I was a sophomore attending BYU. I believe my Bishop was a good man with good intentions. He was merely following the inappropriate interview guidelines given to him.
I was sexually assaulted multiple times in a span of just a few months by a fellow BYU dance team member. This happened in 2011/2012. After being assaulted in my bedroom in the middle of the night while sleeping, I realized I needed serious help. I went to the police (which is a whole other story) and I went to my Bishop. That meeting with my Bishop should have left me with a greater sense of self-worth, unconditional support, and a referral for professional help. Instead, I was left with feelings of self-loathing, loneliness, and depression.
The meeting/interview started out as expected, but took a quick turn when I starting being asked “How many fingers did he use?” I vividly remember turning bright red and hearing my heartbeat in my ears because of how inappropriate the question was. I immediately clammed up and told him no more of the events that occurred, even though that was just the beginning. I lied and said that was all that happened because the only thing I wanted in the world was to get out of that office. Why did that (and other details) need to be asked or shared? How does that detail help you determine anything? It doesn’t. Again, I believe his intentions were good. He genuinely seemed concerned for me and I believe he was asking these questions to determine the extent of the assault. Problem is, he should NOT be the one asking those questions to a recently sexually abused victim.
The last thing I was told was that I needed to begin forgiving him (the man who attacked me) and myself. I can’t tell you how damaging that was. For years. It’s now September 2018 and I am still trying to convince myself it wasn’t my fault and there is nothing I need to be forgiven of. My husband has to remind me this frequently.
My Bishop spoke inappropriately because of the current policy/interview guidelines that are in place. I was a young adult when this happened, and said nothing in the moment because I was raised to believe that the Bishop knows best. It makes me sick to think of a young child experiencing what I did.
Strict guidelines should be in place for these interviews and that guideline should be “No sexually explicit questions. Ever”. Refer victims immediately to professional help. Please. Protect your members and Bishops and stop one-on-one interviews where sexually explicit questions are allowed.