THE PROJECT & YOUR SUPPORT
Writing and publishing a book requires financial resources to do it well. Because I’m not a strong writer, I’m employing the support of a ghostwriter to shape the manuscript, but also need to raise the funds to support publishing, marketing, legal representation, and administrative support for all of these areas of book publishing.
All the monies raised here go toward producing a high-quality, compelling, and world-impacting book I hope will raise awareness about clergy sexual abuse and move its readers to action so that we might change this institution's ways once and for all.
Ghostwriting | $21,900
Publishing (including editors, cover designer, interior layout/designer, and some marketing) | $12,000
Author website | $1,000
Author Virtual Assistant | $25/hr for 10/hr per month for 6 months = $1,500
Legal Representation/Attorney to review your publishing contract $150-$300/hour | $300
Legal Representation/Attorney review of manuscript to protect against defamation estimate $400/hr | approximation $1000
Copyright Registration with the US Copyright Office | $100
Author copies of the book when it's available - qty desired x the cost of the book (not the retail price): Example: $5/book to produce and want 100 copies at publication time to sell directly to customer | $500
TOTAL FUNDRAISING AMOUNT TO RAISE:
TURNING MY TRAUMA INTO PURPOSE
In 2016 I was so anxious and depressed going to work that I had to stop working. Cognitive therapy couldn’t get to the root cause of my disabling anxiety. I sought the alternative method of MDMA therapy. This method was not yet FDA-approved but there was enough reputable data and research supporting its therapeutic benefits when used effectively as a treatment option. More recently, MDMA therapy is more widely recognized and on the brink of being approved for use by certified clinicians.
What I uncovered during these therapeutic sessions was that I had been sexually abused by a priest at the Catholic school I attended. This trauma had been buried deep in my subconscious and explains why I have little to no memory of my fourth and fifth-grade years. I now recognize the root cause of my attempted suicide when I was fourteen, the on-and-off again battles with anxiety and depression that began in my late teens, my alcoholism that started in my 20s and lasted well until I became sober in my late 30s, and the series of toxic and emotionally abusive relationships I had with men until my 40s.
It was 2017 when I uncovered these repressed memories and trauma. Since then, I’ve attempted to seek justice and reparations through our legal system, having sued the Catholic Church in 2020. Although I was awarded a small settlement outside of the courts, the Catholic Church found the abuse accusation not credible and has not added the priest’s name to the list of credibly accused priests. My experience was not validated or taken seriously. And my attempts to receive an apology and recognition from the Bishop and Pope have gone unanswered.
I’ve made the empowered decision to use my voice to recognize my own power and acknowledge my own trauma all while I hope to make a difference for others.
I’m writing a memoir that shares my journey and experience in hopes it cast light on this epidemic of violence preying upon children inside the church even today.
I don’t want one more child to experience sexual abuse from inside their place of faith.
WHY DOES THE WORLD NEED THIS BOOK?
Though I Walk (the memoir's current title) is a memoir our global community needs. We need to hear survivor stories of those who suffered from and were traumatized by clergy child sexual abuse. We need to shed light on the life-lasting harm this kind of abuse does to its victims. The physical abuse may end when the survivor reaches a particular age or other circumstances remove them from proximity to their predators, but the emotional and psychological abuse remains a weight they carry with them well into their adulthood, creating challenges and suffering in other areas of their lives.
My story poignantly illustrates how childhood abuse is a lifetime of abuse. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed. It doesn’t matter how long the memories have been repressed. Trauma reverberates through the body, the mind, and the emotions for years, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. It wreaks havoc both inwardly and outwardly.
We need to understand the pain and suffering these survivors endure and honor and acknowledge their perseverance, resiliency, and inner strength that it’s taken to keep going and (for some) to advocate for their own justice and reparation. We need to make it more known that boys are significantly targeted and to encourage more men to come forward. We need our communities to not blindly give over our children to religion, churches, or faith out of unquestionable trust. We need people to have more vigilance and conscious awareness of what is so often happening to our children “in the hands of God.”
THE REALITY OF THIS VIOLENCE
The systemic epidemic of child abuse is still prevalent within religious organizations, the most namely being Catholicism. It dates back decades with Bishop Accountability dating 1885 as a time Native communities were being abused by Fr. Louis Taelman and in 1922 the Vatican issued its first instruction about soliciting sex in confession. Yet not until the curtain was pulled back by investigative reporting in the U.S. in the last handful of years have we uncovered this alarming truth about how much suffering has occurred in houses of God by people who claim to be holier than thou. Not only did this spotlighted reality create a domino effect within the U.S. of people coming forward across the country, but it rippled across the globe.
Despite the international coverage and discovery, little has changed. In just the first 13 days of October 2022, SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) highlighted five current news stories of priests/clergymen in the U.S. and abroad who were recently accused, reprimanded, or seen in court on charges of child pornography or abuse. Each article highlighted different clergymen in separate states or countries.
In June of 2022, CNN reported that a study found German Catholic pr iests had sexually abused over 600 victims between 1945 and 2020. This report found that nearly 200 members of the clergy had committed approximately 6,000 instances of abuse. And that three-quarters of the victims were boys aged 10 to 14 who were involved with the Church through altar server service, church youth camps, or receptions of holy sacraments.
NRP reported in October of 2021 that roughly 333,000 children were abused within France’s Catholic Church over a 70-year period. The abuse was committed by approximately 3,000 people involved with the church, some being priests. In France’s findings, about 80% were boys and they found that 60% of the victims had experienced significant problems in their emotional or sexual life as a result of the abuse they endured as children.
There is no denying that this issue is rampant, relevant, and prevalent in our world today. While there is news coverage and organizations like SNAP and BishopAccountability.org offering resources, support, and advocacy, we still need more survivor stories in the mainstream. Not everyone is reading the news or visiting those organization’s websites if they don’t have cause to. To truly cast the light on this issue, we need real people to see real survivors.
Though I Walk is an opportunity to share one survivor’s story in hopes to encourage the much-needed conversation about what happens to our children when they are abused and later become adults who still feel that trauma. It forces us to grapple with trying to understand how perpetrators who are supposed to have the highest of moral codes, abuse our most vulnerable population and get away with it and live their best lives while their survivors are punished every day by the trauma they’ve sustained and the memories of it after the abuse ceases. Though I Walk is a call to action to all who read it. We must do something to protect the children of the world.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT & DONATION
I will be posting updates as the book is developed and look forward to sharing the final product with you at the time of publication.