We have heard the support of so many people as it relates to our story--our cause--that it keeps us moving forward. Numerous people have asked how they can help. Quite simply you must get involved and demand change within the Church for the protection of children. Some of the steps we would like to recommend as ideas include:
- Report suspected abuse, no matter how vague it might seem or how long ago it might have happened.
- Every chance you get, write and submit letters to the editor on this subject. Studies show letters are one of the most widely read parts of any newspaper. And as long as the issue is discussed in public, everyone learns and everyone benefits. Submit letters to your local newspaper, the Catholic Herald or other well read newsprint.
- Join one or more of the independent lay reform groups that are working tirelessly to make the church a healthier place and force some accountability from bishops. Links are on our site.
- Find/create chances for survivors to speak publicly. When people hear about our experiences, they become more concerned. When we have a chance to be heard, we heal. Whether it's Catholic or non-Catholic, large or small, urge your organization to have a survivor come and speak.
- Learn about "safe touch." Make sure your kids know about it. Encourage your school, athletic league, YWCA, and other youth groups to offer such prevention programs.
- Ask your pastor or others to print material about clergy molestation and the steps the Church has taken to correct. Work with local parishes to create educational programs for youth groups, explaining the signs of “grooming” or early molestation and the steps to stop future molestation from occurring.
- Encourage friends, family, co-workers or others that may have been molested to come forward and seek the professional assistance needed to address their abuse.
- Support legislative reform efforts within your own state that make it easier for victims to report crimes and pursue their abusers in court. Especially important are extending/eliminating the civil and criminal statutes of limitations
- Remain vigilant. Complacency never protects kids. Only continued concern and awareness does.
- Educate yourself on the problems of abuse in the Catholic Church and beyond. No child should have to live this horrendous ordeal nor should victims continue to suffer. Learn more about abuse not only in religious organizations but outside Try every day to read at least one story from the Abuse Tracker. (http://www.ncrnews.org/abuse/) or read the book Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes by Father Tom Doyle, A.W. R. Sipe, Patrick J. Wall.
- Keep an open mind when listening to excuses or the position on abuse as stated by the Church. Remember that clergy abuse has been around for 2,000 years and a priority of the hierarchy has been to create the necessary positioning statements and select the proper bishops as spokesperson to diffuse the situation and revert back to blaming the accuser or the people molested.
Again, the most important thing is to act in some way to seek reform for clergy molestation. Contact us through our website and let us know how you are supporting our cause. We will make every effort to get back to you on a timely basis.