Dating man sexually abused child
David France talks to a few brave men—and the women who married them—who have shattered their silence, faced their traumas, and taken their first steps toward healing.Donna Mertrud fell for Ray Skettini when she was only 17.
'" Poring over her textbooks, she came to believe that her husband had been sexually abused. Confirmation, however, didn't come until one afternoon that spring."But my self-esteem really was depleting, because I thought, 'What's wrong with me?' It was something that I was very persistent about, trying to get to 'why.' There was a thorn in our marriage, and I needed to find out what it was." The more she challenged him about it, however, the worse things got."So many people said to me, 'Donna, go have an affair! Then in the fall of 2001, Donna returned to college to finish her degree in education.One course in particular, on the psychology of human relations, spoke directly to her.Ultimately Hanley admitted to sexually abusing some 12 child parishioners (although a statute of limitations kept him out of jail), and the diocese paid out a multimillion-dollar settlement to 21 of his victims, including Ray. "After a brief exchange, Ray responded, "Jim Hanley, you still never got all the help you needed."Hanley agreed: "I love you, Ray, and I hope you forgive me, babe.""Oh, I don't know if I can forgive anything anymore," Ray answered calmly.
Because Hanley wasn't required to register as a sex offender when he moved to a new neighborhood, Ray and Donna agreed to help leaflet the streets with warnings. Today Donna and Ray are still digging themselves out from the past, attending individual and couples therapy sessions twice a week (which the church pays for as part of a legal settlement) and making an effort to be frank with each other.
While Ray busied himself in the kitchen, Donna turned on The Oprah Show and found several young men talking about having been abused by their priests.
She stood in stunned silence when she recognized one of the offenders: Father James Hanley—the same priest who had performed their marriage and two years later baptized their first child."Then I heard this tiny voice coming from the kitchen," she says.
It isn’t an easy task to admit to yourself the abuse you suffered and actually disclose this information.
Jerry, a reader who was abused by his Mother for six years as a child, denied he was being abused and stated that his Mother did the sexual acts because she was showing her love for him.
If you can relate to one or more of the types of abuse listed in the ‘what is abuse? One of the biggest problems facing adults who were victims of child abuse is denial.