Barbara Blaine passed away on September 24, 2017 from a cardiac event she suffered while hiking. Blaine, who was 61 at the time of her passing, was a pioneer advocate and founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She was surrounded by her family, friends, and loved ones at the time of her death.
Blaine founded SNAP in 1988, after she was abused as an 8th grader by a priest teaching at the Catholic school she attended. After her pleas for help were ignored by the school’s bishop, she was prompted to advocate on behalf of those who can’t advocate for themselves. The first SNAP meeting, organized by Blaine, was held at a Holiday Inn in Chicago.
Talking about her experiences back in February, Blaine stated, “I knew there were other survivors out there and wondered if they felt the same debilitating hurt and if so, how they coped with it. I thought they might hold the wisdom I lacked. I looked for other survivors and asked if they would be willing to talk.”
Blaine’s work has both helped and inspired countless numbers of sexual abuse victims. As Barbara Dorris says, “Few people have done more to protect kids and help victims than Barbara Blaine. Her relentless advocacy enabled millions to eventually accept a long unbelievable reality: that tens of thousands of priests raped and fondled hundreds of thousands of kids while bishops hid these heinous crimes. She started, and for almost 30 years, worked extremely hard to help build the world’s most successful organization of child sex abuse victims. Her contributions to a safer society would be hard to overstate.”
SNAP rose to prominence in 2002 after a series of stories was published by the Boston Globe about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Currently, SNAP has 20,000 members and support groups in over 60 cities across the U.S. and the world. It is no exaggeration to say that children throughout the world are safer because of her work. She will be greatly missed, but her work will continue on.
Do have questions about sexual assault or abuse? Contact our team of Rhode Island sexual abuse lawyers today. We are here to help.