CFFP Board President Dr. Jaime Romo shares a remembrance of Barbara Blaine, who died on Septermber 24, 2017 at the age of 61. Ms. Blaine founded the advocacy group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
In 2002, as an assistant professor at a Catholic university, I attended a conference on the East Coast just as reports of clergy sexual abuse were breaking in the Boston Globe. The stories sparked my own repressed memories of having been groomed and sexually abused by my pastor and his diocesan employee friend some 30 years prior.
These memories were uninvited, unwelcome, and overwhelming. I had no idea how to move forward at the time. Fortunately, I was connected with the Los Angeles gathering of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
That experience begin a tumultuous and powerful learning, growing, and healing process that led me to become an organizational consultant specializing in trauma-informed care. I also began to educate and help others as a United Church of Christ Minister for Healing and Healthy Environments. Today, I am honored to serve as President of the board of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, whose mission is to end religiously enabled child abuse and neglect.
Barbara Blaine was a courageous and tenacious advocate for those physically, emotionally, and spiritually harmed by religious authorities. I was inspired by her example of advocacy. I learned from her greatness and from her flaws. I and thousands, perhaps millions, are living better lives because of her work. In the same way, the CFFP will work with all who wish to end child maltreatment, particularly under the mantle of religious beliefs and practices.