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#77360 - 10/01/04 04:23 AM Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
My grandfather a devout Catholic and an asshole introduced me to Catholicism. He showed me the rosary and how to pray to the Virgin Mary. Then he went and had sex with my sister.

As an adult I have often spent time praying the Church but have never been a full-on Catholic. I was talking about this with a local Catholic lay leader and he reminded me that I wasn't really Catholic because I hadn't experienced all of the the Sacrements yet and shouldn't take communion because "I was trying to have my cake and eat it too" without embracing their beliefs 100%.

I wanted to beat the fuck out of him. He knows my story. I've suffered enough from my "Catholic" grandfather. I don't think I need to embrace a Church that let thousands of kids be abused before trying to stop it.

The Church was not there for me when I needed it so I don't know why I should obey it.

Sean Simms

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77361 - 10/01/04 10:47 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Ivo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 267
Loc: Germany
Dear Sean,
you are in very difficult situation.
It is the most important issue what is in your heart and not public display of devotion.
Act of taking communion is very, spiritually speaking, profound. It shouldn't be taken if you are not feeling prepared.
Catholic church has real strong codex what should be done in terms of order of sacraments.
But if you put all on scale God will always accept your decision if you made it with clear conscience.
Remember the story from Bible when king David ate bread from the Temple and was accused for sacrilege.
I am sorry I do not know any answer in relation to children abuse and church, maybe you should talk with some priest that is "open" enough to speak about.
Whatever you decide you should feel equal to all other members of a church, here I am thinking from Pope down right to you.
We are also all equal in front of God and his universal love, here I do not think only on Catholics but also on all other people no matter what is their religious assignment.

Ivo


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#77362 - 10/01/04 06:38 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Dan88 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
I'm afraid I have no answer for why you should involve yourself with a church.

I was abused by a minister, (not a priest). I haven't gotten heavily involved in organized religion since. I don't believe I will either. Which doesn't mean I have no relationship with God. I can also understand why people join churches.

But unfortunately, I view most of them as just hiding places for bigots of one kind or another. Just another way for people to set themselves apart from people they want to view as inferior.

Since I've seen both first-hand and through stories of other survivors how easily corrupted they are, it's hard to find any reason to put a church between me and God.

It's just not for me.


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#77363 - 10/01/04 07:01 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Sean,

I am really sorry about your dilemma, in my country you can have communion on days of reconcilliation.

My religion as a catholic is pretty strong in me, even if I don't go to church so much, no doubt as you say about your grandfather, why would he think himself a catholic or christian, but his twisted mind let him believe it.

You have so much a right to be able to participate in your religion, you are probably a lot better in mind and soul than most of the congregation, but God will still embrace you.

My religion was the cornerstone of getting through any of this, used to be in church so many times a week, sometimes 3 times a day on Sunday, it kept me from going insane all them years ago.

I am so sad at what the catholic church has been blighted with, but most priests are truly men of the cloth, or so I believe.

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#77364 - 10/01/04 07:28 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Printer57 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 22
Loc: anytown, USA
Sean,
I am a Catholic Deacon who was abused as a child but not by a clergyman, but by a neighbor. I can really appreciate how you feel about the sometimes endless "rules" in the Catholic Church.
Its the church laws that help govern how we do all the things in our lives. That's why there are rules abt. who can/can't get maried in the church. The regs. about who can be a priest/or deacon for that matter and on and on.
Recieving Communion is the greatest sign of unity we have as Catholic people. For us it is when we are most together, being One as Jesus and His father are One.
So, its not just you, or any one else who hasn't first been Baptized, made first confession who cannot rec. Communion, but any other person who does not believe, as the church teaches that the bread and wine are really, and truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ Himself, that cannt rec. Communion. All of our Protestant brothers and Sisters likewise can't rec. Communion (except in the most extreme circumstances and even then there are limitations)
But this isn't about who can and can't rec. Communion, but it is I hope an invitation to you to explore the possiblity of perhaps seeing if being Catholic is what God is calling you to do.
Almost every church in the US has a "RCIA" program (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults)where adults see if becoming catholic is where God has them now.
People meet to discuss all these issues, find out abt. why we do what we do and then, if you sense God is calling you, then to recieve the Intitation sacraments (Baptism and Confession - or Reconcilation as its properly called) and then to be full members of the Catholic Church.
Lastly, the amount of harm caused by those priests who have abused is immeasurable. I know that in my own ministry all the talk of abuse has triggered several devastating emotional episodes.
Please know I'll be praying for you. Thank God the Church is bigger then any of its priests (and deacons too)
Peace,
printer


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#77365 - 10/01/04 10:10 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
I am somewhat irritated about some of the replies I have gotten here and as private messages. I am really mad that some priests and lay people at the Church I go to have placed a higher importance on the Sacraments then on sexual abuse.

I would give up any sacraments to avoid being sexual abused. It's not worth the trade. Baptism, Confession, Communion...are all completly illrelavent when your being raped.

Stop the abuse first and then start the sacraments. I wouldn't mind being Baptised but not by anyone who thinks it's more important then sexual abuse.

Sean Simms

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77366 - 10/01/04 10:29 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
Sean,

I'm guessing from what you've said that you've not gone through confirmation as a child or as an adult throught the RCIA program?

Although I was raised a protestant mutt (Baptist, Pentecostal, among others), I did convert after I got married because I wanted to participate as a family with my children and (now ex) wife. They interestingly enough accepted my baptism as a child in a Baptist church (one requirement is that you must be Baptised) and then went through the RCIA class. I became Catholic about 10 years ago and thought it was the right church for me.

Since then, much has changed, noteably, I've broken the sacrament of marriage by getting divorced. I no longer feel welcome there and have since then found a small church that is basically run by some ex Catholic and Anglican priests.

They do not make any stipulations or requirements on anyone about who can receive communion, for example.

I'd be happy to have some more in-depth discussions with you about the Catholic Church if you'd like, just PM me. If you want to join the Catholic Church, that is great, I'd just suggest you do some investigation and find out what they really believe and stand for.

Not focusing on sexual abuse by priests is one piece of the puzzle Sean. There's much more.....


Peace to you.


Jimmer


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#77367 - 10/01/04 11:06 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Sean,

while it is true that some priests have abused, it is not a common issue among priests.

I have met a lot of priests in my life and also missionaries who give up their lives to become messengers of God, and really are so much so good people.

I don't know what job you do, but imagine you are a burger shop operative, and it came out, that there where abusers among burger shop operatives, then how would you feel?

I know, that it is hard, when I was a kid, I really thought so much about a priest who I thought was so good, but somehow I lost my trust in him for reasons I won't go into here, but most of the men of the cloth are OK, they are not there to abuse kids.

It must be really hard being, say a priest, who has never abused a kid, to be put into the situation where parents think that priests are abusers, because the the vast majority are not.

The truth is that most abuse is carried out not by ministers, but by other people outside the faith, but even one abuse, by anybody is, as you know too much to bear, the kid lives through the abuse no matter what. If the abuser is someone they thought they could trust then so much worse it is for the victim, as they trusted this person to protect them.

I would imagine trust goes straight out of the window, but hey, I was attacked by a nutter who raped me in front of my little brother. I can never get out of the shame and humiliation of what happened that day.

I still live with the shame and disgust of thinking it was my fault, and feeling like a filthy piece of shit, something to be used and abused, I use the word thing, because it is all I ever knew, thingy, oddball, freak, you name it, all the names and many more where there.

Just a piece of meat for the abuser, but then again, at the age it happened to me, I thought it happened all the time, until I saw my friends being the kids they were meant to be, I soon realised that he must have thought I was so sexy to him, and spent my whole life wondering. WHY?

I have to live with it now

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#77368 - 10/02/04 09:59 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
Let's get this straight. Over 1,200 priests have been reported as sexual abusers in the Catholic Chuch. That's about one in ten priests. In the Santa Fe area it was one in three. Imagine how many have never been caught because there victims are to afraid to confront them or maybe have committed suicide because of all the shame they feel? The numbers of abusers could be two or three thousand. The number of victims in the tens of thousands.

What is worse is that the Catholic Church, including the Pope himself, conspired to cover this up. (I know priests in the Santa Fe who have explained how this happened and about the Pope being behind it) So I am very pissed off at anyone who refuses to acknowledge these facts.

Sean

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77369 - 10/02/04 10:08 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
Jimrh,

your mailbox is full. I would like to talk to you more about this topic. Give me a PM,

thanks,
Sean Simms

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77370 - 10/04/04 11:51 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Where do these numbers come from? Are they UK or US stats?

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#77371 - 10/04/04 04:17 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Dan88 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
Of course there are a million sources for statistics. If you want data, Id start with these two places.

One is the John Jay study of abusive priests in the US conducted in 02. Summarized here:
http://www.americancatholic.org/news/clergysexabuse/johnjaycns.asp

The second is Richard Sipes web site, which contains his Sipe report, which provides a good overview of available research.
http://www.richardsipe.com/sipe_report.htm#TOP

I personally think these guys attempted to be fair and accurate given the limits of what was available to them, and both sources acknowledge, quite reasonably, that their numbers are probably low simply because not all victims make complaints. How low? Who knows.


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#77372 - 10/04/04 07:34 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Thanks Dan88.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#77373 - 10/04/04 11:52 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
The stats I gave are from the US and were collected by an organization whose name I forget. They took the information form records of some Catholic organizations and complied them together. They deal with abuse that happened as far back as the 1950's but wasn't reported until recently.

But really, the exact numbers are not that important. What is important is that people realize that it's such a huge problem and deal with it.

Also, I don't want my post to degenerate into a debate about stats. I can feel that coming and I don't care for it.

Sean Simms

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77374 - 10/12/04 12:09 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
The numbers reflect the size of the problem. I do not deny that there is a problem there. But I also am tired of Catholic bashing. Id the rule is to be objective and fair, let's apply it universally.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#77375 - 10/13/04 02:13 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
Don't read these posts if you don't like Catholic bashing. Being Catholic myself I think I have a right to bash the Church authorities.

Sean Simms

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77376 - 10/13/04 07:50 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
I see.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#77377 - 10/15/04 12:06 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
I guess what you don't see Fast Forward is that the church can be sexually abusive and has long tried to cover it up. Who covered up your sexual abuse or complained when you brought it up? Maybe you're upset that the Catholic Church doesn't support you the way it should?

Sean

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77378 - 10/15/04 12:43 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Actually, Sean, it was the Church that helped me survive. I appreciate your point of view. You are entitled to it. I just want to express my appreciation to those in the Catholic Church that do a great job every day.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#77379 - 10/16/04 09:35 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
My abuse was not at all by any church people, but still, it is 'coverd up', and continues to be cover up today. A friend and I report it in March. More then six months later, nothing been done, until we make threats, and two these people lose jobs. Still nothing legal done. I know that we hear much of the church people right now. They are not only ones, and maybe not only ones in 'large' percentage. I am not Catholic, I am a Russian religion called Starovist. I am sure we have had father's who abuse also. But there also are teachers, coaches, parents, neighbors, who do same. I know that there is something more emotional of church abuse, because of the God nature of it. But there also are very very good people of the church, who are treated wrongly now simply because they are of God, or Catholic. It is like 'witch hunt' sometime. Maybe you would feel more comfortable engaging in different religion? I do not know.

andrei


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#77380 - 10/19/04 03:17 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
As I said before, Fast Forward, don't read my posts if you don't like them.

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77381 - 10/19/04 12:14 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Sean - Thank you. I am aware that I have a choice in these matters. I am glad I read them because I did not miss AK's post. Best wishes to you.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#77382 - 10/19/04 08:53 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
estuardo Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 45
Loc: ohio
The underlying issue is not how many priests abused, but how many really knew about their abusive behavior. The far reaching issue is the collusion, and conspiracy behind these heinous acts.

For every abusive priest, there are at least 2-3 others within their circle, or leadership who knew about it and did nothing, or worse, helped cover it up.

I've been involved up close with this scandal, because of my own SA by a priest. The stuff you never get in the news, will make your blood boil!! To me the only thing worse than an abuser, is one who conspired to conceal their abusing!!!

estuardo

_________________________
"I'm entitled to my opinion...even if it's wrong."

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#77383 - 10/22/04 03:05 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
Thanks Estuardo,

You have been very supportive. I am greatful for your PM's and have sent one to you today.

Sean

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77384 - 10/29/04 10:37 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Bernard Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Illinois
Hi Sean,

I am late to this string of messages but I wanted to say that I understand your anger and rage against the Catholic Church. I was also sexually molestated by a Catholic priest, and, despite years of attempting get past my rage and forgive him, I still feel it. Perhaps I will never get past it? It is a huge wound to heal from and I know from personal experience how you feel.

I have been able to recognize that there are "good Catholics", and good priests. I just cannot be around them because it still triggers me to remember my own abuse and that is still more pain than I want to experience if I can avoid it.

Beneath my rage I am sure there is a deep sadness and loss. I hope someday that I can get to those feelings, and even get past them. Meanwhile, I feel as you do, and am not able to feel much compassion for the Catholic Church as a whole or good priests specifically. You and I and many others were violated intimately, sexually and spiritually. Those are three incredibly important core aspects of our lives, and after 40 years I still struggle with intimacy, sexuality and spirituality because of the actions of one priest. It is an outrage that this has happened to so many boys and men. Regardless of all of the good people who are Catholics, it is still an outrage.


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#77385 - 10/31/04 12:47 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
Sean Simms Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 90
Loc: Seattle
Thanks Bernard

Sean

_________________________
"When you are Real you can't be ugly. People who think you are ugly just don't understand."
-the Velveteen Rabbit

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#77386 - 11/08/04 04:56 AM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
bda Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 26
Loc: North Carolina
Sean,

Surely your rage is sacred! It is a crying out in the desert wilderness.

I can speak only to my own journey and the pain and hope I've known along the way. I'm not Catholic. I am the survivor of abuse by a church leader in a United Methodist Church. I felt abandoned by the system and smothered by the silence.

What is unique about the Catholic tragedies around abuse is the level of systemic sin in institutional cover-up. I grieve for those whose hurts are only deepend by this ongoing violence.

I am thankful that silence is being broken in Catholic communities, but regret that the larger religious community seems to have assumed that sexual violence in church is just a Catholic thing. It's happening in all traditions.

I left church for eight or nine years. I explored all kinds of ways of connecting with God during that time -- and I did find God in the midst of my desert wanderings. I also found that I longed for the church, but was way angry and way scared of going back.

So, I clung to the stories. From where I stand, the central image of a God who knows about suffering and death at the hands of a violent alliance between religious and community leaders, the emptiness and darkness of entombment, and then is still audacious enough to find life beyond it, is important for me. It's a survivor story -- and I'm not going to let it be taken from me. Dammit, this is mine and I claim it!

I eventually ended up in seminary and am now a youth minister (an openly gay, survivor of church abuse, ordained Baptist minister in North Carolina...how's that for some irony?). Though my theology is not highly sacramental, I deeply value embodied ritual. The Communion meal has been an integral part of my healing, and I carry it with me each time I participate in that tradition. It draws me into the story of a Christ who was broken and found new life.

Baptism awakens that in me, too. Now as one who stands with and supports folks as they enter in the waters of chaos and come out somehow changed, I think of what it is to walk through healing along side other survivors.

I left my Methodist roots because the hierarchy seemed violent and I needed a more radically egalitarian way of doing church (there's more than one way to be Baptist...my kind don't make it into the news much). It was heart-wrenching to walk away from the church in which I was raised. I can't imagine how much deeper that struggle must feel in Catholic community.

All I can say is that I'll keep you in my prayers, and hope that redmeption is to be found somewhere along the journey. I pray that the metaphors of liberation may someday shine brightly enough to do away with the dark coners of so many church silences and secrets.

In the eleventh chapter of John (generally my least favorite of the many versions of the Jesus story), Jesus learns that one of his best friends has died. He visits the tomb and weeps, then calls on those gathered around to roll away the stone. Jesus calls, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man, bound up and blinded by a veil, stumbles out of the cave. Jesus turns to the others and says, "Unbind him. Let him go."

What strikes me as interesting is that Jesus doesn't do much in the story but call on others to do the work -- to roll away the stone, to make it out of the tomb despite the bindings, and to unbind and set free. That all sounds a little familiar to me. We are Lazarus -- the call is to those gathered to do the unbinding.

And perhaps we're the ones gathered, too. Perhaps the unbinding happens beyond the walls of the church...in the company of those who witness our rise into new life.

In the next chapter, the religious establishment goes after Lazarus and plots to have him killed. Turns out they got scared that this finding new life thing might catch on and they might loose some of their power. Wouldn't that be a shame?

Peace on the journey, Sean.
Brian

_________________________
Unbind him, and let him go.

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#77387 - 11/18/04 06:27 PM Re: Catholics and abuse...rejoining the church (Triggers)
TeeJayUU Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 262
Loc: MidWest
Sean,

I was born, Batized and had First Communion and Confession, and so on. My family were the Easter, Christmas Catholics and every now and then.

My SA was from a family memeber. I knew then that what was happening over and over and over was wrong ans that God "was gonna get me".

I NEVER knew God or a real church. Now, at the tender age of 38 (two years ago) I finally met God through a Christian Church. I am very Blessed and fortunate to have been rebaptized by MY choice and to get to KNOW and understand Jesus and the words in the Bible.

I can not complai about the Catholic Church, I never knew it. People have tried to make me feel like a sinner for joining a non-Catholic Church, but why? I was not a Catholic, did not agree with the rules and requirements and was I even welcome there due to my past and choices?

I have found acceptance, support, love, guidance and so much more. HOWEVER, this is what has worked for ME! I would NEVER push this on someone else, encourage it, support it, reccomend it...YES! But so many people have been hurt in so many ways. We each need to be able to vent and complain and find our own ways of healing and dealing with the pain. For some of us that is with our Heavenly Father holding us, for others it is not.

I wish you well on your healing journey and I hope you find Peace and Love! I will say a Prayer for you!

Take care and God Bless!

_________________________
"There is a plan for me, God has a Purpose, I know there is a reason that I'm ALIVE!" Cherish Grace
PEACE HOPE LOVE

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