Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Oppression of Shame

I will never be protected. I will never be loved. I am worthless. I’m so worthless that even my parents rage and push against righting unspeakable wrongs done to me. These thoughts rushed through my brain at a frenzied pace, as anger and deep betrayal and hurt filled my limbs and chest with a burning heat. Only 19 and not worth the fight.

“Who does she think she is,” my father yelled at me, his anger marking his face a deep crimson. “How dare she!”

Confusion scattered my brain and I wanted to scream out for someone to love me. I am flesh of their flesh. They made me and knew me since I made my mother’s womb my home. They knew my yelping newborn cries, held my tiny toddler hand when I stood in need of comfort, and watched my body grow from a fragile 6 pounds to my womanly shape. If these people wouldn’t love me, wouldn’t fight for me, who would?

I had been to see a therapist that night. I moved back to California since I found myself filled with deep anxiety at college. My body manifested my internal wounds in odd ways. My latest illness had filled my eyes with painful ulcers that didn’t heal for a month. The pain of abuse that I stuffed away as a child suddenly turned to poison in my body. My dad arranged for me to see a therapist upon my return to my home state. Hoping for a quick and tidy healing to occur, he raged when he heard the turn of events my first visit to this therapist had taken. My therapist was going to report my abuse to the state.

“Dad, she’s supposed to report the abuse! It’s the law! Don’t you get it,” I pleaded as my warbled brain tried to grasp a hold of his sudden fury.

“I’m going to call her! How dare she,” he repeated.

I grabbed onto his tense forearm as he paced the room, his eyes searching for something. “No! Dad, you can’t!” My mother wandered in and out of the room, not wanting to get involved. Pretending all was normal, she did her nightly chores, like a nervous humming bird hovering around the house. "Dad! What are you looking for, " I screamed as he paced.

“Her phone number. She will not get away with this! Who does she think she is?”

All hope of healing and self-discovery washed away and my body suddenly became weak and my heart heavy. I would not be going back to a therapist. My father would humor my need for psychological help no longer. “Dad! She has to call the police! If she doesn’t she is breaking the law!”

“There is a higher law! God’s law is more important than the state of California!” He was now pacing the house like a caged and enraged animal, searching for something. His brain worked overtime to find a way to regain his control over the situation. This was his family and he would be the one in control. He would be the master to all of us puppets.

“What about what Joseph Smith said? What about the Articles of Faith? He said we obey the laws of the land! He said we abide the laws of our country!”

He shook his head, his anger now kindled against me. “Your brother-in-law has gone to his bishop! He has had a church court! He has repented. That’s all that matters. Now we need to stop all this revenge. It is time to get over it and get back to normal!”

A primal need for love and protection grew to a deep and sharp pain in my belly and I felt a voice I did not recognize as my own, rise from my throat as I screamed loudly like a wounded and dying thing. My body shivered steadily as the realization came quickly to my mind that I am all alone. My church doesn’t care that he abused me. My family doesn’t care. They all want to forget about it.

My father’s head shot up as my scream deafened the room and looked at me as if I were mental patient, much in need of a padded room and straitjacket. My mother hurried into the room. She is a woman who doesn't care for strong emotion, especially if it is the sort of emotion that kills all sense of peace, and my savage and primitive display of hurt was rejected in her ears. Her look of shock wounded me even more. I was a crazy person to them. I knew it then and I know it still.

My father uttered not a word. He ushered me from the room and locked the door. That’s when I heard him on the phone. That’s when I heard him yell at the woman who wanted to report my seven savage years of horrifying sexual abuse. Feeling all sensation leave my body, I leaned against the hallway wall for support and slid down until I was sitting on the floor. With my knees pointed up, I wrapped my arms around them, bowed my head in the circle of my arms and legs and cried great sobs as the tears fell on my own flesh. No one to comfort me. No one to care. I cried out to God for someone to love me.

Like animals in the wild, I felt as if I was the young who’d been rejected because some unfixable defect was sensed or I’d been handled by human hands too much. While in the depths of my abuse, I was not protected because no one knew. But my greatest fear had been realized…now they knew, but still refused to protect me.

Though that night of anger and confrontation with my father was so long ago, it left a deep and abiding wound. For all of my young life, I was a child who always felt unlovable, but secretly hoped I was wrong. But that night was when I knew, my family would never love me enough. On my soul there will forever be a scar.

My whole life was a series of betrayals. First my brother-in-law betrayed my child-like trust and destroyed my innocence. Then my church betrayed me by giving my abuser a mere token punishment, a mere slap on the wrist. They embraced him with full fellowship, while my plight was ignored. Then the final blow came when my family betrayed the trust given to them by God to protect me and nurture me.

Where does this all come from? Why would seemingly normal people reject a victim in favor of bypassing punishment for the perpetrator? Why would normally good people deny the course of justice? Why would they deny the perpetrator the consequences he is supposed to deal with? If a man kills another and then repents, he must still deal with and pay for the crime he committed. He cannot repent and bypass prison. His victim remains dead, though he has repented. Repentence is not a get out of jail free card. Then why in sexual abuse do we want to sweep everything under the rug and allow an abuser a life without consequences? I believe the answer is because sexual abuse is so uncomfortable for a religious people to think about that they'd rather pretend the person has fully repented, repressed all sexual desire for children, and is now better than to actually have to think about the disturbing details of the abuse. And if you are a victim wanting to speak out, then watch out! No one wants to hear it. It is disgusting.

If a person went in to see their bishop to confess that they are suffering from alcoholism, would we expect that all they needed to do was confess their sin and repent and everything would be better? I can't imagine one Mormon, or other religious person, would honestly think that is the best course of action with an alcoholic. We all know that person would need professional help, not just ecclesiastical help. We all know that confession, no matter how sincere, is not enough to wipe out the desire for alcohol. And yet we expect it to work differently for a pedophile? I am certain pedophilia is a deeper and far more insidious addiction than alcoholism.

And let's say that same alcoholic that came in to confess to their bishop was also guilty of drunk driving and killing or gravely injuring another. Who would say that a drunk driver, who killed or maimed another while driving under the influence, shouldn't be accountable to the law? No one! And yet....the supposedly repentant pedophile who murdered a child's spirit and caused bodily harm to an innocent does not need to answer to the law?

Even people called to serve in leadership roles in my church are guilty of this. I have seen it first-hand in my own case. Our church leaders are not trained professionals in dealing with abuse. They are regular, everyday people with the same unease and embarrassment about sexual molestation as everyone else. It is time to change this! It is time that sexual abuse is no longer taboo. It is time for the shame to be brushed away from the victims and it is time for us to make the perpetrators face up to the crimes that they've committed. It is time that our leaders and families become more enlightened.

You need only look at what happened with the Catholic church to know that we cannot allow our discomfort with sexual matters rule how abuse is treated. The priests in the Catholic church would also confess their sins. They would express their guilt and repentance. Did this stop the abuse from spreading? I think we all know the answer to this. They were transferred to new areas, with promises that they'd change, only to have other unsuspecting boys and girls put into their care with disastrous results. Mormons aren't different or special when it comes to this, though I think a lot of us think we are. A repentant pedophile of any religion is likely to strike again without the proper help and punishment. Confessing your sin to God and to your ecclesiastical leader is good, but it is nowhere near enough.

By making this subject less taboo, we are protecting our kids. Shame, embarrassment, and sweeping things under the rug is exactly the dark cover and protection that abuse needs to grow, spread, and destroy. I know there are thousands of adults like me, who grew up in religious families, who were sexually abused and then were made to feel they were wrong or evil for wanting the crime reported or desiring justice. There are thousands of you out there who have suffered, feeling all alone and unloved because your families and your churches wouldn't stand up for you. And my heart aches for all of you because I know the agony and confusion and guilt that fills your spirit.

I believe that victims of sexual abuse need to share their stories, without bashfulness or humiliation. When we let our shame silence us, our perpetrators win. I also believe that everyone else needs to get over our puritanical shame over sexual matters, so we can stand up for the victims and show them they are not forgotten, not alone, and not unloved. Every one of us is worth the fight!

“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6.


  1. this is a very powerful post.

    maybe sometime you could have some guest posts here for people with similar stories. i'm really proud of you and the voice of clarity you've found. i never wanted anyone to know my story, because i didn't want to be pitied, or thought of as a "victim" etc. but i don't admire you because of who you are considering your past. i admire you because of who you are. (now if i could only get to that point with myself...)
    ♥ to you!

  2. Blue - I have been having the exact thought of having a guest post. Would you be willing? You don't give yourself enough credit. You have a powerful voice and you are amazing!

  3. Ahhhhh!!!! I just want to scream for you too. It is unimaginable to me that NO one in your family would stand up and protect you. I am in awe that you have managed to journey through this, the betrayal of so many, and come out so level headed and with such a mature and strong perspective. You are SO right that sexual preditors can't just 'fix' themselves with a confession. I honestly think it is something so disturbingly wrong that it is never 'fixed.' And how dare he try to hide his actions behind his faith? And how dare these church leaders allow it? I hope that you not only find a way in this project to help heal your heart but also to help others out there heal and rise above their shame to realize they are loved. How anyone could look at a chilid-- especially their child--- and just tell them to shut up and deal with such enormous hurt is mind boggling. You needed a mama lioness in your corner. And what I see now is that you are that lioness. You're amazing!~

  4. Did you ever have a chance to speak at his court?

    I just can't get over the reaction of your family. I could understand your mom's reaction a little more if it was your dad you were accusing...I'm sure it would be hard for her to separate her love for him with what he'd done (definitely not saying it would be okay - just more understandable).

    But for heaven's sake it was a son-in-law! I am totally unable to express my disbelief at this. Talk about adding insult to injury. I can't even begin to imagine the pain this must have caused you. I have to say you described it amazingly.

    I really appreciate you sharing this, it helps me to understand sexual abuse on a level I never have before. I think you're helping people on many levels with this blog.

    You really are amazing!!

  5. Heather - I'm with you. I am dubious that any pedophile can ever be truly fixed. I think the best we can hope is that they are responsible enough to stay away from children. What do they say at AA? They say stay away from alcohol. Do not even tempt yourself. The problem in my family is that everyone is trusting him with their children, even though he's proven to be the worst kind of monster to enter the life of a child. He should have the strength to tell everyone that he would rather not have kids over the night at his house. He should be responsible enough to stay away from temptation. Not to worry, once I prosecute and he is legally a sex offender, it will be much harder for him to gain access, or so I hope.

    Val - I never testified at his church court. My bishop read me the bishop's handbook, where it says that a victim must bear witness. His church court was botched and if the church won't admit to it and fix it, I will have my lawyers subpena their records. His church court was a total joke. He baptized his daughter only a couple of months later! I think it was one of those good ol' boys situation. The bishop was a good friend of his. It's all so disgusting.

  6. I am so sorry for your experience. I found your blog through a friend and I admire your strength. It is abhorrent to me that members of my faith failed you when you needed them most. I think that not only your brother-in-law but also the Bishop and all others who swept it under the rug will be held accountable. I would like to think that they did not know the true depth and breadth of your abuse, but that is probably false hope. You are right - no amount of repentance can replace the "payment" that must be made through legal channels. Ours is not only a Gospel of Mercy. It's a Gospel of Mercy and JUSTICE.

  7. Alyson- you ARE worth the fight. You ARE worthy. You ARE loved. You ARE precious and beyond measure of value. At 4. At 19. Now.
    Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)

  8. Very profound post. I feel my own personal anger towards your family members (especially your parents) who were supposed to protect and didn't. Being LDS, I fully agree that this man's price for his abuse has not been paid. A slap on the wrist is not nearly enough. Though your extended family may not support you in pressing charges, there are many more people who do. Keep going. Don't give up.

  9. Jaz - Thank you for coming by and commenting! I so agree. Mercy cannot rob justice.

    Susie - Thank you! It's so amazing that you've shown me so much support!

    Heather - I believe that's true. I believe that my generation is doing better at not sweeping things under the rug, or at least I hope so. I feel much more support to press charges from people that are around my age and younger. I think, or hope, that we've learned that nothing good can come from keeping secrets.

  10. Alyson ~ I think you are right about his so-called Church court being botched. I would not be surprised at all if there was ever a true Bishop's Court. Predators/Pedophiles are master manipulators and can make people believe that the situation is not as serious as it's been made out to be. The fact that they were friends undoubtedly played a huge role in this as well.

    I also think that we have more education on these types of heinous crimes and have helped more today than there was 20 some yrs ago. There is no statute of limitation on these things in the Church and I think they also help you to take necessary legal action as well. If there really had been a Proper Church Court done there is NO WAY he would have ever been allowed to Baptize his daughter let alone EVER again hold a Church calling or work with the Youth. You were never allowed to testify against him and you should have the chance to do so.
    Again I say shame on your parents!!! You are a DAUGHTER of God and you ARE worth the FIGHT!!! You keep blazing that trail and know that you have so many people who love you and support you in what you are doing. We are on the sidelines Cheering you on.

  11. I agree with all these comments. I hope you get the justice you deserve and maybe more awareness can be brought to the way the church handles these types of situations. You are inspiring many! Keep it up!

  12. I have a lot of thoughts on this... but I'll spare you most of them. It easy to paint all church leaders with the same brush... And I know from personal experience how easy it is to blame the leaders. But perhaps we should consider that everyone comes from a different place. I'm not condoning the outcomes of the BIL in your case. That is so wrong. On so many levels!
    There was a situation in my stake where there was a leader in the YM program who molested dozens of boys... he threatened suicide as a means to make the boys not tell. He told them his blood would be on their hands. Later, he was caught and guess what he did? Committed suicide in jail. The church reeled from that YET - it was amazing how tight the wards came together. There were trained counselors for the children. There were also training sessions for the auxilaries on how to recognize abuse. I know that this is the exception rather than the rule... and when I read stories like yours where you were not given the support you needed, my heart aches. Especially without your family, who should be your numero uno support system.

    Sorry this is so convoluted...

  13. Ardith - Thank you! I know the court was totally botched and what makes me sad is that I recently tried to find out what happened and it didn't go well. I tried to get Salt Lake to tell me what happened and reopen the case. They wouldn't and they wouldn't give me any information. I believe that they are concerned about any legal action on my behalf and they are trying to protect themselves. This is why I'm going to have to get lawyers involved with them too. This is not ok. It is not ok that my abuser has had multiple callings with the scouts and with the youth! It is insanity! The church did tell my bishop that my abuser has a permanent mark on his records that he is not allowed callings with youth. That mark has been there since his church court in 1995, and yet he has still had callings he's not supposed to have! There needs to be a better system in place so that bishops check any record of a person who they are thinking of calling to serve in the youth program. My bishop told me that they rarely look at membership records unless someone newly moves into the ward. What is the point of the mark on the record then?! No one is looking at it. I think everyone should be concerned about who is trusted with their children in the church because, in all likelihood, no one has checked their records! Insane! Oh, and my abuser has been in the same ward for probably 25 years. No one is looking into him. It makes me a little sick to my stomach. I think I will write about a post about that soon so that other parents realize that there is not a good system in place yet to protect their children.

    Sara - Thank you and that is my greatest hope! I want to spread awareness to everyone, especially to church leaders.

    Sariqd - I think the difference with that case is that the abuser is dead. Not to sound callus, but that makes things easier for everyone. I've always felt and known that if my abuser were dead, I would have had all the support of the church and my family. The problem is if a perp is also a member of the church or also a member of your family, loyalties become divided. The church's main objective when a person confesses to child abuse is to surround that person with support. It's true! They even say so. So, if that person is dead, everyone can switch gears and give all their love and support to the victim. That perp made things easier for the church, that's for sure. And I'm not saying every leader is clueless. I am positive that there are some really enlightened leaders out there that understand the seriousness of this, but sadly, they are few and far between. Our church does not train our leaders enough when it comes to this. They give them a handbook and an 800 number, but the bishop or stake president can really bungle things because he has no idea what he's dealing with, especially if he is dealing with a manipulative child molester. There needs to be more training in our church, bottom line.

  14. Pride and respectability wants silence of exposure at any cost. Exposure of evil ends all pride and all it should!

  15. Donna - Agreed! I love that you come from a perspective that knows. If you are able, one day soon, maybe you'd like to guest post about any aspect of your experience?

  16. Alyson ~ I believe and have faith that once you have your case together and the Church is made known of what your intentions are they will do the right thing.

    Like I said before your brother in-law is a master manipulator and twisted the facts in his favor. Also I believe the biggest reason that he got a slap on the wrist is because your parents let it go. If they had stood up and fought for YOU and brought legal action against him. He would have been branded a sex offender and there absolutely would have been no way for him to hold any calling let alone not to have served any jail time or anything to pay restitution for his crime!

    I fear that there are probably more victims of his out there who haven't come forward. I pray there aren't but perverts like him don't change their spots.

  17. i don't know what will happen as far as the church goes, but i dearly hope that no matter what, you won't let anything come between you and your salvation. that satan won't succeed in using your brother-in-law's evil actions to turn you against the church that contains the fullness of the gospel, even though it's chock full of flawed, mere mortals. and pedophiles, as it turns out.

    so many people i care about have had some thing come up that put a wedge between them and the church. whether it's polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, heavenly mother, coffee, annoying ward members, tithing, or the temple...if we let him, satan will drive a deep wedge with anything we give him.

    president benson's "beware of pride" talk is one i struggle to remember whenever i hit against a difficult pill to swallow like this. please don't let him ensnare you over this as you journey along the road to justice. remember humility. ♥

  18. should clarify here in case my comment is misconstrued that I absolutely 100% TOTALLY believe you are doing the right thing. I'm completely in support of you moving forward...and expect things to be difficult (lawsuits always are). No matter how messy it may get, you can hold onto what is true and right...just like the 13th article of faith states. My comment wasn't aimed at you...just a reminder to all of us. probably stating the obvious, but anyway.

    Bring it!

  19. Ardith - I agree. I'm sure that if my parents demanded justice, if they had made the church aware of the extent, the church probably would have given him a much bigger punishment. My parents completely failed me. It's crazy, isn't it, that he sexually abused a child for 7 years, and yet he lost nothing. He didn't lose my family's support. He didn't lose his wife or kids. He didn't lose his membership in the church and he didn't lose his freedom. Man, if you want to encourage a pedophile to keep abusing because he'll have no consequences, they all did a great job!

    I did write the church a very detailed letter about everything that was done to me. I also expressed that it was my belief that my dad and my abuser probably manipulated a lot of things and justice was bypassed. My letter was really powerful. Everyone that read it said they couldn't imagine the church not responding to that. Well, they did respond, but not in the way they should have.

    Blue - I already emailed you, so you know how I feel. I love you and all your support!

  20. No, I don't think your response to my comment was callous at all. You're speaking from your own experience and I from mine. There probably is some truth in that it's easier to rally around when the perp is dead... hadn't considered that so thanks for bringing another perspective to look at.

  21. Lub you Alyson.

    It's almost hard to put into words all the things this post makes me feel because it hits so many levels and layers of feelings.

    so I'll just say HUGS. And I'm so happy that you have finally found your voice. And that you are speaking loud enough for all the other girls and boys who have been silenced. Two of my brothers were abused. One by a teacher and one by a scout master. Similar to what Sariqd said, the scout master committed suicide after my brother told. It's a very complex issue.

    The worst betrayal of all though is by your family and you captured that beautifully here.


  22. <3 you! You are a master with words. It is heartbreaking and so lonely when your family does not support you, the victim.

  23. I hope this doesn't offend you, but ---

    I want to BEAT the living snot out of your parents!

    Is that bad? Probably.

    I can feel the all encompassing despair you've so aptly described in your re-telling of 'that night.' Betrayal by parents is a feeling I know too well, though not to this depth. I'm sure you already know the level to which they have misunderstood the Gospel, principle of Repentance, duties of the Priesthood and the solemn responsibility that was theirs to protect their child. You have been failed on so many levels. Your confidence in the way things are "supposed to work" will surely come only from your unwavering testimony that it is the Gospel, not the people, that is true. You are more than justified in your pursuit of what is right -- but you already knew that.

    I can only hope that as you continue to be failed, as you most certainly will be, that your relationship with He that can truly right all of these wrongs will intensify to the same level. Sending you positive vibes, patience and supportive fist-pumping.

  24. Wow. I came by here from Crash's place, although I've seen you around and at your "other" blog :)

    There is so much here; I've read every post you've written. And my outrage at your terrible situation has me seeing red.

    I won't go into a long rant; I'm sure you know how horrible this sounds and how much compassion I feel for you as I read these posts.

    I will echo Blue's concerns, and add one other. By all means, keep pursuing this - right up until the time that you feel it is hurting YOU more than it is helping. It is a tricky, difficult dance we do in the Church, trying to keep our personal feelings about the way things are run and the fallible human beings running them in check, even when things are going well. You've taken on something huge, and I pray that you'll get the kind of support that will enable you to see this through without leaving you feeling too jaded, to suspicious of church leadership, to ever feel like you could belong.

    And the other concern I have is that, once you get the justice you seek, you still won't feel settled. Be prepared for that, and be sure that again, you have help in your corner to navigate those surprising and potentially confusing waters.

    I wish you all the very best, Alyson. And in a way, I think what you're doing will help save your BIL's soul as well. We render unto Caesar because we are a people of integrity. When we skip that step, we compromise our chances for redemption.

  25. Reading this made me feel so sad for all that you've gone through and are still going through as a result of the abuse and the mishandling of it.

    I absolutely agree with everything you wrote. Justice does not equal vindictiveness or revenge or lack of forgiveness. Justice is part of the gospel. Pedophiles need to be treated with justice both in the church and in the legal system. I'm shocked by how totally wrong your father was in his thinking and actions.

    I think in the church that bishops and stake presidents need to receive training on these matters and how to deal with them. But first the church itself needs to decide what direction it's going to take here. I think many times now it does get reported to the authorities, and that's the right direction to take. There's a lot of reform that probably needs to be done and yours is an important voice in getting that into action.

  26. I'm here from Crash's site, great post and you go girl! I can not begin to imagine your on going journey, but I feel strongly about talking about it.

    There are great leaders in the church who would not let anyone get away with this. How sad that there are some still in denial.

    Did your parents know mine?!!

  27. There are few things that infuriate me more than people plunging their heads into the sand to avoid conflict, ESPECIALLY when they are putting their own kids at risk. To send children over to your perpetator's house (overnight?! are they retarded???) all in the name of "forgiveness" is insulting to the word.

    I have not shared your experience, but I have stood in front of groups of young women during those coveted assignments to teach The Morality Lesson and explained the difference between sin and abuse, and that abuse IS NOT THEIR FAULT, and does not require repentance from them. I am empathetic to your plight, and applaud you for breaking your silence. I guarantee that you are not the only person that will be set free through this process. I am SO behind you 100%, and I have a really big "behind" so that's saying something.

    Carry on.

  28. I just stumbled across your blog today. My heart goes out to you. I hope that your family will one day realize that you are not to blame for any of this; that you are only the victim and that he is to blame for everything that happened then and everything that is happening now because of his past choices. I applaud you for your courage not only in writing this blog, but in continuing to write it even as some in your family are trying to shame you into deleting it. Abuse is a painful story to hear, but it is one that desperately needs to be told. To quote Edmund Burke, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is that good men [and women] do nothing."

    When I was in college I learned of a disgusting secret like this in my own family. My mother’s brother-in-law, a "worthy priesthood holder" had been sexually abusing 2 of his own daughters for many, many years. The older of the two had moved away years ago and had decided one day that her father had gone unpunished for his crimes long enough. From across the country she called the police and had him arrested. She had no idea that he was abusing one of her little sisters as well. It was thanks to her bravery in voicing her past abuse that her little sister was able to escape the clutches of her pedophile father. This sorry excuse for a man was not properly punished in my opinion... the state of California put him on probation and added him to the national registry of pedophiles (only after my mother called the right people and had him added though) and the church did disfellowship him but I know that his daughters were not there for his Bishop's court. Maybe he did not tell the whole truth. Maybe that is the case with your abuser as well. And maybe he did just get a slap on the wrist by being buddies with the bishop… The principles and doctrine of the church are perfect, but the leaders and members of the church are definitely not!

    Heavenly Father loves you. Jesus Christ knows exactly the pain that you went through and the pain that you are still going through because he felt it as well. So remember that you are never alone and just keep doing what you're doing! You are a courageous woman.

    ~Lauren Green

  29. sariqd - I sent you an email, but I don't know if you got it. Anyway, I just thought it was so interesting that you had brought up an example where the perp was dead because there have been so many times where I thought about how it would have been different if my abuser did die (not saying that I had any murderous thoughts, not at all, just thought about how things would be different). I mean, with how screwed up things have been with me with my family and the church, I always wondered how things could have been different with different circumstances. Was the perp you knew about in your current ward?

    Crash - Lub you too! I remember you telling me about your brothers. It's so horrible. Did your brother ever feel guilt about his abuser committing suicide?

    April - So glad to see you here! You have been through so much and know what it takes to battle! I love having you here!

  30. 25cents - I love your fist pumping! :) Betrayal by parents is definitely something you just don't get over and it sounds like you know the feelings. Thanks for leaving me that inspiring comment!

    DeNae - Thank you for voicing your concerns! I understand them well. It is very confusing to navigate through this murkiness. I also have a sense that there is so much that happened behind the scenes that I don't know about. I think there is a lot of mystery about what happened within my family. My dad took control over everything and I'm sure he manipulated the legal system and the church. I just wish I knew what happened and what he did, but I know I will begin to discover the mysteries as I pursue this and I am trying to stay close to the spirit so that I will not be lead astray. I think Satan is chopping at the bit when someone is doing what I am. He probably feels I'm in a vulerable position to attack. But I do have a testimony in the gospel...the people in the church, um not so much.

    Donna - Thank you! Miss you! I hope some reform can be done within the church. I think not only do they need to train the leaders more, but I think this is a topic we actually need to talk about in church so that the general population of the church understands.

    HandQ - Thanks for your comment! Uh oh, are your parents in denial too? So frustrating!

  31. Vern - Your "in the name of forgiveness" comment was so right on! Love it!

    Thank you for helping young women realize that any abuse is not there fault and does not require repentence. I think that gets a little murky in our church sometimes. It's so important that we have awesome leaders for our young women! I've wanted to be in young women's for years, but have never been called. Instead, I was stuck in primary for 10 years. It got a little old and I love teenage girls and just wish I would be called to work with them. Maybe someday.

    Lauren - I love your Burke quote! It is so inspiring!

    I hate to hear how things got so botched in your family as well. My bishop quoted to me from the handbook that victims of sexual abuse MUST be witnesses in a church court. Can't believe your family was left out of the court as well. That is so wrong!

  32. Hm. I haven't seen anything from you. Did you use arastrebbyl at gmail? That's the one to use.

    And yes - he was in my ward.

  33. sariqd - I just replied to your comment from my email and usually that works to email the person, but sometimes not. Anyway, I'd be interested in how the ward healed from all of that. Did the abuser have a family in the ward? There are so many dynamics in these types of things that I'm always interested in hearing different examples.