Victims of sexual abuse by a priest are very good at keeping a secret.
My wife did not know until 2002, and the rest of you did not find out till this past May. A secret that I kept since 1971.
Why do people that are abused wait so long to come forward? For me, I was afraid of not being believed, of being taunted and bullied. I did not want people looking at me differently while whispering doubts or sympathies behind my back. Of course, a fear of the Church is a great motivator for keeping the secret.
Finding the right time to tell your secret is always inconvenient. Not now, later, or after an event. Those of us that were abused are not only good at keeping our secret, we are also great procrastinators.
Procrastinating has an interesting outcome on that person. While we wait for that perfect moment to spill the beans, the procrastinating machine is hard at work. It breaks apart our secret and buries it deeply. Never to bother us again. Hopefully!
Some are very successful at keeping their secret under deep wraps. Others like myself, for whatever reason, unearth their secret. Then it tries to take over, that secret tries to control you. People find ways to get along with their secret, befriend it so to speak. And that is when the trouble starts, a whole range of personal issues manifest themselves.
I saw that coming, so I opened my door and kicked my secret out to the curb and exposed it to the world, or for anyone wanting to meet my secret. This worked wonders for me, but it is not the best fit for everyone. My secret is now homeless, a bum, wandering the streets, wasting away. Good Riddance.
I talked to another survivor last night. He is just beginning his journey. I seem to be his beacon, which is something I do not take lightly. He is where I was just before 2002. Wondering what to do about his secret. He is a few years older than me and has kept his secret buried longer.
He is going to share his story of sexual abuse by a priest with the NY State Attorney General's Office. He has chosen to remain anonymous. He wanted me to tell you he exists. He went to Holy Family School and Church and IHC. His story is different than most. He was a student at IHC when his abuse happened.
He also wanted me to share his abusers identity. Which is what I was going to do at the end. But I can not bring myself to do that. Why? Because sexual abuse is personal, darkly intimate. It simply is not my story to tell. I will tell you this, there are many more victims of abuse that were of High School age. They will find it difficult or impossible to ever let their secret out.....