I was sexually assaulted as a youth. The church teachings of no sexual relations before marriage caused me years of guilt and shame. At the time my good bishop told me it was not my fault, I was still considered a “virgin,” never look back and let it go. I did that as best as I could. I was never referred to much needed counseling.
Years later I was completely traumatized on my wedding night. Not realizing what I was experiencing was flashbacks. I was ashamed of my nakedness, sexual feelings and desires and had serious sexual boundaries for several years in our marriage.
At age 35 I was then sexually assaulted by a brother in my ward. He blessed his baby the very next day in sacrament meeting. I immediately started having severe nightmares and flashbacks. According to church teachings, we are to go to our bishops when we have a problem. Prior to counseling I went to the bishop for counsel. Attempting to be as vague as possible, my bishop told me I had asked for it and it was my fault. He asked me who the brother was. I felt it was the brother’s personal responsibility to repent on his own and not my place to force him in to repenting. My bishop then threatened me by telling me he was taking my temple recommend and giving me 2 weeks to tell him who it was or he would force it out of me. I had gone in to that meeting feeling hopeful and left feeling suicidal, at fault and completely broken.
I immediately started professional counseling and 3 weeks after the assault I reported to the police. Due to the timeframe and lack of evidence, there was no prosecution. I told the bishop who the offender was and got my temple recommend back. After the bishop met with the offender the bishop told me he believed the entire situation was mutual. Knowing it was not made me question why my bishop was unable to discern the truth. I went into further detail of the assault in hopes to help the bishop discern. The bishop told me “I am a convert, I have been around the block. What this means to a man is not the same as what this means to a woman.” I will never forget those words. He completely minimized my feelings and what happened to me. I was born and raised in the church. I put on the armor of God daily. I saved my morality and virtue for my spouse. What happened to me devastated me. I tried to explain then told the bishop I had been raped as a youth and this new situation was causing me more hurt and flashbacks. The bishop then said he likened me unto a “flirty cheerleader.” This hurt to the core. I have never been a flirty girl, nor held up the dirty stigma he was implying.
I decided my bishop was unable to discern the truth so I chose to go to the Stake President. While he was less of a jerk, he was also unable to discern my truth. I chose to attend the temple daily for months in order to gain spiritual healing. During that time was the most educational, spiritual upliftment I had ever received. Also, during this time I had then discovered more women that had a prior situation with the same brother.
Again I went to the leaders. I was promised he would have a disciplinary council. I was asked to write my story. I fulfilled my promise. The priesthood leadership did not. Long story short, the leaders brushed it under the rug and he never received a disciplinary council.
He had moved out of the Stake. A year later I met with the new stake President over the offender and told him the situation. He believed me. I asked if there had been any information shared with him or if there had been a disciplinary council for him. There had not and to this day has still not.
I was shunned, I was gossiped about, I was the one who was broken, hurt, died inside, gained PTSD and am out several thousand dollars in therapy and healing. At one point I attempted to take my life. To be 100% honest in ALL aspects of life and to not be believed by the “judges of Israel” over me crushed me. I know imperfect men are in these callings, but I disagree with the teachings that they receive discernment or any spiritual revelation over me. They further abused me and continued to hold authority over me. I’ve nearly lost all faith in the priesthood. To this day I am retraumatized every time I attend church.
A much needed change HAS to take place. No person should Ever have to go through the HELL on earth that I have been through.