I was abused by the boys in my neighborhood when I was 4-6 years old. I didn’t understand it at the time. But I was coerced and sometimes physically forced to do things with my mouth which no child that young had any business knowing about, nonetheless doing on a repeated basis. Most of these boys were in church every Sunday with me. They were close friends, schoolmates, even Sunday-schoolmates until the day I graduated high school.
It gave me a dark, nauseous feeling I could never articulate being that young. But I would be beaten and bullied mercilessly if I ever told anyone. And my life would become a living hell… my life became a living hell anyway.
When I was 10, I “became a woman.” And these same boys would grab me in public with no remorse. I also had my first incredibly disturbing interview with a First Councilor that year, asking me about “chastity” – which I didn’t understand. He offered to explain more of it in detail. He offered to even show me. He mentioned how “good looking” I was at length. He spoke about how good looking I was for a solid 5 minutes. My child brain literally imploded during that conversation.
When I was 12, I learned I was a “chewed up piece of gum” for what the boys had done to me, and for how that First Councilor had looked at me – he’d wanted to chew me up. I *know* that. I don’t think he succeeded ever. But, every week I was taught that my body was a shameful thing, which needed to be covered at all times – because men could not control their impulses… and if anyone were to touch me sexually – without me fighting to the death – I was as guilty of the sin as they were. The boys kept passing the sacrament, the First Counselor stayed first councilor, and I could say nothing
In the 10-12 year age range, a friend’s father started paying a lot of attention to me. He would talk to me like I was an adult, shake hands for longer than necessary, hug me far closer than was appropriate. I know talking about ordinances is grounds for excommunication – but there’s one ordinance that involves a young person being hugged from behind in the water, and being dunked face-up in the water multiple times, whilst holding on to a big hairy arm for dear life and exhaling forcefully to keep water from entering the nose and sinuses. I coughed and sputtered the whole time, and I *hated* being so close to him in this context.
This man became my bishop shortly thereafter. We interviewed 1 on 1 more than seemed normal in retrospect: 2-3+ times per year. He would always ask if I had a boyfriend, and very invasive questions would follow, if I did. I began cutting myself then, high up on the legs where my skirt always covered.
I did end up having a “morality” issue in high school, where it was statistically impossible – but in dire lack of information or adults I trusted to talk about it – I was scared I was pregnant. Rather than bare the shame, I decided I would take sips of paint thinner from my father’s shop, and rollerbladed miles in 100+ degree weather.
I confessed to what had happened (in excruciating detail as far as the actual act). But I was asked nothing about my feelings, or how I’d tried to manage the catastrophe myself. I was mercilessly sentenced to 6 months without the sacrament. I continued to be called into bishop’s offices regularly into college – to make sure I hadn’t been tempting other young men. I had been scared very, very straight. And I still cry about everything I just wrote.
I can’t tell anymore of what happened. This has been hard enough already. Just please, don’t let this happen anymore.