Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thomas Roberts, Sexual Abuse Victim, Speaks Out

     There's a fantastic Q&A in GQ with Thomas Roberts, a survivor of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.  Here's a cut from the article that is the most succinct explanation of the denial and dissassociation that I experienced after having been sexually abused at 14 and then again expoited at 20.
     One of many excuses the Vatican gave in the case of the priest who molested 200 deaf boys was that the incidents exceeded the church's statute of limitations. As someone who waited almost 20 years to come forward, how do you feel about this? Were you in denial?
     Oh, I was in complete denial. I considered myself to be a strong and intelligent person, and to place yourself in the "victim" category is very hard to do. I thought that I had been able to deal with what life had dealt me. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I’m happy that I was able to confront these demons that had been chasing me for a really long time and extinguish them.
     So you came out to your family when you were 27. Later, when you were 33 you began opening up about the abuse. Some people see a causal relationship between abuse and sexuality. Did you worry that people would try and draw those lines?
     For me these are two very separate, distinct issues, and I don’t want them to ever be confused. No one ever asks a woman who was abused as a young girl if she grew up and decided she was straight. I had the complete love and support of my family though, and that was most important thing.
     In a special you did for CNN, you said that the abuse had left you “emotionally frozen.” How did finally telling people affect your relationships?
     Well, my partner of the last ten years is the first person I ever told about it. It had always been a big, scary secret, and I think it allowed me to be more vulnerable and honest in that relationship. We walked through all of this together.
     Here are a few videos of Thomas Roberts telling his story.  He was sexually abused by a priest at the prestegeous Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, Maryland, where it appears that one of my seminary friends, who told me off when I left the priesthood, is now saying Mass.  I wonder if he still goes for blonds.

Sexual Abuse Victims Thomas Roberts and Sinead O'Connor face off with the Catholic League's Bill Donahue on CNN's Larry King Live

Andersen Cooper's Interview of Thomas Roberts

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