My childhood was very painful. This was not necessary the fault of the Mormon church, but rather my biological father was/is pedophile and abused me sexually, multiple times. Which lead to my brother’s sexually abusing me as well. He also physically abused my brothers and this went on for about 12 years. Never was I asked by a bishop if someone has ever touched me down there or was taught by my young women leaders about “good touching” and “bad touching”. Not once. But it was ALWAYS asked if I touched MY OWN BODY. I was so ashamed for being sexually abused and I was so disgusted with myself to feel anything sexual ever. It has taken me over a decade to get to a “normal place” or at least for me normal with my sexuality.
When I was about 12 years old, like most girls my age, I was discovering my body and sexuality. I masturbated a few times not realizing what I was doing, which is normal for that age. My biological father walked in on me masturbating once and watched briefly before I noticed him, I don’t want to go into more detail about what happened.
Later, during a worthiness interview my bishop asked me if I followed the Law of Chasity, I think this was the first time this question was ever asked of me and I didn’t really understand it and I said something like “I think so?”. And he asked “Do you masturbate?” I didn’t know what that word meant either but I was getting nervous and I said “no.”
My bishop must have suspected I didn’t know what that word meant so he said “Do you touch your privates because it feels good?” I felt so ashamed instantly and blushed and said I think I have. He then asked me to tell him what I did, I briefly told him. He asked how many times I’ve done that and I started crying because I scared and I didn’t know how many times it was or if what my dad does to me counted. He did stop pressing me to go into more details but said that I can’t take the sacrament and I need to repent and I should never “violate my body” again.
My mom noticed I didn’t take the sacrament and asked me why and I said the bishop said I can’t and she asked me why he said because I touched my privates. My mom did not know about the abuse at the time. Later I had a long talk with my mom about how touching myself will make men view me as slutty and I need to keep myself pure. Still, no one ever asked if someone else ever did that stuff to me. I wanted puke. I was so ashamed about being sexually abused and though I somehow did this to myself.
My parents divorced after it was discovered by a CPS worker that our dad abused us. I was very messed up. However, I was still a teenager and I continued to have urges to masturbate during my teen years but as a way to quite those urges I started abusing my genitals at night in the privacy of my bedroom by slapping my clit or ripping out my pubic hair. I was a way to feel something down there without really saying I was “pleasuring” myself. I also thought of it as a way to punish myself for feeling anything sexual. Eventually my hormones normalized into adulthood and I stopped slapping my clit but I continued to pull out pubic hair in private when I was felt anything sexual. I was so ashamed of myself. I had been to a lot of therapy to help with the abuse but I never once thought to tell my therapists that abused my own genitals as a way to punish myself. My logic was I should only talk to bishops about that because it had to do with the Law of Chasity.
When I was about 19 I had an encounter with a guy I was dating were I was watching a movie with him and we started making out. I knew things were getting to far and he started trying to take my shirt off and I told him no and to take me home. He did stop, with some reluctance and took me back to my apartment. The next day was Sunday and I couldn’t sleep all night because I felt I had done something very wrong. I believed we were really close to having sex and I thought that was just as bad a murder and I was afraid I was becoming my dad because I wanted him to keep going.
I cried all night, and ripped out nearly all my pubic hair because I was so ashamed. The next day I meet with the bishop first thing and told him what had happened. He asked me very detailed questions “did he touch your breast” “did you touch his penis” “did his hands get under your clothes” “did he take off your bra”, I said no to all of these, it was the truth. He said I did a “good job” asking him to stop but that I shouldn’t allow myself to “make out” with any other boy until I get engaged because “I am have a hard time controlling myself”. Hearing a bishop say that hurt so much and I was so ashamed of myself. I believed then that because I’m related to my dad that there’s this dark part of me that will always be there and I’m a bad person deep down inside. Hearing the bishop say I can’t control myself confirmed this for me.
I got married about a year later when I was 20, which essentially stopped my self abuse/pubic hair pulling. Probably because I now had an outlet for sexually energy. However, it took me until I was about 28 years old (8 year of marriage) before I was able to orgasm for the first time. I did tell my husband about the abuse when we were engaged because I believed he needed to know I was “solid” but he is a good person and only felt very sorry for me and has always been very respectful of me and when I need space.I am permanently damaged by the guilt and shaming, and by the sexual abuse.
Sam Young is the only person in the church who has stood up for me. He is my hero. No one (besides my own mom) has fought for my pain like he has. Background check all bishops, put them through training programs that teaches them to look for red flags of abuse. My sister’s teacher learned those red flags and called CPS and saved my family. My bishop interviews only made recovering from sexual abuse worse. STOP SEXUALLY SHAMING CHILDREN!!!!