Author Ted Slowik

I learned quite a bit from Barbara Blaine.

Blaine founded the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests that first met in 1988 at a Holiday Inn in Orland Park. She died Sunday at age 61

I thought she helped give voice to thousands of adults who summoned the courage to confront the sexual abuse they endured as children.

From Blaine I learned what it means to be a survivor instead of a victim. She also helped show me that truth will prevail despite the best efforts to conceal it.

We weren’t friends, just professional acquaintances. I first got to know her in 2002, when she was president of SNAP. At the time, I was a reporter investigating past incidents of sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which includes Will County.

As depicted in the Oscar-winning movie, “Spotlight,” this was a time when a Boston Globe investigation revealed the widespread scope of the issue. It was difficult enough to comprehend that children were sexually abused by trusted clerics.

It was overwhelming to realize church hierarchy tried to maintain secrecy by reassigning abusers and attempting to discredit accusers who stepped forward.

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