When I was 15, I was raped by a 22 yr old man at a house party. I became pregnant from that encounter. I had been going down the wrong path; partying and drinking. I felt like I had brought it all upon myself. I dreaded telling my mother, who was raising me and my 5 older siblings alone since my father had died 8 years before. I knew I would have no other choice but to return to church, live the straight and narrow and place my baby for adoption through LDS Social Services.
When I told my mom, I quickly told her my plan in an attempt to ease some of her pain about the situation. I decided to leave the rape part out of it because I felt I deserved some blame and would just face all of the consequences that were coming my way. Well, she let me know that step 1 of repenting would be to meet with the bishop.
Our bishop was a man that I knew all my life, he lived 2 blocks away. I was never close or friendly with him. He was just a man I knew. My mother took me to his office one night. I went in and sat across from him at his desk. The door was closed, we were all alone. I was terrified. He asked me about absolutely every detail of the night I was raped and impregnated. I had told him that the father was 22 yrs old but I left the forced part out. I told him that I didn’t know him previously. I think he could’ve put two and two together. This was 25 yrs ago. I don’t remember every question, but I do remember the feeling of shock and surprise at what he was asking me. I recall him asking who initiated what and if I enjoyed it. He asked me something about my underwear. I will always remember that because I had never taken my underwear off, I had no intention of having sex that night. Looking back now, I feel that he was gauging the level of guilt that should be placed on me. He told me that I would not be allowed to pray in public or take sacrament until he decided I could.
Being pregnant at church was hard enough but not being allowed to pray or take sacrament added so much humiliation. I’m glad that I’m a tough person because it very easily could’ve broken my spirit. After the baby was born and placed through LDSSS, the bishop asked to see me and then told me I was forgiven and allowed to partake in sacrament and public prayer. I felt relieved and grateful that I was finally free of this “terrible sin.” I spent many years feeling guilty and ashamed of myself. I was also dealing with the tremendous loss of a baby and also had dealt with the loss of a parent at a young age. It was a lot to expect of a child.
It is my prayer that no girl will ever have to live with all of these feelings and emotions. Especially such a high level of shame. May God pave a path for the LDS children of today. Life is hard enough as it is.