I am an active member of the church. When I served my mission, a man broke into me and my companions apartment. He held a knife up to my neck and sexually assaulted me. Not knowing the church protocol, I called my mission president. I don’t think he knew what to do and wasn’t prepared for anything like this to happen.
He didn’t call the police, he didn’t take me to a hospital. He did, however, ask me if I had enjoyed the assault and if I had ejaculated. He told me to not speak of what had happened to anyone and told me I would be blessed if I continued to serve out the duration of my mission.
I tried, I really tried with all my heart to lose myself in the service of my mission but have always carried this traumatic experience in my heart. I came home, never telling a soul what had happened. I was so traumatized, I hid that demon in one of the hardest to reach parts of my soul. I was ashamed that I was not brave enough to stop this man and felt that I wasn’t “man enough”.
I found a woman to marry that I love and adore and never told her either. Pain and demons have an interesting way of resurfacing when you least expect them to and the longer you fail to acknowledge your hurt, the more painful they become when they do finally come out. I had held onto the shame and this secret for so long that I started to look for ways to alleviate what I was hiding. I started drinking regularly and little by little got into some situations with big mistakes. My wife left me and I finally sought the help from my bishop. Luckily, this man was well in tune and lovingly helped me through the process and I got my life back in order. I had to lose my membership for a while but I was reinstated as a member of the church and am still an active member and still married to my beautiful wife.
It’s not the Church’s fault or my mission presidents fault that I was assaulted…however, they’re total lack of understanding of what had occurred and the way it was handled took a painful situation and made it into an even worse one. I truly believe if this had been dealt with lovingly, with compassion and didn’t blame me for what had happened, that I would not have gone the route I did. I am begging our leaders to please open your eyes, see that these are REAL issues, change policies to better serve members who are assaulted and stop the irrelevant questions especially when members are assaulted. Thank you!