I was roughly six or seven when I was molested by an older cousin during a family vacation.
(Everyone was Mormon, and all the men mentioned below are Melchizedek priesthood holders.)
I remember freezing, thinking that if I just held still, it would all be over. I had zero idea what was happening, and thanks to my mom, didn’t know the correct anatomical terms.
“He tickled my bottom,” was all I could manage.
My mother knew about it mere minutes after it happened, thanks to an uncle who walked in on it and ran to tell her.
Today, though, he says he doesn’t remember.
I do, but I didn’t for many years. I blocked the whole experience out until I was about 21, actually.
That was when I read my copy of For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and felt overwhelming guilt and shame for masturbation that had happened as a kid.
Being a dutiful little Mormon girl, I demanded my less-active parents take me to church so I could confess to my bishop right away.
In the days leading up to the appointment, however, I suddenly remembered what had happened.
I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten
But now it was crystal, and I confronted my mother almost immediately.
Why didn’t she say anything? Why didn’t she do anything?
She didn’t want to ruin vacation or anger the perpetrator’s father.
That was my answer.
Apparently this decision was reached along with the wife of the guy who walked in on it, but she also conveniently says she doesn’t remember this. She also downplayed my abuse, saying it only happened once.
Oh, and my mom was also hoping I’d simply forget.
Simply forget, huh? I see.
So my appointment with the bishop rolled around and he wiped away my masturbatory guilt, said it was because I was molested.
Oh, but when I told him my abuser also molested another relative (who doesn’t want to say anything) and was now married in the temple with daughters of their own? He did nothing.
Didn’t call CPS, didn’t ask me for my abuser’s name, nothing. No concern for these kids whatsoever.
I told another bishop with the same results. Told two Mormon therapists who at least reported it, but CPS did nothing.
Today? I worry about the kids of my abuser. (3 years ago, I had the courage to tell my abuser’s father and to my knowledge, he’s done nothing to protect his grandchildren. But he never got angry like my aunt and mother feared.)
I do not, however, worry about never setting foot inside my closest Mormon temple, where, I’ve only recently learned, my grandfather worked.
He did baptisms for the dead for years, apparently. Diligent little Mormon guy. I looked up to him my whole life.
In truth, he was a pedophile, whose actions against another cousin nearly a decade before my own abuse, were covered up by the same relatives who tried to hide mine.
So somebody could maintain custody of their kids during a divorce.
These days, I deal with immense self-worth and self-esteem issues.
I often feel like I don’t matter because what happened to me got pushed under the rug, and certain people minimized it instead of validating my feelings.
It makes me wonder if I’m overreacting because no one else treats it like a big deal.
I have yet to get a full medical exam because I’m worried about what memories and feelings it could bring up, and sometimes I have trouble disrobing for a shower.
Taking my clothes off for any reason makes me nervous, brings up things.
I even went through a period of time where I thought I was transgender because I wanted different parts and wanted to lob off my breasts with a kitchen knife.
Turns out, after a bit of soul searching, I realized what it really was:
I thought that if I had been a boy, this wouldn’t have happened.
But this is was a good Mormon family, in contact with good Mormon bishops and filled with priesthood holders and a temple worker.
No abuse here.