I feel compelled to document my feelings today because some news came in about a friends journey to hold his abuser accountable. Back in August of 2014 in a moment of clarity, it finally solidified in my brain that what had happened to me as a young person was inappropriate touch by a person of trust in my family church.
Today on Facebook I read the following article, here is my take away from that article. "Catholic League president Bill Donohue defends predatory priests by claiming it’s not rape if the child isn’t penetrated."
"Donohue goes on to denounce the media for using the term “pedophilia” to describe the incidents when, Donohue claims, most of the victims were “postpubescent.”"
"Donohue frequently tries to minimize and excuse the behavior of predatory priests by pointing out that some victims are “post-pubescent,” as if raping or sexually assaulting a 13-year-old is more acceptable than raping or sexually assaulting a 9-year-old."
What about being postpubescent makes this alright? No penetration doesn't equal rape? Rape is a sexual and control and dominance problem. Children would never choose to be touched and have no control over what is being done to them. I find it disgusting that this man is defining my experience and possibly your experience.
Then I read the report my friend had posted stating this man who abused him as a child has acknowledged some of the damage he had done and was fired. His sentence was all based on the predator monitoring himself. No jail time. No fines. No reporting in to a parole officer. Little justice for his victims and future victims. Just quiet freedom for this predator. I believe he will find a new avenue for finding and grooming his victims. This is not a sickness that will fix itself. He has decades of mobility to continue embedding himself in communities. There is no tracking of his coming and going so his new "place of interest" can't get information on who he is and what he does.
In my family church there was a man Franky, who had access and contact with kids. I met him when I was in elementary school. He was in charge of Children's Story time on Sunday morning during big people church time. As kids, we were shamed into walking away from our parents to go sit in front of the church and participate in his little lesson before being ushered out so we didn't disrupt grown up time.
I always found him creepy because he was just too much. Too damn much. With my background I didn't trust his constant happiness, but I can see why people loved him as he just drew you in with his enthusiasm and gaze. When we came back home about six years later, at age 12, he was still there, but now he had a rock band and was in charge of the teenagers. He was basically left to his own devices as we rarely saw any other adults. He had a great voice and it was easy to get lost in the seemingly normal vibe to the whole set up. We loved the freedom and fun away from our parents. We went on retreats and following our band.
But, he had a even more creepy vibe to him at this stage of his life. You just knew he was up to something. I wouldn't identify that feeling with him being a sexual predator because who would leave us with someone like that. I also found it perpetually creepy is that he didn't date, didn't get married and had no children of his own. I had family is important positions within the church with children attending youth group with me and they never stayed to check up on us.
This may seem very normal in your church too. Position of trust means parents don't have to be involved. It was actually frowned up to have our parents stay. Hovering parents were very unwanted. Still no one found it odd that we were being left with four grown up me, men who chose to hang out with children rather than people their own age.
Turns out my radar was pretty accurate. There was something very wrong with this man. There were rumors between us teens that he liked young boys. That explained a great deal, but I never said anything to my family. I was quite the problem child, so they didn't feel I was credible. All that made me not credible came from my screwed up childhood, so I was drinking and smoking by 12 years old. My crappy household with two alcoholics made me easy target. Who would believe me. But 20 years later, I learn we were all correct, that he was sexually abusing members of our church. These members were children, but none the less members of our church. Our church let us down as they had two predators with unguarded access to us pre teens and teens.
My predator was in the same band, Chris. He was 21 to my 13. I would be in my late 30's and had two children of my own before I could put the pieces of what happen versus what I would want for my children. It would take me years to realize I was not cool, but instead being groomed for more. I would never let my children bring home an adult and introduce them as the boyfriend or girlfriend. It gives me creepy shivers that people all around Rome, GA saw us out and laughing and having fun like we were dating. And no one called my parents on the carpet? Or his parents? I spent time at their house and they knew we hung out. No way would I let my kids go with an adult with out me hovering along. I know to hover. I know how important it is to have two deep leadership is in children's events. Even with mandatory two deep leadership, Kid and adults get separated. Bad things still happen. So I joined and was active in Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I knew it was my job to keep an eye on the adults who were shaping my children's lives. Parents who have been abused know they cannot trust those people in a position of trust. I know to trust very few.
Would I have been raped? I do feel I was being groomed for intercourse. Saying I was abused feels more low key and like not a very big deal. Rape conjures images that for me, didn't happen. In saying that it feels like that takes him off the hook, minimizes his crime. What we did what many teenage couple does, experimenting sexually, only my partner was a man, not a 13 year old boy. What he did was not appropriate for a grown man or a member of a church. Being 12-13 years old does not make my abuse any less severe than a 9 year old. There is no winning age to be abused. I still struggle to make sense of what happened to me as a child. My children at 13 were truly children. Not adults who can consent to sex.
Several young men were abused under Frankie's watch. Like me, many of them didn't start sorting through their past until it was too late to file a report with the Police. Seems criminal to have a time cut off 10 -15 years in most states. What if we don't know that timelinie and by the time we are ready to file, the time limit has passed? Many of us are still embarrassed and abusing drugs and alcohol to numb the pain as we process the feelings that resurface every so often. Abuse at the hand of someone you trust is heavy. There is no specific amount of time required to process your feelings. Many adults don't even begin to remember they were abused until later in life. Our brains are designed to protect us from horrid experiences.
Real prosecution needs to be levied on these predators in the church. Like sexual predators outside church walls. These predators are not going to self monitor. They are liar and criminals who will always be searching for their next victims. The laws need to change to allow the time often necessary to be ready to deal with our demons from our childhood. I shouldn't have to process my emotions any faster than I deem fit. There should not be a time limit for reporting abuse of any kind, but especially sexual abuse. I am learning that rape kits are not kept forever. Due to funding and "space" hundreds of rape kits are disposed of annually. Thrown away, like the rape didn't happen. Like you don't matter.
We are providing a disservice to children everywhere in the US by not protecting them. It is time for each parent to find out what the process for people who get into positions of trust. Background checks only capture information regarding predators who have been caught. Most predators are never caught. Find out who are these people with precious access to our children.
Don't assume your church is perfect and this would never happen to your children.
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.
Highest rateof child abuse in children under one (24.2% per 1,000).
The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14 years old, and the average age for boys is 11 to 13 years old.
100,000 are prostituted annually.
90% are abused by someone they know, love or trust.
20% of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8 .. most never tell, and some don't recall the abuse.
More then 60% of pregnant teens have been sexually abused.
55% of girls living on the streets engage in prostitution.
20% of prostituted girls are transported across state lines for services.
The average age of entry for girls into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.
One in 7 children who are regular Internet users receive sexual solicitations online.
1 in 3 is exposed to unwanted sexual material.
1 in 25 receives a request to meet someone in real life that they met online.
Frankey Wiley has been fired and will self monitor. Thank you SBC
Chris Hodges worked in a high school and has been teaching art to childern and teens for over 30 years. And is so revered by his community they are building/modifying a home for him to live in. (makes me puke).
Source Link: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2018/08/catholic-league-on-predatory-priests-its-not-rape-if-the-child-isnt-penetrated/?fbclid=IwAR0C_BzIL1xjJlaDPe4UEkjQR8jpd7E_la_vsXZzbNzywZWNzF3w-r5ISVM