Thursday, November 22, 2007


We call ourselves “survivors.” It’s more than a word. It’s an ever-present reality for which I am grateful. I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

There are far too many who do not survive the profound wounding that is inflicted by the sexual abuse of a trusted religious leader. Often, it is the collusion of still more religious leaders that seals off the dark tunnel, leaving victims trapped within and void of hope.

Every clergy sex abuse story is tragic, but the stories of those who successfully commit suicide are among the most heart-wrenching of all.

Many other clergy abuse victims survive in body, but are lost down a myriad of dark chasms. Lost to alcohol. Lost to drug addiction. Lost to rage. Lost to self-mutilating behaviors. Lost to chronic depression and mental illness. Lost to anything that might dull the pain.

I am grateful to have come out on the other side of that dreadful darkness, still alive and sane. But I have never forgotten the power of that darkness. I once woke up in my own vomit and felt only surprise at being alive and disgust at my ineptness.

Today I give thanks for my ineptness and for the goodness of this life that is mine. Whatever pain I may feel when I speak of this trauma, I am grateful for the capacity to feel that pain, and for the ability to speak.

I also give thanks for all of you. I am grateful for your lives, your goodness and your courage.

Sexual abuse is the most underreported crime in the nation because of the severity and duration of the trauma. Most victims never seek help or make their experience public in any way.

Wherever you are in your journey, if you are looking at this blog, you have probably at least stepped past that “no turning back” milestone of seeing the reality of the abuse in your own head. That alone is an act of enormous courage.

Godspeed in your journeys!

Shine on!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I, too, have known that darkness as many, probably most, sexual abuse survivors have. At one time, I was so consumed with despair, helplessness, hopelessness,and no desire to live that I thought death would be my only way out. I took muscle relaxers but not enough to kill me just enough to get me in the hospital. Underneath it all, I knew, even then, that I wanted to live. I just did not want to continue to feel the pain -- I really thought the pain would eventually kill me. Surprisingly enough, though, it did not and I am still here. I credit a lot of that with years of good therapy with therapists I could trust -- not Christian therapists for sure -- and with many antidepressants. I know that is not for everyone, but I believe it all saved me.

To all survivors who read Christa's blog -- please don't give up. There really is so much to live for -- I know some don't feel that way now. I pray you will some day though.