Monday, 19 December 2011
This year has been a busy one, culminating in tthe wonderful Survivors Voice weekend in Rome at the end of October, always life enhancing, and inspiring to be with other survivors .This time dancing in front of the vatican's eyes! seeing the wonderful Survivors Voice Lanterns lifting into the Roman sky as we cheered and clapped, was awesome and a memory I will treasure.
Made me feel quite reflective talking to others and hearing once again more tales of abuse and neglect. Being asked more or less the same questions over and over again, "what do you think the Church will do" "what do you think needs to happen" "What should the Pope do" etc.etc.
So here is what I think..
Since talking about my abuses I have experienced many reactions, From so called christians I have been at various times,doubted, ignored, dismissed, patronised ,avoided, lied to. I have seen abuses, compounded by the further abuse of lack of compassion, I have seen people brought to their knees with anguish, shunned, and trivialised. I have witmnessed tears and anger frustration and depression.I have heard horror stories from all over the World from the victims of catholic clergy. From the church I have seen lies, compounded by more lies, excuses, duplicity, and narcissism.
What I have never seen, is what most human beings are capable of giving freely and with graciousness - is simply KINDNESS! the simple human kindness that one craves when feeling that ones whole world is collapsing. Kindness that is talked about endlessly by the very church that is incapable of giving it or even feeling it. The kindness when you feel anothers pain and want to relieve it in some way, when the least you can do is offer a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on, and you do it willingly and gratefully.
When I first talked about my own abuses, the overriding need that I had was that of a warm blanket being wrapped around me and to feel safe at last.It didn't happen, and the fact that it didn't made my pain more acute again.
I am a tough woman, some say I have a hard edge, and that may be so. I have had a very tough life, I have always had to fight, and that life has left it's mark. But as survivors we know that toughness to be the facade that has allowed us to survive, to struggle from the burden of guilt and shame and nightmares that somebody who was supposed to be " beyond reproach" made us carry. the reality is a little different. There is fragility there, there is a tightrope we walk between sanity and death.
When I have told my story and that of my friends to secularists and humanists --What I have seen is empathy --what I have seen are tears! tears for other Human beings who are in pain.
A natural and compassionate response that eludes catholic apologists and it tells me so much .catholics tell me "it's not like that" ! Well if It looks like a lettuce -it tastes like a lettuce and it is green -- chances are its a bloody lettuce.
So as my own Prime Minister now has lost the last of his marbles, I am so thankful for the non christian compassion I have witnessed and continue to be grateful for.