Last Night We Wept

Last night B and I talked long, soft, and slow.
Two and a half years after the tsunami of trauma, he had built enough of a cognitive framework about powerlessness, vulnerability, predation, and betrayal trauma to sit with me. It was the first sip he took of my sorrow.
We wept.

Clergy sexual abuse hits secondary victims like a head-on collision, a train wreck… they didn’t even know they were on a train. The betrayal trauma of the cleric who offended against a beloved spouse or child dumbfounds the spouse/parent. What? Torn asunder, lives collapse.
My God… my God.

For a child victim, we question, “How could he? For the adult victim, too often the question to the victim is “How could you?” It takes time for the victim to know what she/he has known… it can take much longer for secondary victims to know what they have never known.

We fail adult victims when we assume clergy sexual abuse is an affair. Affairs happen between power equal people – both people know the end game. Predatory pastors hunt their victims; they smell the weak and salivate. Targeted for consumption… the victim knows it not.

There are few situations where vulnerability and fiduciary trust are implicit by position.
A Dr. says, come into my space, bare your body.
I will care for you.
A cleric says, come into my space, bare your soul.
I will care for you.
Except when he eats you.

The betrayal trauma of sexual abuse by anyone charged with a fiduciary role is unfathomable to most bystanders. They know nothing of the time the persuasive predator takes to know the victim. To delicately dissect his/her despair and to eviscerate incisively.

All this to say, there is so much more to say. We sat. We spoke. I passed the cup of my sorrow to his outstretched hands. He took that steaming cup. He sipped slowly on my sorrow. I watched it burn as he swallowed. He felt, finally, what it was to be me.


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