Confidentiality is the name of the game. All the while I thought it is the welfare of the victim that is the priority of this bunch of brilliant, discerning, spiritual. However, in their hypocrisy, they would employ every means to silence victims of sexual abuse like me. I remember one of those times that Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. and me would first talk in his office. From his office, he brought me to his room in Loyola House of Studies. It was day time. He would make me lie down on his bed. He would strip me of my shirt and pants. With nothing on, he would fondle my penis. He would make it erect and play with it. He would suck my dick without making me cum. It was his style of making me cum by masturbating my dick. He would know his own timing. He would make me cum at his own timing. My body reacts with pleasure even in that abusive situation. After I clean myself, I would put on my pants and shirt. He would give me money before I go out of his room. I would go out alone and fast and with fear to be seen by other Jesuits who live on the same floor. Without me realizing it at first, giving me money was a way of telling not to tell anyone about what happened. Looking back to such experience, I realize how vulnerable and naive I was. I never mentioned the secret to anybody. I have hidden the episodes of abuse from my classmates and my family. It is not enough to characterize my experience of sexual abuse from the hands of Fr. Ruben Tanseco, SJ as unfortunate. It was horrible, devastating, humiliating, and traumatic, all suffered interiorly, psychologically. I have suffered quietly, in the interior silence and brokenness of my being. I cannot be silenced now. Gone are the days of closed door meetings. Until now, I still get indications of being silenced. I have to face this dark part of my past with courage, frankness and transparency. I feel relief every time I see myself having the courage not to be silenced.
It is knowing the will of the devil for you. It is knowing where the devil leads you to go. For bringing me to where I am now and for making me the kind of person that I am now, THANK YOU, SATAN!! The devil, indeed, is very good and has a better sense of justice…
There is no denying it that I am a victim of sexual abuse by the Jesuit priest, Fr. Ruben Tanseco. I say that categorically. I say that with courage. I have become an angry person because of that experience, full of negativities, full of uncertainties. Having this angry disposition for quite some time already is never a desirable situation for me. At times, I would notice how anger characterizes the way I deal with people and the way I discharge my professional duties. Perhaps, being angry is my way of saying “do not touch me,” or “do not talk to me” or “do not get near me.” Being angry is my defense mechanism from getting abused again. There is no denying it that my anger is directed at the person who abuse me. He failed me when I trusted him. He failed me when I looked up to him and admired him in his work for families and his work for the poor. In sexually abusing me, he took away my optimism and my cheerfulness about life. (to be continued..)
An aged Chilean priest was defrocked by the Pope some months back. The same thing should be done to Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. In sexually abusing me, he does not deserve his priesthood and being a religious with a vow of chastity. In sexually abusing me, he violated everything involved in the priesthood and the religious life. He may have occupied important positions as a priest, formator, counselor, spiritual director, retreat master but there was a double life and hypocrisy all along. Aside from committing a crime, Fr. Ruben Tanseco, SJ represents the rotten sector of the priesthood, the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus. He represents the hypocrisy and scandal in these institutions. For the sake of justice and the restoration of decency, he should be stripped of the priesthood he does not deserve for abusing my trust in him, my trust in the Church and the Society of Jesus to which he belongs. He may be old now and shit in his pants but to defrock him is the best thing to do for the sake of decency in the Church. Doing so is not unprecedented.
I was exchanging emails with Dr. Gabby Dy-Liacco. He was helping me find a psychotherapist. He was looking for somebody near my place or somebody who would be accessible to me. Since I am already based in the province, it would not be practical to find a Manila-based psychotherapist. I am miles away from Manila. The exchange of emails went on smoothly until I got a surprise email from Fr. Jun Viray, S.J. He is the Jesuit provincial superior in the Philippines. He was the one referring me to an Iloilo-based psychotherapist. The email from the Jesuit provincial was a complete surprise to me. I do not know what his intentions were in being the one to refer me to a psychotherapist. It appears that he was the one who chose the psychotherapist for me. I did some research about the psychotherapist I was referred to. As I asked around, I learned that the lady psychotherapist was involved in seminary formation. Obviously, she has close connections with the Catholic Church and formally or informally connected to a Jesuit entity. I did not go to the lady psychotherapist. I remember to have been sent to a Jesuit psychotherapist after I made the disclosure of my experience of sexual abuse from Fr. Ruben Tanseco, SJ. The Jesuit provincial superior that time was Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, SJ. I can only think of that engagement as some form of damage control, if not the initial measure of cover up. I am scouting for a psychotherapist myself. I found one whom I considered ideal for me, a layperson, not connected with any church entity, and a non-Catholic. However, no psychotherapy happened because I do not have the financial means. Instead of recognizing my autonomy, what I got was interference from the Jesuit provincial. I know what I deserve. I can only think that there remains to be efforts at cover up. After all, Fr. Ruben Tanseco, SJ who sexually abused me is not an ordinary Jesuit. I was told later that ordinary Jesuits would not know of this case of sexual abuse committed by this “respected” Jesuit.
On instruction of the Jesuit provincial superior, Fr. Jun Viray, Fr. Archie Carampatan, S.J. came over to Antique to see me and talk to me. He relayed to me the concerns of the Fr. Jun expressing the willingness of the Jesuits to help me in my healing. However, I was just struck when, in the course of the conversation, he said “and so it is not about money.” And I quickly replied, ‘Of course not. Why? Even if the Jesuits give me all their wealth, will I regain what I lost because of the sexual abuse done to me by Fr. Ruben Tanseco?” The meeting gave me an insight into how my claim for real justice is being interpreted by brilliant minds.
Justice is a battle to be waged and won. I eventually told Fr. Archie, that “I am preparing myself to die without achieving justice, without achieving healing.” I have a lost a lot because of the sexual abuse I experienced from the hands of a Jesuit. I lost a vocation I valued a lot and nurtured in the seminary for some years. I lost the person full of the cheerful and positive disposition in life. I was in the seminary to undergo formation under the Jesuits. I left the seminary deformed and damaged because of a Jesuit. No amount of money can compensate for the vocation that I lost. There is no moving on without justice.
Last night I had a hard time going to sleep. Rather strange because I normally sleep early without difficulty. What was striking last night was a flashback of one event. I saw myself in the Rector’s Office of San Jose Seminary. The Rector that time was Fr. Silvino Borres, SJ. He is fondly called Fr. Junjun. Of course I am familiar with the office. I was a seminarian in San Jose Seminary when I was sexually abused by Fr. Ruben Tanseco, SJ. I remember I was asked to come over and see Fr. Junjun. He was to give me a check from the Jesuits. However, there was a twist to that event. I was asked to sign a document and Fr. Junjun asked for my passport for photocopying. So I signed the document and handed him my passport. But I was told I cannot have a copy of the document I signed. Having finished the business in the Rector’s Office, I rode a car and Fr. Junjun was driving. We went to the Bank of Philippine Islands along Katipunan Avenue, fronting Gate 3 of the Ateneo. The check was encashed and the money was deposited to my account in the same bank. I notice that the check was in the name of Fr. Junjun. By the way, the amount is insignificant that I consider it to represent cheap justice. Until now I am still wondering why I cannot have a copy of the document I signed. Until now I am still wondering why the check was in the name of Fr. Junjun, and not my name on it. If the document is a legal document, I should have signed it in the presence of a lawyer. Instead of rejoicing for having money in my bank account, I became puzzled by what can be considered “Ignatian trickery,” if not “Jesuit deceipt.” If that is the case, it was another form of victimization and cover up. It is a wrong that needs to be corrected. I remembered it last night as a flashback. It made me awake for quite a while last night.