It’s been a roller coaster ride for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
For those of you who are not familiar with the group, this is an organization where I donate a ton of time, and an organization that’s responsible for whom I have become as an advocate.
Lately, SNAP has been in the news far more than I would like: founder and president Barbara Blaine and executive director David Clohessy (both friends and colleagues) have stepped down after almost 30 years with the organization. On top of that—but totally unrelated—a former fundraiser has sued the group, claiming that they took “kickbacks” from attorneys. The fundraiser’s allegations are completely unfounded. The woman suing the group admitted that she never spoke to any of the dozens of volunteer leaders who do what I do.
What do I do?
My phone number is the first that many adult survivors of child sexual abuse and sexual assault call. I get tons of email messages every week from survivors, family members, spouses, cops, private investigators, concerned Catholics, parents, and others asking for help. I do my best to help these people find therapists, other survivors to talk to, find documents, locate alleged abusers, expose hidden offenders, get attorney referrals, and access the suicide hotline. I am very good at what I do.
I help survivors get healing and justice, no matter the abuser. I work every day to keep children safer from abuse, no matter where or when that abuse occurs. I show victims how to use their voice, the criminal justice system, the civil justice system, the media, the Internet, therapy, and available support systems to make sure that what happened to them never happens to another child. SNAP does not pay me.
But I am not unique
All of SNAP’s volunteer leaders do what I do with the same passion. Many answer their phones more often than I do. Others may show more compassion. Many don’t have young children and have much more time. We are able to do what we do with the support of the SNAP main office—who helps us training, materials, advice, social media, our network, a shoulder to cry on, answering our phone calls 24/7, and all of our media outreach.
The mission of the volunteer leaders is the same as SNAP, now led by Managing Director Barb Dorris and SNAP’s volunteer board of directors: Help survivors heal and stop the cycle of abuse.
Together, we will all give our time and talents (and yes, our donations) to make sure that no survivor falls through the cracks.