Wednesday, July 30, 2014
No Excuse for Abuse: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests celebrates 25 years of fighting child abuse by catholic clergy
When victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests first organized into a small band of volunteer activists: the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in the late 1980s, reports of clergy molesting children were still new and relatively few. Most were minimized as “single occurrences” or dismissed altogether — much the way the victims were.
But today, as SNAP, marks its 25th anniversary at a conference in Chicago (Aug. 1-3), its members can take satisfaction in seeing that its claims have been validated, and that a few (though hardly all) of its recommendations have been implemented by the church hierarchy. (www.snapnetwork.org)
Because of SNAP’s advocacy on the Catholic scandal, victims now are much more likely to come forward to tell their stories, whether they were abused by clergy, by nuns, by athletic coaches or Boy Scout leaders or others.
SNAP soon developed a core membership of a few thousand people, mainly victims, who met in small support groups while also trying to push the issue onto the public agenda but the public was indifferent or outright hostile.
Then in January 2002, The Boston Globe began its groundbreaking series exposing the widespread abuse of children by priests in the Boston archdiocese, and the cover-up by bishops. The story caught fire and led to similar revelations across the nation and to an unprecedented level of media coverage, prosecutions and lawsuits.
SNAP’s membership took off, and now stands at more than 19,000, with 60 chapters around the U.S. and eight overseas. SNAP spends time and money helping survivors, maintaining support groups and providing costly legal support in cases against the perpetrators.
The 2014 SNAP Annual Conference will be a "reunion" conference on August 1-3, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel in Chicago.
“No Excuse for Abuse” SNAP tee shirts (see photo) will be offered at the Conference for a donation of $15.00 to Boston-Worcester SNAP. The shirts come in adult sizes S, M, L, XL, and XXL. Checks should be made out to the Chapter Director, David O'Regan at 65 Greenville St., Spencer MA. 01562. All funds from the proceeds will help Boston-Worcester SNAP survivors along with helping monthly chapter expenditures.
I encourage all survivors of child sexual and physical abuse to join SNAP as I have – they are kind, supportive people – most are survivors themselves and they understand that together we will survive and thrive and stop the abusers.