I was abused by a priest beginning at age 5. Raped and impregnated by same priest while still in elementary school. Miscarried. Lost the baby, my innocence and my childhood. Endured several surgical procedures while still in elementary school and continuing throughout my first year of high school. Final result…a total hysterectomy. No children for me ever. I would forever carry that undeniable void. It is a life long pain, a loss that I grieve daily. Mother kept ‘my secret’? My ‘dirty little secret’? To this day I still do not know what my siblings were told about ‘my dirty little secret’. I do not know what my own father was told. The Silence was Deafening.
At 15….a nun enters my life. She was 36. A nun paid attention to me! A nun. A holy woman. A woman of God. My whole young life all I wanted was to be a nun. I wanted to be holy. For a young catholic girl in the 60’s…this was a dream come true. She paid attention to me! She listened to me. She told me I was smart and interesting and pretty. She seemed to care. She told me she cared. She told me she loved me. She sent me love letters. She warned me not to show them to anyone. I did not understand. I hid them but I wanted to shout it to the world. I kept those love letters as a teenager would forever hold onto the remnants of their first crush. Sister Pedophile was my first crush. She proceeded to teach me about sex.
Fifteen! Thirty six!
She groomed me. I told her about the priest and the rape and the miscarriage. She told me, “he was a sick man and it wasn’t his fault” and then she took me under her wing and into her bed. She gave me Librium and Valium. She gave me gifts… and time. She fed me alcohol. She drugged me to make me more compliant in the bedroom. I was scared. I was naive. I was virginal in this aspect. She told me the pills would help to relax me. Her needs often exceeded the bedroom. She demanded attention in obscure places; the back seat of the convent car, dark balcony seats in movie theatres, elevators in NYC, her relatives homes, a friend’s swimming pool, her parent’s own bed, and highway motels on Route 17 in Bergen County, New Jersey…in the middle of the school day… 20 minutes from my parent’s home.
She took me out of class in my catholic high school. She was a nun. She was a school Principal. No one stopped her. She took me to the Meadowlands and taught me how to bet on the horses. I was 15 and 16. She introduced me to the lights and excitement of Atlantic City and extravengant hotel rooms where we would stay behind closed doors for entire weekends. Enjoying yummy fluffy snuggly bath robes, 24 hour room service, a bar in the room, huge soft clean beds with crisp white pressed sheets and a million pillows, AND… a Privacy tag that hung on the outside knob of our bedroom door. How could I not thank her? She offered me the world and asked only for my body. With an ocean view, this is where she taught me how to please her.
She always wore a medal of the Virgin Mary during sexual encounters… and sometimes her veil and ring. I still have the veil. It was confusing. She took advantage of my age and natural desire to please and to be liked. She abused me. She used me emotionally, mentally, physically and sexually. She destroyed me Spiritually. She toyed with my young feelings. She promised, cajoled, pressured and lied to me. She stole my Innocene, my Future and my Faith.
She broke me while at the same time telling me she was my Savior…saving me from a dysfunctional family. She put a wedge between me and my family. I lost my siblings, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles. But worst was the loss of my niece and nephews. She told me I could not date boys. She told me how to wear my hair and who I could hang out with. She isolated me. She destroyed me for her own sexual gratification. I was her toy girl. (But, according to her belief regarding the pedophile priest… it wasn’t her fault… she was a sick woman?) But it was very much her fault. I was still a kid.
It was the Stockholm Syndrome for me. I was so emeshed with her…I would have died for her. She did an exemplary job at grooming. No doubt she had prior experience. She was polished at the Art of Teen Grooming. She was accomplished. (Practice makes Perfect) I was most definitely not the first notch on the belt of the rosary beads that circled her waist. She was practiced and crafty, manipulative and sneaky. She isolated me from my friends and family. No one intervened. Her ‘religious congregation’ knew, yet did nothing to curb her perverted appetite. She took me into convents up and down the east coast of the United States and across International borders into Canada. We drove from Florida to Nova Scotia and back to New Jersey several times over the span of 12 years. I slept in convents and motels up and down the east coast. (I could write a book on the things I saw and heard.) Always entering the convents through the backdoor and up the back staircase to the second floor… passing others nuns who would literally turn their backs as I entered, (blind eye deaf ear defense) and again as I exited the next morning. I was ripe for the picking. The Pedophile Priest had prepped me well.
Over the years, I sought out four nuns in her community and begged them, through my tears to make her stop. I read them a heartbreaking letter describing the control she had over me… the fear and confusion I felt. I wept. I cried. I begged. I pleaded for them to make her stop. Two have died. The other two do not deny I came to them in despair and desperation. (It is documented in newspapers from Washington, DC, to NYC. Boston to Connecticut. Chicago to Pennsylvania and New Jersey). Yet, they did nothing. NOT A THING. In their eyes, I was expendable. I was collateral damage.
One summer she ‘gave’ me to a priest, a friend of her family. She left me with him alone at their shore house in Seaside Park, New Jersey. She told me ‘to be nice to him’. I did not know what she meant. It was unfortunate that I was to find out the meaning of her words. She later told me that when she was younger that same priest had sexually abused her.
In my 40’s I went to the Catholic Church. I spoke. I cried. I wept. I fell to my knees. I screamed a primordial scream. I asked for help. They shut me up. They hired a Canon lawyer who was a nun. She was a heartless woman. She was cold, so very cold and so calculating. She was a nun without a Soul. It was incest, she said, not clergy sexual abuse. “It was a sign of love”, another nun told me. “I should be honored I was chosen”, still another said. “We are not responsible”, said Mother Superior. They told me they would pray for me. “God Be With You”, Mother Superior said as she walked me out the door.
Mother Not So Superior promised to “walk with me and hold my hand as we, together, would approach the Archdiocese regarding the pedophile priests. She said the priests had broken me. The nun had only shown love. Mother Not So Superior promised her community would accompany me in my quest for justice against the ‘bad pedophile priests’. “It was their fault”, she said. “We will walk through the fire together”, she promised. We will get you Justice. ‘Trust me’, she said, and I did. I believed her. I needed to believe her. I had no family anylonger, the pedophile nun had orchestrated the end of family years prior and my ‘good catholic friends’ had long ago walked away. Mother Not So Superior lied.
It’s a game to them and only they know the rules. I was not stupid. I was ignorant. There is a difference. Survivors of their atrocities are simply pawns on a giant chess board. Pawns to be knocked over again and again and again. Until we are unable to stand up for ourselves.
They had many excuses for dismissing my needs. Black and White Denial. What a trick. They made me sign a confidentiality agreement and ‘gave’ me $20,000 for therapy. The therapist and each session had to be pre-approved by Mother Superior… Mother Not So Superior. It was humiliating. I was made to beg for help for something I did not cause and could not cure and so I groveled in a desperate attempt to become whole. I knelt before them naked and naive. Go to therapy but first sign this legal document preventing you from ever speaking of the harm done to you.
‘Trust me’, she said, and I did.
I always felt it was my fault that the ‘good sisters’ rebuffed me and refused to provide me the necessary help to heal. They provided lifetime therapy for the Perpetrator Nun did I not deserve the same accommodation? If I just phrased my words differently they would understand how broken I was and how much I needed therapy. I blamed myself for not using the right words or explaining myself accurately. If only I was smart enough to explain the situation…what it was like living with PTSD. How lonely I was without my family. How devastated I was not to be able to establish a mutual intimate loving relationship with another person. What was I saying wrong? Why did they not understand? How could I say it so they would understand what it was like to experience the daily grief of losing my beloved niece and nephews. Living with the harsh reality that my siblings believed that once you are a victim of sexual abuse by a Pedophile Lesbian Nun…you have become contagious and are now also a pedophile. They no longer allowed me around my niece and nephews. They were ignorant. I was devastated. If only I had said it the right way then the good sisters would have helped. I tried again. I needed them to understand. I needed them to embrace my broken soul. I needed them to provide healing for me. If only I had said it the right way. If only I were smarter. I blamed myself for their lack of empathy. I blamed myself for their lack of support. I blamed myself for their Greed and lust and ignorance.
Sister Pedophile retained her position in the religious community. They transferred her eventually promoting her. She was given lifetime mental and physical health coverage, a comfortable home in which to live, heat and hot water, a bed to sleep in, a car to drive, shelter from the judgement of others and a prestigious job. She was protected from the judgement of others. She had food on the table, clothes on her back, endless vacations at the nuns many million dollar ocean front properties and a paycheck. I was given none of these things. But I was saddled with a lifetime of confusion, loss, grief, health problems and PTSD.
I escaped the only way I knew how. The way Sister Pedophile first introduced me to…the way she had carefully taught me. Alcohol. Drugs. Addiction.
The church abandoned me in my time of trial. They left me broken, fragmented, alone, shamed and blamed…with the inability to have a meaningful relationship with anyone. I could no longer trust anyone. I went public. My family cut all ties. I lost friends. I lost my faith. I lost my health. I lost the ability to form healthy relationships with healthy people. I suffered identity theft of my life savings because I trusted the wrong people. I was left stranded to live in a nightmare that was not mine. PTSD became my constant companion.
I am in Recovery today from addiction. I practice a 12 step program. I wish there was such a program for those of us who were sexually abused by the holy, perverted, and corrupt. My program of RECOVERY has taught me …’We are only as Sick as we are Secret’. I am no longer willing to maintain the secrets of Pedophiles. These are not my secrets to carry any more than it is my responsible to carry their shame. The shame is not mine. I am handing it back today.
I returned to the church more than once and told them I was not okay. I was not healed. I told them I was suffering. I knelt, I begged, I groveled. They gathered lawyers, administrators, past and present nuns, principals and spiritual directors, priests and enablers. We met on their turf at the MotherHouse in Morristown, NJ, and at the Archdiocese/Diocese offices in Newark and Camden. I met with the Bishop. I met with the Archbishop. I met with the Advocate Response team. I met with Mother Not Superior. I was stonewalled and lied to…I was forbidden to record the meetings. I was forbidden to have my friend, an ex priest and sexual abuse survivor turned Advocate to be in the room with me. I was nullified. I was judged. I was cruxified. I was erased. I continued to ask for help. It was hard to admit I was still broken. I needed therapy. They shamed me again. They blamed me again. They dismissed me again. Three times they betrayed me. Betrayed three times over a bag of silver. Familiar ring to an ancient story.
The drama culminated recently when the Pedophile nun was honored in a huge party celebrating her years of commitment to her religious community and her vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. CHASITY…really? They pinned a corsage on her. It was in the newspapers.
April is sexual abuse awareness month. It’s time to tell our stories. It’s time to hand back the shame to the Perpetrators and Pedophiles and Enablers of Evil. The blame and Shame belongs to them…not me.
I called the church officials recently. I called the religious community of the Pedophile nun and asked for therapy, nothing more. I called the Archdiocese/Diocese of the Pedophile priests and asked for therapy, nothing more. They ignored me again. They dismissed me again. They betrayed me a third time. After all, how much harm can one little sexual abuse Survivor cause to a multi – billion dollar business. I guess we will see. I want more than therapy now…
I want Justice.
My story is still being written. As the movie says…”There is a Little Wonder Woman in all of us.”
Feel free to share…there is no turning back for me now.
In the words of Madeleine K. Albright. ..
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING
SAY SOMETHING…and she added…
This is my story. I’m doing something.