Sue Cox

Sue Cox

Monday, 27 February 2012


 Well, now is the time to write and tell everyone about the fantastic Oxford "Think Week"! So hard to know where to start, there were so many highlights and so much food for "thought"!
 But the overwhelming experience for me was just being  there! To be with those wonderful students and others who made it so special, included me, and worked so hard. 
 I had been quite overwhelmed already when I got the email to say that the committee wanted to raise money this year at the lectures for an organisation they thought worthwhile, and they had chosen us! I cried for ten minutes, and when I Skyped Ton in Holland he did the same. Sounds a bit over the top? Well, perhaps, but when you think how hard it has been for us and other abuse survivors  like us,  to find meaning in a World that we felt we no longer belonged in, this kind of gesture is so precious. 
catholic clergy abuse survivors are all wary of others! our "trust" mechanisms  are often destroyed, or certainly distorted, even as we get old, there are  things that do not go away. I for example don't like being in certain surroundings (like churches)! I have a very sensitive "bullshit" detector, and I  have a problem with certain smells!  But if we are hyper-vigilant  towards attack, we are also super tuned to decency and kindness and  human altruism. So in a way we are creatures of extremes. Yes, there is the agony, but we are very much capable of the ecstasy too! 
   And with everyone at "Think Week" I  experienced  warm  human connections , kindness, intelligent  thoughtful observations and questions from  from almost everyone I   encountered. Empathy, respect , and no  sign of condescension or patronising!   What a gift!
   I have to name names, because they deserve to be thanked, and also because my other wonderful fellow survivors weren't there and will want to know All the details! 
   So first and foremost to Joseph Trakalo, who  drove "Think Week"  forward, gently steering the group, and making  me, and everyone else feel like a "VIP'!  THANKYOU! 
   To Ben and Annie, two delightful students and members of the AHS who chaired, introduced ,and hosted so beautifully.Thankyou!
   To all of the other helpers in their striking blue "think-week" tee-shirts who were tireless, and the thoughtful individual  conversations I had with them. Thankyou!
   To the Oxford Humanist committee who  chose us as their organisation to support and chatted  all about our work  as we all had those lovely dinners together.Thankyou!
   To the speakers who were often inspiring - Professors Richard Dawkins, Peter Atkins, especially-Thankyou!
   To Paula Kirby for her wonderful support,interest in our cause,  and her warmth and clarity Thankyou!
   I will write about the remarks from Richard Swinbourn seperately, I  don't want any negativity here! But thanks for Paula's comments to him!
To The Richard Dawkins foundation for sponsoring this event Thankyou!
To everyone who brought food to share at our "celebration" gathering on Sunday, what a feast. To all the new friends I have made ,and to the lovely Chloe who lead us in a beautiful rendition of "Every sperm is sacred"! 
   And  not least to everyone who dipped into their pockets even in these harsher times,  and managed to raise £150 for Survivors Voice Europe .THANK YOU ! 
 Survivors Voice Europe is perhaps a little different from most similar organisations,our emphasis is very much on empowerment. We really have never asked for any funding, preferring to try and support ourselves as far as possible.  But There is no doubt that these days every little bit we can raise makes such a difference. For example, what "THINK WEEK" contributed will help us with our "Annual celebration of survivors  of catholic clergy day!" which will from  now on be held in Verona, and this year will be on June 30th.Last year we set off a hundred chinese lanterns saying "ENOUGH" in all our languages  into the sky in Rome in  front of the vatican, as we danced to celebrate our survival, despite the catholic church, and certainly not because of it. This year we want it to be two hundred!
Connections with others like ourselves are so important, isolation has been a big feature of the legacy of abuse, so that day is crucial as a focus for many. Thankyou for contributing to that! ( But it would be wonderful if you could come and celebrate with us!! Please do try.)
There are some fabulous books about clerical abuse, mostly written in Italian, we would dearly like to have them translated  and published into all our languages, so thankyou for contributing to that!
We have a wonderful photographic monument in progress, by Silvia Amodio, who shows  that often pictures speak far louder than words. Check out the "Out of the Shadows video on our website .She would like to keep on extending that monument, so thankyou also for contributing to that!
But more than anything, thankyou for this wonderful gesture, it has meant so much to us. And as a new member of the Oxford Humanists, I hope that next year I can be on the side of the helpers when we meet for "Think Week" 2013!!
Sue Cox Survivors Voice Europe 

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