Laurent Martinez on sex abuse inside the church

Actor and author Laurent Martinez gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated-Press at “Theo Theater” in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. French author and actor Laurent Martinez has been sexually abused by a priest. Over forty years later, he has chosen to make his story a theater play to show the devastating consequences and how speaking out can help overcoming the trauma. The play called “Pardon?” is deeply inspired from the Martinez’s own life, describing how he felt devoured from the inside and the difficulties of daily life after being abused. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

“The most difficult thing is to say it once. Then you get the strength to say it again and again and again. And then you’re free, or at least you are on the good path to freedom.”

French actor Laurent Martinez was abused by a priest when he was just eight years old. He lost  faith in God following the abuse, but later learned that forgiveness is the key to his own healing.

Martinez attended the Conference of Bishops of France to seek forgiveness in the name of his abuser. “I gave my forgiveness to the priest that raped me.” After that, “I felt really completely free of the whole burden of anger, of the desire of revenge. All the bad feelings I had just had vanished, just because I had forgiven. Little by little the trauma is disappearing. What helped more was to be able to forgive the priest.”

Forty years after the abuse Laurent Martinez created a play, called “Pardon” to tell his story and show how forgiveness and speaking about abuse helps victims to heal and rebuild their lives. “Some come to see me and say thank you so much, because, you know, this is also my story. And you are the first person I’m telling that to”.

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I love life and people. I am a daughter, mother, and a grandmother.

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