ellensagh

7. Back Into It

During the three weeks I spent with my daughter, I learned that my children come first in my life. The body memories and flashbacks disappeared when I had to be there for my daughter. For days after she went home, I was lost, disoriented. I didn’t have a clue what to do with myself. Within a week, the intensity was back. I woke up one morning confused and agitated. A million things were going through my mind – so many that my shoulders and teeth ached. I wrote pages and pages about feeling inadequate and worthless, but most of it was about shame. From May l8 to June 7, l994, I wrote, did collages, and even started painting in an attempt to sort things out. I found penises appearing in every painting I did:
A penis in a hand. The Church. Calvin’s penis with “Help Me, Help Me, Please,” written on it. Blue penises. The devil in red crayon, another brown and orange devil, penises, penises with red Xs all over them. “Fuck” in red about twenty or thirty times. Little child with a bunch of black crosses.
There was a war going on inside myself. A thousand voices in my head were accusing me of not being right. I wished I could hide, disappear. I didn’t want to see anyone who knew me. I couldn’t look people in the eye. I thought that when people looked at me, they could see failure. I was a burden to society, to anyone who gave me anything, to anyone who was trying to help me.
 I used to believe a good woman stayed in control. I protected other people from my real feelings, especially Mom and Dad. I couldn’t cry in front of them. I used to back down when challenged, never questioned authority. I was scared if I saw a police car. The worst thing would be to lose control. I had to accomplish something all the time. I felt guilty buying or doing things for myself. I only felt good when doing things for others.
 I wrote out all the negative beliefs that were going on in my head, and I decided I would challenge them all.
 New Beliefs
I am okay just the way I am, whatever space I’m in, whoever I’m around.
My clothes are okay. I will get new ones that reflect the real me as I figure it out.
It doesn’t matter what other people think of me, my clothes, job or no job, education or lack of it.
I have accomplished many things.
The work I do toward healing may not have immediate results, but it will help me integrate the whole me.
I am worthy.
I am valuable to myself, to others, and to the universe.
I have enough money right now.
Low energy tells me to take care of a part of me.
I am worth being given things, being helped, as I would give to anyone who was experiencing what I am.
I can contribute to society’s betterment by taking better care of me.
I am good for many things.
I am changing all the time.
No matter how good I am, I may not be accepted by others, so I will live only according to how I want to live.
Just because I work hard, I won’t necessarily be rewarded; it’s more important to enjoy being me.
I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations.
My needs and feelings are valid.
I can set limits and let people know what I think and feel.
I am learning to take care of myself.
I am not and don’t have to be perfect.
I am not hopeless, even if I sometimes feel that way.
I don’t have to be silent or withdraw around my family; I can be needy and upset around them; I am not responsible for their feelings if they are hurting; I don’t have to protect them.
The shame I feel is a message for me.
I don’t have to over-function, focus on someone else, ignore myself, put myself down, or smoke to control my feelings.
I will explore, express, and challenge my beliefs about who I am.
I don’t have to be in control around my family.
I deserve to have nice things, to buy myself good things.
I am creative.
Many things have changed for the better.
I can ask for help when I need it; it is not a sign of weakness.
Parts of me are wounded and need to be loved; those parts are okay, too.
When I look eighty years old, when I don’t know what is wrong or how to make it better, I need to put that part first and listen.
I don’t need to be fixed; I need attention, acceptance, and love.
I have determination and perseverance.
I deserve a holiday.
I can only be there for others when I’ve taken care of myself.
I had been meeting once a month with the Interagency Council of Survivor Services (ICSS) and the researcher who had been writing the report. The report was now ready, and a press conference had been scheduled to inform the public of the findings. I was asked to speak from a survivor’s point of view. The papers were shaking in my hands as I spoke:
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. When I was asked to represent survivors and read in this report of the staggering amount in Saskatoon and district that are or have been victims of child sexual abuse, I found that overwhelming – not unbelievable but overwhelming when I usually feel so alone. I can only speak for myself and my own experience.
 Society is bearing the cost of what my abusers did to me. I am on assistance. I am involved in the justice system to prosecute the abuser. The Department of Health funds doctor’s visits and programs I have been in because of the sexual abuse. I don’t want to be a drain on society.
Because of the abuse I experienced, I don’t have any money. I didn’t have the self-esteem to go to university, but I tried. Because of the after-effects of abuse, I can’t work right now. I had to withdraw from university earlier this year. I can look okay on the outside but no one knows what is going on inside.
 I have been on every waiting list in Saskatoon to get counselling for this. The earliest I was called was nine months. I was able to get into an agency that had a sliding fee scale, but when my counsellor went into private practice, $60 an hour was soon out of reach. I am now, because of lack of money, seeing my third counsellor. It’s not only hard to build up trust, but if I didn’t like my counsellor it would be back on the waiting lists, and I need long-term counselling now.
 The same waiting lists and lack of accessibility apply to group counselling, a place I know I can express to other survivors who understand what I could not express as a child.
 My marriage was affected by the abuse. I am no longer married. My children are affected by the nightmares, the grief, the despair, the days when I am reliving and re-experiencing what happened to me as a child. There are no supports in place for them. Everyone that I know has been affected by what happened to me. We need a library/resource centre for extended family members and the general public.
 The recommendation in the report for a safe home is what I need when I am experiencing a crisis. I am seldom in crisis when I am in a counsellor’s office. I am in crisis when I am dealing with the horror of memories, when I don’t feel safe alone because I was abused when I was alone, when I feel no hope that it’s ever going to get any better. Having a place to go where I wouldn’t be alone, where I’d be understood, would help me move forward faster.
 When I am in so much pain that my muscles go into spasms from body memories of the abuse, I know massage therapy would work. I don’t have the money. The abuse affected not only my physical body and my emotions, but my spirituality as well. The recommendation that a broad continuum of alternative and holistic approaches be considered as part of the healing process, makes total sense to me.
 I know I have to do most of the healing work on my own, and I am trying hard. I appreciate the services in Saskatoon that are in place, but there are gaps – when there are not enough counsellors to meet the need, when there is no coordination between existing services, when there is no place to go when in crisis, when there is not enough public awareness, when people don’t understand what I’m going through.
 I am excited that trained professionals in this area have taken a stand on sexual abuse and are working with survivors and members of the community to do something about it. I am excited that this report tells it like it is for survivors but goes beyond that to show how Saskatoon can have a program that will allow survivors the tools we need to empower ourselves.
 I learned a lot while I was preparing for this. Because of my fear of an abuser’s reprisal, I am still limited in what I can say. I ask all people who say sexual abuse or violence of any kind doesn’t affect them. I ask them to become informed and speak up for those of us who can’t.
I was glad I spoke. It was empowering. Reporters wanted interviews, but I wasn’t ready for that. They kept phoning me at home, asking who my abuser was and wanting an exclusive interview. I told them I had said all I wanted to say. The next morning at 7:50, I turned on the radio and heard my voice on CBC. Then the power went off. I started laughing, and said to my son, “Such power.” He found the whole thing embarrassing.
Two days after I spoke at the press conference, I couldn’t banish the thought that my father had abused me, too. A counsellor told me she thought I had Dissociative Identity Disorder. I didn’t want to hear it.
 I phoned my sister in Oiltown to see if I could visit her for the weekend. I got there only to find that my parents were arriving the next day. I curled up on a bed and started to cry. I felt I was going over the edge. I wondered if this is what going crazy was like, or if this was what people called a nervous breakdown. I didn’t know where I could go, what I could do. I might as well be put in a psychiatric ward – just give up, quit.
 I got through the first few hours of my parents’ visit because I had decided to return to Saskatoon. As I left, still crying, my father was standing by the car, saying, “What are you worried so much about?” and “You shouldn’t be driving when you’re in this shape.” I couldn’t answer. My sister followed me out of town to make sure I was okay.
 When I got home, I got out a map and started looking for places to move. I wanted to escape. I did a collage instead.
 My church lawyer phoned and told me that a survivor of Father Allinblack had had her living expenses paid by the church for thirteen months. The church wanted to discontinue the payments and make a settlement. The woman had not gone to the police.
 I was thinking more and more about the need for a self-help resource centre. I was sure that survivors would donate whatever they could in time, money, ideas, and help to each other. I debated going to our justice system’s victim’s compensation fund to ask for money for a building and a phone.
 I wrote in my journal, July 11, l994:
I hate how I’m feeling. No. I hate that I have no job, no career, no nothing – that I’m not happy with my friends, my family, myself – being down all the time, no energy, my head’s pounding. Anyone phones and I cry. No idea why I’m crying but know that’s the pressure in my head. Nothing appeals to me. No fucking energy or enthusiasm. What can I do?
I drove into the country and screamed and screamed and screamed in my car. When I finally stopped, all I saw was beauty: purple sow thistles in bloom, wild roses, cattails and baby’s breath. I vowed that the next time my head felt as if it was going to blow off and there was nowhere to go, I’d stand and scream in front of city hall.
 I had a three-day reprieve. July l5, l994: “So nice to have a glimpse of the freedom I may some day feel. Life is good. Life is exciting. Waiting to be discovered but I am exhausted.”
 Victim’s Compensation allowed me on a personal basis, a thousand dollars for counselling on the condition that, if I received money from a civil action, the thousand would have to be paid back to the Justice Department of the Government of Saskatchewan.
 I spent two weeks debating if I should attend a family reunion. I would have to sleep in my parent’s motor home with them. Was that crazy? Was family contact hurting me? Was I still being abused by their silence? Was I dissociating around them? How could I be near my father if he abused me?”
 In the end, I didn’t know if he had abused me. But I knew I was hurt, and he was somehow connected to it. I decided to go to the reunion, but I wasn’t going to keep silent about what I was going through. So I went. I tried talking to a cousin, but she just kept saying, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Nothing like that was ever in my family.”
 I came home and crashed big time. Other survivors listened and listened and somehow got me through it. I made a lot of decisions. I applied for a student loan to go back to university in the fall. I had four classes to complete and a semester to do my practicum in order to fulfill the requirements for a certificate in social work. I knew I would never be a Mary Kay skin care consultant again, and returned my remaining inventory. Once again Social Assistance did not mail me a mid-month cheque, so I had to go down and talk to them. I could never get through an interview with them without crying.
“Crying is singular, grief is plural,” a survivor told me. It fit.
 I tried going to a Catholic church again, but walked out after the sermon. I went to my once-a-month, two-day group therapy. Each woman had about ninety minutes to say anything she wanted. This was called our work. My work that month was really intense: “Started out talking about my worthlessness feelings, anger at Dad, how he talked down to me growing up. About what is my fault, masturbating my brother, jerking him off, in my mouth, the gum infections, losing all my teeth at age sixteen, my fear of losing my dentures now if I screamed. . . .”
 Back home after the weekend, I found an inventory of about 200 “feeling” words and terms. There were terms that described how I used to feel before my memories returned and didn’t think I would feel again: masked, lonely, religious, desire to escape, dominated, cowardly. There were words that described feelings I experienced now: genuine, independent, secure, sincere, supported, supportive, tolerant, understanding. Other terms characterized how I wished I felt more often: competent, connected to self, creative, grateful, humorous, passionate, pleased with self, able to have a sexual feeling. But how I was feeling most often those days was most accurately described by terms such as alienated from self, apathetic, frustrated, incompetent, isolated, melancholy, needy, old beyond her years, played out, exhausted, and grief-filled. Moreover, when I was at group therapy I had felt hurt, phoney, uncertain of self, weary of living, hopeless, and sad. And I knew there was a critic in my mind who was always feeling impatient, inadequate, a loser, pessimistic, sorry for herself, and useless. The inventory gave me a sense of having worked through a lot. I was healing in some ways – indeed, in many ways.
There were still some people telling me that all this was happening to make me a better person. One aunt said, “Just as a parent has to chastise their children, God is disciplining you for your wrongs.” I didn’t agree with her, but I did wonder if all this was part of a bigger picture, if I was being offered a chance to discover my wholeness, or a better understanding of the nature of God or the universe. I read book after book but never seemed to find any answers, just more questions. I made lists of my spiritual experiences: how I had felt the Holy Spirit come to me at my Confirmation when I was thirteen years old; how in my twenties I had sometimes felt God’s presence when I prayed; how I could enter states of total peace after I learned to meditate. Many times in the previous two years, I had felt that everything was part of a bigger picture that I would understand some day. I wondered if all the people who had listened to me were angels. Many people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, had given me angels, or cards with angels on them. When I was small, I had always prayed:
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
In whom God’s love commits me here.
Ever this night be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
When my memories came back, I was disillusioned with that angel, and angry. The first line would come into my head, and I’d think, “Where the fuck were you?” When I did visualizations, I could picture, and even feel, a white light coming into my body at the top of my head. It gave me a sense of well-being, a fleeting, one-with-the-world feeling that I felt sometimes when I saw a beautiful sunset or an exquisite wildflower. It was the same feeling I got when I understood some inner wisdom and had it confirmed by something I read. That felt spiritual to me. The connections I felt with a few other people, and with my present counsellor, seemed to be a meeting of souls.
 I reread some of my journals and saw a pattern emerging that echoed some of the reading I was doing. I tried to capture the pattern in what I called a circle of life. It had four phases
 My Circle of Life
 This circle kept going round and round (always counter-clockwise, for some reason) as I dealt with issue after issue.
I called the first phase FEELING OKAY. Everything is right in my world. Feel natural,okay, genuine, calm. I am being, balanced emotions, physically fine, feel supported and supportive, independent, competent, involved,optimistic, unrestrained, self-reliant, humorous, sincere, secure and contented.
The second phase was DARKNESS DESCENDS. Back and neck tension, lose energy, uptight, feel powerless, worthless. Needy, frustration, fear, futureless, restrained. As if I become these feelings, they are me. The more I fight it, the more it intensifies. Alienated from myself. I am learning and growing but doesn’t feel that way. Weary of living. Depression. Old beyond my years, horror. Dark night of the soul, shadow appears, feel I’m now nothing; will never again be inspired. Body aches all over. Hopeless, exhausted, isolated, uncertain of self, pessimistic, like a loser, totally inadequate. Dream of abuse. Hurt. Deadness, destruction.
The third phase was BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND. Feel a shift, let go, something changes, feels like a death, at mercy of something bigger than I. Dreams of death and confrontation. Memories may appear. Feel raw, vulnerable, exposed but eyes wide open and facing everything as it is. Release. Express emotion. Conscious. Grief filled, Sad, Rage, Anger perspective and insight -see meaning behind the pain. Inner knowing. New level of understanding. Recognize. Accept. Integration. Separating from the hurt I don’t feel will go away creates the anger. Healing the hurt through sadness and tears.
The fourth phase was FEELING ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Clear vision, birth or rebirth. I declare a fresh truth. Manifest an unforeseen aspect of myself. Feel free of old stuff. Relieved. Can breathe freely. Tension gone. Can relax. New kinds of energy. Doors seem to open. New possibilities. Creative expression. Feel in charge of my life. Transformed. Know fully who I am. New level of being. Feel peaceful, grateful, passionate, rewarded, sunshiny, youthful, proud, and pleased with self, excited about life. Happiness. Fulfillment.
Sometimes I’d be in the Darkness or the Beginning to Understand phase for days; sometimes for a month; sometimes for an hour. Most times I revisited the same issues over and over, hoping it was at a new level, as people assured me it was, even though it didn’t feel that way when I was in it.
Another survivor asked if I would take over facilitating the New Hope group I had been attending. The original one had become two groups, each with a long waiting list. I agreed. All I had to do was make sure the room was booked, have the keys to open it, make sure everyone was comfortable with our guidelines, and have a brief check-in on how everyone was feeling at the moment. After everyone who wanted to had had a chance to share, each one checked out again about how they were feeling right then. At the end, I locked up.
 The first night, a man and woman walked in. They were both survivors wanting a group. They had been referred to us by counsellors. It was my unpleasant task to tell them that our group was closed. It couldn’t get any bigger. I said I would put them on the waiting list. Two more groups were needed right then.
 I started university in the fall. Survivors started to phone more often, wondering what would happen at the trial. I visited my daughter over the long weekend in September. She had been using drugs, and was talking about suicide again. By the second week of classes, I was beginning to crash. I knew from experience that whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would get a sinus infection and a cold. I got it. I couldn’t get in to see my regular doctor. I told the one I did see that, if my sinuses were infected, I wanted an antibiotic. If they weren’t, I didn’t want anything. He made the mistake of asking me what else was happening in my life. I started crying. How could I tell him anything? I wouldn’t have known where to start. He wrote out a prescription for tranquillizers. When I said I didn’t want it, he asked, “Well, then, what do you want?” I wanted a prescription for antibiotics, but I couldn’t get it until, a week later and with acute sinusitis, I went to see another doctor.
 My daughter was angry with her father and me, blaming us for what was happening to her. When I agreed, she responded with “Who cares?” or “Whatever” to anything I said. I understood her anger at me, but I was afraid she felt no one cared about her. I was afraid she felt unloved, that she’d see suicide as the only option. I wanted her to feel my love for her. I wanted her to share her life with me. I wanted to hear her ideas about what she wished I had done differently in the past two years. But these things were up to her.
 Attending classes or writing essays was the only time my life didn’t feel chaotic, but I was falling behind. At night, I was dreaming about my father, my brothers, Allinblack, my childhood, my marriage. During the day, my daughter was always on my mind.
 That summer, my counsellor and I had started beginning each weekly session with a relaxation exercise. Within minutes, I would go into something similar to a trance. During those times my deepest feelings would emerge. Before the session ended, I would visualize a stained glass window where I would store that particular fear or pain so that I wouldn’t take it home with me. I would put the feeling in the window and surround the glass with lead so it couldn’t get out. At the next session I would decide which part of the window I wanted to deal with. Of course, it didn’t always work out that way. It scared me when something unexpected came, but I’d tell myself that my subconscious was only bringing out what I was ready to handle.
 At one session, all I could picture was Allinblack coming near a little girl. I knew it was me, but it didn’t feel like me. I wanted to scream, but my voice wouldn’t work. Then the image changed to an older girl lying on a bed, and I could see Stretch abusing her. The girl was paralyzed in her mind, but her body was vibrating. So was mine. I couldn’t stop my legs from shaking. I was scared of where it was going. All of a sudden, I realized my body was behaving as if I were sexually aroused. Instantly, everything shut down. After that session, I tried to confine the feeling in the stained glass window, but I was disoriented; I couldn’t understand what had happened. I had to sit in an empty room until I felt able to catch my bus. When my son saw me after a session like that, with a ravaged look and my face swollen from crying, he would say it looked like “the devil on my face.”
 I believed that the key to getting to the other side of the pain was to express the emotions it had not been safe to express when I was being abused. I felt my daughter was in the same kind of pain. If I didn’t go through it, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to help her.
 Survivors and their parents were phoning to see if I knew anything about the trial. I didn’t, and I was in no shape to call the prosecutor. I tried to talk to family and friends. Some would suggest pills. Others would tell me to stop dwelling on it. One woman said I was not spending enough time with God. I could clear a room by talking or crying. One friend suggested that the taboo was not sexual abuse per se, but talking about it.
My daughter decided to move in with my son and I in October l994. She was in rough shape. I went back into adult mode, as I had when she had her accident. It allowed me to catch up on my classes and take a break from all the emotion. I was trying to decide where I wanted to do my four-month practicum for my social work certificate. Tamara’s House, an organization for sexual abuse survivors, had suggested the idea of community development. A practicum for them would involve furthering their goals toward providing a safe home for survivors in crisis, developing a drop-in/resource centre, organizing funding, administration work, and networking with other agencies and organizations that provided services for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It would be a real development project. It appealed to me.
 I received a letter from the crown prosecutor, dated October 27, l994 where he told me that over the past few weeks he had been involved in discussions with the legal counsel for Allinblack, with regards to possible resolution of this case. He said at this time, Father Allinblack indicated that he is prepared to plead guilty to fifteen out of the seventeen charges that he currently faces. He ended the letter advising that this matter is tentatively scheduled to be dealt with in Saskatoon on Monday, November 28, l994 at l0:00 a.m. He will be sentenced at that time, hopefully to a period of custody in a Federal penitentiary for his involvement in these matters.
He phoned as well, informing me that my case was one of the fifteen. Allinblack would not plead guilty to intercourse, but only to molestation. One of the cases had been withdrawn. In another case, there would be no plea, but the prosecutor gave no reason. The crown would be asking for a three-year sentence, but that would be up to the judge.
 I met with my church lawyer regarding the civil case. She explained how an examination for discovery works, how we would question Allinblack and representatives of the church, and they, in turn, could examine or question me to see what kind of witness I would be. My lawyer also talked about the pre-trial conference, where 85% of civil cases are settled: a judge listens to the evidence and states the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. In our case, a trial would determine if the church was liable for fiduciary duty, and whether the compensation asked for was realistic. I knew my lawyer was representing nine of Allinblack’s survivors. I also knew most of them did not understand what was going on, for they kept phoning me to find out what was happening and where they stood. I didn’t understand a lot of it myself, and once again I found myself wondering who had appointed me leader of this group.
 I received a copy of the claim, and was told it would be filed as soon as the criminal trial was over. My lawyer planned on filing mine and one other in Saskatoon, where the media could pick up on it if they chose. The others would be filed elsewhere, without publicity.
 I phoned a lot of women who supported me and asked them to attend the trial, and managed to purge a lot of emotion at the same time. In the event, two men and thirty-three women came to support me. Many family members came as well. Allinblack was there, of course. Fifteen charges were read. The defence lawyer pleaded guilty on the priest’s behalf. The crown spoke of the after-effects of sexual abuse, quoting from the victim impact statements. I heard my dead sister Louise’s name mentioned three times.
 The judge sentenced Allinblack to three years in prison, based on the joint recommendation of the crown and the defence. Once again, it was all very low-key. My church lawyer introduced me to a colleague who had joined her on the case. They assured us the civil suit would be filed soon, and asked us not to speak to the media. For the rest of the day, I told the reporters who called to call my lawyer.
I read the press reports with little interest or emotion. The local paper reported that Allinblack received a three-year sentence from a Queen’s Bench Justice, who said he simply could not understand why Allinblack acted as he did. The story went on to detail Allinblack’s preferred methods of abuse – he “assaulted the girls in churches, schools, and often in their own homes as he held them on his lap, their parents only an arm’s length away; that he slid his hand into the girls’ panties and would touch their genitals or penetrate them with his finger and stated that, before sentencing, Allinblack apologized to his victims and to other priests for the embarrassment he’s caused. At the defence lawyer’s request, the judge recommended that Alllinblack serve his term in a provincial jail rather than a federal penitentiary. He would be eligible for day parole in six months, and full parole after a year.
 The same issue carried a report of our civil suit, reiterating much of the previous story but going into greater detail about the after-effects of sexual abuse: “One woman said she’s lost her faith, her soul, her childhood, self-esteem, and religion. Other victims agreed the experience had made it difficult for them to raise their children as Catholics. A diocesan spokesperson assured the paper that the church felt very badly about the people who have been victimized and was trying to take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
 The following day, the same paper carried a story on Allinblack’s sentence. A therapist with a service agency was quoted as saying a three-year prison sentence was hardly appropriate for crimes that can cause a lifetime of anguish: The counsellor was quoted as saying, “For survivors, by and large, it is a life sentence.” The story again reiterated the details of the case, quoting the diocesan spokesperson again, and made the point that “more recognition of the extent of damage to victims is needed,” as some victims “become unable to function in society.”
 My father was pleased that it was finally in the press, because there were many people who still doubted that anything had happened at all. Indeed, a woman passed on to me a somewhat confusing letter she had received from an anonymous writer. Here it is, verbatim:
OPINION FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH In REGARD to an Article in Nov. 30 paper re PRIEST SENTENCE criticized With all Due Respect to therapist’s Opinions, I would want to differ in Many respects, and submit that the sentence imposed was sufficient, in light of my experience with the matter.
Being related by marriage to some of the victims, I do not wish to release my name or the names of the so called victims.
Our family of 3 boys and 4 girls grew up with and attended the same country schools and the same catechism classes as the claimants or victims with Father Allinblack as our Pastor.
Despite all that has been said these claimants, were Princes of Girls that is till their late teens and early twenty’s, along came the sexual lib’s of the 70’s, many turned into baiting married men, causing marriage break ups to no end. In other words creating their own hell on earth.
Thus in effort to divert their guilt 30 years later they get flashbacks and make a scapegoat of the priest. Also a pretence for GREED in launching a lawsuit and of which many in our DISTRICT regard as a big money SCAM.
Our 4 daughters also had similar experiences with touching, and bum pinching, which is now unacceptable, was also done by some parents, in loving and in compassionate ways which Fr. Allinblack was.
To our daughters we taught them that it was a learning experience, in weakness of the flesh, and we are proud to say that of our married children, they are all married for from 30, 29, 27, 24,l 8 with no split ups Thank the Lord l2 Grandchildren 8 Great Grandchildren Married l0, 7 ,4, and l years. “The Divorce Gene passes to the next generation.” One of our Daughters is helping me do this article and am printing as my writing is too shaky.
As to the Therapist, I would suggest that many of her patients had a contributing factor in making their own Hell on Earth so to speak. As for the $400 Million Plus Dollars U.S.A. All Denominational Lawsuit SCAM’S It seems to be creeping this way to Canada and who gains is the Lawyers’.
Thus my Husband and I submit that in light of Fr. Allinblack’s admission of guilt we feel that the sentence imposed was more than just and sufficient.
As a Censor Sask. Parishioner said of Fr. Allinblack that he was a compassionate “Prince of a Man” and little girls crowded around him.
Christianity is carrying ones burden, THE CROSS, accepting our fallen nature, with FORGIVENESS to others, especially the vindictiveness of those women and Fr. Allinblack’s admitted guilt. And in silence to a priest by vow of secrecy he carries the misdeeds of l000’s of parishioners on his shoulders in the last 45 years of priesthood.
My lawyer, too, had received letters asking why these women couldn’t just forget about it and leave the poor priest alone. I could only shake my head.
For two days following court, all I could think about was my sister Louise. The second day, a woman called to ask if I would make another presentation at the annual Speak Out Against Violence gathering, possibly giving an update on my situation now that the trial was over. Right away, I sat down and wrote six pages. I called it “Louise’s Life”. It was given as follows:
This past Monday, Father Allinblack, still a priest, pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting me and fourteen other women. I cried while I sat in the courtroom. My sister Louise’s name was mentioned about four times in court on Monday. My sister Louise is dead. I want to speak on her behalf.
 I was born in l955. Louise was born in l958. I have very few memories of her because I can’t remember most of my childhood, but I can now picture her really little, two or three, really cute, chubby, curly black hair and happy-go-lucky.
 The picture changed. I have another memory that came back – me backed against a wall, all stiff, watching Allinblack, the priest, hold Louise on his knee, with his hands inside her skort. That’s what she was wearing – a skort. We called it that because the skirt attached to the panties. He sexually abused her while I stood in fear and watched.
 Louise changed after that. She wasn’t happy-go-lucky anymore. She wet her bed continually. She tried to run away at age eight. She acted out. When she was twelve years old, she was raped by a van load of older guys after a school function. When she was in grade eight, thirteen years old, she quit school, ran away to Swift Current, and within a year was engaged to a thirty-four-year-old man. Drinking was a problem for her. She ended the engagement and got a job as a waitress. When she was sixteen she became an unwed mother. She kept her baby. A year or so later she married a guy she had known for about three months. She had another child. The marriage broke down. She continually struggled to support her kids. She was a waitress, a cook, a barmaid. Society shunned her. She was a divorcee. Some said she was a nymphomaniac; she went from relationship to relationship, each one worse than the last. People tell me now she was prostituting. She may have been. She gave her kids up once to foster care when she couldn’t handle it all. She got them back. She moved from place to place searching for a better life. She got her G.E.D. and took a one-year office education course. She got work in a bank, but she was in the worst abusive relationship she had ever been in.
She was battered. She was bruised. She appeared at work with black eyes. Her partner ran down her clothes, what she looked like. She had to report in to him- he who never worked. She had to run to a coffee shop at every coffee break and every noon hour of every working day and phone him. This was ten years ago.
 She tried to speak out. She charged him once, but he threatened to kill her kids. She dropped the charges. She stole a neighbour’s truck once and tried to get away. She went to doctors, counsellors, therapists, the police, and the church for help. No one knew what her problem was, but they all considered it her problem. She went to neighbours. One night she ran barefoot through the snow to a neighbour’s house to borrow ketchup because her partner needed it now.
 In February of l984, Louise died. She was in a truck driven by her partner at l00 kilometres an hour down a highway not far from here. She either jumped out and committed suicide because she couldn’t bear it any more or he pushed her out. The police had no evidence against him. Either way, she died because of violence against women and children.
 Four days after she died, I helped sort out her things. What I will never forget is the fourteen jars of cover-up, in all shapes and sizes, green and yellow, concealers – she needed them to cover the bruises – and a shoebox full of prescription drugs, pills for depression.
Is this what life is about?

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