 07/12/13 03:30 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Today I continued on this journey of healing. I am in my hometown, visiting for a few days, and met with the priest who helped with my Mom's funeral and took me to the place of abuse. We talked extensively today. I also spoke with the diocese. It was helpful and they seem to be extending a helping hand in how to proceed. As I previously mentioned I had discussions with a law firm who has handled many cases against the Diocese. The discussion dealt with options for the three of us who experienced the abuse. Identities are not discussed, only referred to as Victim 1, etc. But we spoke and we each shared our story, history and how are lives have been lived. Being a small town we all probably have a sense of each others identity. But that is not important, I only hope they heal and can have a life they deserve. In Ct we are up against the statute of limitations unless perp is convicted of a Class A felony. The law firm has a cache of victims they have spoken with over the years and will review for common perpetrator who may not yet be out of the statute of limitations. The best and possibly only option would be if sufficient information is obtained and private settlements with non disclosure could be reached. The law firm was clear once we begin any action it will be a difficult journey because of the age of the case, law and the attacks that may come from the church and these can be emotionally and physically debilitating. Because of this many decide not to pursue. But it is early and I am not sure how far I want to go and for the other two, their lives have had more challenges than mine. So a hesitancy exists for all parties. It is an uphill battle but the legislature is trying to change the statute of limitations but it has been held up in committee.

However, in today's discussions with the priest and diocese they asked some poignant questions about the abuser and his career, not questions they expected a response because I did not have an answer to many. Clearly, from my age and the time frame I provided they have a very good idea of the priest's name. Neither asked for his name, they said it was my decision and only when I was ready (when I give his name I know it will confirm what they already know--they have access to the internal church records). They asked if I knew his parish assignments and duration of time at each assignment including my parish (which I have a sense--not all too long). So it gives me thought to explore this path and maybe find someone who falls under the magic age of 48 or can corroborate a continued history of abuse throughout his career. I am quite amazed on how compassionate the church has been. I hope it is not a false sense of security.

I am scared but also feel in control because it is I who can now decide on how I want to move forward and live and not him--his control over me is waning rapidly. If I decide to pursue I will do it with fervor and if I do not I will be resolved that it is the right decision for me. I never expected to be at this point of healing but I know I still face challenges and potential set backs. But to feel in control of myself is a feeling that eluded me forever until now.


Edited by KMCINVA (07/12/13 04:20 PM)

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#441646 - 07/21/13 09:52 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Lee

I forgot, I had an interesting discussion this week. I mentioned I was surprised on the support from the diocese and I do not know if I mentioned they gave me a contact in my current diocese (I should say the diocese I live in because I no longer go to church). But that aside, I was told to speak with this person and some sort of support could be worked out. It seems,this is common when it is suspected the abuse did occur by the diocese. I am sure they did their own review of parish records and figured out the priest. Seeing I have come across two other victims in the parish there is probably many others and possibly several have reported the abuse. I was told by people actively involved in SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests) that each diocese has records and can easily figure out the validity of abuse but they also know the law and statutes of limitations and other laws. But I was told many dioceses will do private settlements as the law firm indicated was a possibility by SNAP. But the diocese always tries to avoid this by offering assistance to the victim. I will be contacting the local diocese to see what they have to say and what support they will provide.

It just gives me some sense of validity that institutions realize the wrongs but I take some solace of the offer of help--so maybe their heart is in on place and their pocketbook in another.


Edited by KMCINVA (07/21/13 10:12 PM)

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#441653 - 07/21/13 10:08 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3088
Loc: O Kanada

you deserve a medal for the way you are dealing with the diocese and the death of your mother simultaneously, meanwhile facing your past and maintaining your courage and composure while moving through the complicated complaint process, getting results while running the risk of rejection or possible confrontation, conflict, and hopefully closure.

this is extreme.
you are really putting yourself out there!


please keep me updated.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#441660 - 07/21/13 10:55 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: victor-victim]
KMCINVA Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Thank you for your words of encouragement. Support is so helpful in the journey of healing. I continue to explore options but what my final course of action--I do not know. I will go to the point that I am comfortable and feel safe. But the steps I have taken have given me a sense of well being, knowing I am taking control and realizing the institution realizes the damage it has done to a child and one's life restores some faith in human kind. I am cautious and do not want to believe I am healed, because I have things that still need to be uncovered.

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#441681 - 07/22/13 12:33 AM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3088
Loc: O Kanada
Originally Posted By: KMCINVA
the steps I have taken have given me a sense of well being, knowing I am taking control


this is the most important thing.

they are positive steps.

your actions may help the church prevent future abuse.

disclosure and exposure may bring you closure.

even if it does not bring the perpetrator to justice,
a formal investigation might bring other victims to therapy.

my heart goes with you.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#441715 - 07/22/13 08:07 AM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
bodyguard8367 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""
""


Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 05:41 PM)

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#441720 - 07/22/13 08:54 AM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Thank you for the kind words. I am at a point where I feel comfortable and secure in myself. I can feel happiness, and ithis feeling has exuded me for so long. I am beginning a new chapter in my life away from people who were triggers through tantalizing and hurtful actions that made me feel like the trapped boy in the churc cellar. These actions resurrected the memories of the abuse and sent my life into a downward spiral of pain, lost time, confusion, hospitalizations and a loss of self. One piece of the journey to healing for me was to figure out the best way to let the diocese and parish know what they allowed to happen to me and others. They needed to understand it nearly destroyed me and others. To my surprise, they have been supportive and kind. The parish in my time of need, my Mom's passing. The parish and diocese now know what happened to me and their own internal review has most likely given them the answer to who. Now does he know others know? Maybe maybe not and is this so important to me to heal? I do not know if this will bring closure or more angst and heart ache. But I know I am in control of how it is played out but not the outcome-his punishment, financial settlement-except to know it was my decision. Maybe that is the most important element in healing, knowing he is not in control of me.


Edited by KMCINVA (07/22/13 07:08 PM)

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#441758 - 07/22/13 03:21 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Very unexpected. Today I received a call and an email from the diocese. I was unable to take the call and the voice message was comforting--checking in to see how I was doing and if I had decided on seeking support. I spoke with them almost two weeks ago and was surprised with a follow up call. I have a SNAP meeting on Wednesday and want to vet these developments and to gather some insight on my current diocese and the contact person I was given from my diocese in CT. The message seemed sincere and concerned. They also reiterated I was doing the right things.

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#441764 - 07/22/13 04:25 PM ! [Re: KMCINVA]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
!


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (02/28/14 09:05 PM)

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#442533 - 07/29/13 03:19 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
I don't want to rain on all the positive things that are happening to you but I also was in the same spot you are in 11 years ago and felt nothing but positive things coming from the Archdiocese of St Paul. It ended up that they helped me for a few years but ended up revictimizeing me again. They cut off all help when I needed my Therapist the most. I am not saying this will happen to you I just want to let you know, just because they help doesn't mean they have your best intest in mind.

Number 1 thing I can tell you is take thier offer of help for professional therapy but do not , DO NOT use their people. Find your own Therapist and let them pay for it. Many times the person they ask you to use is working for the CHURCH. That person is not working for you. The most important thing is that the T works for you and no one else. You have a right to pick tour own Therapist, no matter what they say.

Many times the church is being all open and supportive only to find out what information you have, don't trust them too much.

I think many states are taken a new look at changing the SoL to give victims more time to bring criminal and civil cases Againest thier perps. In Minnesota we change the laws this year , so that all new cases of Child Sexual Abuse the victim has a unlimited SoL and old cases like my has 3 years to bring a case forward. Hopefully things will change in your state soon.

If you ever want to talk with me about my 11 year of dealing with the Church here in Minnesota , or have questions about your case send me a PM.
Best of Luck

Tom
_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#442550 - 07/29/13 06:59 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Tom

Thank you. I have sent you a PM. I understand the impact pushing forward csn have on me and I am weighing these factors. The dioces knows the timeline and I am sure they know who it is. Their offer to provide support came after they were able to connect the dots. It makes me wonder how much do they know and have on the perp. It is the Diocese of Bridgeport. Notorious for destroying records (Long time Bishop Curtis admitted to this saying moving priest around was the way it was done and thought they could be cured).

I do not know how far I will go but even telling the parish and diocese has been therapeutic for me.

I looking forward to hearing from you.

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#443516 - 08/06/13 01:28 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Just an update. I have made initial contact with the local diocese in Virginia to which I was referred to by my home diocese in CT. The local diocese was very open and compassionate in our discussion. I did not feel like a victim but rather safe. It is odd because there are many people who I have known quite well and I do not feel safe with them. I am extremely surprised on how the two dioceses have handled the discussions. I hope it continues in this tone. The options need to be discussed between the two dioceses' which will most likely slow the process. But if what I have been told actually happens it should be somewhat seamless. I will only know as I progress.

Like Tom had mentioned the experience can change. I just hope it is not a false sense of security they are creating. I know their disclosures will be limited because laws can change. There is currently a pending bill in Committee in the CT. State legislature to eliminate the SOL, but it is the third time it has been brought up--so I am not optimistic it will get anywhere. But in time, the laws may change and the dioceses' want to protect themselves. In my heart, I know they know who he is and their offers must be based on this knowledge. I just wonder how deep of trail this man left and how many lives he destroyed. I probably will never know. I do hope others are seeking help and it seems he is not in active duty-retired and living outside the parish in his own house.

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#443546 - 08/06/13 05:14 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
I forgot to mention. In my conversations I was asked if I would meet with thevBishop one on one. I was told he wanted to apologize for what happened to me by someone in the church and to ask for my forgiveness. I became emotional and even when writing it I am tearing. I have so many emotions at this request, anger at what the church allowed to happen, hurt, a sense of loss of my life but also validation of what happened and to hear the institution apologize for the wrong I and others lived is humbling but is it enough? I am mad because I believe they know more about the perp than I will never know and they know I am just another of his victims. Can I forgive the church, I do not know, can I forgive the priest, I do not know? I do not know what I would do or say to the bishop if we met I am mad at the bishop during my time who years later admitted destroying records and saw nothing wrong in moving priest around when abuse occurred. I have lost my faith. Even with the mixed emotions part of me tells me to go. I am not ready for that meeting. One day I will but not today. This probably reads like a rambling mind. Thanks for listening

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#443548 - 08/06/13 05:44 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3088
Loc: O Kanada
my first reaction was... good.
at least it appears they are taking this seriously.
or perhaps they only wish to make that appearance.

my second reaction was... your feelings.
you own this.
you can control where this goes.
you can set the limits and conditions.
it could be an opportunity for closure.
i would contemplate the consequences before committing to action.

hope this helps.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#443581 - 08/06/13 11:40 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: victor-victim]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Victor

Thank you for your thoughts. I had a support group meeting and we discussed what has been happening with me. Most seem to agree with you, I am now in control of how this moves forward. They also commented that the actions of the diocese show they know more than they can say about the abuser and from their moral fiber they need to help in the healing without full admittance of what was done. If the abuser did not have a history they said they would not be standing up to help. We talked about how this helps to validate the truth of the abuse and gives me a sense of well being against all the naysayers who strive to discredit the abuse and the damaging effects the csa had on my life and their own culpability to triggering the past. But that is history to me, but it helps me to have this validation.

So what will I do--I will move at a slow pace, meet with the local diocese jointly with my childhood diocese to arrange the support. I will defer on meeting the bishop until I feel comfortable but when I do I will be diplomatic and let him know the destruction the church had on my life and maybe his words will help to bring closure to this sad part of my history. Will I return to the church I do not know but the compassion I have experienced from the parish priest to the two diocese may be a sign that the schism can be healed. But this is down the road.

Thank you, I read your post before the meeting and I knew you were right--I own it. I just needed to talk about it with the group. I hope you understand. Thank you and you have been a great supporter with sound thoughts and insights.

Kevin

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#443789 - 08/08/13 10:31 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: victor-victim]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
I have decided to move forward and a meeting with the Arlington Diocese and my childhood diocese, Diocese of Bridgeport via conference is being arranged, hopefully it will take place in the next week or two. I am hopeful it will be a step to bring some closure to this sad chapter in my life and allow me to put it in a place that does not control me. I will be the one who controls the abuse and the abuser. I discussed this with my T today and I told him the importance is to let the church know I was one of the children who suffered and the memories and effects of the days in the cellar and rectory will be with me until I die, I will never be totally free. But no longer will the abuse or abuser control me. Any financial support is incidental because money does not heal, it is confronting the past and the institution that wreaked havoc on my entire life that will allow me to heal and bring a sense of closure. I can begin to live.

I have fears of the meeting, how will I be treated and I am hopeful it will be like my past experiences with them, but fear this is a new stage. I have talked with the attorney's to ensure I protect my rights and not to waiver rights if the statutes of limitations ever changes. I am trying to protect myself and not take on too much. I am also realistic to know there will not be a direct admission of what happened but for me any acknowledgement, be it healing support or financial support for healing will let me know they know what really happened in the cellar and rectory effected a child for eternity.

I have so many emotions, I cry thinking of the day to be free of what happened--his creepy hands, his body on mine, the objects that entered me as well as his body parts, what I had to do to him, the other boys and what we had to do to each other so we could leave,the fears of being taken away from my Mom and Dad if I told, my brother Brian--was he hurt by the bastard because I said I did not want it anymore and of my silence--I will never know because he lived a difficult life and left us so young. But I must move forward--I do not want to live a dissociated life anymore. I want to be in the here and now--

This is my hope from these meetings and the future meeting with the new Bishop, at their request, to hear his generic I am sorry and to ask for my forgiveness--but that latter may not happen. But it will be my decision. No longer will he control, I will control what happens.

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#445499 - 08/26/13 12:35 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
I want to thank those who replied and for the PM's. Your thoughts and insights have been helpful. I have continued along this path and sometime this week a meeting with the two dioceses should be finalized. I am ready to speak face to face and see their reactions. The conversations on the telephone have been positive and encouraging and I am hopefully our face to face meeting is of the same tone. For me, it is about validation and not money.

I am going in with an open mind and believe their offers of healing assistance will be there. For me, to offer help is an acknowledgement and validation of what I have experienced and suffered for a lifetime. I understand their limitations on what they can say, I accept and the offer of help is the most important element for me. It will help to bring closure to the domination the CSA had on my life. I also believe it will allow me to enter a new phase in life of finding happiness and peace.

I will let you know if the meeting(s) bring me the peace I seek.

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#445513 - 08/26/13 05:23 PM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Well the meeting has been scheduled for this Wednesday. It happened quicker than I expected. I think I am ready for the face to face. When I started healing I never thought I would be speaking to the institution, the church, responsible for allowing this to happen to me. This part of the healing all began when my mom passed and I was forced to meet the priest at the church where the abuse occurred. This happened 10 months ago to the day of setting up this meeting. Somehow my mom's passing helped to bring the people and me to this stage of healing. I believe she will be there on Wednesday to bring me the peace she would like me to have.


Edited by KMCINVA (08/26/13 05:33 PM)

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#459991 - 02/02/14 10:15 AM Re: Another Step In Healing Talked With Diocese [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1558
Just an update. I am amazed I am still in contact with the Diocese about my recovery. Last night via email I received renewed words of encouragement from the diocese. They re - extended the offer to meet with Bishop. I believe they have a genuine concern for my healing. It touched me to know even the institution has a heart. I guess they have witnessed many lives lost due to the decades of sexual abuse within the church. One day I may do the formal grievance but not yet ready. The church knows and today and police know. No legal recourse only institution recourse seems not to add any more validation than I have received.

I am grateful they extended their hearts. And today I will be with people who have supported me on healing in a festive environment Super Bowl. It is always nice to have affirmation and acceptance of what I lived and how I struggled - it gives hope.

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