CORNWALL – “This should never have happened to you.”
Those were the only words journalist and abuse survivor Sue Montgomery was yearning to hear through a cycle of sexual abuse by her grandfather that started when she was three years old.
Montgomery was the guest speaker Wednesday morning (Oct. 18) for the Children’s Treatment Center Celebrity Walk and Breakfast at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
Montgomery faced many roadblocks in holding her abuser to account, including her own mother who was “worried about what the neighbourhood would think,” she said.
Family members didn’t know what to do when the abuse was disclosed. She would later learn that her sister and another family member were also abused.
Knowing that the family unit was “rotten to the core” and the “genie was out of the bottle,” she tried going to the police. But in a small town where her grandfather was an upstanding citizen, the police didn’t believe her.
Falling into further isolation, she fell into a suicidal depression when she was 30.
Her grandfather, Archie Montgomery, later died and Sue used some of the money from the estate to seek counselling. She would go on to use her story to help others through her work as a justice reporter for the Montreal Gazette.
Montgomery told the CTC audience she wished every community had something like the Children’s Treatment Center. “Centers like this should exist in every single community. (A place where) kids will be believed. Your whole community will be better off,” she said.
As for the words she wanted to hear that “this should never have happened to you” – “I dream of the day we won’t have to say that,” Montgomery added.
The breakfast saw a number of donations, including $12,000 from the Benson Charity Golf Classic, $5,000 from Giant Tiger and $9,515 from the Knights of Columbus Council 755.
The CTC walk and breakfast is the single largest fundraiser for the center that treats children suffering from sexual, emotional and physical abuse. The privately-funded center, which celebrated its 20th year, gets around 200 referrals a year.