I was browsing my Facebook and to my dismay I saw a post from my daughter. We had never discussed this Protect LDS children issue, but there she was sharing a link about it and sharing her story. With horror and anticipation I read her post. She told about a member of the bishopic interviewing her when she was 12 about masturbation and other sexually explicit questions. She was terribly upset by this and didn’t even know what masturbation was.
I asked her why she didn’t tell me about this and she just said that it was the normal thing that everyone goes through. And just because everyone was going through it doesn’t mean they should be. She said everyone was having these same experiences.
Fast forward to us moving out of Utah across the country. She got involved in some sexual behavior with her boyfriend. They went to the bishop. He proceeded to shame her and wanted to know every detail of their sexual behavior. Every detail. She was disgusted by that and at that time she left the church.
It reminded me of my own interviews when I was going to the temple with my husband. We had let things go a little too far and the bishop wanted to let know every last detail about what we did. I thought that was just what you do so I submitted to him and told him all he wanted to know.
She also told me a story about her best friend. She had crossed the line one time, just some petting, and was shamed terribly. She has been married for several years now and she can’t have sex with her husband. She just clamps up and makes it impossible. It made me so sad to hear about this sweet girl worrying she’ll if ever be able to have children with her husband even though she wants a family desperately.
Even though it was upsetting to me to hear these stories, I must say that my daughter’s revelations are a success story to me. My daughter found this movement all on her own and shared her experience with me that she never had before. She went on to get a degree in psychology and for her senior capstone project she did a project on the damage sexual shaming does to teenagers. I knew it was on her mind then, but I didn’t know she had had that experience. Her being able to share with me is a victory for our relationship and the closeness it brought between us. The idea that these kind of conversations are the exception not the norm is simply not true. I wish I had been there for my daughter and told her that she has no obligation to answer these questions. I wish I had been there to protect her.