Barbara Blaine, Founder of SNAP

Snap Conference

I had the tremendous honor to attend the 2016 Annual SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Conference in Chicago. While not a victim of abuse by the clergy, this organization welcomed and embraced me as a survivor of sexual abuse by a predator. I would not have thought it possible, even six months ago, to be in a room with hundreds of other survivors – over 350 from forty states and twelve countries - all striving to work through their trauma while, simultaneously, trying to incur change on behalf of others. It was like being in a foreign country and coming into contact with someone from the States. It matters not which state the person hails; you just feel that euphoria, the instant sense of connection, that comfort that you are not alone; there is someone like me who understands. That’s what this conference was like for me. Every conversation I had was predicated on a tacit understanding of one another on a level that transcends language, socio-economic, cultural, or religious beliefs. An instant brotherhood and sisterhood.

The speakers ranged from the real life stars of the Oscar winning movie Spotlight, survivor Phil Saviano and lawyer Mitch Garabedian, to the Executive Director at the Spectrum Center for Integrative Neuroscience in Chicago, Lukasz Konopka who spoke about the neuroscience of trauma, and the national expert in SOL reform Marci Hamilton. 

Marci Hamilton, Attorney & SOL Reformer

Doreen & Tony Jannotta, Lifelong friends and supporters of mine. Great to see them!

Given my quest to eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations, Marci’s presentation was of particular interest. She explained that states that have successfully eliminated the SOL have done so by citizens holding their political representatives accountable. She implored us to question our politicians as to where they stand on the issue of SOL reform and pointedly ask them if they support the victims or the predators because they can’t support both. I ask that during this political season you ask your politician who it is they support. To follow the SNAP mission mantra: Stand up. Speak out.