BURKE, Va. (WUSA9) -- It happened 40 years ago when Becky Ianni was in elementary school and her priest was so close a friend of her family he joined them on vacations.
He also Sexually abused Becky, causing trauma that lasted well into her adulthood.
"I found myself on the bathroom floor crying, not wanting to live, not wanting to wake up the next day, you know, just being so ashamed, so embarrassed," she told WUSA9, as she explained the feelings she lived with for decades.
"I felt like he was a priest, he was sent by God. He was sent by authority. I was told to stand up when he entered a room. I was told to listen to him. I was told what he said came directly from God, and that was where my salvation came from, and, as a little girl, the only way I could get to heaven was through a priest, and then he abused me, so I felt it must be my fault. I felt like God was punishing me," she said.
"When when you've been abused you don't have self-confidence you don't feel like you're pretty. You don't feel like you're attractive. You don't feel like anyone wants to be around you. You don't feel like you're worth anything. I think it's hard for others to understand that how worthless you feel, " she told WUSA-9 in a Thursday evening interview.
"I started dealing with my abuse at the age of 48 and I'm still in therapy so it's still a work in progress," she said.
Ianni works with the group SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priest, and helps others abused by adults as they attempt to deal with the consequences. Talking, she says, makes a difference. She urges those who were sexually abused to get the help which she says can change their lives.