To tell my story I have to include some back story. When I was a child, probably 4th grade I was sexually assaulted. This is something I am still coming to understand as my mind had blocked many of the memories from me as a form of protection. Subsequently as a young child I always felt dirty and unworthy. I was ashamed of my own body and thought I was “gross” and “disgusting” and “dirty.” As I started to enter puberty these thoughts became worse. However I started to get attention from boys. I developed very early and had attention because of it. I also thought I needed the approval or “love” of the boys my age. I felt like my self worth was tied to the way they “loved” me. I was unworthy if I wasn’t “loved.” I ended up with many boyfriends over the years and usually the boys who were not respectful and used me for their own satisfaction.
I had started seeing a boy when I was in 9th grade who had many issues himself. He used to tell me that he would kill himself if I wasn’t with him or if I didn’t kiss him and so on. And then one day he used that as against me to the fullest. I felt dirtier than I had ever felt in my life and my naive mind didn’t understand what had happened.
Being raised LDS you are taught that any sexual indiscretion needs to be solved by repenting and speaking with the Bishop. I wanted to feel clean and feel worthy so I set up a Bishop’s interview. As I told him what happened he looked at me disgusted and said that if I didn’t wear so much makeup and if I didn’t wear such inappropriate clothing then boys wouldn’t treat me so badly. I was asking for it with how I looked. I look back at pictures of myself from that time and I wore a tiny sliver of white eyeliner for makeup, maybe some lip gloss. And I never wore anything that was “immodest” by the LDS standards because my mother wouldn’t let me leave the house without checking my shorts length or my sleeve, midriff lengths. I had large breasts and that made me seem “inappropriate”. I was able to “repent” but I never felt right.
This story continued on through my high school experience. Boys would force themselves on me and the Bishops would blame me. I had one Bishop who asked for the details of every encounter I had and we had many Bishop’s interviews to discuss said details until I could be found worthy. It became too much to bear, the feeling of unworthiness and shame that as a senior in high school I was planning my suicide. I pleaded with my mother to lock me away so that I couldn’t actually kill myself because I didn’t trust myself. She told me no and that I was stronger than that. That my problems were not as bad as I thought and I could get over them. She didn’t know the truth and she still probably doesn’t. I planned my suicide many times but thankfully I lost the nerve when the time came to it.
As I look back now at my childhood I cringe at it all. My parents encouraging me to talk to the Bishop. Me telling them I didn’t like talking to them and my parents telling me I had to in order to be forgiven. My parents sobbing as I tried talking to them. They were sobbing because they were ashamed and I had let them down. A large part of me still doubts my worthiness and feels like I am disgusting but with the Lord’s help and with my own self love I’ve come a far way. I continue to grow stronger and I have the love of an incredible man, my husband, who accepts me 100%