July 11, 2005

Group offers help to abused

The Wichita Eagle

The Wichita Eagle

Joe told no one for more than 30 years. Instead, he was "suffocating," as he put it, "on my stench of shame."

He was convinced it was somehow his fault that his parish priest had molested him over three years as he entered his teens in the early 1970s.

He believed he was guilty of an offense "even God could not forgive."

He contacted the Catholic Diocese of Wichita two years ago to tell them of his abuse only because "I wanted to be counted" among the number of children abused by priests, he said.

But what he thought would be a one-visit means of validating the abuse became a doorway to healing.

As a result, Joe will be there tonight for the first meeting of Reclaim, an ecumenical peer support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The eight-week program is intended to serve as a catalyst for abuse survivors who want help on their journey of healing, said Joyce Webb, clinical director of Community Counseling Services, a program of Catholic Charities.

Posted by kshaw at July 11, 2005 07:40 AM