Diana McCartney – My Story
Submitted by Diana McCartney
My story begins in 1967 when I was 8 years old and my family moved to Chapleau, Ontario. My Mother was Catholic and Father was Anglican … we were raised Anglican; even though my Father never attended church. It was during Sunday school that I was sexually assaulted by our church minister Ken Gibbs. I did tell my mother and suddenly he and his family moved away. As a child, I thought he was possibly in jail as he had done something bad, and my mother did confront him and the Bishop, and now he was gone. I felt relief that he would no longer be around and I went on with my “normal” life.
I didn’t realize until I was an adult and married that I realized how I was affected. I was married at 17 and had 3 children by the time I was 22 years old to an abusive man which I finally left. I attended nursing school with 3 children. I guess that helped me to stay focused on my life. In our small town, there were not many support groups and I did find some comfort in attending AL-anon, even though alcohol was not the problem in our marriage. I also attended the “Family Program” at Camilus Centre in Elliot Lake on 3 different occasions through the years to help deal with the abuse and dysfunction in my life.
After I met my present husband, it was then that I found out that my childhood abuser was not only a free man but had continued to abuse children. I had seen his name mentioned on CTV news and I thought I was going to pass out. I immediately called the O.P.P. and asked to speak to the investigating officer. The long 8 year court case began. More victims had come forward. I was devastated that not only did the church let me down but were responsible for so many more victims that could have been prevented. It was then that I met Jacquline Wood from Victims Services in Sault St. Marie, ON. She was one of my greatest supports during the court process and continues to be available even today. Our abuser was found guilty. He went to jail for 2 years…got out…died shortly after.
As survivors, we became a support for each other. Namita has remained a close friend to this day … she was instrumental in contacting Thomson Rogers, and our journey through the courts in our suit against St. John’s Anglican Church/Algoma/Moosenee Diocese. Craig Brown was our lawyer. He made every effort to arrange any support or services to us during this time. I remember a doctor ( I can’t remember his name but he said he worked with concussion patients). He explained my life decisions in a way I had not realized until then. The pieces of the puzzle were coming together. During those years I was also attending college for Social Service. The events I had been through definitely helped me understand and receive honors in the program.
So I guess it’s been a combination of my 3 children, 8 beautiful grandchildren, self-determination and angels along the way…that assisted me along the way.
Thanks for being one of the angels…