From them telling us our bodies, the very thing that gives us life…is a sin. From telling us we are responsible for other people abusing us. We are children that are born into a storm. Some cannot escape. Some can. My cousin was a victim of of pedophilia by my uncle since the age of 7. I found out at 14 yrs old and was given the responsibility to report it since I was the only one she could trust to tell all the details. She didn’t want me to tell anyone. But I did. First I told the bishopric…and nothing. They didn’t care. Our grandparents told everyone in the family to be quiet. We had a sacred Mormon family image to protect. Not everyone in the family knew…because it had to be kept a secret. I lost contact with my loved family members over this. I was afraid the pedo would come and kill me (he’s a very violent angry person). But at the same time, it was all normal…because the grooming from interviews, the internalized shame, the secrecy.
I have suffered from the hands of my abusers (parents/family) since the day I was born. I always felt responsible, to make them happy. I never could. Out of this obedience I never found who I truly was. The only thing I knew in life was to be obedient. To the church, and to my abusers. Because of this the sexual/abuse issues never came to light. Still have not…maybe not until now.
The interview is not just about the sexual abuse. It’s also about control. Keeping children in line. Using their self-worth as a weapon. Sexuality is one of the powerful weapons used against innocent children to keep them obedient, full of fear and shame. It makes them easier to control.
I didn’t have control, eating became a problem. I saw myself as a fat, ugly, worthless human being that would only be loved if she was a size smaller, and more sexually appealing. If she looked like a model. If she was a good item to be bought for a future priesthood holder. I started starving myself to have this control. I didn’t have an identity. The only identity I was allowed was to be a sexual item for a future husband. My identity was to birth as many babies as possible and not feel…
I avoided the interviews because I was too nervous and scared to be asked about these personal things. I was forced into this game where I had to run away from the bishop whenever he came near me because I didn’t want to be asked for an interview. My anxiety from my church, my abusers, had turned into an ugly disease. I became very dark. I still am.
I now have to take medication everyday, to cope. I have nightmares. I can’t function or concentrate. I am a broken person, and I am afraid I this disease won’t ever really go away. The church has a huge responsibility for a majority of this illness.
I worry about the children in the church. The church does not help with these interviews when many already abused children at home are being shamed in a place that is supposed to be safe. These babies need to be protected.
I used to be afraid to talk about these things…but for the sake of the children, I am not anymore, and I will never be silenced again.