Thursday, 29 August 2013
Be very careful in the World of survivors!
As we begin our fight back, the survivor needs to consider many things, not least the World we are entering!
The world of the clergy abuse survivors is not a particularly pretty world!
It is an ugly subject, one that most people would prefer not to have to think or talk about, including me!
It is, however, even more ugly if we don’t talk about it.
You will find there are many who like to “speak for us” as if we are incapable of doing that ourselves. Those who want to report about the Tsunami who were never even there!
We are not goldfish in a bowl to be stared at ,observed and anylised. We are human beings who have suffered the worst betrayal of body and trust and deserve the best chance to be as whole as possible. We need to learn to make our own decisions about our recovery, and harness that special survivor power we no doubt possess.
In the clergy survivor movement, there are ,many different people, Rather like those who were in that Tsunami, there were saints and sinners, rescuers and looters, heroes and villains. People who did survive, those that did not. The only thing they had in common was that they were, in some capacity or other, part of the disaster.
Similarly, in this world of clergy abuse survivors there are many occupants, strong survivors, damaged victims, many with physical illnesses, there is narcissism, grandiosity and subservience, plenty of mistrust and even paranoia, the mentally ill ,the addicts, the abusers, the prisoners.. and all of it clothed in secrecy and shame.
There are those too, who hover around the periphery of this world, the condescending, the patronising,the exploitative, but also, thankfully , the thoughtful, the respectful, and compassionate.
There are “career” survivors, the therapists (good and bad!) the lawyers (ditto!) The people who want to use this cause to further their political careers, in fact there is a positive cottage industry having been created around this tragedy!
Each one of us has to find our own “niche” the place which sits best with our own sensibilities. There are many who make a real difference , as there are many valid perspectives.
We all make a contribution, and they are all different.
So it is not really helpful to criticise other’s contributions.
But as an “endangered” damaged individual fighting to survive and thrive, I have had to learn to discriminate between what is really good for my recovery, and what is simply good for someone else!
I feel that as a survivor I have to control my own recovery, I may draw on others to help, we have some wonderful supporters, but they can only ever be that - a supporting act!
At survivors Voice Europe we put the Survivor FIRST- we are not interested in expediency or politics, we don’t want money, we won’t accept funding from any organisation(although some kind individuals have insisted on giving to us!)
Anything we are given is put towards funding one of our projects , which directly support survivors, we will not take any money for administration or travel, we are not career survivors, we see our contribution as a labour of LOVE!
We will refuse any contribution from the church or similar organisation, (tending to suspect they have their own agendas!) and we will not any longer jump to anyone’s tune!
We will never recommend anything to any other survivor that we don’t feel we would accept ourselves, and we would expect any ethical, honourable lawyer, therapist, support group, to be open to intense scrutiny! So we will use all our resources to investigate thoroughly anyone who wants to part of this movement, to ensure any exploitation is squashed.
Our focus is, and will remain the individual who has been damaged, how we can connect with each of them, and what we can do to help. We share any skills we have learned freely and with love.
We are not predominantly fighters, although we will get into a fight against the church and other abusers when necessary,( in fact nothing makes my blood boil more than seeing the further abuse by an unfeeling church.)
But our energies are best used in helping with the empowerment of each survivor to enable them to be at their optimum as they go forward and begin to soar above those foul abusers.
We are Survivors, not victims, we don’t need to be pitied or patronised. But we do need, and expect, justice.
We have survived thus far, and retained our dignity, largely through our own survival skills, and we resolve to continue to develop those skills for ourselves and others.
We all had control of our lives taken away once, we need to take great care never to be in that position again!