Writing is Surviving: Memoir as a Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse

Rockhurst University

Project Description

Daniel J. Martin is working on a book-length memoir focused on growing up in the Catholic Church and during that time being sexually abused by a priest. The memoir will tell the story of how this priest gained the trust and esteem of family and parish, how that trust gave him access to adolescent boys, and how Dan became one of his victims. The work will employ the power of reflection to uncover the meaning of this experience and its impact on emotional, intellectual, and spiritual life. Borrowing words from the Taking Responsibility initiative, this is a project “addressing dynamics of abuse and its harmful effects.”

Principal Investigator

Daniel J. Martin lives in Kansas City, Missouri and writes memoir and creative nonfiction, often focused on nature and the environment. His work has appeared in various journals, including About Place, Ascent, North Dakota Quarterly, Kairos, and Animal: A Beast of a Journal.  Dan teaches literature and nonfiction writing at Rockhurst University, where he is a professor of English. Recently, his most meaningful labor has been teaching college composition to incarcerated women. These students have inspired him to be a better teacher, to be a better human, and to value the act of writing with greater hope and deeper respect.  He has been enthralled lately by the work of Colson Whitehead, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Kathy Park Hong.