About fourteen years ago, I was having one of those periods in a teen’s life where one feels lost and conflicted. Living away from my family, and as always, I turned to my usual refuge - the confession.

This particular day however, for reasons I can’t remember now, I have decided to go to a different parish and have my confession there.

It started out ok, normal I guess. Then the priest turned friendly, very friendly, in fact. He asked me to stay, as he wanted to talk to me more. After finishing the last two confessants, he talked to me again, giving me words of encouragement. I welcomed the opportunity to be able to talk to someone who didn’t judge me; in fact he made me feel special by listening to me. When I said it was time for me to go home, he invited me to go back next Thursday (or was it Friday?) to meet some of his young friends.

I went back as promised, and I met two of his young friends – they were probably around 16 or 17 at that time. But I was surprised to learn that we are actually going to a resort, just the four of us. When I complained that I wasn’t prepared for it, he said he got it all covered, he bought new swimming trunks for me.

At the resort, I remember it was all surreal for me – three boys and a priest, playing. I was confused and amazed at the same time, to see that priest are humans too. For someone who wanted to be a priest someday, that was a welcome thought. It means I could be a priest and not be serious and grumpy all the time.

Looking back, I should have been alarmed with the accidental touches on me, and the not so accidental touches on the other boys. But with the beer given to us, and the fact that we were having fun, I made it all pass.

When it was time to go home, we dropped the other two boys off and since it was too late for me to go home (way past my curfew, and I was drunk already), he offered for me to sleep at the parish. I remember being awed, being inside the priests’ quarters and when showed that they have two refrigerators (aside from the one in the kitchen) – one for chocolates and other desserts and one for drinks, beer, soft drinks, name it.

So he made me drink some more. And I was so amazed, here I am drinking as much alcohol as I want with a priest, when back home we are told that drinking is not good. Then from there on, it was all blurry to me.

I remember at some point, we went to his room to sleep. He put me to bed, and told me I should sleep ahead as he still needs to prepare for his sermon the next day. I remember he tried to kiss me, and I turned my head away. He let it pass and he went to work on his bed side table.

Sometime during the night, I felt it happen. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I am sure in my head I said NO but I am not sure if I said NO enough. I remember I tried to stand, but the next thing I remember, I was sitting on the chair and he was kneeling in front of me. Then it was blank again. Next thing I remember, I was on the floor on my back and he was sitting on top of me. And I remember him say “God gave you a beautiful gift, you should share it...” and “You’re way better than my boyfriend...” And I think I asked who, and he said the name of the boy we were with awhile ago. And everything else was blank.

Those words stayed with me because as an insecure boy, it made me feel special.

The next morning, he woke me up telling me he has to say mass. And he invited me to attend. And as I was sitting there, I felt conflicted seeing hundreds of people kneeling in front of this man who was just hours ago kneeling in front of me.

But worst of all, that morning, I felt guilty for I believe I have betrayed God.

And I was never the same after that.

I was a conflicted boy. Was I abused? Can you call it abuse when all I felt was physical pleasure and no pain at all? Can it be rape when none of my body part was penetrated?

Was it my fault? Did I bring it upon myself?

And the only way I knew to cope is to try to forget that it all happened. He saw me again outside the church a few weeks after, and he asked me to come back. I never came back to that church until 9 years later.

In my effort to try to forget, I stopped going to mass. Every time I see people kneeling in front of a priest, I remember that feeling that morning after. Feelings of shame, of guilt, and hatred.

But try as I might, I can’t get away from it. Even when I try to be intimate with someone I love, I am reminded of that night.

Five years ago, stories of clergy abuse started to hit the news. So I decided to go back and face him, and finally end all of this. I want to tell him that I forgive him, but he has to promise not to do it with other boys again. I felt I needed that to be able to forgive myself.

I was told he was assigned to another parish, so I asked to talk to the head parish priest who, under the sanctity and secrecy of the confession, I told my story. But I got the shock of my life; I was told that there is nothing that they can do unless I am willing to make public my complaint. Since I wasn’t ready that time, I left Iloilo and promised never to go back to that church again. For me, I did my part. Although inside me, I knew there would be other boys who would go through the same experience.

Until that fateful day of March 12, 2011 happened. A boy was abused by a game show host on national television.
I felt compelled to explain that my reaction to that incident has no relation to my own abuse, but I realized it doesn’t really matter. My actions are no less meaningful just because I have issues with abuse myself. On the contrary, it would show that my reaction was nothing personal to the host, but the incident was personal for me.

After that, emails and messages stated to pour in. Hate mails I can ignore, but stories of abuse after abuse came to light, asking me to do something about it. And I was actually ready to take on this advocacy head on.

Except that inside me, that incident made me feel like I was a fake. How can I fight for other victims when I wasn’t able to fight for my personal battle? How can I tell the boy it was not his fault, when up to now I wasn’t really able to convince myself that it wasn’t my fault? How can I tell the boy that he shouldn’t be ashamed, when I am living in shame all my life?

So I have decided to do this. I need to do this. Writing has always helped me cope with things. I have initially wanted to just share this with a few friends but knowing that they have used my fear of shame to silence me before, I have decided to come clean this time.

I am not ashamed of letting an adult take advantage of me when I was young, it wasn’t my choice. What I am ashamed of is that it took me 14 long years to stop being a victim. What I am ashamed of is living with the fact that there are other boys out there who were abused by this priest too. To them, I say sorry.

And I hope with this, I am doing the right thing. I hope with this, somehow, I am able to right those wrongs.

I am not a perfect person, I have my (more than?) fair share of mistakes, but I wouldn’t let that fact stop me from doing what I feel is right.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds


  1. mabuhay ka, froilan!! saludo kami sa iyo, sampu ng catw at ysage. i am sharing my own testimony with you, published by manila bulletin: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150130791333552.

    all my love,

  2. it's not your fault froi, i can prove it to you if you're willing to listen this time.

    well, it's not the priest's fault also, so there's no one to forgive...it doesn't make sense right? you need to get outside of what you know to see it.

    it happened to me also, not to a priest but almost the same story. it's just a part of my past and it doesn't affect me anymore for a long time.

    would you listen now?

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I was also abused by a priest when I was an altar boy, but I am not yet ready to face him.

    But you are an inspiration. Thank you.

  4. Thank you for sharing your stories too Ms. Jean. You are truly an inspiration.

  5. Anonymous, when you are ready, there are people willing to listen and to help.

  6. This revelation seemed likely to have happened given what you are doing these days. In our first general meeting I remember one of the members relating how the dancing boy's humiliation triggered his own past of being humiliated. It's a powerful piece and it only upsets me more that priests had and still have protection from the church when they commit child abuse.

  7. Froilan, the priest abused you. He committed the wrongdoing, the crime! It must have been an excruciating experience... Even now the effects of trauma ( Posttraumatic Stress Disorder )caused by this evil-doing person continues in you and others similarly abused. I suggest you remind yourself that it was never your fault. He took advantage of your youthful innocence.

    Also, I invite you to shift your mind and thoughts from victim mode to survivor to thriving, to victor. Your essay / blog is a major step in that process and your inner healing.

    God bless you.


  8. i don't unerstand. i agree it is not froilan's fault. but why is it not the priest's fault?
    i say, face the priest. whatever it takes. tell him how it has affected you. forgive him if you are ready, & try to see if he has changed - if he won't do it again. if you are unconvinced, report him to a superior clergy.
    the advise given to you by the priest in confession is wrong. the church has a process for these things, not necessarily public.

  9. there is such thing as culpability. the priest has to own up his culpability. he has to admit his wrong, the abuse he did on the lads (then). and it's not froi's fault, nor the other lads' fault. i admire your courage, froi! how liberating writing this openly must be for you. no one can convince you now that it's not your fault. be safe...

  10. Hi Froi, we are all scarred by our experiences--the deeper ones usually incurred during our youth. But you know, the good thing about these scars is that they make us uniquely beautiful.

    I salute you for coming into terms with your experience and writing them down to inspire others. I am with you in your advocacy to end child abuse. -- Joyce

  11. Actually Noel, I think the church will only deal with this matter if the abused does make it public, which in fact makes it even harder for the victim.

    If this was all done in private, who knows how many cases there are that we don't know about, because it's kept in private?

    If this is also to be done in private, ANYONE can make these statements without affecting their persona, keeping it close to anonymity.

    Thank you Froi to stepping out in the open, making yourself even more vulnerable, in hopes that we are one step closer to putting an end to this abuse.

  12. The abuse that happened to you was not your choice or your fault. I hope that as you speak out and write your story, you will begin to find peace, and learn that there is no shame.

    Thank you for sharing your story with the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

  13. I am an incest survivor who speaks out about incest on my blog Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker, on my Facebook page and on Twitter in order for other survivors to know they are not alone. You are not to blame for what happened to you. The priest is at fault. He was an adult. You were still a child. I hope that you will keep speaking out. Thanks for posting this on Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

  14. Thank you for your courage and for your voice that you are using! You can speak up, and you do, and in that you are showing what courage looks like. Shanyn (Scarred Seeker)

  15. i wish i could share with my real name like yours, i want to share so that men and women may learn from what happened to me, and will learn the consequences of forced sex to one's spirit..it seems you took a great step by sharing using your real name..i want to do it too so that abuser will no longer have power over me..i was a victim of an acquaintance/date rape and rushed marriage..i just turned 19, the @@$$ 27…known the ##@@ for only few weeks, took my virginity by making sure i was calm by giving me medicines …after the success of taking my body, marriage took place and like the case of jaycee dugard,had 2 kids….it was more abusive later, just sex and i was threatened and hurt too..but all those years ,i was quiet…no complains from me and never told the truth to anyone..after 3 years i finally found the courage to leave by just telling my own mother i can no longer bear to be with that ##@@@…but still never told my real story..i can not forget that night ,i cried when i was taken, said no and told them to stop the car..i was fed medicine to calm me and was even shown the blood after the “success” of finally taking my body..after many years of numbing and punishing myself.. the memories of that night came flooding one by one …nightmares and flashbacks came …still i am suffering after many years..no remorse from that abuser and more abuses because i was bullied more and lack support because of my upbringing.
    i wish you more luck..i admire you for coming out..and for seeking closure and confrontation from that abuser...mine never acknowledged it, i was more ganged up and bullied, it destroyed my relationship with my own friends and family..and made me look stupid, but even it went like this, i am still getting courage from my own inner strength..Good luck to you.(i am from the philippines too)



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