When I was 15 I was physically forced into having sex with a 20 year old friend of my brothers who had been flirting with me and following me for weeks. I felt confused and wanted to talk to someone. I had a crush on this older guy but was too young for what had happened to me. I didn’t know if it was rape or that I had sinned. I tried to talk about it but was too scared.
My bishop at the time was hard nosed and shared details with his wife about other kids’ ‘confessions’ and I did not feel safe telling him what had happened. I never told anyone. This led to me giving up on my ‘virtue’ and I eventually engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a boyfriend from the age of 17 to 19. I wanted to be in control of my sexuality. After we broke up, I decided to tell my BYU bishop. I told him of the experience at 15 and about my sexual relationship afterwards. The bishop acted appalled by my actions and immediately scheduled a council with the entire bishopric and the ward clerk (who was a BYU peer near my age). The council was a few days later with 3 adult men and the student clerk. I was 19. For the next hour I was grilled with questions that I now view as perverse but as a hurting 19 year old I thought I had to answer all of them. I had to answer how many times I had sex and describe details about the sex that are too invasive to list here. The entire time, the student clerk (who happened to be dating my roommate at the time) was taking detailed notes of my answers. The room felt like it was 100 degrees. My body felt hot with shame and I cried asking them if I had to answer questions such as did I orgasm? They told me if I truly wanted to be forgiven, I would detail my sins to them. And I did. Every last question I answered. The bishop told me that the fact that I had reached orgasm during sex made the sin greater!
After the torturous interview was over I was put on academic and religious probation for a year. They never offered counseling or even acknowledged my negative experience at 15. It was ignored. All they cared about was hearing the details of my climaxes and positions etc. I walked home to my apartment and crawled in the arms of my sister who lived there and cried for at least an hour. They broke me. I never felt loved by them. I felt dirty. I felt like a slut. I was so sad after that. Fast forward to the present day and I am a mother of 3 kids. I have grown and learned that what happened to me at 15 was an assault and what happened to me in that bishops council was another form of assault. I never allow my children to be interviewed alone with the bishopric
I am so glad that I was in my daughters baptismal interview because the bishop tried to ask her if she or anyone else had ever touched her in the swimsuit area. I ended the interview and said he was not the one to talk to my 8 year old child about masturbation or sex. She is 8!
I am currently wrestling with the church and do not trust bishops’ council on these matters. I don’t know if I want to be part of this religion anymore or if I want my children to be either. There are many issues I do not agree with and one on one interviews are part of that growing list.
Instead of being shamed and interrogated by grown men, I should have been guided to a therapist to deal with my assault. I still have never told anyone what happened in detail out of the deep rooted fear that I will be judged or questioned.