The M+G+R Foundation
A Sexually Abused Victim Speaks Out
Loud and Clear
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We have received the following letter from one of our regular readers and a spiritual cooperator.
She is in her mid-60’s, married, the mother of an adult daughter, and a grandmother. When in the work force, she was a health care professional in the fields of Critical Care and Geriatrics. Recently retired, she is now able to enjoy the love and companionship of her immediate family more than ever, especially her grandchildren.
She has given us explicit permission to publish the entire heart wrenching liberating confession. We have not changed a single word or punctuation mark. It was obvious to us that the Holy Spirit of God accompanied her throughout the entire composition of the text.
It is our sincere hope that this letter help many by bringing a measure of peace and consolation to their broken hearts. We ask everyone who reads this liberating confession to share it with as many people as possible via any means possible, including all versions of today's popular social media. We will never know how much peace and consolation it will bring to those who, until now, have lived this silent hell, but God Will and He will repay your efforts handsomely.
Your document entitled "Child Sexual Abuse and Abortion: Which is the Most Destructive to the Soul?" (1) is so important. You "tell it like it is", and that is precisely what is needed to awaken mankind to the horrific reality that child sexual abuse is rampant, devastating, and it must be stopped at all cost.
From a detailed clinical perspective, the document entitled "Sexual Abuse of Children" (2) is of great importance as well.
In the "Final Exhortation" section of the above-mentioned document pertaining to Child Sexual Abuse, you state, in part:
"If you have been or are being sexually abused, bring it out into the open. By doing so, you will stop this destructive behavior, destructive to you AND the abuser. Do not be ashamed. It was not your fault."
The first time I read those words, the breath was literally knocked out of me. I felt you were addressing me directly. The words that hit really hard were: "Bring it out into the open" and "Do not be ashamed. It was not your fault".
After much prayerful consideration, I have made the decision to finally reveal to someone outside my immediate family, what I was subjected to as a child at the hands of my maternal grandfather. The only ones who are currently aware of the extent of the abuse are my siblings and my daughter. To date, I have not felt comfortable telling my husband of 38 years the details of this abuse. All I've told him is that my grandfather abused me when I was a child.
A bit of information pertaining to my grandfather:
When he was sober, he was such a pleasant, fun-loving man. When he was drunk (he was a frequent, hard-core "binger"), his "dark side" emerged with a vengeance and his family suffered greatly because of it.
An example: My uncle once told me when he arrived home from school one day (he was a teenager at the time), he found his father choking his mother. Had he not intervened, she would have died.
I do not have any recollection of the actual abuse. The question may well be asked: How do I know I was sexually abused if I don't remember what happened?
During my teenage years, I began experiencing "flashbacks" to specific times in my childhood. These flashbacks occurred randomly. When I reached adulthood, they increased in frequency. Their content dealt mostly with my needing medical attention when I was 4 years old, and again at age 7. Intuitively, I knew those were the ages I needed that care. But I did not know why.
There was one flashback in particular that caused me much distress every time it surfaced. Again, intuitively, I knew I was 7 years old at the time of this particular incident:
My mother took me to see our family doctor. In order for him to examine me, I had to take off my underwear. I was very upset about this, and I resisted. But my mother insisted. Being the good little girl that I was, I obeyed my mother. Then the doctor visually examined me. I felt such shame as he did this. I wanted to scream that I didn't want to take off my underwear! That I didn't want this strange man looking at me "down there"! But instead of screaming out what I was really feeling, I remained silent. I kept everything bottled up inside. I was terrified, but I didn't know why.
Years after the flashbacks began, I questioned my mother about what was coming to mind. She said I was hospitalized at the ages of 4 and 7 because I had no appetite and I vomited frequently. I had also developed a generalized body rash. The doctor was concerned. Therefore, I was hospitalized and treated.
At the age of 12, I began experiencing severe headaches. Projectile vomiting accompanied these headaches. The pediatrician was very concerned. He suspected I had a brain tumor. Yet again, I was hospitalized. Extensive testing was performed. All results were negative.
During my teen years, I was introverted, insecure and self-conscious, especially where boys were concerned. I didn't consider myself attractive, and did not feel any boy would ever want to go out with me. I was also considered to be a "brain" because I excelled in my studies. It hurt when I was labeled as such because the word was always used in a demeaning manner.
At the age of 16, due to persistent gynecological problems, I had to undergo a surgical procedure.
After high school, I attended nursing school. The only profession that even remotely interested me was caring for the sick. As in high school, I excelled, not only in my studies, but also in the actual "hands on" practice of caring for those in need. I loved this work. I had found my niche.
At the age of 19, due to the unwanted sexual advances of a man I trusted (I was his children's baby-sitter), I experienced a complete emotional and mental breakdown.
In my early 20's, I frequented various nightclubs with girlfriends. That's when I did a complete about-face concerning men. I discovered that they did, indeed, find me attractive. They were drawn to me, and I was drawn to them. Thus began a series of short-term relationships based only on sexual attraction.
At the age of 27, I married a military man. During the first 3 years of our marriage, I became pregnant 3 times, but only one of the pregnancies resulted in a live birth.
By the time I reached the age of 40, the migraine headaches ( which had never gone away from the time they began at age 12), had increased to the point where I could barely function. They were accompanied by mood swings. I was a mental and emotional wreck. Except for the times when I had no choice but to seek medical attention due to the pain, I kept how I really felt to myself. Even prescription drugs were not effective in overcoming those terrible headaches.
As miserable as I was, I didn't have time to fall apart. I had responsibilities; a family to care for, a job, etc. Above all, I had to keep on smiling. I had vowed as a child that no one would ever see me cry. I had to be strong at all cost. I was determined to show the world how "happy" I was. I was stressed to the max, with no end in sight. My outlook on life became very bleak. I had reached the end of my rope and felt myself losing my grip. I couldn't go on living like this.
Through it all, and in spite of thinking my desperate cries for help were being ignored by Heaven, I never stopped clinging to Jesus and His Mother. They were my secure Strongholds. In a world filled with pain, despair and fear (complete with periodic panic attacks which were very difficult to bear because I didn't know why I was so fearful), They kept me sane. I never stopped going to Mass and frequenting the Sacraments. I never stopped praying the Rosary and other devotions dear to my heart. I know if I had given up practicing my Faith, I would have completely despaired and committed suicide.
Then, at the age of 42, God took pity on me. He had, in fact, heard my every cry for help. In His infinite Wisdom, Compassion and Mercy (and in a manner known only to me, my siblings and my daughter), He revealed the reality of the hell I was forced to endure at the hands of my grandfather. Also revealed was knowledge pertaining to how other loved ones were victimized by this man. This knowledge is summarized as follows:
My mother and her 2 sisters were not only sexually abused by their father, but all were raped. This abuse occurred during their preteen and teen years. Pregnancy resulted in some instances. All those pregnancies were miscarried (the spontaneous termination of the pregnancies, not abortion).
My grandmother was the victim of his abuse as well, especially emotional and physical abuse. She witnessed what her husband did to her daughters, but she couldn't stop him. She tried, but to no avail. He had super-human strength when he was drunk. Oh, my poor grandmother! What inexplicable anguish she must have endured living with such a vicious and cruel man! Yet, she kept her anguish to herself. She kept much hidden beneath her calm and placid features. Her greatest Refuge was the Blessed Virgin Mary. She prayed her Rosary often.
In the following generation, an older sister and I were the targets of my grandfather's abuse. However, he did not rape her. He saved that horrific mistreatment for me. He raped me twice (at ages 4 and 7). The other "regular" sexual abuse continued until I was 10 years old.
I did not ever doubt what was revealed to me. There were far too many instances in my life that I couldn't explain prior to the knowledge being given, that were now made crystal clear to me. As devastating as it was to realize my grandfather was capable of such atrocities, it was also a tremendous relief to know I wasn't going out of my mind.
The immediate result of this previously-hidden knowledge now being out in the open, was the cessation of the flashbacks. No longer did my subconscious mind feel obligated to tell me something terrible had happened to me when I was a child. My conscious mind now knew it, too, and with that knowledge came emotional pain unlike any I had ever knowingly experienced until then. I had to come to grips with what my grandfather had done to me, and I didn't know how to do this.
Then, mercifully, came the tears. Not silent tears, but gut-wrenching, wailing sobs that prostrated me to the floor and scared me with their intensity. Crying like I had never cried before in my entire life, not even when my beloved father died. And the intensity of this crying continued for a very, very long time…
When I told my mother (my father was deceased) and siblings about the abuse, the shocking reaction/response from my mother and the sister who had been abused, was one of total denial!! My mother went so far as to insinuate that I was crazy; that her father had never done such terrible things to her or to her sisters, and especially not to my sister and me. He was not that kind of man. My God…
Her total lack of support, as well as that of my sister, caused me great pain. It also put a strain on my relationships with them which lasted for many years.
My mother passed away in 2012, and my sister passed away in early 2013. By the Grace of God, our relationships had healed prior to their earthly departure. I came to understand that their denial of what my grandfather had done to them and to me, was the only way they could cope. It was easier for them not to remember than to face the pain of what the devastating truth really was.
The odd thing is this: My other 2 sisters and my brother, who were never abused by my grandfather, believed me. They never doubted me. My sisters in particular were a tremendous support-system for me during my time of intense need.
Jesus is such a loving, gentle, and compassionate Physician and Psychologist. His Mother is the most caring of Nurses. She is Mary, Health of the Sick. Over the years, little by little, They have healed my emotions and painful memories.
I have yet to completely forgive my grandfather for what he did, even after all these years. But forgive him I must. Jesus and His Mother are helping me with this as well. On my own, I can't do it. Period.
Obviously, my grandfather was a very sick and demented man. Only God knows why he behaved the way he did. I pray for the repose of his soul, should he be in Purgatory.
And, over time, the migraines completely stopped! Praise be to God! I don't remember the last time I had one.
As I reread this, my personal story, from the perspective of a woman in her mid-60's who managed to survive years of child sexual abuse perpetrated by a loved one, I am struck by how matter-of-fact it reads. In actuality, it's been so very difficult for me to put all of this in writing. It's taken many days to complete this. I've had to walk away from my computer many times just to take a break from the emotions that kept resurfacing. Many more tears have been, and continue to be shed, even as I type these words.
This time, the tears are the silent kind. The kind that "burn" as they fall. Healing tears...
When my father was an altar boy, he was molested by a priest.
After high school, my brother entered a "prestigious" religious brothers community (located in a New England State). There, he was introduced to a lifetime of homosexuality by a so-called "superior" of his.
My nephew, when he was an altar boy, was molested by a priest.
In 2004, while in the workplace environment, I became the victim of sexual harassment perpetrated by a female coworker. I will spare you the unpalatable details.
This time, I didn't remain silent. This time, I made noise! I was no longer a helpless, innocent child, incapable of defending herself against her attacker. I was a feisty adult who had had enough of being mistreated at the hands of others.
My "making noise" resulted in stopping this woman's despicable tactics in her tracks. ENOUGH ALREADY!!
Just in passing, prior to her becoming a health care giver, this woman was a nun…
Miguel, profound is my gratitude to you for what you reveal through your vital ministry. This knowledge is priceless.
In reading your document pertaining to child sexual abuse, and in particular, your exhortation to those who are victims to "bring it out in the open", I had the courage to do just that. In so doing, I experienced even more healing, healing I didn't know I still needed.
Be assured of my continued prayers for you, your ministry and your loved ones. May Jesus and His Mother fill you with Their Peace and Consolation, especially during your own times of difficulty. May God continue to bless you and yours with His Abundance of Graces and Blessings.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
(Mrs) I(nitials) W(ithheld)
(1) Child Sexual Abuse and Abortion: Which is the Most Destructive to the Soul?
(2) Sexual Abuse of Children
Published on August 29, 2013 - Memorial of the Martyrdom of John the Baptist
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