July 15, 2012
Child sex abuse victims discuss moving on
"Ebensburg native’s book discusses priest’s misconduct
The public has been focused for months on Jerry Sandusky and Penn State's handling of his sordid activities with young boys. Now attention is moving to what happens next - focusing on the victims of child abuse and their healing.
Brian Gergely of Ebensburg is in the process of publishing a book about his experiences, "The Last Altar Boy." It is about his struggles to overcome the abuse he suffered as a child from the very priest who baptized him.
His book centers on "his journey to forgive."
Gergely calls his book "positive," saying it outlines his main theme -that it is possible to have a good life despite abuse that occurred so many years ago.
"It's a different route [to healing], instead of going to hell," Gergely, 42, said.
Gergely's message to the victims is that they are all young, and, with help, "The sky's the limit."
He said his life has been "a wild experience. ... At the beginning, it was the end. At the end it was the beginning."
Gergely's message is much the same as that from survivors Matt Bodenschatz, a Penn State student and spokesman for the Voices For Victims Campaign, and Christian Anderson, the president of MaleSurvivor of Washington, D.C.
Anderson said he is a survivor of abuse, but he said it took 20 years for him to talk about what happened and to deal with the issues.
If victims find the courage to speak up and get help, "it is possible for every survivor to heal," he said.
"It can take a lifetime to work through these issues. ... That's not to say you can't recover from it ... that you can't lead a successful life," he said Friday."