Cardinal Law is dead. His legacy of trauma isn’t.
By Melanie Blow
First published in Medium
Twenty one years ago, almost to the day, a man who sexually abused me for four years died. I still remember the electric jolt of happiness, relief, and triumph I felt when I heard the news.
As I read about Cardinal Law’s death, my mind wandered back to that day. It is impossible to know how much child sexual abuse and trauma Cardinal Law condoned. The Boston Globe’s famous Spotlight investigation into clergy sexual abuse condoned by Law concluded that roughly a hundred sexually abusive priests were allowed to sexually abuse more than a thousand children.
A thousand sexual abuse victims is staggering, but that doesn’t represent all of the damage Law put into motion.
My story didn’t start with the uncle who sexually abused me. It didn’t even start with my father, my first rapist. Looking at my story through the lens of intergenerational trauma, my story started with the priest who sexually abused my mother.