February 2016

HEALING VOICES – FEBRUARY 2016 V1 N1

OUR INAUGURAL ISSUE

By Mike Hoffman

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My name is Mike Hoffman. I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest. I am a practicing Catholic and a devoted husband and father to two beautiful teenaged children. In the pages of this newsletter you will find courageous voices of survivors of clergy abuse. It is our mission to reconcile ourselves to the harm done to us. In so doing, it is our hope that other survivors of any kind of abuse or trauma may feel free to open up and talk about it with others. Finding our voices is therapeutic and vital to the healing process. This is why we call our newsletter: “Healing Voices.” Thank you for your interest in this topic.

Each of our contributors will tell their own story as a part of their personal healing journey when they are ready. My healing journey began in 2006 when I told my wife of 12 years at that time, my story of childhood sexual abuse. I consider it my primary act of recovery. My efforts to find healing and hope from underneath devastating sadness and pain involves many people and is closely intertwined with the same Church who allowed my abuser to stay in ministry at the time. I write for this newsletter for my own therapeutic benefit, but also to add my name, face and voice to help heal the wounds of abuse. I hope to provide leadership and vision on this difficult issue, especially as it has affected our Church and society at large.  I am overjoyed to be associated with other motivated abuse survivors who are willing to “put themselves out there” to strive for healing and reconciliation in their lives and in the overall life of the Church.

I am the owner of a small orthopedic product distribution business. I volunteer my time at our local parish, St. Mary of the Woods, in the Edgebrook neighborhood on the far northwest side of the city of Chicago. I am the author of a book entitled: Acts of Recovery. The Story of One Man’s On-Going Healing from Sexual Abuse by a Priest. I serve as a Board member of Prevent Child Abuse – Illinois. Additionally, I serve on the Hope and Healing Committee of the Archdiocese of Chicago — a group of abuse survivors, priests and staff from the Archdiocese of Chicago who reach out to abuse victims and their families to help ease the pain and heartache they face each and every day.

“Healing Voices” offers a safe place for you to come to know the creative and heartfelt ways abuse survivors wish to add to discussion of ways to change the Church and ways to change our society to make it a better place for all. We welcome your comments and constructive ideas to make “Healing Voices” better and better each edition. We invite you to join us on our healing journey.

SPECIAL FEATURES
Who Are We? What Do We Have to Offer?
Who Am I? And How the Voices and Faces Project Can Help Self-Discovery

REGULAR FEATURES
Review: It Takes a Village … to Abuse a Child and to Heal an Adult
Survivor Story: Just a Story, Like So Many Stories of Wounded Healers
Profile: A Leader and Friend among Unsung Leaders and Friends in the Church

One Degree: A Survivor Reflects on his Wife’s Companionship through Healing.
Ministry: A Priest Reflects on his Ministry for and with Survivors.