Christmas for a Victim of Sexual Abuse

I would read about things like “shared mission in Christ” and “sharing the joy of the Gospel.” They are empty words. Mere rhetoric. Christmas means justice that is real and concrete for a victim of sexual abuse like me. I do not have anything to celebrate for now. Perhaps, I can celebrate Christmas and its real essence when justice is achieved, should that time comes. Meantime, everything is put on hold.


I Cannot Remember the Last Time I Went to Mass

I have not been going to mass for years.  I cannot remember the last time I attended one.

When I see the priest gesturing during the Mass, blessing people, raising the host during consecration, I would have the poignant feeling about how Fr. Ruben Tanseco’s hands touched me and molested me. There would always be the flashback of those hands that played with my penis and masturbated me.

When I hear the priest saying the prayers during the Mass, I think of the lips saying those prayers as the very same lips of Fr. Ruben Tanseco that sucked my penis.

These are flashbacks of how I was sexually abused by somebody powerful, somebody who would rub elbows with prominent people in society, somebody who has a vow of chastity and yet has the capacity to violate that vow. In sexually abusing me, Fr. Ruben Tanseco did not just violate his vow of chastity. He has also made me become an angry, distrustful, and isolated person. How can I appreciate whatever meaning the Mass would have for Catholic like me with such an experience of sexual abuse?

My experience of sexual abuse has brought me too far from the sacraments and from the Church. I am on the brink of losing my faith. There are victims of sexual abuse by priests who did not just lose their faith, but became enemies of the Church. I yearn to save my faith in the Catholic Church I grew up with and once intended to serve as a priest myself. I yearn to seek real justice from the very same Catholic Church that has hurt me when Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. sexually abused me.

Ignatian Spirituality and Sexual Abuse

Fr. Ruben Tanseco sexually abused me and he is a Jesuit. As a Jesuit, he was trained in Ignatian spirituality. In his priestly ministry, he must be teaching and imparting Ignatian spirituality. But what is Ignatian spirituality in the first place? Ignatian spirituality insists that God is present in our world and active in our lives. It is a pathway to deeper prayer, good decisions guided by keen discernment, and an active life of service to others. That is what Ignatian spirituality is. How do I reconcile Ignatian spirituality with the sexual abuse I experienced from a Jesuit? Apparently, the two are irreconcilable. If Ignatian spirituality tells me that God is present in our world and active in our lives, I lost God in my experience of sexual abuse. God was absent during those times that Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. sucked my dick. As a result, I am a lost, disoriented soul and a shattered person because of my experience of sexual abuse. If Ignatian spirituality is a pathway to deep prayer, I lost my appetite for prayer, the Eucharist and the sacraments as a result of the sexual abuse done to me by a Jesuit. If Ignatian spirituality is the pathway to good decisions guided by keen discernment, apparently the opposite is true when in sexually abusing, Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. was guided by his own sexual desires despite his vow of chastity as a religious. As a spiritual director and counselor, he must have guided people through the path of Ignatian discernment which he himself failed to practice when he sexually abused me. If Ignatian spirituality leads people to an active life of service to others, my experience of sexual abuse from Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. is an anomaly which can be considered an hypocritical life of abusing others. I just cannot reconcile Ignatian spirituality with my experience of sexual abuse from the very Jesuit who preaches it.

Morality Without Religion for a Sexual Abuse Victim

I was sexually abused by Fr. Ruben Tanseco. He is a priest and a Jesuit. I can only imagine how he was preying on a seminarian like me. Perhaps there was clericalism in my blood to have trusted and admired priests and Jesuits. Clericalism involves an assumption of the moral superiority of a priest and this priest happened to be a Jesuit. Priests are even considered alter Christus and exemplars of the moral life.

I can still remember being taught by Jesuit moral theologians. To be sexually abused by a priest and a Jesuit had its own devastating effects on me, especially when I think of morality. I used to link morality to my Catholic faith. As a victim of sexual abuse by a priest and a Jesuit, my view of morality would no longer involve the Catholic faith or religion or God for that matter. One of the questions I would ask my students is: Granted you do not have a soul, will you continue to do good? It is a deep-seated effect of sexual abuse on me. Sexual abuse is a grave moral failure especially when committed by a priest, much more so by a Jesuit.

Reading the signs of the times, how can the abuse become corrected? Securing justice and healing for victims is of paramount importance. It is erroneous and fallacious to think of victims as interested in getting money when a victim seeks justice. Jesuits should not be concerned about their financial position when justice and healing for victims are important to them. Having learned moral theology from Jesuit moral theologians, there is such a thing called moral duty and the moral duty of Jesuits is to put justice and healing of victims first, without excuses.

“Finding God” in my Experience of Sexual Abuse by a Jesuit

Finding God in all things…. That is what Jesuits preach. Does that also mean I should find God in my experience of sexual abuse from the hands of a Jesuit?  Finding God in all things…. It is a basic tenet of Ignatian spirituality. God can be found in every one. Was God present  when the Jesuit Fr. Ruben Tanseco sucked my dick? God can be found in every place. Was God present during those many times that Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. brought me inside his room in Loyola House of Studies where he would undress me, unzip my pants, get hold of my dick, suck it and masturbate it? God can be found in everything. My experience of sexual abuse from the hands of Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. did not lead me to find God. Instead, I encountered the devil that looks like an angel. Perhaps, I can find the real God when I achieve real justice.

Remembering the Person Who Sexually Abused Me…

His name is Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. He is a Catholic priest and a Jesuit. As a Jesuit and a religious, he has vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He is a big name among the Jesuits in the Philippines. He established the Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM) and brought the Marriage Encounter to the Philippines. He was once rector of the Loyola House of Studies. I think he was rector when he sexually abused me. He also taught Pastoral Counseling in Loyola School of Theology where I also went to study theology while I was a seminarian in San Jose Seminary. Loyola School of Theology and San Jose Seminary are both Jesuit-run institutions. I remember to have first met him in the lobby of Loyola House Studies in my student days in Loyola School of Theology. He is a counselor whose business is to help fix people’s lives, but in sexually abusing me, he destroyed mine. He is a retreat master and spiritual director who is involved in bringing people closer to God, but in sexually abusing me, I was brought away from God to eventually lose my vocation and my faith. Considering his stature as a priest, he held positions of power and trust. As a poor seminarian, I was his vulnerable victim. As they say, sexual abuse is not about sex. Sexual abuse is about power and abuse of power. Looking back to how Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. sexually abused me, I see myself as being in a vulnerable position that can be easily be overpowered by such a person in authority.  This is one dimension of sexual abuse that makes it an injustice.

Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. Sexually Abused Me.

 I am writing this blog to share my random thoughts and reflections about my experience of sexual abuse from the Jesuit whose name is Fr. Ruben Tanseco. I consider writing and expressing myself as a therapeutic activity. An important goal of this blog is therapeutic on my part as a victim of sexual abuse. I may mention names of persons and organizations for the sake of truth and transparency, not to discredit anyone. I do not intend to defame anyone. It took a lot of courage on my part to make this disclosure happen. I am publicly disclosing something about my dark and tragic past that has greatly and significantly affected me and the kind of person that I am now. It is about my dark  past that cries out for justice, and real justice for that matter. This blog represents my personal crusade for justice, the kind of justice that is truly and significantly restorative of the dignity taken away from a victim of sexual abuse.