Sexual abuse needs to be reported not only about what’s going on behind closed doors in the bishops office but also abuse that’s reported “to” bishops.
I was sexually molested from age 6 to 13 suffered at the hands of my uncle. I’m nauseous just thinking about it. At 16, I decided to tell my bishop because I “thought” he was someone I could trust to report it.
That didn’t happen. It was kept hidden. If he would have reported…it would have been within the statute of limitations and my abuser would have went to prison.
So many adults in my life KNEW about the abuse…yet, not one of them picked up the phone to call the police. They chose to look the other way and sweep it under the rug like it didn’t exist…like I didn’t exist. So the feelings of worthlessness began to set in.
If they didn’t think I was worth protecting… why should I. Even feeling not worthy to go to the temple. Like I was unclean before God. (After much therapy, I realized it wasn’t anything I did but was something that was done to me.) I still deal with Panic Attacks, Flashbacks, Anxiety, Fear, Anger, Hypervigilance and PTSD. BECAUSE IT HAPPENED ALL THE TIME while he was babysitting or whenever the hell he could get his hands on me!! I was living in a constant state of fear which was harmful to my body.
I kept it all in for years and tried not to think about it which made me physically sick on the inside with all kinds of health problems…1 miscarriage…and not able to have children. The root cause: “sexual trauma suffered in early childhood.”
Thankfully, though, we were able to adopt a child. It wasn’t ’til years later that I had the strength to report the abuse to authorities because I knew he was around children. I wanted to protect them. I had to go to the detective’s office, and make a confrontation call to him while it was being recorded. After much talking…he admitted what he did…but got away with it due to statute of limitations. Bishops, please report abuse as soon as its disclosed!
Recently, my husband and I had to speak to our bishop about inappropriate touching without consent (abuse) that our child suffered at church youth activities and church camp. He literally laughed it off. Bishop’s need to take reports of abuse seriously when reported. Abuse goes on in the church. There are known predators walking in the hallways at church. And it needs to stop!
We requested our records be transferred but he wouldn’t do it because all boundary exceptions have to go thru SLC for approval. We were not going to expose our child to more abuse and started attending another ward in a different stake. We spoke to the bishop of that ward and he too didn’t think it was a big deal and wouldn’t do a boundary exception. It wasn’t until we wrote a letter to the stake president stating evidence that they decided to take it seriously. After almost a year of patiently waiting, our records were transferred. Thank goodness! I still attend church but my testimony has been shaken to its core. I have been so deeply hurt that’s its very difficult to trust others especially members of the church. Maybe one day that trust will come back…maybe. I love the Lord with all my heart and know He loves me no matter what. To Him…I am worth it… and for that I’m thankful. Please protect our precious children. Peace to all ~ Love, Leslie Addington Myers